Summer 2017 newsletter
The current newsletter has the information you'll need to plan for this year's Gathering. Visit the newsletter page to view or download this full-color 44-page issue.


















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.

 Whats New

Thru-hiker recognition

I Hiked ALDHA WayIf you finished the Appalachian Trail over the past year, come to the Gathering to get the recognition you deserve. We'll call you up on stage on Friday night and present you with a patch and certificate while you take a bow from your peers. See the ALDHA Way page or the Gathering page for details.


The summer '17 newsletter

The new summer issue of the ALDHA newsletter has 44 pages of ALDHA news, photos and features, including information on the Gathering, ALDHA-affiliated work trips, ALDHA Care, and positions we need to fill in your organization. There's also a photo package celebrating ALDHA Gatherings from the past, and a simple yet powerful picture page to help remind you what it was like to finish hiking the Appalachian Trail atop Mount Katahdin. See the Newsletter page to read more and download a copy.


The 2017 A.T. Thru-Hikers' Companion

Official guidebookThe A.T. Thru-Hiker's Companion is the official ATC guidebook for thru-hikers and others planning a trip of any length on the Appalachian Trail. No one profits from the sale of this book: All proceeds go directly back into the trail via programs and work trips that benefit future hikers. So order your 2017 Companion today. The book is one of the great bargains on the trail. Still $14.95 plus shipping, it can be purchased via the ALDHA Store online. See the Companion page or the the ALDHA Store for details.


SAR patch

Search and rescue info now posted

The history and future of ALDHA's Search and Rescue team is outlined, with details on how to join, how to find out more about what is involved, and when, where and why the ALDHA team would mobilize into action. On the SAR page.

Fall 2016 coverThe fall newsletter is online

On the first day of autumn we posted the fall newsletter in a new format, one that is still available on the newsletter page. It didn't quite work for some folks, some of whom were awfully sweet about it. Others, well, I don't know how you survived on the trail, lol. The good news is, the world did not end on Sept. 22, and today, the 23rd of September, there is a plain old PDF available for you to open. Don't hurt yourselves. One at a time please. To the newsletter page.



Gathering details are now online

Information about registration, camping, workshops, showers and other details about the Gathering has been posted online. The info was originally written for the summer newsletter and now appears here along with the latest details on meals and meal tickets. Information about a new complementary patch, seen at right, is included. On the Gathering page.


Apex AwardThe summer newsletter is online

Stories and photos about Trail Days, the A.T. Hall of Fame, the A.T. Museum and, of course, the ALDHA Gathering are all featured in the 34-page summer edition of The Long Distance Hiker. There's also news to make everyone in ALDHA proud: the online newsletter has won a national award in competition with over 130 other online newsletters. Check it out on the newsletter page.


Baltimore Jack"Baltimore Jack" Tarlin has died

Word has been received May 4 of the death of Jack Tarlin, aka "Baltimore Jack," in Franklin, N.C. No details are available but there is a growing collection of thoughts and reminiscences on whiteblaze and the ALDHA Facebook page. Check there for news and info on services, etc. A scheduled work trip at the Pearisburg Hostel originally scheduled for May 7 has been postponed until after Trail Days. Jack was a passionate, outspoken trail figure whose workshops at ALDHA Gatherings were usually filled to capacity. His advice and wisdom from multiple end-to-end hikes of the A.T. were always happily, freely and enthusiastically passed on to the dreamers. We'll post more info later and have a story about Jack for the summer edition of the The Long Distance Hiker.


Smoky wildfire plagues Hot Springs


In April a wildfire broke out on the outskirts of Hot Springs right in the middle of the thru-hiking season. Scores of hikers were directed to get off the trail and wait in town while crews battled the blaze. The photo at left was taken by 1994 thru-hiker Mowgli who was visiting Hot Springs at the time of the fire and was one of the first in town to spot the smoke rising over the near horizon. A shift in the direction of the wind miraculously steered the flames away from town just when it looked most ominous for Hot Springs.


Spring brings another 44-pager

Find the latest information about this fall's Gathering, upcoming work trips, Trail Days events, hiking permits for Baxter State Park, the A.T. Museum Hall of Fame and other ALDHA-related activities in the spring edition of The Long Distance Hiker, located on the Newsletter page. And don't forget, the deadline for submitting stuff for our summer newsletter is coming up fast. It's May 15. We prefer that you email your stuff to in simple text, not PDFs, Word documents or other software. Just an email will do. Thanks!


Lots to read this winter

A 44-page winter newsletter has just been plopped down on your digital desk. Find the link, as well as a full description of the contents, on our Newsletter page. And don't forget, the deadline for submitting stuff for our spring newsletter is coming up fast. It's March 15. We prefer that you email your stuff to Thanks.


Click for a better viewMeet ALDHA's newest member

We have a new trailer for storing and hauling all of our merchandise as well as exhibits, the Trail Days tent and other stuff. Hence it's been dubbed Sherpa. The trailer is making its debut at the Southern Ruck and will appear at most future trail festivals and, of course, at the Gathering. The full story about the new trailer will appear in the winter edition of the newsletter.


Latest newsletter now online

Go to the Newsletter page for the new edition of the ALDHA newsletter. The black and white print version, at 12 pages, is at the printers. Uploaded now online is the E-edition, which is 28 pages long.


Check out the tentative Gathering schedule

Go to the Gathering page to check out a PDF of the program grid for this year's Gathering. The page also includes a photo of the late Ed Sidote, to whom the 34th Gathering is being dedicated.


Summer newsletter is out

Go to the newsletter page to check out the full-color PDF of our summer newsletter.

The lead story has details about the upcoming Gathering, which will be here soon, Oct. 9-11, with Columbus Day falling on Monday the 12th.


Spring newsletter is in your hands

Print subscribers should have gotten their spring newsletter in the mail, and now everyone can read the E-edition, which is 4 times the size of the print version. Go to the newsletter page to check out the 36-page full-color PDF of our spring newsletter.

Included in this issue are the following:
-- A story about the shelter that ALDHA plans to build in Waynesboro, Va., this year.
-- The announcement of who our featured speaker will be at this year's Gathering.
-- News on outreach activities that kept some of us busy over the winter.
-- A followup to the Baxter Park story we ran in the winter issue.
-- News about the ATC's new voluntary pre-registration for thru-hikers.
-- A beautifully written piece by "Son of Billy Goat" about an adventure with his dad.
-- A feature on a man who is overcoming personal hurdles to lead kids on an end-to-end hike of the A.T.
-- A story and photos on the Northern Ruck.
-- The testimonial to Raven from last fall's Gathering, plus lyrics to his signature song.
-- A new feature called "Catching Up" where we revisit past speakers like Justin Lichter.
-- A review of the biography on Earl Shaffer.
-- And a few fun things including a look at what Monopoly would be like A.T.-style.


The winter E-edition of The Long Distance Hiker

Go to the newsletter page to check out the 28-page full-color PDF of our winter newsletter.

The cover story is totally different from the print version. It's a story about the debate over the future of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin as home to the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.


Afterglow of a Gathering

Visit the Gathering page for a brief recap of the weekend as well as the high-resolution group photo taken by "Crooked Sticks" H. Dean Clark. You can download the image from your computer or smartphone.

Then stay tuned for the winter newsletter, where we'll present a full report on our 33rd annual Gathering, complete with pictures, stories and your comments.



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Upcoming Events


The annual Gathering will be Oct. 6-8, 2017, at the Southwest Virginia Educational Training Center in Abingdon, Va. There will be trail work trips on Monday (Columbus Day), Oct. 9. See the Gathering page for more information.