We’re no experts on this and have never done it, so file it under stuff that looks cool but we don’t know much about. The Appalachian Mountain Club runs volunteer trips where you clean up hiking trails by day and eat a lot and carouse at night and sometimes sleep in tents that someone else carries, along with all of your other gear. (Pretty sure it’s BYO carousables.) You also get to go kayaking, hiking, and other things that people do in the woods. You do have to pay for the privilege (anywhere from $240 to $410, depending on trip length and location), but it doesn’t seem like that much considering you get fed and it’s basically hassle-free camping, some nights spent in a lodge. Here’s what the AMC site says about a July 29 to August 3 trailblazing trip in Little Lyford Lodge & Cabins, er, somewhere in Maine:
You can expect to find the crew a friendly and fun group of people. Even though we work hard on the trail, back at camp there is time to enjoy Long Pond and the good company, as well as hearty food. During the week we will be camping in tents and preparing meals as a group. AMC provides the tents, food, cooking equipment and other group gear. Our base camp on Long Pond is vehicle accessible, allowing you to bring along camp items that are more comfortable.
Back at Little Lyford there is fly-fishing available on the two ponds as well as the West Branch of the Pleasant River. Plenty of hiking/walking options with opportunities to see wildlife and plants including a trail that connects with the Gulf Hagas Loop Trail. Paddling on the Little Lyford Pond and Long Pond is an option. Canoes, kayaks, PFDs and paddles are provided.
Little Lyford has hot showers and provides great food. Breakfast and dinner are served family style, and a trail lunch is provided. The crew lodges in a comfortable bunkhouse, and you provide your own sleeping bag.
Sounds decent right? Browse the list of the upcoming volunteer trips. Beware that a summer fling is not guaranteed. (Up to you, chief.)