[at-l] The PA Ruck

Marsha Lee atrailhiker at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 6 07:23:32 CDT 2010

Even though I sent this same email out via blind copy to most all of you, some were kicked back to me. I decided to post this here - being AT related :) 

As most of you have probably heard, Ironmaster's Mansion Hostel is
closing. We cannot give you any answers because we simply do not know
what is going to happen.  

So it's time to move on-the PA Ruck must find a new home. 


Many of you have fond memories and ties to the hostel, like myself. I
never thought we'd be looking for a new facility. It has been difficult
finding a new place due to our needs. 

of you have offered suggestions, but after checking out all referrals
and putting the whole ball of wax together--not one facility could help
us that had everything we needed, plus a good price. Many factors. 

The State of PA campgrounds are closed in the winter; several
representatives told us that the only thing they could do was to open a
few group campsites, as the one at Pine Grove Furnace. There were no
cabins or structures to host our gathering. There have been lay-offs
and closures statewide. In other states as well. 


Other privately-owned campgrounds had partial amenities. Some were
costly, some were even non-functional. Most could not host our group
size, unless it was held in the summer.

I spent some time in Gettysburg recently searching for a new place. They were costly and could not completely accommodate us. 


We need:  


-a private facility that sits near/on the Appalachian Trail 

-inside bunking for some

-optional outside camping for most attendees

-several campgrounds with campfire pits to fill the need of our diverse group

-a nice big ol kitchen with a working stove :)

-a comfortable gathering room for presentations


-room to breath and keeping it simple ! 

The idea of moving it over-the-border came quickly as we realized keeping it in Pennsylvania just might not be the answer. 


The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has accepted us at Blackburn Trail
Center.  Blackburn sits near the top of a beautiful mountain right
outside of Harpers Ferry. Please research this facility. You will be
quite pleased. 


Blackburn offers many things, read on: 



The PATC stressed that around mid February this year, this area had an
incredibly high snow precipitation. Snow plows could not plow the road
up to Blackburn. The PATC had to hike up the road to deliver groceries
and supplies to the caretakers. 

emphasized that the snowfall was not the norm for the area--but that
our date of late January for the PA Ruck might not be sensible, not
even February. They suggested the 2nd weekend in March. 
the date of mid-March, most of us will be able to camp outside, and
believe me, you will want to camp there. It is quite beautiful and I
have been there many times, spending an average 1 to 3 days. 

can refer to your favorite weather website and view the weather for
that time of year: Round Hill Va. Even though it is located in VA,
Blackburn is about 10 miles outside of Harpers Ferry WV. 


We first considered the thru-hiker start dates. Yes, there are a
handful of hikers that start at Springer mid-March. The majority do

Price is another issue - Blackburn would be much cheaper than the hostel and other facilities. 


Throughout the year, you will read more about the Ruck. But for now,
let's concentrate on hiker season, the A.T. Museum grand opening in
June and enjoying ourselves with this beautiful spring weather! 

In a few months you will be seeing a new PA Ruck website. We are also on Facebook. 


Don't hesitate to ask away rather than assume.  I'm sure most of you are thinking:  what shall we call the Ruck now?  


That's the fun part. 



Marsha "StarLyte"

...and Jim & Ginny Owen 		 	   		  
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