Book Now : Call or Text (540) 921-3444

The Wood's Hole Weekend

Unfortunately, the 2023 Weekend has been put on HOLD. WE are SO SAD to do this. The Weekend will hopefully return in 2024. Much GRATITUDE for your LOVE and SUPPORT.

Neville Harris

Are you ready to turn your dream of thru-hiking or section-hiking the historic, 2,194-mile Appalachian Trail into reality in the near future? Then you won’t want to miss this very special weekend retreat to benefit the iconic Woods Hole Hostel and Hiking Radio Network. Woods Hole is regularly ranked by hikers among the best hostel experiences on the trail, and Hiking Radio Network provides a suite of diverse hiking podcasts for everybody who loves the outdoors.

Join past thru-hikers for a weekend of conversation and camaraderie. Learn from successful thru- and section-hikers, hostel owners, and an expert from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, who will answer all your questions and get you prepared — and excited — for your hike.

Mighty Blue on Katahdin
Mighty Blue

Event Details

What: A weekend retreat of presentations and discussion for individuals considering a thru-hike or long section-hike of the AT.

When:  September 29- October 1 (including an optional September 28 overnight camping experience)

Where: Woods Hole Hostel, located on a gorgeous mountain outside Pearisburg, VA, 625 miles north of the southern terminus of the AT. Named the “best overall off-trail experience” by Platinum-Blazing the Appalachian Trail, Woods Hole has been described as “A slice of heaven not to be missed” by the past thru hikers.

Cost: Please contact Woods Hole Hostel for updated cost of the Weekend Event.

Registration: Contact Woods Hole for application at

Attendance limited to 15 participants, first-come, first-served, with a wait list in case of cancellations. Limited scholarships may be available, based on need, at the discretion of the hosts.


Gearing Up

  • The Big Three – pack, sleep system, shelter
  • Preventing the agony of the feet
  • No rain, no Maine – rain gear options … and expectations
  • Stoves, water safety, and everything else
  • Lightweight, ultra-lightweight – how much does it matter?
  • Individual pack shakedowns

Decisions, Decisions

  • When should I start? Winter, spring, summer, and bubbles
  • NOBO or SOBO?
  • To flip, or not to flip?
  • How long will it take? Pace, mileage, zero days
  • Celebrate the spreadsheet, but expect the unexpected

Going to Town

  • Resupply
  • Maildrops, bounce boxes
  • Shuttles and hitchhiking
  • Hostels and hotels
  • Laundry
  • Platinum-Blazing – “must visit” spots along the AT

Hiker Etiquette

  • Leave No Trace
  • Representing the hiking community
  • Being a good guest

So, I’ve heard that…

  • Virginia is flat
  • Pennsylvania is rocky
  • The Whites are the hardest part
  • After the Whites, you’ve got it made
  • Bears … aaaagggghhhh! Bears!
  • Women shouldn’t hike alone
  • The 100 Mile Wilderness is terrifyingly remote
  • Guest questions

Giving Back

  • Who maintains the trail?
  • The Appalachian Trail (and every other trail) needs YOU
  • Trail clubs, the ATC and other opportunities



This is an optional overnight backpacking experience.

We meet for lunch at Weary Feet Hostel. Participants must bring gear for an overnight in the woods. We then set out on a 2-mile hike to Dismal Falls. 

There, we’ll talk about setting up, getting water, bear hanging, setting a fire, cooking dinner and clean up. 

There will also be a Leave No Trace demonstration from ATC.

Friday morning, we’ll break camp and hike back to Weary Feet for our cars before heading to Wood’s Hole.


Arrive Woods Hole

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Welcome lunch

1:30-2:45 p.m. – “Get your head right” - We’ll talk about the mindset necessary to undergo a long-distance hike, with our presenters sharing stories of bad days (and good ones) on the trail.

2:45-3 p.m. – Break

3-4:30 p.m. – “It’s not just walking” - Having resolved the mindset, we’ll discuss the physicality of the trail.

4:30-5 p.m. – Break

5-6 p.m. – Social time

6-7:15 p.m. – Dinner

7:30-9 p.m. – “Stuff happens”

  • Problem solving and allowing yourself to be flexible.
  • When to start? – Winter? Spring? Summer? Coping with the “bubble.” NOBO? SOBO? Flip Flop?
  • “How much time do I need?” – Pace, mileage, and zero (or nearo) days
  • Plan ahead but expect the unexpected.


7:30-8:30 a.m. - Breakfast

9-11:00 a.m. – “Let’s talk gear”

  • The Big Three – pack, sleep system, shelter
    Preventing the agony of the feet
  • “No rain, no Maine” - rain gear options ... and expectations
  • Stoves, water safety, and everything else
  • Lightweight, ultra-lightweight – how much does it matter?

11:00-Noon – “Let’s look at hammocks”

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Lunch

1:30-3 p.m. – Individual pack shakedowns

3-3:15 p.m. – Break

3:15-4:30 p.m. – Going to town:

  • Resupply
  • Maildrops, bounce boxes
  • Shuttles and hitchhiking
  • Hostels, hotels, and laundry
  • The highlight reel! The places you should see.

4:30-5 p.m. – Break

5-6 p.m. – Hiker Etiquette and representing the hiking community

6-7:15 p.m. – Dinner

7:30-9 p.m. – Optional breakout groups:

  • Issues for women
  • Getting through the Whites
  • Social media, YouTube and podcasts
  • Other Long-Distance Trails


7:30-8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

9-10 a.m. – Giving back to the trail – Who maintains the trail?

10-10:15 a.m. – Break

10:15 a.m.-noon – Dispelling AT Myths – A Panel Discussion plus Q&A

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Departure lunch

cross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram