For more info check out the Summer newsletter https://aldha.org/newsletter


FEATURE PRESENTATION

Click the image above to watch a trailer for the documentary that will make its debut on Saturday night at the Gathering. It features Josh, Cassie and their son Harvey on their thru-hike last year. Harvey turned 5 on the trail and needed special permission to climb Mount Katahdin because he was under 6 years old.

REGISTRATION

There's a $20 registration fee to attend the Gathering. Sign up in advance and be entered in an early bird drawing for a chance to win some great door prizes. All the forms you need are on this web page, in the right rail:

Alternatively, you can register when you arrive. Registration will be open throughout the weekend, starting at noon on Friday. When you register or check in, you'll receive a Gathering packet.  Included will be a program and details about the workshops scheduled throughout the weekend. 


THE PROGRAM 

Friday Night

We aim to have an exciting program for the weekend, which starts Friday night, Oct. 7, and runs through Sunday night, Oct. 9. Then on Monday the 10th, a national holiday, we’ll have our traditional post-Gathering work trip ready to roll so you can continue the ALDHA magic and give back to the trail in the company of your trail family.
Our hope right now is to have a special guest open the Gathering with a unique rendition of the Gathering song by the late Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, followed by one or two other of Jim’s songs, all while a slide show of images from the past four decades of ALDHA will play on the big screen.
We used to have testimonials at the start of a Gathering, so we’ll offer something similar inspired by Walkin’ Jim and which fits the anni­versary theme of our weekend.
We’ll ask members of each A.T. class of hikers to stand up in our traditional roll call, going from 2021 back in time to the last person standing, who we expect will be marking the 50th anniversary of his thru-hike, a rarity at the Gathering. That will be followed by the in­troduction of the class of 2022, whose members will come up on stage to take a bow and later receive ALDHA certificates of congratulations and an “I Hiked ALDHA Way” patch.
We’ll hand out the still fairly new Billy Goat Awards to hikers who have logged 25,000 or more hiking miles under their hip belts, and as part of that, we’ll have a special surprise presentation that is altogether fitting for the opening night of our celebration of 40 years of ALDHA.


Saturday Night – Feature Presentation

The feature presentation on Saturday night will be the premiere of a new film from Josh, Cassie and Harvey Sutton about their 2021 thru-hike. The Suttons were a big hit at last year’s Gathering, where their son, “Little Man,” seen above, stole the show. Their workshop was standing room only. A film about their hike is being compiled right now and will be ready in time for you to see it at the Gathering.

Sunday NightKirk Sinclair

A unique program will be presented for the Sunday night closing of the 40th Gathering in Williamstown, Mass., on Oct. 9.

For the first time ever at an ALDHA Gathering, we’ll be treated to a symphony — the American Discovery Symphony — which was composed by longtime ALDHA member Kirk Sinclair while he and his wife Cindy were hiking across country on the American Discovery Trail, from California to Delaware.

Described as a mix between an orchestral travelogue and love story, the composition will include recorded performances of the piece by a quasi-symphony orchestra, accompanied by Sinclair singing and playing songs live on his guitar. The symphonic journal combines music with photos, sound effects and interviews that were recorded during the couple’s journey.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Sinclars’ 5,000-mile cross-continental trek, which lasted one full year plus one day.

As mentioned at the start, the sympony is part love song, from husband to wife. They met while hiking the Appalachian Trail as part of Warren Doyle’s 1980 A.T. expedition, fell in love and got married.

In 2011, after doctors could not explain a decline in Cindy’s cognitive abilities, the Sinclairs decided a long-distance hike might improve her brain health. They started May 23, 2011, at Point Reyes, Calif., hiked through the Great Basin Desert in summer, over the Rocky Mountains and onto the western Plains in the fall. They crossed the eastern Plains in winter and headed toward the Discovery Trail’s end at Cape Henlopen, Del., in the spring.

At the beginning, Cindy could not help set up the tent or record her own journal entries. But she could feel her health improve as the miles passed, and by the end of the journey she could set up the tent by herself and compose pages of journal entries. From Delaware, they headed back to the A.T. and hiked north to Norfolk, Conn., about 20 minutes by car from Salisbury. They arrived home on May 24, 2012.

