What we're about

From trailheads near and far, PePaH Campers:
- Seek quiet, wild places with great views
- Get there under human power
- Stay there overnight on trips of two days or more
- Appreciate detours and pauses: Savored experience trumps distance covered
Backpacking, bike packing, kayak camping, snowshoeing

Upcoming events (4+)

WV-NYE! Rohrbaugh Trail backpacking

Red Creek Campground

Do your New Years Eves tend to mash into one unmemorable blob over time? Break the cycle. Whether under falling flakes or a clear starry sky, we will ring in 2023 around a blazing fire. Join me, Brad, and friend Greg. Bring a favorite beverage/ story/ song to share.

AllTrails description of this 7-mile out and back hike:

Directions from DC's Maryland suburbs to the trailhead.

TRIP DETAILS

  1. Start and end times
    These are trailhead-to-trailhead. Plan your travel to and from accordingly (see 4 & 5 below).
  2. Water
    2-3 liters to start. The trail drops down to a creek toward the end but it's a bit of a hike. Prepare to keep your water from freezing.
  3. Campsite
    We camp wherever it suits us. It's an out-and-back hike so we'll probably stay both nights at one site and dayhike from there. Everything takes longer in the cold and there is less light (ie time) to find another site.
  4. Carpool/convoy:
    Driving? Meet at Centerville, VA Park and Ride at 8:30 a.m. (14700 Lee Hwy., Centreville, VA 20120). From there we decide on ride sharing.
  5. Headlamps & batteries
    It's winter. Long nights mean you need reliable light for extended periods of time. Cold temps shorten battery life. Keep phone, recharge brick, and headlamp close to your body/ inside your sleep system to preserve them.
  6. Gear
    It's winter. It's a windswept 3500-foot plateau. It will be cold.
    Snowshoes? If snowpack is 12-18 inches or more, snowshoes or skis are advised. Likelihood of that is about 20%, but watch the weather.
  7. Side trip/day hike
    If ambition and weather allow, we can hike over to Lion's Head and back.
  8. Fire & hot-tent
    Campfire yes! Also, hot-tent, stove, folding saw, and hand axe. The hot-tent can accommodate 3 sleepers or 6 sitters. I am happy to share the space. See pics of hot-tent life.

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LIABILITY WAIVER & ACKNOWLEDGMENT
You are solely responsible for your wellness while participating in any PePaH Campers group activities. You agree that you will NOT hold anyone in the group responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situations that may arise in conjunction with a PePaH Campers activity.

You acknowledge that there are risks associated with participation in the activity.

You agree that you are solely responsible for:

  1. Providing your own gear suitable for the planned activity.
  2. Knowing how to properly use your gear in any conditions that may arise in the course of the activity.
  3. Knowing your physical and psychological limits and participating within those limits.
  4. Being fully prepared for medical emergencies, gear failures, and weather situations that may happen in the course of the activity.
  5. Providing to the group's activity leader MOBILE PHONE NUMBER, name, city/state, and email for: (a) Yourself, and (b) Emergency contact.
  6. Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. (Given the likelihood of prolonged close proximity, un-vaccinated persons must not participate.)
  7. Notifying other group members if you do not wish to have your photograph posted on any MeetUp site or other social media site.

Your attendance on any organized event signifies that you have read and accepted the terms of this liability waiver.

NY: Henderson Lake Preston Ponds snowshoe backpacking

Santanoni Trailhead

Adirondacks Park in upstate New York. Henderson Lake to Preston Ponds & back.

Never snowshoed with a backpack? You will love it. Practically no learning curve. And other than skis, the winter views from the middle of a frozen lake are not to be had any other way.

Friday:
Arrange to carpool. Drive about 6.5 hours to Warrensburg, NY, just NW of Lake George. Stay overnight at Super 8 by Wyndham Lake George/Warrensburg Area, 3619 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845

Saturday morning: Leave hotel get a quick breakfast at the McDonalds across the street. Then drive about 45 minutes to the Upper Works Trailhead

Saturday morning we hike across frozen Henderson Lake, then Preston Ponds to Duck Hole. This is 7 miles. We camp at Duck Hole Lean-to 1 or Lean-to 2. We can maintain this camp for two nights and day-hike to the base of Wallface or to the ice falls on the west shore of Henderson Lake. Or, we can spend just one night at Duck Hole, then Sunday afternoon we can hike back to the north tip of Henderson Lake and camp at the Lean-to.

Of the 7-mile one-way trip, only 1.7 miles is on rugged, narrow trail. Most of the rest is lake or pond ice. The views when hiking across lake or pond ice are amazing. And it is much easier than the rugged ADX trails.

LAKE ICE & WEATHER
Monitor this site for updates on conditions. Colden Lake is just over two miles from Henderson Lake. Use it as a proxy: https://www.adirondack.net/hiking/current-conditions/

Weather.gov (NOT .com) is your best source. Type in "Newcomb NY". A small map will show up. Move the center 11 miles NNE of Newcomb for as exact a forecast as can be had for our trip.

