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ATC center to host kickoff

By Staff | Apr 27, 2012

On Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will host an event to celebrate the arrival of the spring hiking season at the ATC’s Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

The beginning of May marks the arrival of northbound thru-hikers in Harpers Ferry, the psychological half-way point of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Day-hikers and overnight hikers are also taking advantage of the warmer temperatures.

To kick off the season, experienced hikers will give presentations on long distance hiking, kids will have the opportunity to get temporary A.T. tattoos and gear displays will illustrate day-hiking and backpacking basics, including “the Ten Essentials.” The ATC staff will also be available throughout the day to answer questions, give day-hike and backpacking suggestions and probr-vide maps and guides.

The Conservancy Visitor Center is located at 799 Washington Street in Harpers Ferry. The schedule of events inlcudes a 2011 Thru-hike Presentation by Justin & Patrice Lavigne “Deal” and “Steadee,” managers of Bears Den Trail Center, who will give a talk about their 2011 southbound thru-hike. They will also offer gear tips and advice for long distance backpacking.

A Thru-hiker Q&A at 1 p.m. will allow current 2012 thru-hikers to answer questions and tell stories about their experiences on the Appalachian Trail in their first thousand miles from Georgia to Harpers Ferry.

At 2 p.m. Lauralee Bliss, who has recently completed both an A.T. thru-hike and an A.T. section-hike and is an avid day-hiker, will provide tactics and advice for women hikers, including how to face mental, physical, and emotional challenges.

These presentations will be held at the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church, which is part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The church is located off of Storer College Place, which is adjacent to the ATC’s Visitor Center. The parking lot behind this church is available for event attendees.