After they returned home, Cindy’s health reverted to its downward spiral, and Kirk is now a full-time caregiver. Cindy is in her fourth year of at-home hospice care.

One of the ways Kirk coped with the stress was to sit down and compose his symphony. The work is in five movements that depict themes the couple experienced in their walk across America: Beauty, Culture, Kindness, Joy and Journey.

He performed it earlier this year, on the exact 10th anniversary of their completion of the Discovery Trail. He recruited about 37 musicians to play the various instruments, and he presented the piece to about 150 people gathered at the music shed of the Yale Summer Music School in his hometown of Norfolk, Conn.
He won’t have the musicians with him when he presents the symphony Sunday night at the Gathering, but he does have those parts recorded for this presentation. It’s Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Berhnard Hall on the Williams College campus.

Weekend Highlights

Workshops will be offered all weekend long featuring trails that have not been presented recently, as well as traditional subjects like the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide and of course, the Appalachian Trail. (Ever since the first Gathering in 1982, a core goal of the weekend has been to help “dreamers” successfully complete an A.T. thru-hike.)
We’ll return another past tradition with a session devoted to a controversial trail issue. This year it’ll be the proposal to extend the A.T.’s southern terminus from Springer in Georgia to Cheaha in Alabama, and Nimblewill Nomad will present his views. Proponents of an extension of the Pinhoti Trail to connect with the A.T. will also be presented.
Another workshop will take a look at what the future may hold for ALDHA in its next 40 years. Bring your ideas to this free-wheeling workshop.


Gathering Coordinators

Program  Bill O'Brien

Facilities  Jim Niedbalski

Hiker Fair— Vera Hurst

Contact the Gathering program coordinator at gathering@aldha.org with any questions.


OTHER ACTIVITIES

'I Hiked ALDHA Way' 

I Hiked ALDHA WayIf you've recently completed the A.T., please be sure to let us know at the registration table so we can recognize you during our Friday night program. We'll call you up on stage to take a group bow and pose for a group photo, and afterward you'll  receive an "I Hiked ALDHA Way" patch and certificate, compliments of your friends in ALDHA.


Hiker Fair

Here you'll find ALDHA Central (the registration desk, the ALDHA Store, lost and found, etc.), the A.T. Museum exhibit,  exhibits from various trail clubs, vendors, and authors, the photo contest, and the apple contest. Vendors and exhibitors should register online using the form in the right hand column to set up a table at the fair.


Used Gear Sale

The used gear/clothing sale at the 38th Gathering in Williamstown in 2019 was popular and successful, so we’re doing it again for our 40th Gathering.

The used clothing/gear sale will be on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hiker Fair, Greylock Hall, on the campus of Williams College.  We'll do a 50/50 member/ALDHA split.

All items must be clean, not stinky, and in decent and/or working condition.

 On Friday, Oct. 7, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m., participants can check in their items at Greylock Hall. You’ll fill out a numbered tag with a very brief item description and the price (price it to sell, and the price is final – ALDHA volunteers will not negotiate prices.) Your cell phone number is optional. Affix the tag to the item. You’ll retain the numbered bottom portion to later retrieve your cash or item. If you want to donate your 50 percent portion of the sale price to ALDHA, please write a visible “A” on the tag.

We have an ALDHA member who runs a high school outing program who may be willing to take some unsold items. If you’d like to donate your unsold item to this program or possibly another outing program, write a visible “D” on the tag.  

 You can check in at the sale to see if your items sold and to retrieve your cash, up until 5 pm Saturday. Though the sale is officially scheduled for just Saturday, an ALDHA volunteer will be at Greylock Hall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9 to assist in the retrieval of items and dispense sales money.

All sales are cash only.

Very important: ALDHA cannot keep any of these items. The high school outing program will not necessarily take every unsold item. Please, you have to check on and, if necessary, retrieve your unsold items later Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon. Thanks in advance for complying with this.

 For questions, contact Jim Niedbalski, Gathering facilities coordinator, at jimniedbalski@aol.com.


Photo Contest

Miss Janet, Katahdin

The Earl Shaffer Memorial Photo Contest is now accepting digital photo submissions.  To enter, complete the photo contest form and upload your image from your phone or computer.  Submissions may be related to any trail, not just the A.T. Printed images should be submitted as digital files.  

You may enter up to 4 separate submissions. Photos will be shared on the  website and winners will be announced at the Gathering and awarded ALDHA store gear.

Prizes will be awarded in four categories: (click to view)

  1. Beauty and grandeur.
  2. Wildlife and flora.
  3. Trail humor.
  4. Trail community.

Entries must be received by Oct. 6, 2022.


Apple Contest

Sue SpringBack by popular demand is the Apple Contest. Bring your sweet, gigantic, or miniature apples when you register, or to ALDHA Central on Saturday morning. Please provide your name, contact info, and the state the apples came from. Judging will be Saturday afternoon and the winners will be announced at the Saturday evening program. Prizes will be awarded.


Raffle

Raffle Tickets

In addition to the pre-registration door prizes mentioned above, we will be conducting a raffle throughout the weekend. Tickets will be available in ALDHA Central or from Jill Byrd, ALDHA Treasurer.


Trail Jeopardy

A special edition of Trail Jeopardy will be prepared for this 40th Gathering, so recruit your 3-person teams now. Beef up your knowledge of trail trivia and ALDHA history, and devise a cool name for your team. We'll have 3 teams of 3 people each competing. It's a lot of fun to watch, not just to compete.


Elections

VoteA number of positions on the ALDHA board will be up for election at this year.  Nominations and elections will be held online prior to the Gathering and results  will be announced at the annual business meeting on Sunday morning. 

We encourage all Gathering attendees to join us  Sunday morning for the annual business meeting. It's a great way to see who the leaders of our organization are and learn more about ALDHA.

We'll also use the Sunday business meeting to possibly present our Honorary Life Membership Award to deserving recipients. And we will likely have at least one major resolution to debate and decide, growing out of a Saturday workshop on the proposal to extend the southern terminus of the A.T. from Springer in Georgia to Cheaha Mountain in Alabama.


Group Photo 

The group photo will be taken immediately after the annual business meeting. The location will be announced over the weekend.



Monday Work Trip

Work Trip





ADDITIONAL INFO

CAMPING

Free tenting will be available on the rolling fields of triple-crowner Eric White, a couple of miles south of Williamstown off of Route 7.

The field has a sweeping view of the western side of the Mount Greylock range and looks spectacular at sunset, especially if the fall colors are still vibrant that early weekend of October (Oct. 7-10). It also looks awesome in the morning as the rising sun peeks out from behind the northern edge of the range.

Port-a-potties will be set up; a garden hose will be available at Eric's house for water; and parking will be provided.

Eric's barn at the parking area will be ALDHA Central on Friday afternoon, Oct. 7, and there will also be free food served in that area from 3-5 p.m. On each night, there will be a campfire over near the tentsite, so when you pitch your tent, the farther from the fire pit, the quieter it will be, but pack your earplugs regardless.

LODGING

Here’s the info on motels, restaurants, grocery stores and other services, compliments of the 2022 A.T. Thru-Hikers’ Companion and several hours of extra research. (Note: State Road in North Adams is Route 2, as is Main Street in Williamstown.)

MOTELS & HOTELS
Cozy Corner Motel, 284 Sand Springs Road, Williamstown, 413-458-8006
Northside Motel, 45 North St., Williamstown, 413-458-8107
Williams Inn, 101 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-9371
Williamstown Motel, 95 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-5202
The Willows Motel, 480 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-5768
Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, 430 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-7333
The 1896 House Inn and Country Lodgings, 910 Cold Spring Road (Route 7), Williamstown, 413-458-1896
Tourists hotel, 915 State Road, North Adams, 413-346-4933
Howard Johnson by Wyndham, 213 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-8158
Maple Terrace Motel, 555 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-9677


FOOD

CAMPUS DINING HALL
Due to staffing shortages and other issues at Williams College, only two meals will be available, and only 100 tickets will be available for each meal. The meals are Saturday breakfast and Sunday lunch, and both will be served in Driscoll Dining Hall, not in Whitman's inside Paresky Student Center. Those who purchased a 5-meal plan in advance will get tickets to those two meals, plus a refund for the other meals that were part of that original package. If any tickets are available they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

