The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in partnership with the Bears Den Trail Center, invites the public to attend a long-distance hiking workshop on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 7:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. at the Bears Den Trail Center, located at 18393 Blueridge Mountain Road, Bluemont, Va. The workshop is free and open to all ages. Advance registration is required.
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. An estimated 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year, and about 2-3 thousand of those people attempt a "thru-hike", completing the entire long-distance Trail in one journey. This one-day workshop will provide information and tips to hikers of all experience levels who are considering hiking the A.T.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy looks forward to providing information to hikers who are interested in getting outdoors and exploring the A.T. with a backpack, whether for a week-long trip or a six-month thru-hike of the entire A.T.", said Laurie Potteiger, information services manager of the ATC. "Part of our mission is to educate the public on how to successfully and safely hike the Appalachian Trail while minimizing impacts on the environment."
Participants will check-in between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Coffee, tea and donuts will be provided for breakfast, but participants will need to bring their own lunch.
Workshops will run from 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Topics will include planning and preparation, nutrition and cooking, health and safety and much more. A portion of the day will be spent outdoors, where participants will learn how to pitch a tent, hang a bear bag and other outdoor skills.
Instructors include Lauralee "Blissful" Bliss, 2007 A.T. thru-hiker and 2008-2011 A.T. section-hiker, as well as Justin and Patrice La Vigne, 2011 A.T. thru-hikers.
"We are excited to host our first-ever long-distance hiking workshop at Bears Den," said Justin La Vigne, manager of Bears Den Trail Center. "It is the ideal location to provide hands-on experiences and learn the basic principles and techniques needed for backpacking."
An optional dinner, catered by Apple House, will be available for $10 per person, consisting of pulled pork, side dishes, chips and drinks. Participants are also welcome to stay for a casual campfire gathering after dinner from 7-9 p.m.
Overnight accommodations will be available at the Bears Den Trail Center. Camping is $8 per person and indoor lodging is $15 per person. Anyone under 18 years of age will need to be accompanied by an adult. Checkout is on Sunday at 9 a.m. Complimentary coffee and tea will be available, as well as pancake mix to make one's own pancakes.
To register, e-mail Justin LaVigne at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday November 1, 2012.