Shippenburg's Old Main
Old Main, the landmark centerpiece of the Shippensburg University campus in Pennsylvania, will be visible all weekend long during the 34th annual Gathering Oct. 9-11. Read the details in the summer edition of The Long Distance Hiker newsletter.


















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

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.


Click for a better viewAutumn newsletter heralds the fall Gathering

Visit the Newsletter web page to open and/or download a copy of the fall newsletter, posted on the day that autumn officially began (at 10:29 p.m. Eastern time Sept. 22). It contains the latest information on the Gathering including updates on meal tickets, programs and tenting. There is even a handy list of things to remember to bring with you, like a camp chair to enjoy the view of the Greylock Reservation from our tentsite.

And speaking of the Gathering, be sure to check back on the Gathering page for the Ride Board, which will be uploaded this week. The Gathering is 3 weeks away, so if you need a ride (or a rider), take advantage of the Ride Board and save money and gas. (Update: The page was activated as of Sept. 23.)

Check out the AT Hiker App

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the new AT Hiker App, a complete guide to the Appalachian Trail created by thru-hiker and ALDHA member Ryan Linn. Information from ALDHA's A.T. Thru-hikers' Companion has been incorporated throughout the app.

Ryan debuted the app in 2013 and he is back out on the A.T. right now gathering more data, more photos and more ideas to keep this the No. 1 A.T. app. See a few screen grabs and read about some of the many features of the app on the AT Hiker App page of this website.


Week ending June 28, 2014

The summer newsletter is here during the first week of summer! It is 40 pages long and in full color, and features a 6-page spread on this fall's Gathering with information about our new venue -- Williams College -- as well as the campsite, the workshops, dining options, directions, reminders, and other information. Read it thoroughly so you'll know what to bring along (apples, photos, earplugs to name a few!). We really want to see as many people come to this year's Gathering as possible because the feature presentation on Saturday night is not to be missed.

NewsletterThe black-and-white version of the newsletter for folks who get the print edition will have to wait a while. It is being sent to the printers this week.

Both editions include a story about ALDHA's search for missing thru-hiker Geraldine Largay. A team of 12 hikers headed into Maine's North Woods in late May and while we came away without finding Largay, we did discover that ALDHA can, in fact, put a team in the field, have it stay in the field, and cover a lot of very difficult terrain over a matter of just a few days. The story includes two pages full of photos from our endeavor.

Also in this issue is a story by a brand new member of ALDHA who joined at Trail Days and volunteered to write a story about Lyme disease. It's something every hiker on the A.T. must read.

We also have stories on ALDHA at Trail Days, ALDHA on a corridor boundary work trip in Virginia, profiles of the latest inductees into the A.T. Hall of Fame, the Hikers' Muse column, minutes from ALDHA's spring meeting, and last but not least, a beautiful story with photos about the formal dedication of the new ALDHA Hiker Pavilion in Waynesboro, Va., where we also put on a hiker feed for the 35 A.T. hikers who were lucky enough to be there that day.

The link to the PDF of the e-edition is here:


ALDHA Hiker Feed on June 28-29

The other big news this week is the upcoming Hiker Feed in Salisbury, Conn. (Find a story about it on Page 10 of the summer newsletter above.) Organized by Hiker Miker for the second year in a row, all ALDHA members in the area are encouraged to attend, lend a hand with feeding the hikers, and talk up ALDHA and this fall's Gathering. Part of the joy of the experience is never knowing who you'll meet. Last year, the last hiker to come through the hiker feed went on to become this year's feature presenter at our Gathering. Trail magic at its finest.

The Hiker Feed will be Saturday, June 28, and Sunday, June 29, at the hiker parking lot off of Route 41 in Salisbury, Conn., just north of Cobble Road and right at the spot where the A.T. crosses the road. Wear an ALDHA T-shirt and join the fun. Camp out overnight on Saturday and make a fine weekend out of it. See you there!


Week ending May 10, 2014

The spring newsletter is finished finally and the E-edition is posted here for all to see. The print version should already be on its way from the printers, so keep watching your mailbox if you get the black-and-white, shorter print version.