RESTAURANTS
The Spring Street Market and Cafe, 66 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-6192
Purple Pub, 65 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-0095
Blue Mango, 27 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-0004
Spice Root, 23 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-5200
Tony’s Sombrero, 69 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-344-5121
Papa Charlie’s Deli, 28 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-5969
The Log by Ramunto’s, 78 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-884-6073
Pero Bistro, 60 Spring St., Williamstown, 413-458-8676
The Barn Kitchen & Bar, 103 Spring St., Williamstown, 978-784-7602
Water Street Grill, 123 Water St., Williamstown, 413-458-2175
Hot Tomatoes Pizza, 100 Water St., Williamstown, 413-458-2722
Gramercy Bistro, 16 Water St., Williamstown, 413-458-6222
Olympic Pizza, 460 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-0055
Chop Sticks, 412 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-5750
Desperados, 246 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-2100
Moonlight Diner, 408 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-3305
Dunkin’ Donuts, 361 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-1877
Subway, 384 Main St., Williamstown, 413-458-7014
Oriental Buffet, 245 State Road, North Adams, 413-663-2888
Trail House Kitchen, 896 State Road, North Adams, 413-412-1090
Renee's Diner, 780 Massachusetts Ave., North Adams, 413-664-2070
Dunkin’ Donuts, 5 Union St., North Adams, 413-662-2274

GROCERIES
Super Stop & Shop with ATM, pharmacy, Western Union and bank, 876 State Road (Route 2), 413-664-8100; open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. except Sunday (9 p.m.)
Cumberland Farms, 446 Main St., Williamstown


SHOWERS

Showers will be available in the old gym that's on the south side of Route 2, at the top of the business strip. It's within walking distance from Griffin Hall and other points on campus, but there is also parking available if you get there early in the morning. Hours will be posted in the program.


OTHER SERVICES

Bonanza Peter Pan bus line, 800-343-9999
American Cab & Livery, 413-662-2000
Thrifty Bundle Coin laundry, 255 State Road, North Adams
Williamstown Wash & Wi-Fi, Willow Lane, Williamstown


EMERGENCY SERVICES

--Berkshire Medical Center North Adams Satellite Emergency Facility, 71 Hospital Ave., North Adams, 413-664-5000 (open 24/7/365)
--Southwestern Vermont Health Care Urgent Care facility, 856 State Road, North Adams, (next to Stop & Shop), 413-727-8088, 8-8 daily, veterinarian also available.
--Williamstown Police Department, 31 North St., Williamstown, 413-458-5733 (dial 911 for emergencies only)
--Williams College campus security, 413-597-4444


PETS

Service animals will be allowed at all events. Dogs must be on a leash at all times, and any gifts dropped on the ground must be cleaned up immediately and disposed of properly. 


RESPECT

We probably don't need to even mention this, but please be respectful of our hosts at the facility, the townspeople and your fellow Gathering attendees. And please let the workshop presenters, and event volunteers know that you appreciate their hard work.


VOLUNTEERS

We're always looking for volunteers to help with activities and contests at the Gathering. If you're interested in volunteering, email gathering@aldha.org.


PSA

No Plastic BottlesIn 1990, it was agreed Styrofoam would no longer be supplied or used at ALDHA functions. In 2020, at the board's request, single-use plastic, including water bottles, will be discouraged from use during the Gathering. Please plan accordingly. 


Gathering Registration Form

GatheringSign up for the Gathering, and join or renew in ALDHA all in one swoop, by following this link to the Events page.

Workshop Presenters Form

Jark TarlinWould 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.

Hiker Fair Exhibitors Form

Backpacking GearIf 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.

Trail Completion Signup Form

I HIked ALDHA WayClick here to fill out an online form if you have finished the A.T. this past year and plan to attend the Gathering. On Friday night, we'll call you up on stage to present a special "I Hiked ALDHA Way" patch and certificate from ALDHA, to congratulate you before your peers. Open to active members and Gathering attendees only.

Link To Past Programs


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.

The Gathering Song

Walkin' Jim Stoltz

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. 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



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