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Hike the Appalachian Trail in Four States!

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Road Scholar
Program #18537RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
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Discussion Board

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Rodney Hoffman Jun 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Just back from this trip. Had a great time. Here are 19 photos:
(If you view them individually, each photo has a caption.)
Nancy Brinkley Jun 28, 2014 at 01:41 PM

So glad you enjoyed this vigorous hiking trip. I was truly sorry when it was over. Your photos are very familiar. One that shows the soles of your boots flopping happened to one of our hikers too. Luckily she found someone in the group with the same foot size and a second pair of boots. The picture with your arm...looking scraped or what? What happened? People in our group were very cohesive and fun to be with. Right away, when I got back, I started looking for another RS trip...probably will be out here in the west.
Janet Elliott Jun 29, 2014 at 01:33 PM

Great pictures Rodney! So glad you had a great time.
Patricia Dawe Jul 16, 2014 at 07:21 PM

Thanks for posting the photos, Rodney. Were you using walking poles? I would prefer not to fall and wonder if they help much.
Nancy Sigmon Jul 16, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Patricia, I didn't use hiking poles. Some folks did and maybe it would have helped. There are poles there for you to use if you need them.
Rodney Hoffman Jul 17, 2014 at 08:08 AM

Patricia, I did not use poles. I have never used poles, and I didn't think trying them for the first time on this trip would be a good idea. I don't know whether they might have prevented my minor trip-and-fall.
Patricia Dawe Jul 18, 2014 at 09:31 AM

Thanks so much for the info., Rodney and Nancy!

Janet Elliott Jun 19, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Got back from hiking the AT May 25-30. It was simply grand. The hiking was strenuous but not as hard as I thought. The group we were with was a fairly fast hiking one. They were a very nice group. Very welcoming. It was our first R.S. trip and we were satisfied with everything and would like to plan another trip.
Nancy Sigmon Jun 19, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Janet, when you say that the hiking wasn't that strenuous what did you mean by that? Hiking down the Grand Canyon is strenuous. Is this hike on that level or much less rigorous? How was the weather? Did you need rain gear? I'm going this Sunday for the same hike. Really looking forward to it. Yes, RS trips are well planned and the people are fantastic. RSVP. Thanks.
Janet Elliott Jun 20, 2014 at 07:12 AM

Hi Nancy. I didn't mean to say that the hike wasn't strenuous. It definitely was, but I was able to get through it each day with no sore muscles or blisters. I haven't hiked down the G.C. I find the descents are the hardest for me. This is a very rigorous hike. I am 67, and a walker. We have flat trails in Florida. I did better than I thought and kept up. I just had a poncho to put on. It was sufficient. You will enjoy it. Go your pace. Sometimes I was by myself and other times with a other hikers. Enjoy. Let me know how you liked it:)
Nancy Sigmon Jun 21, 2014 at 05:26 PM

Janet, does the shuttle service only take cash or can you pay with a credit card. Also, are there any side trips offered in the afternoons after we get back from the hike? I'm leaving tomorrow in the am. If you can get back with me this evening I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
Janet Elliott Jun 21, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Nancy, the shuttle service is through Shepherd's Retreat and you can pay them. We didn't pay til later as that is what they told us. We paid cash. They are very accommodating. Have a wonderful time Nancy! I will be thinking about all of you:)
Janet Elliott Jun 29, 2014 at 01:34 PM

Nancy S., How was the hike? Hope it was wonderful for you!
Nancy Sigmon Jul 09, 2014 at 11:35 AM

It was a great hike. Yes, it was rigorous, especially the roller coaster hike on Wednesday. On my profile pic is a picture of several of us who usually stayed together throughout the hikes.
Patricia Dawe Jul 16, 2014 at 07:14 PM

Nancy, I am going Sept. 14-19. What is your opinion on walking poles? I have never used them.
Janet Elliott Jul 17, 2014 at 09:29 AM

Patricia, I had never used poles before and bought some (on clearance at Sports Authority) and practiced with them for a couple of months. They saved me more than a few times on the hikes when I slipped some. I loved them. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought them from a place like REI that sold FOLDING poles as I had to find a duffel bag long enough for them. You can use the ones at Shepherd's Retreat. Have a great time!
Patricia Dawe Jul 19, 2014 at 06:44 PM

Thinking I better start using them now with 2 months to go. Great info! Thanks!

