From: October 15 to October 22, 2017

Destination: Roanoke, VA

  • Appalachian Trail Section Backpack

    The Appalachian Trail, while often rugged and remote, is designed to accommodate both people who want to hike the entire trail and those who choose to section hike it; that is, hike a new section every year. This year we continue our tradition of offering a new section hike, again returning to southern Virginia.  For those of you who have done previous sections in Virginia, we’ll be 'connecting some of the dots'. In this section the AT follows the Blue Ridge Mountain Range and offers us beautiful, 360 degree views, rocky and challenging trails, streams, waterfalls and just some spectacular ‘green tunnel’ hiking – some of the best trails and views of the Appalachian Trail. Maximum size: 12

  • We've designed the itinerary to take advantage of shelters/camping areas that are located along the trail. However, since we carry lightweight tents, we have a little flexibility in our actual mileage.  Minor itinerary changes may be made due to weather and/or trail conditions. The trip begins and ends in Roanoke, VA.

    Please note:  This trip is recommended for experienced backpackers. Our preference is that you have participated in the Introduction to Lightweight Backpacking offered each year by AGC in June, or have equivalent lightweight backpacking experience. If this trip is the one that fits your schedule but you have never backpacked or if it has been a long time since you have backpacked, you will need to plan on arriving at the trip one day early, 10/14, by 4pm in order to have adequate time for preparation.  The additional charge for this day will be $125 per person and will include a room at the trip hotel (based on double occupancy) and guide instruction.  If you have any questions, please contact the office at 1-877-439-4042 before signing up.

    Sunday, October 15: Meet at 4 p.m. at our hotel in Roanoke, Va.  If you are flying in, there is a shuttle from the airport and you should plan to arrive by 3:30 pm. We will start with introductions and a discussion of what to leave behind, and then go to dinner. We spend the rest of our evening getting ready for our wilderness backpacking adventure and, as is always a good idea at the beginning of a backpacking trip, get to bed early.

    Monday, October 16
    : 5.7 miles.  Our day begins with a shuttle, approximately 1 hour, to our put in point on the trail – Otter Peaks on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After admiring the view and adjusting our packs and poles, we'll begin our adventure. We'll hike through Bearwallow Gap (maybe spotting a few bears?) and eventually up Cove Mountain to our destination for the night, Cove Mountain Shelter area. Mileage: 5.7 Elevation gain/loss: 600/900

    Tuesday, October 17: Today is devoted to getting our trail legs! We'll enjoy typical Virginia AT trail hiking – plenty of ups and downs and enjoy the autumn colors along the way. More views, summits to ascend, and a swimming hole we may just have to take advantage of at Jennings Creek. Our destination tonight is Bryant Ridge Shelter. Mileage: 7 Elevation gain/loss: 1100/1850

    Wednesday, October 18: Our trail today presents us with plenty of opportunity to practice the mountaineering step – yep!, there is quite bit of 'up' today but the reward will be standing on top of Thunder Hill and loving the view and the accomplishment! Along the way, we'll visit Cornelius Creek Shelter, enjoy the view from Black Rock Overlook, stand on top of Apple Orchard Mountain (the highest point in the Blue Ridge of central Virginia), pass under the Guillotine (boulder suspended over the AT – watch your head!) and finally reach our destination for the night, Thunder Hill Shelter – a well deserved rest! Mileage: 10.2 Elevation gain/loss: 4600/600

    Thursday, October 19: Today continues to offer great views, beautiful trail and plenty of challenge. From Thunder Hill Shelter, we’ll climb just a bit more and then begin making our way downhill for a while. There will be a few ups sprinkled in to keep all the muscles engaged but our overall direction for today is down! Along the way we'll enjoy places like Thunder Ridge Overlook, Petites Gap, Marble Spring Gunter Ridge (with its gorgeous stand of Hickory, and Big Cove Branch. Our destination – Matts Creek Shelter. Mileage: 10.7 Elevation gain/loss: 600/3600

    Friday, October 20: Today is our big mileage day – 12.7 miles but it's all worth it! We'll cross the Jame River on the longest foot-use-only bridge on the AT, enjoy the views atop Little Rocky Row and Big Rocky Row, climb Bluff Mountain for its view and to see the Ottie Cline Powell monument (a sad but true tribute to the youngest person ever to climb Bluff Mountain alone) and summit Punchbowl Mountain just before arriving at our destination for the evening. Our last night on trail will be spent at Punchbowl Shelter, enjoying the sunset (if we stay up long enough) and savoring the memories of the week.   Mileage: 12.7 Elevation gain/loss: 2700/1200

    Saturday, October 21: We are going out in style today! Our last day on the trail will be rolling terrain with very few ups but a few downs, especially the last down to Pedlar River Bridge where we will meet our shuttle.  Along the way we'll enjoy our last bit of tunnel hiking and get one last summit ticked off the list – Rice Mountain. After meeting our shuttle, we head back into Roanoke, check into our hotel, and enjoy that much anticipated long and hot shower. We'll marvel at running water and flush toilets!  My how these luxuries are appreciated after a week without them! Clean and refreshed, we'll enjoy a wonderful last night meal at a local restaurant and then tumble into a soft bed!  

    Sunday, October 4: 0 miles (0 miles? What will our bodies think?!). After meeting for one last time at our hotel for a continental breakfast we will say our last 'good-byes' and those of you driving are free to leave. If you are flying out, the hotel has an airport shuttle and you can plan to fly out anytime.
  • $1295 (see available discounts here) $300 deposit. There are no single supplements available on this trip.

    Trip Includes

    •  Two experienced AGC backpacking guides
    •  Two nights double occupancy lodging and five nights tent camping
    •  Dinners and breakfasts from dinner Sunday through breakfast the following Sunday
    •  Shuttles to and from the trail head
    •  Group camping, cooking, and safety equipment

    Not included: Transportation to Roanoke, lunches and snacks, personal backpacking equipment (e.g. backpack and sleeping bag), alcoholic beverages (not permitted on the trail), guide gratuities

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Enjoying beautiful Virginia views from the tops of mountains in the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Hitting the summit of Apple Orchard Mountain (4225 feet) the highest point on the central Virginia Blue Ridge (no apples though!)
  • Backpacking in cool autumn weather during the height of fall foliage
  • Adding to your personal mileage on the AT!
  • Refining our lightweight backpacking techniques so our packs stay under 30 lbs

Register for this trip today

Register Here

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