schu tours





OCT 19 2018 - OCT 21 2018

$160 per person 

Join us for two nights of camping during peak leaf color in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy a weekend of epic day hikes with huge payoffs. Learn new camping and hiking skills in a welcoming and enthusiastic environment.


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Do your thing or take tips from an experienced backpacker with over 20 years experience. Set up your camp with as many or little luxuries as you'd like, knowing that all your meals will be provided.



Learn the 10 essentials before embarking on several epic day hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. See beautiful vistas, changing fall foliage, and unique rock formations as we complete over a dozen miles of hiking on four separate trails over the course of two days.



Not ready to invest? You don't need much, but either way Schu Tours can help with your gear needs. Working with local outdoors store, Townsend and Bertram, will hook you up with the latest gear.



With all the details arranged and groceries procured, enjoy cooking as a community at camp. Experiment with different ways to brew coffee and cook dinner over a fire and on a camp stove.



Learn the principles of the Leave No Trace (LNT) movement. Lead by example and encourage others to follow suite so that our grandchildren have the opportunity to appreciate our wild spaces.



Chill out, relaxxx. This is an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and hang lose a little. Enjoy conversations with new friends or curl up and read a book, maybe bring a craft or a journal, whatever you do, decompress with the help of mother nature.

FRIDAY - oct 19

Arrive at Lake James State Campground, hopefully before dark. Pitch your tent, and join the group around the fire, dinner, a powwow about the weekend’s plan, and a short evening meditation before some chillin’ and chitchat.

Saturday - oct 20

Wake up enjoy coffee and breakfast before packing up and heading out onto the trail. First stop, Table Rock Mountain where we will hike a round trip of 2.2 miles, stopping to rest and enjoy the panoramic views of Linville Gorge from the 3,930 foot summit of Table Rock.

Afterwards we’ll explore the Chimneys. The trailhead is directly across the forest road from the trailhead of Table Rock Mountain. The Chimneys are an enchanting group of rock formations scattered along the rim of the canyon. This hike is short, only 1.5 miles, but it takes some time to explore and wander in and around the Chimneys at the top, so we won’t rush.

Lunch time! The trailheads offer a nice picnic area and some camping spots near the parking area so we’ll spread out, prepare lunch, and take a snooze if it feels right.

After lunch, we’ll drive five miles along the service road to reach the trailhead for Hawksbill Mountain. This is our last hike of the day and at only 1.5 miles round trip, you’ll be astonished at the 4000+ foot views. After enjoying some beverages at the top, we’ll make our way back to the cars and the campsite.

After a nice shower and some relaxing, we’ll prepare dinner and gather around the campsite before drifting off to sleep.

sunday - oct 21

Another hearty breakfast at camp before heading to the nearby trailhead of Shortoff Mountain. 4.5 miles roundtrip with a strenuous start that levels off across a broad summit with plenty of vista viewing areas. We’ll stop at a prime picnic spot where we we’ll have unparalleled views of Table Rock mountain (yesterday’s hike). Before heading back to camp to pack up.


Sarah Schu

Professional photographer, travel guide, and meditation teacher.


As a child, Sarah grew up backpacking in the wilds of Pennsylvania. Her first pack was actually a school-sized backpack that her mom sewed a belt onto. After a couple years, she was big enough for her own child's-sized hiking backpack. Sarah would go on weekend trips with her Pop and his pals during the school year and week-long trips every July.

As an adult, Sarah remained an avid backpacker and trekker. She's climbed mountains and enjoyed adventures in countries from Ecuador to Thailand and she currently leads backpacking trips in Nepal.

She enjoys sleeping in a tent more than her own bed and if she won the lottery she could easily fill five years trekking all the trails she has mapped in her mind. 





A percentage of your program fee goes directly to Learning Outside.

Learning Outside offers hands-on outdoor learning programs that provide children with what they really need; time spent outdoors learning, exploring and discovering in the natural world.

Learning Outside provides children with experiences that support their curiosity and wonder; experiences in keeping with what current research confirms. Immersion in hands-on discovery leads to happier, more successful learning experiences for children both at home and at school.


In short, nearly everything is included except the campsite reservation, your personal gear, and beverages. Here are the specifics:




  • all permits, planning, and campsite sourcing

  • packing list with everything you'd need to know + bring

  • assistance choosing, purchasing, and otherwise obtaining gear

  • gear rentals available

  • professional images of your retreat weekend

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camping instruction + guiding :

  • advice on setting up camp, the 10 essentials, water filtration, fire starting, meal preparation, leave no trace principles.

  • 4 guided day hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains

  • personal assistance and attention from start to finish, from planning, packing, hiking, and camping


delicious camp food

  • Sarah provides the camp kitchen, groceries and all

  • two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners, + hell yeah, there's coffee, snacks, and dessert

  • Schu Tours swag



This is car camping at its finest. We will be staying at the Paddys Creek Drive-in Tent Camping Loop at Lake James Campground. Due to campsite restrictions, you are required to make your own reservation. It’s about $17 per night. You can do so here. The campsites do not have electricity, but there is a bathhouse + clean water within walking distance.



YOUR CAMPSITE RESERVATION - Please make one BEFORE you register for this adventure.

Transportation to + from Lake James Campground & Trailheads - though we will carpool to trailheads.

Gear such as clothes, boots, backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp, and tent. Rentals are available.

A cooler of drinks + any extra goodies you may want to bring.