Monday morning hike back to car and drive home.
In this part of the Adirondacks park, campfires are permitted and camping is not restricted to desginated sites. The lean-tos are essentialy three-sided log cabins. We can build a fire in front of the lean-to.

I will have an InReach satellite comm device that allows brief messaging and SOS calls.

Some general notes on winter backpacking in the Adirondacks (ADX).

  • Temps can drop below 0 F (-18 C).
  • Required 1) Microspikes, plus 2) snowshoes or skis.
  • 0 F bag a must.
  • A puffy hooded jacket when you stop.
  • Wear boots that breath -- your feet will sweat.
  • Boots roomy enough for two pairs of wool or synthetic insulating socks.
  • Well-insulated mittens.
  • Hydration tubes will freeze, so will wet filters.
  • R-6 insulated sleep pad or double up two pads.
  • If hammock camping, a 0 F underquilt and plenty of head insulation.

You are solely responsible for your wellness while participating in any PePaH Campers group activities. You agree that you will NOT hold anyone in the group responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situations that may arise in conjunction with a PePaH Campers activity.

You acknowledge that there are risks associated with participation in the activity.

You agree that you are solely responsible for:

  1. Providing your own gear suitable for the planned activity.
  2. Knowing how to properly use your gear in any conditions that may arise in the course of the activity.
  3. Knowing your physical and psychological limits and participating within those limits.
  4. Being fully prepared for medical emergencies, gear failures, and weather situations that may happen in the course of the activity.
  5. Providing to the group's activity leader MOBILE PHONE NUMBER, name, city/state, and email for: (a) Yourself, and (b) Emergency contact.
  6. Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. (Given the likelihood of prolonged close proximity, un-vaccinated persons must not participate.)
  7. Notifying other group members if you do not wish to have your photograph posted on any MeetUp site or other social media site.

Your attendance on any organized event signifies that you have read and accepted the terms of this liability waiver.

1
MD: Assateague Kayak camp Tingles Island

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague National Seashore is about a 2.5 hour drive from DC. Paddle kayaks with all our camp gear 4 miles to the BACKCOUNTRY Tingle Island campsite. It has a porta john, picnic table, and fire ring but no running water. Soft, flat ground aplenty for tent pitching and tree enough for several hammocks.

We are NOT camping at the more popular sites that require reservations.

The water averages just a couple of feet deep. This is not a technical or dangerous paddle.

Here is a kayak rental source:
https://www.assateagueoutfitters.com/rentals.html

Pics from various Assateague kayak camp trips: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QaNw5q4N2s1do1v19

SPECIAL GEAR NOTES

  1. Dry bags
    I have a dry bag or two to share. All gear should be in a dry bag or a water-tight compartment. Each of my kayaks has a compartment that can store the equivalent of a 90 L backpack.
  2. Hands
    Your hands will get wet. They will contact a cold paddle and there may be a breeze. Here are two solutions that work:
    -NRS Toaster mittens: https://www.nrs.com/nrs-toaster-mitts/pkby You can find better deals, especially if you find the older model without the index finger
    -Paddle pogies. Here is the NRS version: https://www.nrs.com/nrs-mamba-pogies/p66h
    -Neoprene gloves. I have two pair I can lend. I will wear NRS mitts.
  3. Feet
    Research your own solutions, but here is one layered solution I have used.
    a. Wool sock (Costco Merino wool socks are inexpensive and good quality)
    b. Neoprene sock or wetsuit bootie
    c. Lightweight trail runners (might not need if you have booties). Sandals can get stuck in the mud and force you to unfasten them to free yourself.
  4. Clothes generally
    You will get wet from your calves to your feet. You do not have to have a wet suit or dry suit for this trip. Just make sure everything will dry quickly.
  5. Spray skirt
    This will keep water off your body, but you are likely to get drips that run down into your sleeves. Not a deal-breaker, just wear a water-repellent jacket. Not an issue for the canoe due to the angle of the paddle stroke.

I will leave my home inside the DC beltway, 6715 Queens Chapel Road, University Park, MD, at 1:30 pm, Friday. This allows us to arrive at the Assateague Island National Seashore Maryland District Ranger Station/Campground Office by 4:10 pm. Office closes at 4:30 and we must have permits. 4:10 is a HARD ARRIVAL TIME.

MAP of Paddle Route
https://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping-map.htm
Backcountry Camping on NPS site:
https://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm

This need not be ultra light. Campsites have fire pits. I plan to bring steak/sausages to grill Friday night and Saturday night.

Saturday:

  1. Stay in Friday's campsite, paddle around to explore, then return to camp.
  2. Hike a half mile to the east to the beach. (If you want to get in the water, plan on bringing a wet suit.)
  3. Walk the beach.

Whatever we decide on for Saturday, stargazing is surprisingly good on Assateague, compared to anyplace else within a 2.5 hour drive of DC.

Sunday, we can walk to the beach and watch the sun rise -- or not. Have a leasurely breakfast, then paddle back to where we parked.

