View Full Version : AMC Workshops

01-04-2005, 15:35
I just got the AMC's 2005 "teen wilderness adventures" pamphlet in the mail--don't know why since I'm not a teen--and that made me go to the AMC's website to see if they offered other workshops for adults. One called "Planning an Appalachian Trail Thru-hike" looked really interesting but it is full already (no surprise since it takes place on Jan 15-16 in N.H.). I called an asked if they were going to have another one in the fall, but the woman who answered the phone said they would not have another until next year at this time.

Since we are planning a 2006 start, it doesn't seem terribly useful to go to one in jan of 2006... by then our planning should be long-done. My questions include whether or not this kind of a workshop would be useful at all, if anyone has gone, and if anyone knows of other groups offering similar workshops.

I've done tons of research on my own (through this website, others and books) so I feel fairly comfortable with the planning phase, but you always can learn new tricks, right?

Lone Wolf
01-04-2005, 15:38
No need to pay money to learn how to hike.

01-04-2005, 15:59
If you're really interested, contact AMC and get a list of the literature they use for the class. I'm sure it can be found through a library and for free! You'll miss out on discussing experience with others, but that's what WB and other siets are for. Outside of that, the $ spent taking the class can be put towards new gear!!!


The Old Fhart
01-04-2005, 16:12
dje97001, The ALDHA fall Gathering will be held in Hanover, NH, on Oct. 7-9, Columbus Day weekend this year and you can find workshops, slideshows, and real live thru-hikers to talk to there. Click here (http://www.aldha.org/gather05.htm) for more info. Price is $17.

01-04-2005, 16:26
WHile I have no first hand experience, you might head to PA for a "Ruck". Its an informal gathering, and people whould be eager to help you.

There is a list of seminars and such on the ATC page:


I think most here would agree that not all of these would be the best choice for everyone. Still, I'll bet there is something for everyone on the list.

If it were me, I'd prefer a seminar/gather whre there were at least 2 or three recent thru hikers, each of who hiked independent of the others.

There will be plenty at the Rucks and even more at the ALDHA gathering.

Rick B

01-04-2005, 16:27
Wolfie is certainly right. I can't imagine that they will be able to tell you anything new that you cannot find out from this site (and others, like the Gathering) for free or little cost. The main thing is to talk to recent hikers (thru, section, or otherwise) and find out what worked for them, what didn't, etc. Try reading a lot of journals to see what common problems people have. It is especially funny to read the first couple of weeks worth of entries from hikers who leave in March. You've got plenty of time to avoid the most common ones (hauling too much stuff, not taking enough cold weather gear, not being in shape, not knowing how to use their gear). Getting one opinion from the AMC people (unless it is advice on how to avoid work-for-stays or paying to stay at their huts) won't be off too much use. What if their opinion doesn't fit your hiking style?

There are tons on www.trailjournals.com

01-04-2005, 16:29
I think it depends on how experienced a backpacker you are. I went to Thru-hiker seminars given by the outfitter at Neels Gap in GA and the local REI in Atlanta before my thru and I got a lot out of them, but I was inexperienced. It was nice to talk to former thrus, ask questions and see their gear. Got to learn a little about equipment and various options for stoves, footwear, packs, water treatment, shelters, blister treatment and such. Also got to talk to some manufacturers reps and see their presentations. I think at that time REI's was free and Dorathy Hanson only charged about $40 for hers, and that was to cover the lunch and the rental at Vogal SP. I figure I made some major changes to my gear before my hike instead of limping into Neels Gap and then doing it.

Jack Tarlin
01-04-2005, 18:34
Two Points:

1. It's true, there's all sorts of very useful information publicly available that
a prospective thru-hiker could obtain for free or at minimal cost, as
opposed to paying $75.00 or more for.

2. However, while there are are many "workshops" of this sort available, I
think the AMC's presentation is a particularly good one. The two folks
leading the workshop are extraordinarily accomplished outdoors people
who I have known for years. Both have completed the A.T. and the
PCT, and both have years of experience of living and working in the back-
country. (By way of full dis-closure, I should mention that one of them is
a former relative by marriage; this is irrelevant; she also happens to be
one of the most accomplished hikers I've met, is great at dealing with the
public, and is an excellent speaker and teacher).