As always, the digital rendition is more than twice the length of the print one, and in full, dazzling color. Consider helping us to cut costs (and to save a few trees) by opting not to receive a print newsletter and instead get an email alert when the newest E-edition is available.

This issue contains a review of the new book about Grandma Gatewood that was written by journalist Ben Montgomery, who gave a talk on his research at last year's Gathering. We also have an excerpt from the book to show you what's in store for you if you decide to read the whole thing.

Also in this issue is a tribute to McAfee's Knob, the unofficial symbol of the Appalachian Trail. It wasn't always on the A.T. In fact it has only been an official part of the trail for roughly 30 of the A.T.'s 75-plus years of existence. But it is without question the "King of the A.T. World," and we'll explain what that means in the story. (It is chock full of hiker photos from the knob, too.)

Elsewhere we pay tribute to longtime ALDHA member Fred Waigand who passed away earlier this year; we take a hike on the new Great Eastern Trail with its first two thru-hikers; we tempt you with the promise of good food at this year's A.T. Hall of Fame banquet coming up soon in June; and we take you to the Northern and Southern Rucks where ALDHA is playing an increasingly larger role.

The big news, however (how's that for burying the lead?), is the announcement of our Saturday night feature presenter at this fall's Gathering. Read who it is and why you should be excited about not only seeing his presentation but also about WHERE you will see it.

The link to the PDF of the e-edition is here:

Week ending March 15, 2014

Lots to pass along since the first of the year: The 2014 Membership Directory was finished, printed and mailed to all members. A spring work trip is on the agenda. And an ALDHA-led search for missing hiker Geraldine Largay (in photo at top left) is also on the horizon.

The Directory: Those whose dues were in good standing received their copy by now. The booklet lists every single member, their address, phone, email, trail name and hiking resume. It's an invaluable guide if you're looking for a fellow hiker whose real name you don't know, or if you're looking for someone who recently hiked a trail you're interested in doing. It can even be used to help carpool to events like the fall Gathering.

Spring work trip: It will take place at Blackburn Trail Center in Virginia on April 23 to 25 and involve corridor boundary monitoring. For details, contact

Search for Geraldine Largay: Join us during the last week of May for a weeklong search for missing hiker Geraldine Largay, between Routes 4 and 27 in Maine (Rangeley to Stratton). The search is being organized by former ALDHA Coordinator Mike Wingeart, and we have the blessing of the Maine Warden Service to give it a shot. We will likely focus on the area north of where the major activity occurred last year. Contact Mike at 443-791-9196 if you'd like more information or would like to join us.

Week ending Jan. 18, 2014

Kip videoVisit the Thru-Hikers' Companion page to watch a new video of ALDHA Coordinator Kip Redick explaining why you should take along the Companion when you hit the A.T., whether it's for a short day hike, a section hike or a thru-hike. If you join ALDHA you can get a free copy of the PDF version of the guidebook. And of course you can also purchase a hard copy from either the ATC's Ultimate Trail Store or The ALDHA Store.

Week ending Jan. 11, 2014

RavenSome sad news to start the new year with word of the death of Ernst Banfield, aka "Raven." He was a perennial presence at Gatherings in the late '80s, 1990s and early 2000s. He thru-hiked the A.T. in 1985 with his wife "Sunshine" and when she died of cancer, he not only lost his hiking partner but also his soulmate. He composed a ballad as he hiked north in '85, a song that would be called "On the A.T." He performed it at many Gatherings until he was too ill to attend anymore. He would take a lot of photos at Gatherings and was always sure to send copies to ALDHA's coordinators. A Marine veteran, he conducted the first workshops at the Gathering geared specifically to veterans. In 1998 he was made an honorary life member of ALDHA, the highest honor we can bestow. He died Jan. 3 at age 84.

We'll have a fuller profile of Raven in the 2014 Membership Directory. For now his fellow hikers can visit this memorial website and leave their thoughts for his family to add to their collection of memories.


HOME      |      GATHERING      |      NEWSLETTER      |      COMPANION      |      STORE
ABOUT      |      JOIN      |      VOLUNTEER      |      GALLERY      |      LINKS      |     CONTACT US




Upcoming Events

ALDHA's 34th Gathering
Oct. 9-11 at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa.