The PA/Northern Ruck has been renamed to reflect where it is located now.

For 26 years, the winter ruck has been held...first at Ironmaster's Hostel and now at Bear's Den Hostel.

Come join us this year for our annual winter get-together of hikers.

Please register here on the website so we can know who is coming and don't forget to make a reservation with Bear’s Den for your sleeping accommodations.

Place: Bear’s Den Hostel
Address: 18393 Blue Ridge Mountain Rd, Bluemont, VA 20135
Phone: 540-554-8708






Welcome to the newly named, Mid-Atlantic Ruck page! We are so excited to be planning this year’s 26th Annual Ruck. The winter Ruck has always been a warm place for dreamers of every experience level to join together during the cold winter season to plan new adventures, revel in the old, discuss gear choices, and talk trail. Come join us for a weekend full of trail fun.

This year’s Ruck will look a little different. We hope to focus on providing information to aspiring hikers and giving everyone time to share knowledge and skills in an interactive way. We hope to examine all ways to remain healthy on the trail and off, and to do a mock hike where you can set up and use your gear outside in real weather. After this, you’ll have an opportunity to have your pack “Tuckerized” or shaken down, which means that experienced hikers will help you decide what to take or not take. Hopefully, after carrying it down the hill, using it, and schlepping it back up, you’ll better understand what might work and what might not for you.

We’ll, also, have lots of time for talking and sharing. Also, there will be some time for fun. A viewing of Hollywood’s first episode of his trail journey series, Pack & Soul, will end the formal activities on Saturday night.

This year no need to bring a lot of food. Meals will be provided by ALDHA and by you with an opportunity to support the local restaurant, Bear Chase Brewing Company, across the street for Saturday night’s dinner. Please feel free to bring some snack food or desserts to share during breaktime and for lunch on Saturday, if you so desire. We will not provide these. Please practice LNT with snacks: take home what you brought in. Like last year there will be an opportunity to spend some money on raffle tickets …this year there might be some great gear in the raffle lineup.

Don’t forget to call and/or email Bear’s Den to make a reservation for your bunk.

See you on down the Trail,

Vera Hurst
Mid-Atlantic Ruck Organizer

Things to bring:

    • Your PACKED backpack as complete as possible (for gear testing and tuckerizing session – you do NOT have to be hiking this year to participate.

Include EVERYTHING you would bring on a long-distance backpacking trip including, a stove, pot, lighter, flashlight, sleeping bag, tent, pad, water filter, clothing you’d wear for the weather both hiking & in camp clothes, and raingear, medical and personal needs. Bring EVERYTHING you would take on a long hike.

    • Your special pillow, if desired but not required, bedding is provided
    • A snack or dessert to share
    • A few dollars for a raffle ticket or two
    • Sense of humor
    • Your questions and wisdom to share
    • Money for dinner on Saturday night

Don’t forget that ALDHA believes in:

Leave No Trace (LNT) – pack it in, pack it out, leave spaces better than you found them, don’t leave a trace, return spaces back to the way they were or walk gently on the land. Go to for more information.

To the AT Class of 2023— Hike Your Own Hike (HYOH) and remember your actions will directly affect those coming behind you!! Please be respectful when summiting Mt Katahdin in Maine; hike it in small groups, forget the alcohol & marijuana, and celebrate quietly. We would like it to remain the northernmost terminal of the AT and yes, it is always an issue on the table.


Schedule of Events - 26th Annual Mid-Atlantic Ruck


5:00 pm Check in — meet and greet
6:00 pm Dinner — Spaghetti
7:00 pm


7:15 - 9:00 pm

Getting to Know the AT or What am I getting myself into? — Ron Burger: Findings from the 2019 "Trek" Survey from over 300 AT Thru Hike Completers.  Rush Williamson: An end-to-end description of the AT topography, climate, and trail challenges

9:00 - 11:00 pm

Trail Talk— Leave No Trace, Hiker Etiquette, Resupply (to mail or not to mail drops), gear questions prior to gear shake out tomorrow. (meet with Mentors, if available)


8:00 am Breakfast— Blueberry pancakes and sausage, etc.
9:00 - 10:00 am Hike Healthy — Weather: Staying Safe, Dry & Warm on Hikes
10:00 am - 12:00 pm Playing with Gear  Bring your current gear, packed and ready for your hike…or just bring your gear. We’ll go outside, set up your tents like you were setting up camp on trail. Dress like you are hiking and then need to get into your cold weather ‘camp’ clothes. We will have actual lunch soup that you can heat on your stoves or bring your own food to heat up…. many of us will stop in cold weather and have a cup of soup so bring that. You can lay on your air mattress, test your clothes choices, and ask the experienced for help or any questions about hiking
12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch— Soup and sandwiches (if you so choose, heat your own soup on your own stove)
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Pack Tuckerizations — Bring your fully loaded pack to be looked at by ‘our’ experts, see what you really need.
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Hike Healthy — Dealing with Injuries, Noro, the importance of stretching, Foot Health, etc.
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Photo Op    At the Cliffs and Sunset viewing – your first memorable sunset on the AT
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Dinner — at the Brewery
7:00 pm Raffle — Jill Byrd
7:15 pm - 8:15 pm Pack & Soul Video #1
8:15 pm - 9:15 pm Hike Healthy — Be Prepared to Stay Mentally on Top of “Stuff”
9:15 pm - 11:00 pm Let's Talk Trail!  — Time to ask all your unanswered questions, Free time, game night, evening walk?


7:00 am Breakfast— You’re on your own for this one. See what has been left over and eat up!
9:00 - 11:00 am CleanUp — Grab a broom (or what have you), and help clean up the hostel. Leave it better than when we arrived and we’ll be back next year!

Schedule subject to change


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