Backpacking Medicine on the
Appalachian Trail

October 1 - 5, 2018
Cost: $400


  Join us in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a 4-day backpacking trip covering some of the most beautiful landmarks on the 2200-mile-long Appalachian trail while earning CME! Each night will include lectures, workshops and scenarios as we enjoy camping at the Appalachian Trail Shelters along the way.


  • Ground transportation from Roanoke, Virginia
  • Two nights lodging and meals at the historic cabin at Wilderness Adventure Lodge
  • Evening Banquet at Wilderness Adventure with keynote speaker
  • Lectures, workshops and scenarios with our experienced faculty
  • 8 CMEs
Does not include: airfare, gear rental (available at Wilderness Adventure), and food while in the backcountry.


Stephanie Lareau, MD, FAWM, FACEP, DiMM
Stephanie Lareau is a Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Virginia Tech- Carilion Clinic SOM in Roanoke, Virginia. She is the wilderness medicine fellowship director at Carilion Clinic. She is a director of the WMS Student/ Resident Elective, and the director of the VT-Carilion Wilderness Medicine Elective. She is a co-founder of the Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference, in its 11th year. She currently serves on the board for the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine and Blue Ridge Adventure Medicine.  She is very active in wilderness medicine education in her community. Stephanie completed a Wilderness Medicine fellowship at Georgia Regents University. Outside of work she can be found mountain biking, climbing, sailing, SUPing or skiing with her fiancee Daniel and two dogs Copper and Comet. 


Jessie Gehner, MD
Jessie became interested in Wilderness Medicine after an accident while thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. All throughout her training at University of Kentucky College of Medicine, she tried to find ways to combine her passion for the outdoors with practicing medicine. As fate would have it, she was accepted to an Emergency Medicine Residency at Virginia Tech Carilion in Roanoke, VA, the same facility she had been taken to when she had to be evacuated from the Appalachian Trail with a broken leg. After residency, she was the first fellow to graduate from their Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. Her interests include Long Distance Hiker Health, Altitude Medicine and Education.


Chris Davis, MD
Wake Forest University, Department of Emergency Medicine, EMS/ Wilderness Medicine Fellowship



We will be backpacking in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. This four-day trip will cover no more than 10 miles each day, but will traverse rough, rocky terrain, and each person will carry their own food and gear (packs typically weigh between 20-30 lbs. with appropriate gear).

AT shelters (3 sided, wooden structure) will be at the campsite 2 of the nights, but it is recommended that you bring your own shelter (tent or hammock) in case of limited space due to thru hikers who receive preferential use of the shelters. Water sources are present throughout the hike, but participants will need a method of water purification and capacity to hold at least 3 liters of water. Cooking equipment can be shared, but this should be arranged prior to departure. Average highs and lows are 75F/45F for October in this region.


The first night will be spent at the rustic Wilderness Adventure Lodge which is a log cabin from the 1800s converted into a lodge and meeting space. Transportation to and from Roanoke Regional Airport is provided. The first night we will have a meet and greet, dinner will be provided, and we will go over the specifics of the trek as well as perform a gear check. Gear can be rented at Wilderness Adventure for a reasonable price. We will then depart for the trailhead and begin the 4-day trek across some of the most spectacular views in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each evening at camp we will discuss different wilderness medicine topics pertinent to hiking and backpacking, there will be hands on workshops as well as surprise scenarios on the trail.

Our trip will conclude with a banquet at Wilderness Adventure Lodge with a debrief of the trek and Keynote Speaker (tbd). Food and entertainment will be provided. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase as well.



Day 1 Arrive at Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport (by 4 pm) Shuttle to Wilderness Adventure Lodge Orientation and overview meeting Lecture: Trip preparation/ gear selection (1hr)
Day 2 Jefferson National Forest: Tinker Cliffs Hike on Appalachian trail from Daleville, VA trail crossing at I-81 to Lambert’s Meadow Shelter (9.4miles)
Lecture: Water purification, waterborne diseases (45 min)
Lecture: Envenomations/ animal attacks (45 min)
Day 3 Jefferson National Forest: McAfee’s Knob Lambert’s Meadow to John’s Spring Shelter (9.4 miles)
Lecture: Stabilization and extrication in Backcountry Medical Emergencies(1hr)
Lecture: Common orthopedic injuries/ improvised splinting(1hr)
Day 4 Jefferson National Forest John’s Spring Shelter to Dragon’s Tooth Campsite, Primitive camping (9.4 miles)
Day 5 Jefferson National Forest Dragon’s tooth to VA620 Trout Creek, VA (5.4 miles), Evening banquet and Keynote Speaker (tbd)
Lecture: Thru Hiking the AT: Medical and Mystical Considerations
Day 6 Fly/ Drive Home



The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WMS designates this educational activity for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Topics (order of educational lectures will be determined by the faculty dependent upon conditions and status of the group.


This course is designed to educate participants in the pathophysiology, recognition and treatment of a variety of medical problems commonly encountered in wilderness environments and settings remote from hospital or definitive care.

  • Upon completion of this educational activity, participants will be able to:
  • Establish a set of treatment priorities for care of the sick or injured in wilderness settings.
  • Demonstrate basic aspects of improvised care, rescue and evacuation.
  • Learn basic field skills enabling a physician to be more capable in a setting remote from definitive care.
  • Compile a lightweight first aid kit suitable for backpacking
  • Identify poisonous/ dangerous species endemic to the Appalachian Mountains

Target Audience:

Physicians and other Medical Care Providers who have an interest in providing medical care in “remote” environments such as wilderness settings or in developing countries are encouraged to attend. Physicians counseling their patients traveling to remote areas will benefit as well.

Physician Assistants: The American Academy of Physician Assistants accepts Category 1 CME approval from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Other Professionals: Check with your governing entity to determine usefulness of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.


It is the policy of the Wilderness Medical Society to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor. All faculty members are required to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest related to the content of their presentation. Accordingly, the Wilderness Medical Society has determined there are no conflicts to report associated with this conference.


We're sorry, this adventure is FULL. Please contact Teri for wait list.

(you need to be a current WMS Member to register for WMS Adventures - more information.)




If you cancel 120 days or more before event, you will receive a 50% refund. Sorry, but no refund will be given if cancelled after this date.


After you've registered, we'll need to get several things from you:

Use THIS LINK to upload required documents, or scan/email to, or fax to 801-990-4601.