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VMO: W1: Return to the Great Eastern Trail, Standing Stone Trail, Part I - 40 mi
• What we'll do Great Eastern Trail, I can't quit you! The allure of central Pennsylvania beckons me once more. I intend to hike the Standing Stone Trail in two parts. This first part will cover roughly 40 miles, traveling northbound, from the starting point near Cowans Gap Lake to Jacks Mountain Road. (There is a bit of road walking due to a reroute.) Luckily, the great Standing Stone Trail website and available pdf maps are terrific and should do the trick of helping us navigate safely: https://www.standingstonetrail.org. This is a Veteran Member outing. The plan is to meet up at Rockville Metro Station at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 23 and drive up to set our car shuttle and camp near Cowans Gap (if possible). As a lovely point to point shuttle, we will need plenty of cars. If you have one please plan on driving. If folks want to set out later, we can arrange a place to meetup and get the shuttles set but I'd prefer to try and beat some traffic out of town. Friday Night: Escape the DMV, the first crew (who will set the shuttles at the end point), travel together up Jacks Mountain Road, and then back to Cowans Gap State Park. Head to the Tuscarora-Standing Stone Trail intersection for a campsite designated for SST hikers and wait for the others to arrive. Saturday: Following the map pdfs, hike approximately 25 miles to the town of Three Springs, where a lovely meal awaits us at Pizza Star II (it closes at 9:00 p.m.). From there we leave the town of Three Springs and make camp in the woods when and where we can. Probably another 2-3 miles - after loading ourselves with pizza and beer. What could go wrong? Sunday: Wake up and hike the final 12-14 miles (depending on where we camp Saturday night). Reverse our shuttle and head home. If you haven't fallen in love with Pennsylvania or the Great Eastern Trail yet and want to get your first taste, join us and hike. If you're already an addict, welcome back. The Driving Plan: Directions: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Rockville+Metro+Station,+Rockville,+MD+20850/Pizza+Star+II+%26+Restaurant,+Main+St,+Three+Springs,+Pennsylvanie/'40.326090,-77.955455'/''/@40.0200038,-78.6043311,8.63z/data=!4m24!4m23!1m5!1m1!1s0x89b7cd9e4ca5bdc9:0xc250f49d38de24ff!2m2!1d-77.1462103!2d39.084284!1m5!1m1!1s0x89cbd99d5d02f3c7:0x69a49023220415c6!2m2!1d-77.9829879!2d40.1948306!1m3!2m2!1d-77.955455!2d40.32609!1m5!1m1!1s0x0:0xb4a282aa7a322f4d!2m2!1d-77.9218545!2d39.9988062!3e0 The Fine Print: See DC UL's winter rankings here: https://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/pages/10991232/Winter_Rankings/ You are required to bring maps on DC UL trips: in our case for this trip, print your maps (1-4) and make sure they are protected from the elements: https://www.standingstonetrail.org/lessons-and-guides • By RSVPing to this trip or any other DC UL trip, you agree to DC UL's liability (http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/pages/Liability_Waiver/) waiver. • As per our carpool policy, riders should plan to pay drivers $0.10/mile. At 280 miles roundtrip, that's about $28. • Don't forget to pay your annual dues. If you are a member and don't see '18 next to your name, that means we haven't received your dues. You can pay via PayPal by sending $10 to payments@dculbackpacking­.com. Use the friends and family option. • What to bring Since you're a Veteran Member signing up, you not only have all the gear necessary for a comfortable outing but you are able to adapt as the weather determines. Also, bring your sense of adventure. After all, it's PA. • Important to know We'll set distinct campsites each day but other than that you will be expected to navigate on your own or bail in style (after telling someone, if possible) to find your way back to the cars.

Rockville Metro Station

251 Hungerford Drive · Rockville, MD

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What we're about

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DC UL Backpacking specializes in high-mileage, light-weight, overnight backpacking adventures. Most of our trips are in the Mid-Atlantic--Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania--but we also organize backpacking trips across the U.S. and internationally. We have a membership structure that is designed to help backpackers gain or enhance their outdoor skills as they progress to longer and harder trips. In general, our trips are quite challenging but you’ll find a wealth of experienced backpackers who are eager to share advice.

Our goal: To cultivate a community of independent outdoors men and women who want nothing more than to have a fulfilling backcountry experience--to wake early, to walk far, and to travel light.

How do I join DCUL?

Because our trips are demanding and involve nights spent outdoors in remote areas, we have a more involved application procedure than many meetups. You’ll be asked a couple of questions about your outdoors experience when you apply. Please fill out the form fully--even if you are new to backpacking--and submit a photo that displays a clear image of your face.

New members are assigned the rank of “Applicant,” and can attend our low-mileage (LM) overnight trips and our social events. The point of this phase is for us to get know each other before you embark on one of our more adventuresome trips (MO, VM, VM+).

When you sign up for your first backpacking trip, you’ll need to submit a gear list to the event organizer so we can make sure you have the necessary and required items for the trip. We’ll promote you to “Member” once you’ve completed a trip with us in good form.

Once you are a Member, you are required to pay our $10 yearly membership fee at the next event you attend. These fees help us run some of our events, but we do not charge for individual backpacking trips. Applicants do not have to pay the fee.

Liability Waiver: By joining this group, you agree to all waiver terms: http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/pages/Liability_Waiver

What about this UL stuff?

The UL gearing aspect of this meetup can be a little intimidating, even for experienced backpackers. The short answer is that you shouldn’t be deterred from joining DCUL just because your gear is heavy. Many of our members are very serious about going light, but we also have longstanding members who are not ultralight. Others are in various phases of transitioning, trying out one piece of gear against another.

The concept of being ultralight, however, is not that you are leaving gear out but that you are choosing what gear you need for the conditions you will face on your trip--whether it is a hot day along the Pennsylvania ridges or temps below freezing in the Adirondacks. You pack what you need for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Is this group is right for you?

• You’re an experienced backpacker who likes nothing more than to walk big days and you’re looking for some like-minded folks to keep you company and explore the Mid-Atlantic.

• You’ve done some backpacking before, but you don’t enjoy sleeping in, stopping early, base-camping, cabin-camping, etc. You know that dawn and dusk are the best times for walking.

• You’ve never been backpacking before, but you’re athletically minded, and fairly accomplished as a runner, triathlete, cyclist, day hiker, etc. You want to take on some backcountry challenges and you want to get up-to-speed fast.

• You’re an experienced ULer who thinks anyone who hasn’t cut the handle off his toothbrush is crazy.

• You just heard of this UL stuff (and you’ve never weighed your gear before), but you’re really interested in NOT carrying a 50-pound pack on a weekend trip. You’re quite curious how anyone can go backpacking with a sub-10 pound (or even a sub-5 pound!) base weight. You may even be skeptical, but it sure sounds like a good idea.

• You don’t care at all about gear and want to have a single set of equipment you can use in all seasons.

• You’re a total gearhead and like nothing more than buying and trying out new stuff.

• You think keeping a walking journal sounds like fun. And the prospect of making a spreadsheet with your gear all listed and weighed sounds incredibly cool.

• You buy all your gear ready-made at REI.

• You constructed 13 different alcohol stoves in your basement and tested their boil times with a stopwatch till you got one you liked.

• You think it would be pretty awesome to backpack a ton this year and rack up a few dozen nights under the stars.

In short, one size does not fit all. Different people come to the group with different backgrounds and expectations. On the balance, we’re interested in cultivating independent outdoors men and women who want nothing more than to log quite a few nights (and challenging days) in the backcountry.

Join us. We look forward to meeting you.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”—Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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