Nancy Brinkley Apr 30, 2014 at 05:11 PM

Coming from California for the June 8-13
hike. Anyone else coming from CA. Would like to meet others who will also be attending.

Christine Brown Apr 25, 2014 at 06:55 PM

Oops, that's supposed to say "sturdy" boots...

Christine Brown Apr 25, 2014 at 06:54 PM

Janet - You will need strength, endurance and good balance. I can't imagine hiking these trails without study, comfortable hiking boots with good ankle support. Walking is great exercise, but it will not translate well to the terrain you will be hiking. All the trails are very rocky - big, sharp rocks - so work on your balance and definitely use walking poles. The lodge has some you can borrow. There are also several sections of trail that are very long and steep, both up and down. I suggest lots of long workouts on the elliptical and/or stair master. You will be hiking for five or six hours. I am in my mid-60s and in good shape, but the hikes were still taxing. If you are younger maybe they won't be as challenging for you.
Janet Elliott Apr 26, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Thank you Christine for the advice. I am concerned about the toughness of it. I have poles and my shoes have ankle support. The stair master is a killer and we have it at the gym. I have been training for the stair climb for the American Lung Association since the first of March. That helps too. The only thing I am real concerned about is the rocky terrain and my ankles going back and forth. I am in my late 60's, but still work and am active. I will hit the elliptical and stairmaster for longer periods. Thank you again.

Janet Elliott Apr 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM

We will be hiking the trail 5/25 to 5/30/14. We are very excited. Anyone want to comment on their experience. We are a little concerned because we are flat-landers (Florida). I didn't buy new hiking boots. I don't know how strenuous it will be. I run a slow 5K and love to walk, but the AT is very different. Any comments or suggestions?
dot hogue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:36 PM

Hey Janet, I participated in this AT program last year. I would definitely suggest walking poles!! Also, you might want to walk up and down a lot of stairs to prepare your legs for this trip. I did not wear hiking boots; but instead, I wore trail runner tennis shoes. They worked just fine. I loved this program!!! Dotr
Ellie Knesper Apr 22, 2014 at 02:03 PM

My husband and I participated in this trip about two years ago. Despite very wet conditions and high humidity, thanks to the hurricane that fortunately missed us, we had a great time. But the hiking is definitely challenging, so I agree with the suggestion that you find some hills or even steps for getting in shape. I wrote a blog of the trip, and it might help when you are trying to know what to expect. The blog is at Happy hiking!
Lorie Eckert May 02, 2014 at 12:20 PM

i enjoyed your blog. thank you for sharing it. i will follow in your AT footsteps starting sunday. i enjoyed hearing about meals, start times, and the like from your blog!!

Gary Bores Apr 20, 2014 at 02:20 PM

My wife and I will be attending the program from Sept 14-19. We're flying into BWI (Baltimore/Washington) arriving at 10:30AM. Just wondering if there would be any interest in sharing a rental car by anyone? We'd be returning to the BWI airport area Friday Sept. 19 and staying overnight to catch a plane back home on Sept. 20. We might decide to just take the shuttle over and back but haven't decided yet.
Patricia Dawe May 04, 2014 at 08:16 PM

Hi Gary and Gary's wife! I and two friends are attending that same program and might be interested. We are coming f
Patricia Dawe May 04, 2014 at 08:17 PM

We are coming from IL and haven't yet decided if we are driving all the way or what. We know we need to get our plans in order soon!

Rodney Hoffman Mar 08, 2014 at 07:25 AM

I'm flying in to D.C. (Dulles) for the 6/22 trip. If you are, too, let's split the shuttle cost to Sheperd's Spring!
Nancy Sigmon Mar 08, 2014 at 08:27 AM

What day are you flying in? I'm coming from Fla. You?
Rodney Hoffman Mar 08, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I arrive in IAD before 8 am (!) on 6/22 (from L.A.). I'm happy to wait there for you. (And I sent you a message about this earlier. (via RoadScholar, clicking on your name, then "send a message") )

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