Mountain Crossings Hike School

I’m sure you’ve seen our event on Facebook and on our website for Mountain Crossings Hike School Backpacking Class. We decided to try out our own backpacking class to help prepare people for whatever adventure they have in their future. The staff here has a lot of experience helping people with their gear and questions about backpacking. We are all experienced backpackers so that gives us even more credibility. This blog post will go over details about our backpacking class and who should join.

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Former hike school at Mountain Crossings

When is it and how much?
The class begins Friday, June 1st at 7pm and ends Saturday, June 2nd when everyone gets finished with gear and questions, sometime in the afternoon. The class is $50 up front, but that turns into a voucher for the store during the class.

What happens in this Hike School?
There will be a presentation Friday night, and then all the classmates will sleep in our hostel. The next day, we will help each person one on one with gear and questions. The presentation Friday will cover the basics of backpacking. We will go over how to plan your hike, leave no trace principles, what to expect out on the trail, and much more! On Saturday, we will be doing more hands on learning. We will help fit you for a pack and gather any gear you might need. If you have your own gear, we can do a pack shakedown and give you recommendations on what to keep, and what to get rid of. We will show you how to pack your pack, and how to adjust your pack each time you put it on. We can show you how each piece of gear works such as a stove, water filter, tent, etc. We will also make sure you have good shoes and make sure the fit is right. Pretty much, we will go over anything you need help with! We will have all hands on deck that day so that each person gets one on one attention. We want to make sure you are as prepared as you can be before you go out on your backpacking trip.

We know that a lot of people are unprepared when they start the trail and end up dropping even more money on gear and shoes because they didn’t get it right the first time around. We want to avoid this problem! We also want to make sure you can avoid small mistakes with some of your gear due to improper use. No matter who you are or what questions you have we will help you out!

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Ryan doing a pack fitting

Who should come?
Honestly, anyone can come! If you have never been hiking before, you can certainly learn a lot from the class. Even if you’ve been on a few trips and want to learn more about gear and hiking, you can learn a lot too. If you consider yourself a backpacking expert, you might be able to pick up a thing or two from the class as well or just enjoy meeting other people and seeing what kind of gear they have. The great thing about this class is it is only $50 to sign up, and that $50 becomes a voucher for the store! So if you are an experienced backpacker and are needing a new Sawyer, pot, jacket, anything, you can come to the class and learn something you didn’t know, and get the gear you need.

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Matt doing a shakedown

What do you bring?
We encourage you to bring the gear you already have so we can help you optimize it, or make sure everything works properly for you. If you do not have any gear, this class will help you buy your gear once and to buy it right the first time. Our hostel has mattresses, but you need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. Be sure to bring all your nightly essentials for a sleepover. Other than that, just bring a list of questions for us and we will answer them!

Contact
If you want to sign up, go to our website here to purchase your voucher. If you have any questions regarding the class, contact jason@mountaincrossings.com. Thanks and we hope to see you there!

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Appalachian Trail Passport

The Appalachian Trail Passport is becoming a more exciting item to carry on the trail. It acts like a real passport in that you can get stamps each place you stop. It is a fun souvenir to carry with you on the trail and look back on all the places you have been after the trail.

The idea originated in Spain on the Camino de Santiago. On the Camino, hikers carry a “passport” that would be stamped at each hostel to show where they stayed and to prove their pilgrimage of the trail. On the Appalachian Trail, most places you can stop along the trail have acquired their own stamp to stamp the AT Passports. Hostels, outfitters,  hotels,  shuttle drivers, and other points of interest carry their own stamps. The passport only weighs one ounce so it hardly takes up any weight! But of course, ounces make pounds. A benefit to purchasing a passport is all the proceeds are donated to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to help further protect the trail. Check out the passports here to buy yours today! We also sell them in the store if you want to stop by the shop on your way through.

Locations
Here is the official list of locations to get your passport stamped. The Southernmost place to get a stamp is at Amicalola Falls State Park, and the Northernmost spot is at Baxter State Park, right before you climb Katahdin. There are hundreds of spots in between the start and finish where you can stop and get your passport stamped. It would be hard to visit every single place but I’m sure someone out there has done it!

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Mountain Crossings Stamp

My Experience
It is personal preference whether or not you want to carry a passport. I didn’t carry one because I knew I would forget about it and just be carrying dead weight around. I also enjoy looking back through my journals and pictures and figured that would be enough for memories. I definitely considered it though! It would be fun to carry around a passport of all the places you’ve been and be able to show others.

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I hope you decide to carry this AT Passport but if you don’t, that’s ok too. Hike your own hike and have fun out there!