Intro to Backpacking August 13, 14

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness and Chapman State Park are teaming up to teach a hands-on “Introduction to Backpacking” class, which will double as an overnight camping trip in the Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area, on August 13-14.

The two-day, one-night backpacking experience will feature an introduction to the planning of a backpacking trip, what gear is needed, how to pack, and what to do along the trail while hiking. Hikers will learn how to set up camp and how to prepare a meal on the trail, as well as the basics of the “leave no trace” philosophy of enjoying the wild places in our region.

Hikers will meet at the Environmental Learning Center at Chapman State Park at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, where they will be given their equipment, including backpacks, tents, and all the gear needed for the trip. They will learn how to set up a tent before leaving, said Jen Moore of Chapman State Park.

They will also learn how to plan and pack, and will pack their backpacks before being transported the approximately 45-minute trip to Tracy Ridge.

Lunch from Kondak’s Market in Clarendon will be provided, and hikers will then begin the approximately four-mile walk in to the campsite at Tracy Ridge. Once there, said Moore, they will set up camp and have dinner, and the evening will be spent at camp, where hikers will have the option to go swimming. In the morning hikers will prepare breakfast and clean up camp before hiking the approximately 4 miles out-via a different route than the one in, said Moore-before being transported back to Chapman State Park by 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Moore is partnering with Kirk Johnson, of Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, in order to provide the overnight class.

All food and equipment will be provided, said Moore, although hikers are encouraged to bring with them any swimming gear they’ll want as well as any medication, snacks, or extra clothing they feel they’ll need. Water needn’t be packed, said Moore, as it will weigh down the packs and take up space. Part of the gear provided, she said, is a filtration bottle for collecting water from sources on the trail.

The cost of the class is $40 per person and the class size is limited to 10. Registration is required and must be received by Wednesday, August 3. For more information, contact Jen Moore at (814) 723-0259 or email jennmoorepa.gov.