“I lost my mom to cancer in 2020 and spent a while in an angry and lonely place. The Umbrella Project helped me to connect with people that had gone through something similar and to let myself grieve in a healthier way. My mom always loved nature, so the hike made me feel connected to her and more able to heal.”
– Kasey, October 2021 trip participant
Sept. 30–Oct. 3, 2022 Trip Details
- Beautiful Appalachian Trail hiking southbound in Maryland
- Fun backpacking
- Camaraderie and activities
- All gear and food provided
- First night at Shepherd Spring Retreat center in Sharpsburg, MD
(with all facilities)
- Two nights camping on the Appalachian Trail
(with shelters and some facilities)
- First and last days are partial days
- Transportation available
- No cost for trips
To view our brochure click here.
The Appalachian Trail
Running through 14 states from Georgia to Maine, the 2192-mile Appalachian Trail (AT) is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Initially, our trips will take advantage of the beautiful scenery, relatively easy terrain, and ready accessibility of the AT in the Mid-Atlantic region, starting and ending near historic, scenic Harpers Ferry, WV. Harpers Ferry is less than a two-hour drive from many metropolitan centers, including Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.
Experienced, compassionate leaders
Trip guides are experienced wilderness experts, emergency medical responders, and seasoned AT hikers. Grief counselors and mental health professionals are also part of our leadership team, working in conjunction with trip leaders to create an empowering therapeutic outdoor activity that honors the griever and promotes the healing process.
What’s a typical day like on a hiking trip?
All trips will be conducted in small groups supported by experienced trip leaders. Except for the first night, when we’ll be staying at a campground, the group will be backpacking on beautiful sections of the AT and camping under the stars. We’ll have tarps to protect from weather, and we’ll be camping near AT shelters that have access to water and a privy. After we’ve set up our camping area, we will be preparing our own meals. Evening activities will foster sharing and bonding, with time for fun, rest and reflection.
But I don’t have any camping gear!
No worries! The Umbrella Project will provide everything you need except your hiking shoes and everyday outdoor clothes. We’ll supply all hiking, cooking, and camping gear, including backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, rainwear, etc. Participants will receive a list of recommended clothes and personal items to bring.
Our trips are therapeutic, not therapy
All trip participants are grieving—which means everyone has bereavement in common. The purpose of the Umbrella Project is not to provide group therapy or counseling sessions, but to bring together grieving young adults—some of whom may not know other people their age who have suffered a similar loss—and spend a week in nature.