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  • 06/03/2019 11:51 PM | James Gahn

    Ralph's Peak Hikers' Cabin Volunteers Celebrate 20 Year’s Service

    There are approximately 260 shelters/leantos along the 2,182-miles (or so) Georgia to Maine Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT). Many of them are named after the gaps, notches, or cols they are in: “Low Gap”, “Deep Gap”, “Carlo Col”; the knob, hill, mountain, ridge they are perched on; or the stream, brook, creek, pond, run, spring, or swamp they adjoin.

    Some are named after people: many of these are probably “memorials”. There's only one with the somewhat goofy name “Ralph's Peak Hikers' Cabin”. Word has it there are a few AT shelters where pizza can be delivered. The Cabin is one of them. But...how many AT shelters can offer the delivery of Chinese take-out??? Guess which one.

    How did this old, drab, cinder-block house become a beloved AT shelter, and, where did that goofy name come from???

    Back in the '70's

    The AT was slowly, inexorably being overrun, eaten-up by “progress”—condos, subdivisions, developments, malls—”civilization”.

    The National Trails System Act was passed in 1968 to protect the AT, and during the Johnson and Carter administrations the National Park Service began acquiring land to protect the actual footpath, and as much of its neighboring properties as possible: a “corridor”.

    In the '70's, just about all of the AT in Dutchess County, NY was on roads: cars, traffic, junk yard dogs abounded. Sometime back in the '70's (or '80's) the National Park Service acquired a small parcel of land on Hortontown Road in the Town of East Fishkill, New York. This served to link up the AT that now crossed Shenandoah Mountain to the newly-relocated Trail routed on Hosner Mountain, eliminating another long road walk. This acquisition included three structures: a sturdy cement block cabin, a frame cabin, and a garage.

    Enter into the discussions Ralph Ferrusi, a 1975 AT 2000-Miler, and a committed proponent for the development and protection of the AT. After finishing the Trail he began teaching local adult education “hiking” classes, that eventually evolved into week-long hikes on the AT.  In [1978] Freddie Schene, one of his students, showed up with a yellow t-shirt with fuzzy red letters proclaiming “RALPH'S PEAK HIKERS”. Pretty corny, but it stuck, and eventually Ralph's Peak Hikers became a bona-fide club. Many of the members became AT maintainers. The club still exists today as Ralph's Peak Hikers' Cabin Volunteers.

    After the Hortontown Road parcel was acquired, Ralph recognized the value of the cinder block cabin as—though atypical—an AT shelter. At that time there was no shelter for a very long stretch of Trail south of the Wiley Shelter all the way to the hiker-friendly Graymoor Monastery.

    Hair down to his shoulders, full beard, red bandana, cut-off jeans, he very famously proclaimed, out loud, into the woods: “That tharsa shelter!” The Peak Hikers adopted it, and Ralph's Peak Hikers' Cabin has been a very unique AT shelter ever since, hosting thousands of hikers, (thru, day, weekenders) from all over the country and all over the world. Over the years, Ralph has often told this story to hikers he's met on the Trail and at the Cabin, as an example of how one personcan make a difference:  Benton MacKaye had a great idea back in the 1920's that has had a huge positive effect on—think about it—millions

    At the RPH Cabin, hikers have easy access to food delivery and area towns for resupply and other needed services.


    In the Summer of 1998

    In the Summer of 1998, Ralph, his wife Kathy and Tim Messerich decided to spend a weekend in July at the Cabin performing what has been termed Trail Angel work for Thru hikers. They brought food and beverages to the hikers. This was the initial event that evolved into the Annual RPH Cabin BBQ and trail work weekend that has continued for the past 20 Years. In July, 1999, Tim and his cousin Mike brought grills to cook hot food. Over the years the BBQ has become a well known event to the thousands of thru hikers planning their treck on the Appalachian Trail National foot path.

    The 2019 BBQ and trail work weekend is scheduled for July 19 – 21. The appeal for volunteers to join the RPHCV club in this annual service weekend is announced. Contact Trail Work Leader at bascomgrillmaster@yahoo.comand (845)401-8817for complete information on the weekend’s activities and projects.      Website: https://sites.google.com/site/rphcabin/

  • 05/27/2019 10:46 AM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    ALDHA donates $1,000 to the Partnership for National Trails System at the AT Museum Hall of Fame Banquet.

  • 12/15/2018 7:44 AM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    Looking for Volunteers

    ALDHA will be conducting Two Boundary Work Trips this coming spring and we are in need of about 12 volunteers for each trip.

    We need smiling volunteers willing to bushwhack along the boundary of the A.T. to help with our effort to protect the Appalachian Trail. Work involves walking the boundary line cutting back vegetation, painting yellow blazes, and locating survey markers.

    We'll try to have a comfortable place for you to rest your head at night and meals will be funded by ALDHA. Speaking of which, a volunteer cook will also be needed!

    The camaraderie is great and you’ll leave knowing that you gave back to the trail.

    For the March 28-30, 2019 trip, we’ll be staying at the PATC Blackburn Trail Center, Virginia.

    From May 8-10, 2019 we'll be working  in the Harriman State Park, NY.