So in short, yeah, you can find all sorts of information for free. However, if you do want to pay for a presentation led by folks who really know what they are talking about, have a gread deal of knowledge to share, and have given talks of this sort for several years, the program presently offered by the Appalachian Mountain Club is a very worthy one.

01-04-2005, 21:23
Well, I'll agree with what Jack says. One "qualification" that Jack didn't mention is that the other instructor is one of the many ALDHA members who is also on the ATC Board of Managers.

But, more than that, I think that the decision to take a class or not depends on the type of individual you are, and what your background and experience is.

Whether you take the AMC course, or go to the Gathering, or to another course offered elsewhere, or just talk with someone who has thru-hiked, you will certainly get some good tips.

And, finally, if you are planning on a thru-hike in 2006, make sure you do some shakedown hikes in 2005. Nothing like just doing it.

01-04-2005, 23:38
Good thoughts. I've done a number of short weekend-week hikes and so I feel fairly comfortable with actually using the gear, and although I have no experience with the psychological or physical toll found in thru-hiking, I really understand that a seminar won't prepare me for that.

What I really would like to do is sit down with a former thru-hiker and have a conversation with them, discussing food resupply schedules/locations, boot (and gear) replacement, shelter/mileage tables, and all of the other things that I have read about here and elsewhere. I have read almost all of the stuff here, so I most likely know the answers I would get, but there is still something different about reading it on the net and actually talking with someone.

For instance, when I propose my gear list, the responses can range from "you should ditch everything except your advil and water" to "I carried 75 lbs when I did it before all of these new gadgets existed so suck it up and deal"... but I've never met any of you so I don't know who is trying to put a shine-on, and who is giving it to me straight. Don't get me wrong, this variability really cracks me up, but since this is a pretty big challenge, for me, it would help to actually talk with someone. That long distance hikers' gathering sounds like something worth checking out. Thanks again for your thoughts.

01-05-2005, 20:29

From your post, it sounds like you just really want to talk with someone. Then, why not join ALDHA, get their membership directory, and then drop a dime to someone who lives close to you.

Jack Tarlin
01-05-2005, 20:50

I see you live in Connecticut. I'm in Hanover, NH, two minutes from I-81.
If you can't find anyone closer to you, I'd be happy to meet with you here sometime this winter. But Peaks is right: ALDHA maintains a very comprehensive directory of former thru-hikers, and the listings are not only state-by-stae, by also town-by-town within specific states. This includes not only their members, but also there's a list of those who are willing to meet with or correspond with prospective thru-hikers. Unless you're in a very isolated part of CT, it shouldn't be too difficult to find someone nearby who has thru-hiked recently who'd be happy to help you out.

Go to www.aldha.org for more information

01-06-2005, 01:05
Wow Jack, you've proved you know your history well but don't even know the super highway down the road from you. It'll be a long drive thru NY state otherwise! Might wanna make that I-91 :)

01-06-2005, 23:32
Jack, thank you for the offer. I may take you up on it later this year. I think the comments on this topic reinforce what I was thinking in general, but you are also right in that I feel like sitting down and going over the plan with someone face to face. Of course, I'd owe you a meal!

Jack Tarlin
01-07-2005, 00:25
A-Train is of course correct. I'm somewhat better informed on Trails than I am on Interstates!

Or at least I'd like to think so.

The Old Fhart
01-07-2005, 00:47
Jack, Now you know why it is when we go on a road trip we never let you drive. :)

01-07-2005, 13:43
Didn;t know much about trip planning and I don't think there was a Whiteblaze around. At least I couldn't find it then. We completed the thru and I have to give a lot of credit o the course to setting our expectations and by giving us some new ideas about gear and type of hike we wanted to take. It was also cool to be in a group where everyone wanted to hike the AT. It was a good opportunity to support each other. The course is not a waste of time or money. I recommend it.