Wood Chuck
Chuck Wood invited the pope to the Gathering after waiting for hours to see the pontiff on his visit to Philadelphia over the summer. His Holy Father sent his regrets but agreed to "skype" with us at the Friday night opening. Read about it in the fall newsletter. (Photo by H. Dean Clark)

Gathering registration

Sign up for the Gathering and pay your dues all in one swoop by following this link to the digital registration form.

presenters form

Would you like to put on a workshop at this year's Gathering about a trail you've hiked, or a trail-related subject you feel strongly about? Fill out this online form and send it electronically to the Gathering coordinator.

Hikers Fair
presenters form

If your trail club or hiker-related cause or business would like to set up a table at our Gathering Hiker Fair, fill out this digital form and send it to us electronically.

Gathering programs
from the past

Follow this link (click here) to see archives of past Gathering programs, from 2003 to the present, all in PDF format.




































































































































































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

This time the weather was great

The 34th annual Gathering was back at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., for the second time in 3 years. Our first time there in 2013, we were inundated with rain. This time around, after a windy storm cell passed by on Friday, the weather cooperated the rest of the weekend. The creek did not threaten any tents, and folks did not have to slum it in the pavilion, lol. There was plenty of room to spread out on dry fields on campus. Chilly at night, but sunny by day. If anyone wishes to write a reminiscence of this Gathering, by all means send it to newsletter@aldha.org.

Newsletter has more on the Gathering

Betsy Kane was program coordinator of this past Gathering, and will be program guru for the 2016 Gathering in Williamstown, Mass. Read some of what she has in mind for the next Gathering in the fall newsletter, a link to which is on the newsletter page. You'll also find numerous photos from Shippensburg '15 in the newsletter.

Critiques and comments

If you'd like to tell us what you thought was good, bad or indifferent about the Gathering, write to us at ALDHA, 10 Benning St. PMB 224, West Lebanon, NH 03784. Or email us at newsletter@aldha.org.

Group photo

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 2.5 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