Blind hiker draws attention to Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Led by his guide dog, Tennille, and cheered by well-wishers, Trevor Thomas of Charlotte finished his extraordinary cross-state trek on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail last Saturday at Jockey’s Ridge, becoming the first blind person to hike the 950-mile trail. Hundreds followed his trek via Thomas’ Facebook page and several media outlets reported his latest accomplishment. Thomas hiked the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail in 2008 by himself and the 2,654-mile Pacific Crest Trail with friends in 2010. Unlike the Appalachian Trail, a well-defined corridor, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail traverses 500 miles on footpaths and 400 miles along rural highways. He said the North Carolina trail, a unit of state parks, was more challenging because of its patchwork character. Thomas found that over the course of the hike, he ended up carrying much more on his shoulders. He had corporate sponsors, of course, but he also for a time became a de facto spokesman for the blind and by extension, disabled people tackling challenges in the outdoors. Thomas gave more than a dozen TV and print media interviews and became an outstanding ambassador for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, an authorized unit of the state parks system.