On the way home, a stop for lunch in historic downtown Berlin at the Main Street Deli. If we leave room and it is warm, we could follow up with a cone or cup of ice cream at the Island Creamery. And Berlin is worth a 15-30 minute walk around.

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You are solely responsible for your wellness while participating in any PePaH Campers group activities. You agree that you will NOT hold anyone in the group responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situations that may arise in conjunction with a PePaH Campers activity.

You acknowledge that there are risks associated with participation in the activity.

You agree that you are solely responsible for:

  1. Providing your own gear suitable for the planned activity.
  2. Knowing how to properly use your gear in any conditions that may arise in the course of the activity.
  3. Knowing your physical and psychological limits and participating within those limits.
  4. Being fully prepared for medical emergencies, gear failures, and weather situations that may happen in the course of the activity.
  5. Providing to the group's activity leader mobile phone and/or email contact information of a person you wish to be contacted in case of emergency.
  6. Providing to the group's activity leader your mobile phone and email contact information.
  7. Notifying other group members if you do not wish to have your photograph posted on any MeetUp site or other social media site.

Your attendance on any organized event signifies that you have read and accepted the terms of this liability waiver.

WV: North Fork Mtn from US33 backpacking

Road Less Traveled Road

TRIP DETAILS
Read the AllTrails description of this 25-mile one-way hike, but note the following details specific to this PePaH Campers trip:

  1. Meet and park shuttle vehicle(s). Friday 6:15 pm
    Navigate to North Fork Trailhead near WV-28. WE MEET HERE, which is the starting point in these WV-28-spring directions. This is our trail terminus. We leave Kyle's vehicle at this terminus then get into Brad's vehicle and drive to the spring check/water cache, then to our starting trailhead just off US-33, 25 miles to the south. Email Brad now to arrange to meet at this WV-28 trailhead: [masked]. WV cell service is spotty.
  2. Spring check on the way to US-33 trailhead. Friday 6:15-7:00 pm
    The destination in these WV-28-spring directions (the same directions as those in 1 above) is a 36-minute drive most of the way up the mountain to a spring. If it is running -- likely this time of year -- then we need not cache water in the area. If it is dry, we cache at least 4 liters each near here and note the location. BRING AN EXTRA GALLON OF WATER in case we must cache.
  3. Park at the US-33 trailhead and hike to nearby camp 7:00-7:50 pm
    We drive 47 minutes from the spring/water cache site to the ridgetop trailhead on US-33 using these directions from spring to US-33 trailhead. We'll find a campsite a mile or so up (northbound) from the US-33 trailhead. If you choose not to do the spring check/water cache, bring enough water for the entire trip, about 8 liters. And set out with us at about 7:50 or meet us at the campsite later that evening or by 10:00 am Saturday.
  4. Start and end times
    These are trailhead-to-trailhead and do not account for car travel to or from. Adjust your departure times accordingly.
  5. Water!
    4 liters (1 gallon) is probably a minimum to start the hike with. There is no water source along the trail until we reach the halfway point where we fill up at the spring or use the water we cached near the spring on Friday evening.
  6. Campsites are flexible
    The AllTrails description shows specific campsites. We can camp wherever and whenever it suits us.
  7. Need to carpool?
    If so, email [masked] to arrange a Vienna Metro or Centerville Park and Ride rendezvous.
  8. Cell number please
    Email me (Brad) your cell number so we can coordinate. We need to have enough seats in vehicle(s) left at the WV-28 terminus for the 37-minute shuttle ride from the WV-28 trail terminus back to the US-33 trailhead. Thanks.
  9. Pace
    It's 25 miles spread over 2.5 days. A mile or so Friday. 11 miles Saturday. 10 miles Sunday. 3 miles Monday. No reason to exceed a 2 mph pace. There are lots of amazing views along the way. PePaH camping: get your rush from the views, not the pace.

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LIABILITY WAIVER & ACKNOWLEDGMENT
You are solely responsible for your wellness while participating in any PePaH Campers group activities. You agree that you will NOT hold anyone in the group responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situations that may arise in conjunction with a PePaH Campers activity.

You acknowledge that there are risks associated with participation in the activity.

You agree that you are solely responsible for:

  1. Providing your own gear suitable for the planned activity.
  2. Knowing how to properly use your gear in any conditions that may arise in the course of the activity.
  3. Knowing your physical and psychological limits and participating within those limits.
  4. Being fully prepared for medical emergencies, gear failures, and weather situations that may happen in the course of the activity.
  5. Providing to the group's activity leader mobile phone and/or email contact information of a person you wish to be contacted in case of emergency.
  6. Providing to the group's activity leader your mobile phone and email contact information.
  7. Notifying other group members if you do not wish to have your photograph posted on any MeetUp site or other social media site.

Your attendance on any organized event signifies that you have read and accepted the terms of this liability waiver.

Past events (18)

MD: Assateague Tingles Island Kayak camp

Assateague Island National Seashore

Photos (397)