What is The Crucible?
Imagine a group of 60 people tackling the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands Trail for a 3-day, 70+ mile extreme hike with a full gear pack – and The Crucible begins. This 3-day extreme journey through some of Pennsylvania’s most spectacular scenery is not for the faint of heart, but your life won’t be the same after you’ve participated in The Crucible. It’s a journey of passion, determination and personal triumph, as much as it’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local veterans who are in need of housing and employment services.

Where will we be hiking?
The 70-mile hiking trail stretches along the picturesque Laurel Mountains from the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown, PA where you can hike along a rocky footpath and dirt road through mountain laurel to the edge of a 1,000-foot gorge at 2,400 feet to the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle – located at the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, encompassing rugged natural beauty providing some of the best whitewater in the eastern United States as well as spectacular scenery.

What else is included?
The Crucible hikers will have access to overnight shelter areas with food, medical attention and plenty of campfires and stories – where new friendships will be forged. The physical and mental challenges associated with the 3-day event mirror the timeless military credo – “we’re all in this together.”

The Crucible Hike 2016 recap
On September 11th weekend, 98 hikers joined us for The Crucible Hike. In honor and memory of the September 11th attacks, each of the last 11 miles on the trail were dedicated to a local service member who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the War on Terror. The Crucible Hike also donated $1,000 to The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation in memory of Private First Class Nils George Thompson, a United States Army service member from Connellsville, PA. Thompson was deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2005 and, while on routine patrol in the turret of his Stryker vehicle, was killed by sniper fire on August 4th, one day after his 19th birthday. The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation honored the family of Private First Class Nils Thompson by presenting a plaque, recognizing the family as the first major donor of the foundation.

VLP was overwhelmed by the community’s support for this event, which raised more than $76,000 for three local Veteran charities including VLP, Veteran on Fire, and The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation. Be sure to check back for details on the 2017 event or like our Facebook page!

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Have questions about this event? Please call (412) 481-8200 or contact Dan Blevins at blevinsd@vlpwpa.org.