AT Coming to Theaters!

NC_Franklin_FlyerThe film Appalachian Impressions will be hitting theaters this fall as part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)’s 2013 membership drive.  Special programs will take place in fifteen cities, five A.T. Communities, along the east coast from CT to FL.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to present this film on the big screen,” stated Javier Folgar, director of marketing and communications of the ATC.  “This event provides the public an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Appalachian Trail and how to get involved with the Conservancy through our membership and volunteer programs.  Every dollar raised will help preserve and manage the A.T. – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.  ”

The film highlights the beauty and splendor of the AT . Appalachian Impressions takes viewers on a 6 month journey of thrills and trials through 14 states on the AT from Georgia to Maine.  Franklin residents, Bill and Sharon Van Horn, who have been section hiking the AT for the past several years have just completed their adventure in September of this year.  The couple had this to say about their experience, “Our journey was challenging and very rewarding at the same time, especially meeting hikers and visiting the Trail Towns.”  They will be greeting attendees in the lobby prior to the program.

Nantahala Hiking Club members, Bill and Sharon Van Horn
successfully section-hiked the entire AT, completing the multi- year journey in Sept 2013, joyful at Mt. Katahdin, the Northern Terminus in Maine.

Franklin NC’s program will be packed with displays, hiking information, avid hikers, speakers, the film, raffle items and refreshments.  Many local businesses and organizations have contributed toward the effort.  Lennie Bernstein, an ATC Board Member, who also volunteers to protect and maintain the Trail will speak briefly about the organization. “Our goal is simple: to raise awareness of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and to gain the support of 2,180 new members to the ATC (one for each mile of the Trail). Every dollar raised will help preserve and manage the A.T.  That is why we are inviting people, like you, to participate,” sites Bernstein.

Prizes such as water bottles, hats, and an ENO Hammock will also be awarded throughout the event.

Event highlights include: viewing the film Appalachian Impressions on the big screen, meeting “2,000 milers”,a  one year Membership or Gift Membership to the ATC ($40 value),free admission for kids (13 and under, must book online with paying adult), a year subscription to A.T. Journeys, the official magazine of the Appalachian Trail; win cool prizes; make new friends in the Outdoor and Hiking Community; receive an ATC decal and patch; protect an irreplaceable treasure: the Appalachian Trail. 

amy allen photo
Author, Amy Allen will speak of her 2006 Appalachian Trail experiences. Signed copies of her book, Summoning the Mountains, will be available for purchase before and after the program.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear Amy Allen author of Summoning the Mountains, who at the age of forty thru hiked the 2,180-mile AT in 2006.  Amy has been a backpacker for over 28 years.  Allen was a founding member of a community wilderness program whose goal was to foster a holistic relationship between today’s families and the outdoor classroom.  She continues long-distance hiking and has completed Black Mountain Crest Trail, Foothills Trail and parts of Benton MacKaye Trail.

Summoning the Mts book cover medium size
Summoning the Mountains

One of Amy’s favorite quotes from her book is,

“Walking the backbone of these mountains calls to mind that this ancient ravaged place is a fold in the earth’s surface, a fold created when geological pressures crushed the continental plates together millennia ago.  A fold.  A place of great change.  Fierce winds accompany me along this mountain apex of potential–wind, omnipotent agent of change. Acceptance and peace wash over me. Quietly, I walk.”

More about the author can be found at

The ATC membership drive event takes place at the newly opened Drake Educational Center,  210 Phillips Street (Carolina Mt), Franklin, NC October 18, 2013 from 7:00pm – 9:30pm (refreshments at 6:30pm).

Registration includes a new membership or gift membership to the ATC..  Tickets are available online and can be purchased for $30.00 per adults; reserve seats by visiting .  Local AT Community Ambassador, Mary Bennett, encourages interested attendees, “To enter the discount promotional code: FRANKLIN2013, to receive $5 off each ticket cost.  Families may book a free seat for children under 13 years of age (limit 3)  To reserve your seat or for more information visit

For more information for Franklin’s event: Contact Mary Bennett, AT Ambassador, at (828) 369-0421


The Van Horns Complete the Trail!

As with all ATC programs, we have volunteers to thank for helping us get A.T. Communities off the ground and running.  Many have met Bill and Sharon Van Horn on the Trail, volunteering, working with teachers and in A.T. Communities.  Here is the story of their final completion of the Trail!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a drizzling September 12, 2013, Bill and Sharon Van Horn completed their 8-year section hike journey of the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Their last section about 220 miles long started in Rangeley, Maine and ended at the northern terminus Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park.  It included 100 miles in the Maine wilderness (no towns, no place to resupply).  Some hikers elect to complete the 2, 189.5 mile AT in one calendar year and are known as thru-hikers.  Others hike the trail in sections over any number of years, as long as it takes.

