Summit 2018

The 2018 Summit took place on July 13-15, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Click the links below for more information.


Keynote Speaker | Friday Night Speaker | Clinicians | Schedule | Sponsors | Photos

Schedule of Events

All Classes met in Stillwell Hall. Room numbers follow the class titles.

Friday, July 13


Registration/Check-in at Harrill Residence Hall


The Art of Organic Camping - Special session
sponsored by Lucky Sheep Sleeping Bags - 448


Dinner Served in Courtyard Dining Hall


Evening Program: Stacey Kozel, featured speaker
Turner Auditorium in the Natural Sciences Center

Saturday, July 14


Breakfast served in Courtyard Dining Hall


Listening to Wild Nature Walk
Location TBA


5 Essentials to a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk - 253
Making Your Own Gear - 254
Lessons From The Road: USA- 448




Accessing Your Body Wisdom - 437
First Aid in the Outdoors - 253
How a Homeless Golden Retriever Turned Me into a Hiker and an Author - 448


Lunch served in Courtyard Dining Hall


Yoga for Hikers- 437
Tips and Tricks of a Lazy Thru-Hiker - 448
Prehap: Hints to Staying Healthy - 253




Creative Camping Cuisine: How to cook Gourmet Meals on the Trail - 448
Common Sense Ideas for Lightweight Backpacking - 253
Exploring Southern Appalachian Grassy Balds- 437




Facing your Fears and following your Passion – 3 Simple Steps for Building a Life that you Want - 448
A Gazillion Fun Tips for Gals on the Trail - 254
Down Under: Fun in Australia and New Zealand - 437
(Common Sense Backpacking continued)


Group Photo (Location to be announced)


Dinner Served in Courtyard Dining Hall


Awards Ceremony and Keynote Speaker Carla Robertson
Turner Auditorium

Sunday, July 15


Breakfast served in Courtyard Dining Hall


Paint Night with a Purpose - 448
Why Knot?! - 437
Intentional Hiking: A Practical Guide to Modern Pilgrimage through Long-Distance Hiking - 254




Final Classes
Taking the A.T. into the Classroom- 253
Blogging Your Adventure! - 448
Slackpacking the Appalachian Trail: Downhill to Fine Wine and Accommodations in Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee - 437

Class Descriptions

5 Essentials to a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk - Regina Reiter

Planning covers a long list of details, but when we look closely, they fit into five basic categories for both your Outer Journey AND your Inner Journey. Plan walks that fit YOUR body, YOUR life, and your heart singing purpose. The clinic includes Regina's popular Meet the Mountains technique for climbing mountains with ease

Accessing Your Body Wisdom - Christine Gautreaux

Come join Christine Gautreaux, Interplay Atlanta's body wise activist and artist to play with ways to relieve stress and cynicism. We currently live in interesting times and are inundated with an overload of information and experiences. InterPlay is an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. You will be lead through a series of incremental “forms” that lead participants to movement and stories, silence and song, ease and amusement. In the process, we discover the wisdom in ourselves and our communities. This 90 minute workshop will be lead by a diverse team from InterPlay Atlanta.

Blogging Your Adventure! - Kylena Cross

Bring your laptop to this interactive session on blogging! Come on down for a fun hour of learning to blog! Participants will set up a free WordPress account, choose a title and theme for their blog, and create their first blog post with text and a picture. Other topics will be discussed depending on participant readiness. Yes, you CAN do this!

Common Sense Ideas for Lightweight Backpacking - Sue Williams

Whether you are new to backpacking, an old pro, or somewhere in between, this is the place for all levels with hints to make this sport more enjoyable. When Sue started backpacking 22 years ago at 48, she could not find any information about older backpackers, especially for women. Being a 5'3" female, her fear level was very high, especially since her friends thought she was too old. She has since learned that there are tons of over fifty backpackers out there having a ball. She emphasizes how to pack light, walk smart, take care of your body, prepare for any kind of weather, and adapt for your own style. This seminar is appropriate for any age.

Creative Camping Cuisine: How to cook gourmet meals on the trail - Jody Koonce

This is an outdoors, hands-on class and the attendees will get to sample their cuisine!

Exploring Southern Appalachian Grassy Balds - Amy Duernberger

Author Amy Duernberger will explore the wonder and mystery of southern Appalachian grassy balds including their presence in Native American myths, theories about their origin, and representative flora and fauna. Based on her book, she will spotlight these “treeless wonders” that have long baffled scientists and enchanted outdoor enthusiasts. These open spaces, often grassy meadows, are found on or near the summits of mountains that are below the tree line. She’ll discuss these unique ecosystems and offer a guide to nineteen representative hiking trails in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Facing your Fears and following your Passion - 3 Simple Steps for Building a Life that you Want - Margaret Webster

Do you live vicariously through other people? Do you have a secret wish to do something amazing, but you are afraid to take that first step? Do you feel a want or a need to stretch beyond your comfort zone but you are not sure how to get started or are afraid? Then this seminar is designed just for you! Come join me in this fun and interactive presentation to learn how to move beyond your fears. Learn about what fear really is. Learn how to identify the story you tell yourself that limits you. Learn how to devise a plan to move beyond the limiting beliefs and easily move beyond your comfort zone to fulfil a life long goal that you were too afraid to try in the past.

