For more info check out the Summer newsletter https://aldha.org/newsletter
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.
DIRECTIONS TO CAMPSITE
From the West via Upstate New YorkTake Route 2 East to Williamstown. At intersection with Route 7, turn right onto 7 and go south. Turn right onto Woodcock Road, then right onto Oblong. The driveway to the campsite will be on your left in half a mile.
From Interstate 90 / Mass PikeTake Exit 2 for Route 20 North. Keep going north on Route 7 to Williamstown. After passing intersection with Route 43, look for Woodcock Road on your left, the third road past Mount Greylock High School on left. From Woodcock Road, turn right onto Oblong Road, and the driveway to the campsite will be on left in half a mile.
From Interstate 91From north or south, take Exit 26 for Route 2 — the Mohawk Trail — and head west for 45 miles to Williamstown. Pass through campus, go around the rotary and take Route 7 South. Stay on Route 7 and turn right onto Woodcock Road, then right onto Oblong. The driveway to the campsite will be on your left in half a mile.
GPS for the campsite:
Here are the coordinates if using GPS:
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Program — Bill O'Brien
Facilities — Jim Niedbalski
Hiker Fair— Vera Hurst
Contact the Gathering program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
'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. 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.
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 email@example.com.
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)
Entries must be received by Oct. 6, 2022.
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 or from Jill Byrd, ALDHA Treasurer.
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.
A 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.
The group photo will be taken immediately after the annual business meeting. The location will be announced over the weekend.
Monday Work Trip
CAMPINGFree 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.
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.)
CAMPUS DINING HALL
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.
Bonanza Peter Pan bus line, 800-343-9999
--Berkshire Medical Center North Adams Satellite Emergency Facility, 71 Hospital Ave., North Adams, 413-664-5000 (open 24/7/365)
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.
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.
We're always looking for volunteers to help with activities and contests at the Gathering. If you're interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 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.
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. Open to active members and Gathering attendees only.
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