Williamstown Gathering 2011
Expect the fall colors to be beautiful at this year's ALDHA Gathering in Williamstown, Mass., Oct. 10-12. It's not too late to sign up online. Just visit this link and you can register (it's only $20 per person!), purchase meals and pay for it online.

(Photo by H. Dean Clark)







































































































































































The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association

An off-trail family of hikers, dreamers and friends of the trail working

to preserve, protect and promote the long-distance hiking community.

 The Gathering

Latest information

The fall edition of The Long Distance Hiker contains four pages of the latest information about the Gathering, which is coming up fast: Oct. 10, 11 and 12 in Williamstown, Mass. (The post-Gathering work trip will be Monday, Columbus Day, Oct. 13.)

Check out the digital version of the newsletter now to tap into details about the program, the campsite and the campus. Click on image at right to open and/or download the PDF of the newsletter. Information about the Gathering is on Page 1 and Pages 4-8.

See what you need to do RIGHT NOW if you want to take advantage of meals in a campus dining hall. Pre-paid tickets are required, and they are limited, but you can purchase the meals you want right now -- online -- right here. Information about other dining options, showers, the work trip, contra dance, hiker fair, parking, campfire, area hikes and other local attractions are all included in these pages. You can also see who the Gathering is being dedicated to this year.

The Online Ride Board

The Ride Board has been activated for this Gathering. Please check it frequently! Whether you need a ride, or a rider, to help with gasoline and maybe even take turns driving, this is the place to get in touch with each other. You send us an email with your info, and we'll post it on the board. If you prefer not to use your personal email for replies, use ours and we'll forward any answers you get. The rest is up to you.

See you in Williamstown!

The Mohawk Trail, Taconic Trail, Appalachian Trail, Long Trail. . . All of these "trails" lead to Williamstown, Mass., in one way or another, and following them will take you to this fall's 33rd annual ALDHA Gathering on Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 10-12.

We are working to bring you an innovative, fun and inspiring weekend, all in an exiciting new location thanks to our sponsorship by the Williams Outing Club. The feature presentation will be a preview of a new film about the Appalachian Trail by Chris Gallaway, a 2013 thru-hiker who has been working hard to create the best movie ever made about the trail. The venue for this film will be the stunningly beautiful '62 Center on the Williams campus, where many will recall hearing Andrew Skurka deliver his feature presentation at the 2011 ALDHA Gathering.

There are two ways you can help us out a lot. First, click on the image of the poster at right and print out a copy of the PDF that will pop up. Please put this poster where hikers are likely to see it, particularly if you are in the New York - New England area. Second, register now for the Gathering. You can literally do it right now, online, by visiting the registration page. These two tasks are a tremendous help. Thanks! (Note: The poster is about 5 megs in size, so it may take a minute.)

For a fast rundown of what we have in store for you at the Gathering, visit the link below to an 8-page compilation of Gathering-related stuff culled from the e-edition of ALDHA's 40-page summer newsletter:

Here you will find directions on how to get to Williamstown, a look at some of the buildings and classrooms we'll be using, information about meals and meal tickets for the campus dining hall, details about some of the workshops we have planned for you, and other Gathering-related fixtures like the photo contest, apple contest and elections.

If you have anything about the Gathering you want to ask, email gathering@aldha.org. Thanks!


Want to do a workshop?

ALDHA has always prided itself on the general quality of its workshops at Gatherings, and this year will be no exception. We already have a great lineup of presentations, but we still have room in our schedule for more. Perhaps you have hiked an interesting trail that you want to tell about and show some photos, or you have some helpful information for fellow hikers. Workshops range from about an hour to an hour and a half in length. The rooms are equipped with computer systems with projection capability, so you only need to bring your presentation on a thumb drive or a CD (bring both as a backup). If you are interested in presenting a workshop, please complete the online form here or email a note with what you'd like to do to Randy Anderson at randyandluanne@hotmail.com by Aug. 10.


Our sponsor: The Williams Outing Club

WOC logoThe 33rd Gathering is being sponsored by the Outing Club of Williams College. Thanks to this new partnership, costs for putting on the Gathering remain within our budget, we'll once again have the use of the stunningly beautiful 62 Center (this time for both Friday and Saturday nights), and we can once again take full advantage of camping on the rolling fields of triple-crown hiker Eric White, with a fantastic view of the Greylock Reservation. Plus, the Williams campus is just a few miles north of the campsite, so we won't have to travel as far as North Adams as we did in 2011. We hope this new arrangement works out well and that we're able to come back in the future.

Join us in thanking members of the Williams community, all of whom are welcome to attend any function of ours during the weekend. Williams has a long tradition dating to Col. Ephraim Williams in the French and Indian War. The school's color is dark purple, and you'll see their school pride on display during the Gathering as they'll be christening a renovated football field with a game against Middlebury. Go Ephs!

Group photo from 2013 Gathering

Many thanks to "Crooked Sticks," aka H. Dean Clark, for once again providing a bevy of professional photos of the Gathering, including our family portrait taken on Sunday morning. Click on the image below for the high-resolution version that you can download to your computer and use at will. (The original image is about 3 MB in size, so download time may take a minute.) If posting elsewhere online, please credit Dean.

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Gathering History

The first Gathering was held before ALDHA was even officially created. In the fall of 1982, Warren Doyle gathered together long-distance hikers and friends of the trail for a weekend retreat in southern West Virginia, and it was during that time of fellowship and renewal in the community of the Appalachian Trail that the seed of an idea for ALDHA was planted.

Six months later, at a meeting in Harpers Ferry on March 5, 1983, attendees voted to formally establish an organization of hikers, maintainers, friends of the trail and folks who dream of someday hiking the A.T., and they christened their newborn group the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association.

ALDHA has held an annual Gathering ever since, with locations varying from north to south to accommodate our ever-growing membership.


Walkin' Jim

The Gathering Song

At the 2000 Gathering in Pipestem, W.Va., Walkin' Jim Stoltz was asked if he would compose a song for ALDHA to help mark the 20th Gathering the following year. He readily agreed, then admitted later that it proved to be a lot harder than he thought it would be. When he stood up to perform it that next year at the 2001 Gathering in Hanover, N.H., we think he hit it out of the park.

A few years later, he sat down and recorded it for Weathercarrot's video documentary on the 25th anniversary of ALDHA. Click the link below to listen. Feel free to download it, too. After his untimely passing in 2010, Jim's former wife gave ALDHA the rights to it, and we offer it to you all in hopes that it'll stir fond memories of the Gathering and that you'll always remember Walkin' Jim.

"To the Gathering Again"
by Walkin' Jim Stoltz, 2001