Frequent Questions

Where does the name Apalatchi come from?

The mountain range that runs the entire length of the East Coast, from the northern reaches of Mississippi and Alabama to the vast wilderness of northern Maine, has gone by many names since first identified on maps by early explorers.

As the early explorers navigated through what is now north Florida and the southern reaches of the now-named Appalachians, different spellings surfaced in reference to the Indians of the area and the mountains to the north. French artist Le Moyne is credited with first naming the Appalachians on his 1564 map, “The Province of Florida in America,” when he labeled the mountains the “Montes Apalatchi.”  Then in 1586, British geographer Richard Hakluyt interviewed a Spanish prisoner in Florida who had been taken captive by Sir Frances Drake. The prisoner, Pedro Morales, reported that the mountains were “named Apalatchi.” In his notes, Hakluyt observed that “These hills seeme wholy to be the mountaines of Apalatchi.”

What if I’ve never backpacked before?

Not a problem. Our courses are arranged to introduce the basics of backpacking – what to bring, how to pack it, cooking, camp set-up, etc. And if you already have experience, then we’re glad to hear your stories and help you build upon your knowledge. We do expect all our participants, regardless of experience, to come to camp with a positive attitude and willingness to cooperate with the group.

Do I have to be in good shape?

We don’t expect you to be super-star athletes, but if you are in healthy physical condition you will be much more comfortable and will enjoy the trip far more. We recommend that you exercise two to five times a week for the month leading up to your trip, and if you can, try to get in several practice hikes.

The course instructors will shape the weekly agenda to fit the physical abilities of the group.

What will we eat?


We will provide food for the duration of the trip – including hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as ample snacks. The foods we pack out on the trail are nutritious, lightweight, and dehydrated. We bring a lot of basics, and part of the course includes learning to prepare backcountry meals in delicious ways. Participants will take turns cooking and cleaning. Breakfasts often consist of oatmeal, granola, or grilled bagels with cheese, while dinners may be anything from quesadillas to trail pizza. Trail snacks include granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit. We try to have fun and be creative with meals, while also maintaining a healthy diet. You’ll be amazed by how good the food will be! We are happy to accommodate most dietary restrictions, but please let us know in advance about your preferences.


Should I bring extra money?

You do not need to bring any money during the trip. However, we will be stopping at a gas station on the shuttle rides to the trail and back to the farm. It is often refreshing to grab a cold drink or sweet treat, particularly after a week in the field. If you would like to get something at the gas station, you may bring $10 to $20 to cover expenses.

How will I stay in touch with my child during the trip?

We know this can be tough but... you won’t. We do not allow technology such as cell phones or iPods on the course, as the distraction of technology tends to reduce the wilderness experience. However, instructors will be equipped with radios and phones in case of emergency. Remember – no news is good news!

What should I wear?

It’s important to bring appropriate gear and clothing! Check our “What to bring” document for a detailed equipment list.

How will I get to the trail?

After an initial gathering on the farm to get to know one another and to make sure all our gear and food is ready to go, we will head to the trail in vehicles driven by the instructors and other support personnel as needed. We try to minimize long drives, though trips to the trail will typically be from two to four hours long.


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