Bill and Sharon started backpacking in 2004 and in spring 2009 did their first long section of 110 miles from the southern terminus Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Highway 64 at Winding Stair Gap.  They called this their “Walking Home” section.  After that, since they are both retired, they decided to do two 300 mile sections a year and be away from home 28-30 days for each section since the US Post Office will hold mail for up to 30 days.

They timed their hikes to spring and fall and usually hiked with the thru-hikers.  When they mentioned they were from Franklin, NC, hikers who came into town always had great things to say about our AT Community and especially Ronnie Haven.

Since retiring in Franklin in 2002, Bill and Sharon joined the Nantahala Hiking Club, one of the 31 AT maintaining clubs.  They also joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) where they have held a number of volunteer positions.  Sharon likes to say, “We haven’t found an ATC volunteer opportunity we don’t like.”

Bill and Sharon are happy to help anyone plan their section hike journey.  They plan to present an overview of their section hikes at the library’s “Walking with Spring” program held in conjunction with Franklin’s April Fools Trail Days event in spring 2014.

Family Hiking Day activities in Boiling Springs, PA!

Family Hiking Day

Family Hiking Day is this Saturday, September 28th.  It’s a terrific opportunity to get outdoors with the whole family so gather everyone for a hike together or split up, try different hikes and compare notes later.

Guided Hikes:

Ice Cream Rewards

This is a wonderful section for beginning hikers, as well as those who wish to enjoy the Trail without a lot of ups and downs. This area of the Trail passes through a portion of the Cumberland Valley, which is some of the flattest terrain along the entire Trail. Ample parking is available in the municipal lot on Bucher Hill Road at the end of Children’s Lake.   Join your fellow hikers after the hike for a sweet treat at a local ice cream shop.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike Leader:  Dennis Hurley, Susquehanna A.T. Club
Starting Point:  Fisherman’s Parking Lot, Bucher Hill Road, Boiling Springs (shuttles provided to Trindle Road Trailhead)
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  4 miles (2-3 hours)

MARO Prepares for Family Hiking Day 2013!
MARO Prepares for Family Hiking Day 2013! Pictured: Kelly, Marion, Nicole

White Rocks Scramble
Meet at the Kuhn Road Trailhead in Boiling Springs for a 2.5 mile hike up the White Rocks trail.  This is a steep trail with lots of rock scrambling to keep things interesting.  Once at the top, enjoy the fabulous view of the valley below from atop huge boulders.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike leader: Christine Lauriello, Cumberland Valley A.T. Club
Starting Point:  White Rocks Trailhead Parking, Kuhn Road, Boiling Springs
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  2.5 miles (2-3 hours)

Whiskey Spring Rock Maze
This hike offers lots of fabulous rock formations that are fascinating to look at.  You’ll hike up and over, as well as around and through as you travel along the Trail.  Although there are a lot of rocks, this is a moderate hike that is lots of fun.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike leader: Katie Barker, Susquehanna A.T. Club
Starting Point:  Whiskey Spring Trailhead Shoulder Parking, Whiskey Spring Road, Boiling Springs
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  3 miles (2 hours)

Family Hiking Day Celebration:
When:  Saturday, September 28th from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where:  The Appalachian Trail at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, PA (4 East First Street, 17007)
What:  Tons of fun things to do…

  • Music by Central PA ukulele sensation, Grant Goldsworthy
  • Get to know the Superhero Plants of the Cumberland Valley
  • Conservation scavenger hunt
  • Meet Smokey Bear
  • Face painting
  • ATC tattoos
  • Family Hiking Day stickers for all participants
  • Family Hiking T-shirts for the first 20 participants to complete all of the activity stations and turn in their Family Hiking Day Wrap-Up sheet
Enjoy music, outdoor activities, face painting and a special visit from Smokey Bear.Click here to register for free.Click here to download a free copy of our Family Hiking Day Adventure Packet.For more information, stop by the ATC in Boiling Springs, call 717-258-5771 or email

Marion, Smyth County designated as Appalachian Trail Community

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

iphone 9.23.13 053About four years ago, Jerry and Sherri Thomas saw an opportunity for the youth of their church to take on an ongoing mission project. They became trail angels.

