The Ruck

Bears Den Trail Center

Jan. 23-25, 2015

Directions Schedule Meals Extra Stuff More Info Nametags

Bears Den Trail Center
Nestled within the Blueridge Mountains and on the Appalachian Trail, lies historical Bears Den Lodge. Once a summer home for Washington physician Huron Lawson and his wife, opera singer, Francesca Kaspar, Bears Den is an enchanting stone lodge reminiscent of a European castle, complete with turrets and tower.

Built in 1933 by local stonemasons, the distinguished mansion is one of the most impressive hostels on the eastern region. Once used as Francesca's recital hall, the large common room boasts excellent acoustics and a magnificent stone fireplace. Among the forested acreage are several lawns and quiet escapes. A main attraction and only a short stroll down the trail, Bears Den Scenic Rock Overlook offers a stunning view of the Shenandoah Valley.

Hostel Rates

$31 per persont, per night includes $5.00 day usage fee. $5 day use fee for others. Camping near lodge $12PP, downhill $9PP
.More Info on hostel here










5:00 pm.


Check-In- Rucksters arrive and check in at the hostel. If you have a dish, just bring it right on into the kitchen (best room in the house). Nametags and 2 sign-in sheets are at the front desk.

Any presenter’s will also check-in at this time; an additional sign-in sheet will be available at the front desk as well. Make yourself at home and have fun. Don’t be shy. Explore.


6 pm


Dinner- Pasta with meatballs and the works.




7:15 pm




8:30 pm





7:00 am


Breakfast – You organize this yourself if you’d like. Or, make breakfast just for yourself. We don’t care just as long as you’re sociable. 


9:00 am


Hike to Raven Rocks along the AT (back about noon).


10 am to 4 pm


AT Boundary Work Trip - Dick Potteiger


11 am - 1 pm


Lunch - This is a pay-as-you-go lunch with the proceeds going to the hostel. Bring your favorite pre-cooked soup, chili, bread, and luncheon platters. Don't be shy! It's a lot of fun! We are asking for quick volunteer clean up afterwards.


1:30pm - 2:30pm


Pack Tuckerization - For those hardy (or foolish) souls who are willing to volunteer to have their packs lightened, this is a good time to find out what you DO NOT NEED on the trail. This can be funny, but it's not recommended for fragile egos. -


3 pm - 5 pm


THRUHIKING BULL SESSION - Here is your chance to ask those who have finished the trail your questions. (we do this at the Gathering every year) It is also your chance to get this years class started on the right foot. Or maybe just listen to former thru-hikers expound on how to do it- and how not to do it? All thru-hikers are welcome with any advice. Southbounders and flip-floppers are welcome too.


6pm - 7pm 


RUCK Feast - You know how it works - everyone brings a dish and everyone eats well - and we leave lots of food for the caretakers.


7 pm


Gear Raffle




2015 ATC Biennial - Randy Motz



8 pm


ALDHA Presentation - Kip Redick & Mike Wingeart

8:30 pm


ATC Presentation


9:15 pm







7am - 9am


Breakfast – organize one, or breakfast on your own.



CLEANUP - Grab a broom or mop (or whatever) and help clean up the hostel. If we leave it dirty, we won't be as welcome next year. As the old saying goes - "I'm not your Momma, clean up after yourself." The caretakers really appreciate this and your efforts will be noticed!





Meals are an organized potluck - Your participation is important

You, the Ruckster, bring all meals and utensils. Information on the menu, utensils and volunteer clean up is available to you on an interactive Google Spreadsheet.

We organize a Friday evening dinner and the Saturday evening RuckFeast.

We also organize a Saturday soup benefit. Bring a soup, chili; luncheon tray, breads and we all pay a donation to eat it. This lunch is important as all the money is directly given to the hostel for their years of allowing us to use this beautiful old historic place.

 The kitchen is complete with all appliances, pots, pans, metal utensils, all kitchenware and eating utensils. As for the Ruck utensils, we ask that you donate all eating utensils (defined below).

 Food donationsWe welcome all dishes!  Any dish should be precooked and kept cold. There are 2 refrigerators at the hostel and they fill up fast. Long cooking meats should be precooked as well. We welcome any dishes from your ethnic and cultural dishes to good old baked ham or fried chicken (hint). Your ideas, your creation…. it’s welcome here!  We ask that you use the interactive Google spreadsheet, click here.

 DessertsOne thing about a Ruck…you get to stare at the many desserts. Folks are real creative with desserts here, so bring your very best to just plain biscuits. We don’t care – we love it all, and we appreciate it all!  We once had a bake-off, you can organize one too.

 Eating utensils and paper productsThese are the items we are in need of: Paper plates (non-styro preferred), paper bowls, plastic forks, spoons, knives, napkins, paper cups, large and sturdy trash bags, foil, plastic wrap, large Ziplocs, paper towels.

Misc. Dishwashing liquid, brillo pads, scrubbies.








Backpacking stove display & burn-off-  Would you like to display your stove(s)? Bring them to the Ruck! We'll have a table and display tags available for you to show off your favorite stove(s), any type, any year.


Tent Display-


Volunteering and Clean Up-  For anyone interesting in clean-up and or volunteer work during the weekend, please get in touch with Wing-Heart (email below)?




Bears Den Trail Center
18393 Blueridge Mountain Road
Bluemont, VA 20135


Northern Ruck on Facebook


For more information – 

email Wing-Heart with any questions, ideas or concerns or go to the Facebook group.


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