Add to Calendar 10/09/2020 12:00 PM 10/12/2020 10:00 AM America/New_York 39th Annual ALDHA Gathering The 39th Annual ALDHA Gathering of long-distance hikers, friends and A.T. dreamers will convene Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-12 Abingdon, Va.
The 39th annual Gathering of long-distance hikers, friends and A.T. dreamers will reconvene on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-12, 2020 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.
Details of events at this years Gathering will be added over the next several months...
There's a $20 registration fee to attend the Gathering. Sign up in advance to 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: the Gathering registration form, the workshop/presenter form, the hiker fair exhibitor form, and the 2,000-miler recognition form.
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. Registration will be located in lobby of HrEd on Friday and in ALDHA Central on Saturday.
Saturday Night – Feature Presentation
Triple Crowner, Jessica “Dixie” Mills, will be joining us this year. Dixie thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2015, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017 and Continental Divide Trail 2018. From over a year and a half of living in the woods, she learned that many of nature’s lessons can be applied to everyday life. Dixie will be sharing those, along with some memorable trail stories, during her keynote presentation.
Contact the Gathering program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Program — Vera Hurst
Facilities — Chris Vores
Campsite — TBA
In 1990, it was agreed Styrofoam would no longer be supplied or used at ALDHA functions. In 2020, at the boards request, single use plastic, including water bottles will be discouraged from use during the Gathering. Please plan according.
'I Hiked ALDHA Way'
If 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 and present your certificate. See details about the "I Hiked ALDHA Way" patch and certificate on this page of the website. You must be at the Gathering to receive your patch and certificate.
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.
The Earl Shaffer Memorial Photo Contest is now accepting digital photo submissions and short videos! To enter, complete the Photo Contest Form and upload your image or video from your phone or computer. Printed images should be submitted as digital files.
You may enter up to 5 separate submissions. Entries must be received by September 30, 2020. Photos and videos will be shared on the ALDHA website, where the general public can vote on their favorites.
Prizes will be awarded in five categories:
1) Trail beauty and grandeur.
2) Trail wildlife or flora.
3) Trail Humor.
4) Trail community (including hikers, maintainers, trail angels, hostel staff, etc.)
Submissions may be related to any trail, not just the A.T. Winners will be announced at the Gathering, and awarded ALDHA Store gear.
Back 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.
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.
Prior to the Saturday evening program we will draw the winning tickets and give out $250 worth of prizes from the ALDHA Store to the winners. We'll award one prize of $25 in merchandise, three prizes of $50 in merchandise, and one prize of $75 in merchandise.
All proceeds will go to help defray Gathering costs, and to a trail project if there are excess funds. This will be a fun way to help support the Gathering and other ALDHA projects.
A number of positions on the ALDHA board will be up for election at this year's Gathering, and new members will be needed to fill the roles of those who wish to step down. Elections will be held Sunday morning at the general meeting. Please contact the coordinator if you are interested in serving on the board.
We encourage all Gathering attendees to join us Sunday morning. It's a great way to see who the leaders of our organization are and to learn more about ALDHA.
Monday Work Trip
On Monday, Oct. 12, we'll have our usual work trips.
Trip details to be announced
Catered meals will be available on campus and can be purchased with online registration or on campus.
Where to stay
In addition to free camping in the field right next to the HrEd, there are several area motels
The group photo will be taken immediately after the annual meeting.
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.
Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center is ADA accessible. An ADA accessible portable toilet will be available at the campsite.
Not alcohol allowed on campus, but reasonable alcohol consumption will be allowed at the campfire.
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, Board members, and event volunteers know that you appreciate their hard work.
We're always looking for volunteers to help with activities and contests at the Gathering. If you're interested in volunteering, email email@example.com.
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.
Click 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.
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
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.
by Walkin' Jim Stoltz, 2001