Sherri grew up near the Appalachian Trail and often encountered hikers who came to her home seeking directions or other aid. With her church, Valley View Baptist in Sugar Grove, so near the trail, she recognized the potential for its members to help the hikers and share the gospel.

On the Saturday following Trail Days in Damascus, they hosted a hiker feed, which has grown every year.

Then, they expanded their mission to include trail magic, leaving a box at a trail intersection with snacks and bottled water. Last year, Jerry said, more than 1,000 hikers signed their register.

“It’s just an act of kindness,” he said. “We want to encourage people to be trail angels.” Jerry said people shouldn’t think of the hikers as bums. Many, he said, are professionals or college students.

Read more of this: Posted from

They Made It! Thanks to Warrior Hike Support in A.T. Communities

Dear supporters of the Warrior Hike in A.T. Communities (you know who you are!),

Thanks again to all those  who showed hospitality to the hikers by providing food and fellowship, lodging, and moral support  when they came through your A.T. Community.

Warrior Hiker
Stephanie makes her last climb on the Appalachian Trail before reaching Mount Katahdin. Photo and caption from Warrior Hike Facebook Page:

Washington Post – Veterans on Warrior Hike finish Appalachian Trail in Maine; aids transition to civilian life

Bangor Daily News – Walking off their wars: Combat veterans through-hike the Appalachian Trail

JTNews – A walk through the wilderness to walk off the war

Here’s a quote from the Washington Post article that explains how important the support from communities along the A.T. was to the hikers:

Local veterans and community groups along the trail also offered support by transporting the hikers to and from the trail, putting them up for the night in lodges and at their homes and taking them out to dinner, Gobin said. “So to see the outpouring of support from the American people is also a therapeutic part of it,” he said. Hiking the trail forces these veterans, some of whom may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and feel isolated, to socialize. “And what it does is it reconfirms your belief in humanity, that there’s good people out there and despite what you’ve experienced there’s a lot of good out there,” he said.

You can view more photos and articles and information about the Warrior Hike at and on Facebook. 

The “Walk Off the War” program was conceived and developed by the Warrior Hike founder Sean Gobin and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Rangeley School Board Learns of Outdoor Program

Reposted from: Dale Hill, Special to Sun Journal

Franklin |Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

RANGELEY — The school board saw two PowerPoint presentations, voted for funds for a school bus parking area, and elected a new vice chairman at its meeting Tuesday.

Starting in 2010 with GPS mapping, Simonds worked with student volunteers to develop Maine Trail Finder, Hike Safe and Leave No Trace. Participation has grown considerably for activities such as work on the Fly Rod Crosby Trail, survivor hikes and night skiing, a scavenger hunt with four teams, and a rescue scenario with live victims.

Participants also support the Warrior Hike, in which military veterans hike the Appalachian Trail “to walk off the war,” and join in Rangeley’s Trail Town Festival, “though the latter is difficult to ramp up less than two weeks after school starts,” Simonds said.

Lucy SimondsSimonds confessed that as the program continues to grow it has become part of her. “A Trail to Every Classroom has been the thing that has revitalized and transformed me,” she said.

Superintendent Susan Pratt presented a rundown of report-card data and its connection to funds from No Child Left Behind grants. The federal funds are administered by the state and are used to hire a teacher, Georgia Campbell, assisted by Shirley Schrader and Susan Damm.

The intervention program serves 40 students from kindergarten to eighth-grade in the fields of math and reading. Parents have the right to decide yearly if they want their children to be involved in the program.

The old skate park on the school property, which was in disrepair and had become a dangerous liability, has been demolished and school buses currently park on the site. Pratt recommended installing a culvert and creating a wider driveway onto the access road, installing wiring from the electrical panel to the site, installing  receptacles for bus charging and installing motion-activated lighting. The board unanimously approved the plan with costs not to exceed $13,000. It will be paid from the maintenance budget, which currently has a $22,000 surplus.

Pam Ellis was unanimously elected to replace Michele Eliot as vice chairman of the board. Eliot had asked to step down from the position.

Pratt received approval for hiring of Danielle Ellis as physical education teacher, John Crosby as coach of middle school boys’ soccer, Don Turner as ESL education technician 2 and Hannah Johnson as Special Education education technician 2.

The Facilities Committee discussed options for the portable classroom, and hopes to take action by the end of next year. The Finance Committee is looking at how reports and warrants are formatted and comparing Rangeley with other schools to see how they do things differently. The committee is going through monthly finance reports and noted there are no outstanding expenses.

The board approved second readings of a policy on student use of cellphones or other electronic devices, edited to include digital photographic devices, and a policy on student wellness. The board waived third readings of both policies.