    If interested, contact ALDHA Work Trip Coordinator - Ron Bungay at ronbungay@verizon.net or call 410.627.6367

    Yellow Shoes would love to hear from you.

  • 12/12/2018 5:52 PM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    Summer 2019 Caretakers Needed for Blackburn Trail Center

    Owned and operated by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Blackburn Trail Center is located on the A.T. 12 miles south of Harpers Ferry. Blackburn is a premier stop for A.T. thru-hikers and day hikers alike. It is also used for Trail club meetings, crew work trips, training workshops, and large group rentals.

    The caretaker’s duties will include: maintaining the Trail Center, Hiker’s Cabin, and campground. Should have experience in offering comfort and company to weary A.T. hikers. Flexibility and ability to get along with wide variety of people a must! Prefer couple with knowledge of the A.T. and hikers’ needs. Stipend offered along with a fabulous summer experience.

    Dates runs from April 1 through October 31 though there is possibility of growing into full-time position.

    If interested, send a letter of application, resume’ and professional/personal references to:

    Chris Brunton
    P.O. Box 169
    Harpers Ferry WV 25425

    email: trailbossbtc@msn.com.

    If you have questions call Chris at: (703) 967-2226.

  • 12/04/2018 10:33 AM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    If it's you intention to hike all, or part of, one of the Triple Crown trails (AT, PCT, CDT) you'll want to check out one of the Mailing Labels pages. Each page has a quick glance of the mileage and recommended resupply locations, as well as the ability to print prefilled mailing labels. They also have a links page dedicated planning for each trail,  gear and cottage gear maker directories, and trail journals and videos from past hikers.

    Click on the image and check them out.

  • 12/01/2018 3:35 PM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    ...2019 Thru-Hikers Companion coming soon


  • 09/26/2018 8:13 PM | Tim Messerich

    Hello Fellow ALDHA Members,

    Tim Messerich here with the clubs report for our twentieth year working at RPH Cabin. Our event was held July 13,14,15. Due to unforeseen circumstances,ie hospital visits, work commitments and family affairs we had the lowest volunteer turn out in our club history.This low turnout did not affect the magnitude, nor the quantity of our of the work that was accomplish, as you will see!

     On May 15 about 4pm in the afternoon four tornadoes went thou Dutchess and Putnam county. And of course the AT was right in its path .The area just north of the cabin (Hooserner Mountain) two to four hundred trees down.     Not all of them on the trail itself but, a large chuck of trail had to be permanently rerouted. The trail was closed off for about a month until the sawyers could get a handle on the mess. 

     South of RPH Cabin going all the way to route  301 in Fahnestock State Park

    there were about 20 trees down. I hope your getting the picture? Now on to RPH..... The trail was completely blocked on both sides from the cabin to the  the out house. To top that off the Herold Fraude Hammack area was blocked also.Damage To the grounds was confined  to the Gerry Messerich Memorial Flower garden and the AT mileage sign.Both were repaired during our work week end. Now on to the trees, The massive 130 year old Oak tree,the bear bag wonder,took out  seven more trees and piled them 10 feet high across the trail. North or south bound hikers could not see the other section of the trail at all.

     With our small band of 20 of volunteers each day we managed to cut,stack,and completely cleanup the entire area. RPH Cabin area will never look the same. Thanks to the down Oak tree we now have a excellent sun rise view of Hooserner Mountain in the morning.!Plus our club members installed 15 new locust steps just south of Taconic Parkway. Bringing the grant total to 40 including last year's project. One fabulous job considering that all of the tree work that was going on at the same time. Two more projects were on going during the week end as well, Several planks on the boardwalk rotted out and were repaired. New trees that were planted prior to the tornadoes were cared for.( Yes we need them now).

       The following  clubs participated,

    ADK Mid Hudson Chapter

    ALDHA members

    Hike For Mental Health

    NY/NJ Trail Conference members

    Thur Hikers

    Ralphs Peak Hikers Cabin Volunteers Club

    The sponsors for the work week end as follows,

    LLBean grant for 8x8 Locust Timbers $ 1000.00

    ADK Mid Hudson Chapter, $500,00 for new trees

    Thall Industries Inc Fishkill NY, Crushed Stone

     Chelsea Forest Products Wappinger Falls,NY. Boardwalk Lumber.

    Appalachian Long Distance Hiking Association $ 500.00

      The club is most grateful for the continued support that ALDHA has shown us in the past seven years. This years ALDHA donation was spent on food for the trail workers.Thank you very much.

     As all way RPHCVC members will be hitting the trail this fall to check on the cabin and to make sure the trail is in excellent condition.

    Thank You as all ways.

    Tim Messerich,

    ALDHA Honorary Life Member

    Founder , Past President, and current Crew Leader Ralphs Peck Hikers Volunteer Club

  • 09/16/2018 12:50 PM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    Bring a sample of your favorite baked goods to ALDHA Central by Friday afternoon/evening (to be eaten at the Friday evening reception) for a chance to win an REI gift card!

  • 08/27/2018 8:42 AM | Robert Sylvester (Administrator)

    Manchester, Vermont- September 1

    Millinocket, Maine- September 14-16 

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