Appalachian Trail Weekend Prep Class taught by TheBackpacker.TV

Being situated 3 days into the Appalachian Trail, we at Mountain Crossings see a lot of folks from all walks of life coming through the shop. Some are so prepared and do so well that they don’t even need us. Others skip parts of the trail to come seek help before that have even hiked the first 30 miles. As thru hikers ourselves, we know very well that the prepared man is no safer than the unprepared man when it comes to the treats of a failed thru hike. Something could still happen at home that pulls either of them off trail and both are still susceptible to injury or sickness. What we do know, is that the prepared man is having a WAY more enjoyable time than his unprepared counter part! Doing everything possible to be ready mentally, physically, and with your gear won’t put you on Katahdin, but it will make your experience way more incredible and give you every leg up possible! 

That is why Mountain Crossings is excited to host a weekend long Appalachian Trail preparedness class taught by Scott and Ariane of TheBackpacker.TV. When Scott and Ariane came to us with this idea, we were instantly behind it. They have years of experience leading backpacking trips in the Southern Appalachian mountains and they equally understand the benefits of seeking first hand experience from fellow hikers who can help you tune into your ideal hiking and gear style before you hit the trail. Most importantly, Scott and Ariane know the importance of getting out on trail with your own gear and giving it a go BEFORE you take your first step on your thru hike or section hike. This class will offer you all of that! Information on lightweight gear, the ability to talk with former thru hikers and a chance to get out on trail and test your gear for a night, if you so wish.

Ariane and Scott of TheBackpacker.TV have YEARS of experience in outdoor education!

The class starts on Friday afternoon at 3pm and includes a meal and a stay in the hostel at Mountain Crossings. A class will be taught that night by Scott and Ariane inside the outfitter at Mountain Crossings so that you can see first hand what lightweight gear looks like as your learn about it. The next morning, a light breakfast will be served and the class will continue, along with a gear fitting session with outfitter employees. Enjoy personalized expertise as you select gear that works for you, whether you are starting at zero or just filling in a few little items into your gear setup. Later in the afternoon, individuals in the group have the choice to head out onto trail to test out their gear if they choose. Scott and Ariane will lead the group and teach a segment on Leave No Trace practices.

On Sunday morning, the group will return to Mountain Crossings to make any gear adjustments that may be needed. Often times, by getting out and using your gear, you learn a lot about what you like and don’t like about particular types of gear. This last session in the outfitter help you dial into your exact preferences while on trail! The class will terminate at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

Click here for the Facebook event giving more details. 

Click here to see an Official Class Itinerary on TheBackpacker.TV website. 

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The Youngest Thru Hiker Finishes AT

In an age where FTKs are taking over thru hiking culture, here is a story that you would think was fabricated for the glory of breaking the bounds of what most think is possible. In reality, it was as simple as keeping a dream alive. Bekah and Derrick Quirin had long since decided to hike the Appalachian Trail together by the time their daughter Ellie was born. But instead of putting that dream to the wayside and waiting until she was fully grown and on her own, they decided to envelope their daughter into the dream.

With Bekah carrying a pack full of the family’s belongs and Derrick hauling precious cargo consisting of one year old Ellie in a child carrier, the family set out to thru hike the Appalachian Trail on March 20th, starting southbound from their hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. Just before the family hiked their last few days on the southern portion of their journey, they passed through Mountain Crossings on May 11th.

I remember the sunny afternoon they passed by. Ellie was fussy until the moment she laid eyes on a banana but then lit up like a firework in the night!  Derrick began ripping off chucks for her to snack on and she hummed pleasantly as she smashed them into her mouth one after another. By the time Bekah and Derrick had finished shopping for their resupply, Ellie was smiling and giggling. As a former thru hiker myself, I laughed, recognizing the hanger that had over come Ellie and then quickly dissipated as soon as she had eaten.

The family continued south and upon reaching Springer Mountain, flipped up to Mount Katahdin to continue walking south to McAffees Knob outside of Roanoke, VA. On Setptember 30th, the reached their final summit!

They had completed not only the incredible feat of walking all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail, but they had done it together as a family. Ellie learned to walk and said her first words while on the thru hike. She also became the youngest known person to have ever traveled the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Bekah and Derrick followed their long time dream to thru hike the Appalachian Trail and ushered their daughter into a lifetime of outdoor experiences! Congratulations to the Quirin Family and their awesomely inspiring story!

In honor of the completion of the thru hike by a one year old, we’ve put several of our baby and toddler items online! Click on either of the images below to see more information about these super cute “Future AT Hiker” shirts and onesies.

“Future AT Hiker” Onesie Sizes 3 months to 18 months $19.99

“Future AT Hiker” Shirt Sizes 3 months to 18 months $19.99