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By Erin Smith

Signs and trail markers are being posted along the Coastal Crescent Trail section of the Mountains To the Sea trail in Bladen County. Carl deAndrade and his family have been hard at work posting the brown signs to assist trail walkers and hikers in following the trail. 

He said his grandson, Josh deAndrade, assisted with posting the signs as well. Josh is working towards a Life Service project with the Boy Scouts.

The Coastal Crescent section of the trail enters Bladen County at Suggs Mill Pond travels to Harmony Hall in White Oak, and onto Jones Lake State Park. The trail then winds along NC 242 to Sweet Home Church Road, along US Hwy. 701 South through the town of White Lake and onto Singletary Lake and Kelly before entering Pender County. 

deAndrade said more than 70 browns signs which read MST Mountains to the Sea Trail, and trail blazes have been erected along the trail in the county. He explained trail blazes for the Mountains to the Sea Trail are markers which resemble a white circle. The markers are placed on trees along sections of trail that are located off of the road. The trail blazes are placed at intervals along the trail, so trail walkers and hikers can use them to ensure they are following the correct trail. 

deAndrade also said there will be trail blazes along the asphalt portions of the trail as well. He also said volunteers of the Mountains to the Sea Trail are working to have more of the trail in Bladen County moved off of the highway and onto natural trails where possible. 

When asked about his interest in the project, deAndrade explained that he and his wife, Dianne, were fond of the Appalachian Trail and were familiar with the effort it takes to hike such a trail. When they learned about the Mountains to the Sea Trail and the Coast Crescent section which passes through Bladen County, it was only natural to become involved. 

The couple have become trail angels for the Mountains to the Sea Trail, which means they assist those who are hiking with such things as obtaining lodging in the area, assisting them with laundry, and assisting them with supplies or meals. deAndrade added White Lake is designated as a “Trail Town” meaning the Coastal Crescent trail passes through the town and the town supports those who are hiking along the trail in various ways. 

You can learn about the Mountains to the Sea trail here: https://mountainstoseatrail.org/

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