The 34th annual Gathering will be held at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., over Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 9-11, 2015. We held our Gathering there in 2013 and except for the rain that was out of our hands, the weekend was great and the facilities were superb. Betsy Kane, a newcomer to organizing Gatherings but who has experience putting on conferences on the college level, is the program coordinator. She has compiled a nice program for the weekend, a copy of which you can download here.
Betsy Kane has compiled a list of information about the upcoming Gathering that appears in the summer newsletter, everything from where to park, where to camp and where to shower to details about the photo contest, the apple contest and the post-Gathering work trips. You can read the newsletter online at the newsletter page.
Chilly at night but gloriously blue skies by day kept the fall foliage on fire for our 33rd annual Gathering at Williams College. And what a difference a few years make. The first time we camped out at Eric White's field south of Williamstown, we were welcomed by soaking wet fields from lots of rain the week before we arrived. This time the weather was mostly dry and the fields were in pristine shape. The campfire was located below a slight dip, buffering the noise from many campers. And sunrise every morning over the northern flank of the Greylock Range was simply spectacular.
And then there were the programs, especially Saturday night's feature presentation by Chris Gallaway, aka "Frost," who treated us to a preview of the A.T. movie he's been working on. It lived up to the billing we gave it: The combination of beautiful cinematography, crisp photos, inspirational music, tight writing, great narration and seamless editing made Frost's film quite moving. It was packed with emotions that ran the gamut of every thru-hiker's experience. It became a Gathering moment when, during a post-film question-and-answer period, Frost lived up to his trail name and recited from memory Robert Frost's classic poem, "Birches."
There were numerous other moments that helped make this Gathering another ALDHA classic, but we'll save those for the winter newsletter. Meantime, if you have any thoughts, comments, kudos you'd like to share about the Gathering, please, PLEASE email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you didn't drop off your critique sheet, or if you forgot to drop off your Long Distance Hiking Diploma worksheet, it's not too late to mail them to us at ALDHA, 10 Benning St. PMB 224, West Lebanon, NH 03784. We rely on the critiques for the planning of future Gatherings, especially if we return to Williams College in a couple of years. And if you haven't submitted your diploma worksheet, mail it to us and we'll be happy to mail you your personalized diploma in Long Distance Hiking.