First Aid in the Outdoors - Megan Talton

I will be teaching a session on First Aid in the Outdoors using only what you can find or what you can bring with you in a small first aid kit. This session should teach participants how to think under pressure and the importance of using whatever you can find in order to provide some type of stabilization right at that moment. Get ready to think outside the box!

A Gazillion Fun Tips for Gals on the Trail- Nora Tocups

Via slide presentation and hands-on samples, Nora will pass on tips, tricks, and advice she learned her first year of getting back into the wild with Trail Dames. Avoid her mistakes - don’t sleep with your Camelbak water bladder even if it’s really sexy (unless you 100% sure it won’t leak); don’t eat reconstituted Chili Mac unless you want a visit from some hungry bears; and don’t challenge the group’s fire diva or you may find yourself in a flame war.

How a Homeless Golden Retriever Turned Me into a Hiker and an Author - Karen Rutter

Join Karen as she shares the audiovisual story of an A.T. hike, the kindness of strangers, the miracles along the trail and an improbable outcome in her presentation.

Intentional Hiking: A Practical Guide to Modern Pilgrimage through Long-Distance Hiking - Deana "Roo" Giordano

I envision an interactive, workshop-type class where participants learn how to make the life-changing experience of thru-hiking more intentional, to use it to literally step into the next highest versions of themselves and to carry that transformed version of themselves off the trail and back to "real life." I will lead them through the Hero(ine)'s Journey they can expect in a long distance hike, from preparation to crossing into the unknown, dealing with the inevitable trials and eventually reintegration. The class will include some lecture (with slides), time for self-reflection, brainstorming with others and sharing with the group.

Lessons From The Road: USA - Margaret Webster

What does a quirky 50 something do once her children move out of the house? Why she travels solo in a truck with a tent for 6 years, of course. Come hear the humorously entertaining stories of sites and interesting experiences of Margaret Webster. Hear some of the heartwarming stories of amazing people that she has met wandering about on the road. People just like you, that decided that they were going to make a change and follow their passion or do something different. This presentation will surprise and inspire you.

Listening to Wild Nature - Carla Robertson

Quieting and connecting in nature. Grounding, listening, tuning into the rhythms of nature and slowing down to see the miraculous and the tiny.

"Nothing Traditional": 12 years of section hiking the Appalachian Trail - Julie "Jester" Gayheart

Come along for a journey that mixes serial section hiking with the love of education. Julie shares tales from the trail as merges her life of education and love of the outdoors. As she teaches the “dos and donts” she learned during her twelve year journey to complete the appalachian trail.

Paint Night with a Purpose - Margaret Webster

Create a healthier and happier you through art Learn about what a Mandala is and the health benefits associated with painting or coloring a Mandala. Using the pointillism or dot painting method, will create your very own beautiful dot mandala to bring home.

Prehap: Hints to Staying Healthy - Sue Williams

This session will look at everything from preparing your body for the hike to staying healthy on the trail. We'll explore the importance of strengthening our core muscles, weight training when necessary, restoring our flexibility, diet, increasing endurance, and improving balance for improved performance. Sue will talk about the importance of physically preparing for a hike, hydration, electrolyte balance, first aid on the trail and off, and her personal favorite - keeping your feet happy. Do you know there are correct ways to walk and techniques to help you go uphill and down? Sue will even talk about how to pick out the right shoe and ways to prevent blisters and hot spots.

Slackpacking the Appalachian Trail: Downhill to Fine Wine and Accommodations in North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee - Carol Steiner

Join Carol as she describes her adventures day hiking the Appalachian Trail and exploring nearby Appalachian Trail communities; the logistics from planning the hikes to finding restaurants open in small town after seven o'clock, the unveiled treasures on the trail, the gems in the small towns, the people, and the occasional mishaps. You will laugh as she describes adventures that did not go exactly as planned. Then Carol tells why and how she and her husband Jim wrote the guide to share with others what they have learned on their day hiking trips.Their goal is encourage others to hike the Appalachian Trail one day at a time and to savor the beauty of nature and to feel the soul of Appalachian communities

Taking the A.T. into the Classroom - Karen Rutter

Join Karen in helping young people get outside and enjoy nature by attending this presentation. Free educational materials, websites, interactive media, and books compose a unit that’s ready to teach in a traditional or home-school setting. Take a look at

Tips and Tricks of a Lazy Thru-Hiker - Carla Robertson

How to lighten your load, bring ease and joy to your hike, and make the whole process of hiking long distances (or short ones) more fun and more relaxing.

Why Knot?! - Jody Koonce

A course designed to teach 6 knots that are useful on the trail, back country or emergency situations.

The World Down Under: Fun in Australia and New Zealand - Susan "Hammock Hanger" Turner

I will discuss the adventure of getting there. Where I hiked and stayed. Lots of glorious photos. Yes, this will be more of a home movie, verses a workshop (not much to teach) but you won’t be disappointed. It is all about the fun. I will answer questions about the area to the best of my knowledge.

Yoga For Hikers - Deana "Roo" Giordano

A stretching and yoga class where I share how to use the items in your pack to keep you limber and flexible for your hike...bandanna, sleeping bag in stuff sack, etc.