I went to the PA Ruck this weekend, a gathering of previous and potential thruhikers to discuss the trail and give presentations. It was at the Bear’s Den Trail Center in Bluemont, VA, and a gorgeous location it was too. I arrived after dinner Friday but just in time to hear a women-specific presentation, then a question and answer session with Warren Doyle. The presentations were over around 10pm but I was exhausted and headed to the ladies bunkroom to go to bed. I ended up talking with the women for a couple more hours though before sleep. Saturday we were up early for breakfast and then a hike on the AT, north to Raven Rocks in WV. The hike out and back was about 7 miles total and the views at the Bears Den Rocks and Raven Rocks were both fantastic. I arrived back to lunch and more presentations for the rest of the day. I brought my fully loaded pack out for “Tuckerization” (judging of the gear) and I don’t think I did too badly. Most of my gear choices were fine, just some smaller things need to be adjusted. When my knife came out and was laughed at for being so big, I protested and said it was one of the smaller ones I owned (3″ blade at best), so “Lethal Weapon” was suggested as a trail name. I heard about the new NeoAir XLite and plan on getting that for a sleeping pad. I also need to decide if I want to use my heavier water filter, or try something more lightweight. I retired after the presentations again to spend some time talking with the women. I didn’t hang around too long Sunday morning before getting on the road but all in all, it was a great weekend – very inspiring and gave me a lot to think about, not to mention new friends.