Archive for April, 2018


To the mountains!

Posted on Apr 04 2018 | By

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is premier outdoors fraternity

Research confirms the life-giving benefits of outdoor exercise. Study after study demonstrate the gifts of emotional well-being and physical conditioning that are bestowed on those who roam field, forest or mountains.

Walking or hiking your way to a healthier lifestyle may well be the most enjoyable way to achieve and maintain peak health. It’s particularly beneficial to folks who have passed the half-century mark.

Sitting in the rocking chair is comfort sublime. It’s also a relaxing way to stop moving altogether. The fountain of youth is embedded in one word. Movement.

Reducing the amount of steps taken each day is a short cut to taking few steps at all. Participating in outdoor activities with others provides emotional elements critical to enjoying your older years.

Moreover, anxiety and depression can fade with an increase in social exercise as the sense of well-being is enhanced.

But enough about the wonderful benefits of moving about. You knew that already, right? The question before the court is how to make it happen.

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
There are dozens of ways to get physically moving from gym memberships to solo neighborhood walks. All are good and beneficial. But an important adjunct to the tried and true is participating in organized excursions that enhance your current exercise routine.

Where to start? Consider PATC. That’s the moniker members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club use when referring to their organization.

PATC was founded in 1927 for the purpose of building and maintaining the Appalachian Trail, the longest hiking trail in the world meandering over mountains and through forests from Maine to Georgia. The 2,190 mile footpath courses through some of the most beautiful scenery in the nation. And there are no toll booths.

The trail is maintained by 31 service clubs along its entire length. PATC was the first club formed to perform this volunteer work and is responsible for maintaining over 1,000 miles of trails in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, including 240 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Pick your favorites
The breath of activities sponsored by PATC is impressive. The core mission of the club is its care of the hundreds of miles of trails and numerous shelters and cabins in its geographical area. Each year members rack up over 50,000 hours of volunteer work. However, the word “work” is subjective because the volunteers will tell you it’s more fun than labor.

But beyond the contributions of its valued volunteers, the playtime side of the club offers a horn of plenty for the most passionate of outdoor enthusiasts.

Hikes: Each month the club newsletter posts numerous hikes ranging from easy five milers with modest elevation gains to more challenging 15+ mile ventures to mountain peaks offering sweeping views. The club has a large selection of guide books and maps to shepherd the way to trail joy.

Trail Work: Elect to participate in trail or shelter maintenance and you may well become a regular member of these valued teams. Camaraderie and esprit de corps are hallmarks of these crews making their participation compelling. Alternatively, you can sign up to maintain a section of trail yourself by becoming an overseer.

Cabins: The club rents 42 cabins stretching from Charlottesville, VA to Pine Grove, PA offering opportunities to hike and explore hundreds of miles of maintained trails. Each dwelling has a unique history with some dating to the mid-1800s. Accommodations range from primitive to full electric and water but most showcase lifestyles of a century ago.

Classes: Presentations on hiking and outdoor life are offered monthly by experienced outdoors men and women. The recreational store REI sponsors many of these presentations in concert with the club.

Ski Touring Section: Cold weather is no time to stop venturing outdoors. Winterscapes provide serene and bracing opportunities to burn calories with like-minded souls. STS sponsors weekend cross-country trips throughout the mid-Atlantic mountains. More extensive “free heeling” trips are offered to western and New England ski venues.

Trail Patrol: As you gain experience hiking the mountains consider becoming a goodwill trail ambassador. These individuals provide a visible and reassuring presence on the trails educating the public on good hiking practices, camping ethics and minimum impact hiking.

Mountaineering Section: Geared for area climbers who share a common interest in promoting safe climbing, conservation and developing new climber skills. Weekend trips are the norm.

As we enter 2018 it’s not too late to make a retroactive New Year’s resolution to take advantage of our nearby national parks and forests. Find new life, health and friends on footpaths that are within an hour’s drive of your front door.

To learn more, visit

Then lace’em up!

Categories : HAGARTY TALES