Sola-Appalachian Christian Retreat

"Each year thousands of individuals attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Their journeys are often set in motion by a divorce, a loss of a loved one, or some other trying circumstance in life.  As they travel, they spend many months in thought, seeking peace of mind.  At Sola, we proclaim the gospel to this community that they may find true peace in Jesus Christ."
- Rev. Doug Douma

The Appalachian Trail

The Douma Family is serving in Unionville, NY along the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail Map with Unionville red

Trail Stats

The approximate length of the Appalachian Trail in miles. The distance changes year to year, based on trail modifications such as switchbacks and reroutes.

The number of states the AT crosses.
From south to north: 1. Georgia 2. North Carolina 3. Tennessee 4. Virginia 5. West Virginia 6. Maryland 7. Pennsylvania 8. New Jersey 9. New York 10. Connecticut 11. Massachusetts 12. Vermont 13. New Hampshire 14. Maine.

The percentage of the trail that has been relocated or rebuilt since its creation. 

The number of pairs of shoes most thru-hikers go through. In general, if you can get 500 miles out of your footwear, you're doing well.

The percent of thru-hikers who attempt the traditional northbound route. The vast majority of those who attempt an Appalachian Trail thru-hike begin at Springer Mountain, Georgia and hike north to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

The number of shelters on or along the trail. The AT is lined with more than 250 three-walled structures which serve as refuges for hikers, which is approximately one shelter every 8 miles.

The percent increase in 2,000 milers over the last century.

Except where noted, information taken from

Rev. Douglas Douma

Sola -Appalachian Christian Retreat

Douma Family Photo 2023 edited_edited

Doug Douma (trailname: Banzai) is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Wake Forest University, and Sangre de Cristo Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark.  Also in 2016, Doug was joined in ministry by his wife, Priscilla (trailname: Hot Drinks).  Priscilla became a registered nurse in 2012, has worked in various nursing jobs, and served overseas among orphans. Her love of people and giving care to those around her fits perfectly with the mission of Sola.

Doug completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2013 and 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. While in seminary studying for the ministry, Doug developed the idea for a ministry to hikers on the Appalachian Trail, which became Sola-Appalachian Christian Retreat.

Please pray for the Douma family and Sola-Appalachian Christian Retreat.

Prayer Requests

Sola — Appalachian Christian Retreat, NY (Douma)

October 2023

Thanking God for:

  • A number of blessings resulting from our recording of interviews with hiker guests.
  • A nice trip to visit family in Michigan and to the Presbyterian Scholars Conference at Wheaton College, Illinois.
  • A good turnout of kids at our first “Friday Night Fun Night” at church.

Please Pray for:

  • Priscilla and the baby due late November.
  • The Lord to bless the fall and winter events at our church.
  • Our annual physical mailing from SOLA coming out soon.

News from the Trail

Douma Article WordArt
A Nazarite Hiker?
Hikers Found Us on FarOut website format.jpg
How Far Out Are You?
Comrade and Scribbles
Russians at the Door

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Hiker Lingo

Camel Up: Drinking as much water as possible at a water source.

Cowboy Coffee: Mixing water with unfiltered coffee grounds.

Section Hiker:  Someone who hikes the Appalachian Trial in sections over a longer period of time as opposed to one continuous thru-hike.

Thru Hiker: Someone who hikes the Trail in one continuous run or within a one-year time frame.

Trail Name: Name a hiker goes by on the Trail. A sort of 'alter-ego'. Almost all hikers go by a trail name.

Work for Stay: Instead of paying for a room, at select hostels and huts, many hikers choose to work or volunteer for a few hours.

Zero Day: A lazy and luxurious day of hiking zero miles.

Adapted from