The ALDHA Newsletter

Summer 2022

Here is the summer newsletter that's packed with a lot of information about the fall Gathering, which is coming up fast. It includes a link to a video trailer for the feature presentation on Saturday night by the Suttons, who thru-hiked the A.T. in 2021 with their 5-year-old son, Harvey "Little Man" Sutton. In this newsletter you can find the latest news about meals (this is a major development) and other details, from workshops to showers.

Here's the link to the 36-page PDF.

There are other stories in this newsletter, including news about an ALDHA work trip at Rusty's Hard Time Hollow in Virginia, a new interactive map of the A.T. at the A.T. Museum, and the itinerary of events at the A.T. Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 1. That event will feature a talk by ALDHA founder Warren Doyle reflecting on his 50-year love affair with the Appalachian Trail. (The 50-year anniversary of his first thru-hike is next year, in 2023.)

Bill O'Brien


Spring 2022

Major news to report with this issue of the ALDHA newsletter: Our featured speaker on Saturday night will be extreme adventurer and world record-holder Colin O'Brady. He will bring his dynamic presentation to the stage of the '62 Arts Center on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., on Saturday night, Oct. 8, 2022. We expect this program alone will spur pre-registration for the Gathering, and our seating capacity at the Williams venue is not unlimited, so register now (It's just $20 for the whole weekend, with your meals separate) at this page. It will likely be a ticketed event, and you won't get a ticket unless you pay your Gathering registration fee.

We are excited to have Colin join us for this, our 40th anniversary Gathering. The Gathering will open on Friday night, Oct. 7, with the premiere of a new documentary on the 2021 thru-hike of the Sutton Family, including 5-year-old Harvey Sutton, aka "Little Man." He and his parents will be on stage after they show their new movie to answer any questions.

Here's the link to the 48-page PDF.

Other information about the October Gathering is also in this newsletter, including all the forms you'll need to sign up to do a workshop, take part in the hiker fair, and register to receive a free certificate and patch if you've just completed hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. There's also a story about the ALDHA member who'll be the emcee for this year's A.T. Hall of Fame induction ceremony; photos and stories from Trail Days '22; a look back at ALDHA history and how it's been 20 years already since the passing of Earl Shaffer; a full and complete set of ALDHA's bylaws, appearing for the first time in the newsletter; and a feature story on Brad Sasser, an ALDHA board member who is ministering to A.T. hikers on the trail in the South.

Enjoy this edition. And please help spread the word about Colin O'Brady coming to the Gathering.

Bill O'Brien

Winter 2021-22

Better late than never. Things have been delayed on several fronts but you can check off the newsletter from that list. It carries the announcement of our feature presentation on the Saturday night of this fall's Gathering, as well as a few other Gathering-related details inside. 

There's a reminiscence of "Little Ottie" Cline Powell, the boy who got lost from his schoolmates in Virginia in early November 1891 and was found months later on top of Bluff Mountain in Virginia. Hikers pass by the memorial that marks the spot his body was found 130 years ago this year.

Here's the link to the 44-page PDF.

There is also a story about the effort underway in Alabama to move the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Cheaha Mountain in Alabama, the highest point in that state. Alabama officials and some trail proponents have largely been citing economic reasons for the move, but its prospects face an uphill climb, not to mention vehement opposition from Alabama's most well-known hiker, ALDHA member Nimblewill Nomad.

There are also updates on the A.T. Hall of Fame's latest inductees and their induction ceremony, a look back at ALDHA Gatherings from 20, 25 and 30 years ago, and an introduction to ALDHA's new suicide-prevention program, Local Assistance for Depression and Diminished Emotional Resilience, or LADDER.

Hope you enjoy this issue.

Bill O'Brien

Fall 2021

2021 Fall NewletterA new edition of the ALDHA newsletter has a photo spread on this year's fall Gathering, stories and photos about a recent ALDHA work trip, ALDHA's presentation of a copy of the plaque at Springer Mountain to the A.T. Museum, a new Benton MacKaye exhibit at the museum and the A.T. Hall of Fame induction. There are news updates on various members of ALDHA, plus an informative look at how one of ALDHA's premier lightweight backpackers was able to get out from under a 100-pound pack when he first hit the A.T. 

We have a piece remembering the late Bob and Rose Goss who both died this year, and another installment of our new column looking back at ALDHA history -- 5, 10, 20, 25 and 30 years ago. 

Here's the link to the 52-page PDF.

There are also some new items in the ALDHA Store, a batch of minutes to get caught up on, a new coordinator and board members to learn about, and invitations to attend both the Northern Ruck in January and our 40th anniversary Gathering in Williamstown in the fall.

Hope you enjoy this issue.

Bill O'Brien

Summer 2021

Summer Newsletter The summer edition of the ALDHA newsletter is now available, chock full of details about this fall's Gathering in Abingdon, Va., over Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 8-11

If you haven't registered yet, now would be a good time. There are lots of reasons why you should go, not the least of which we all missed last year's Gathering because of COVID. Returning this fall, we have a lot of great speakers, workshops and other things in store for the weekend. Read about it in Vera Hurst's comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know, including directions (Page 6) and the details on meal tickets (Page 8).

Here's the link to the 48-page PDF.

The summer newsletter also has the scoop on this year's elections, which will be conducted virtually this year, through email and snail mail, with the results announced during the Gathering. Understand the deadlines and what you have to do by reading our complete rundown of this year's balloting.

Also in this edition is a story and picture package on Trail Days, a story and photo spread on ALDHA's outreach efforts so far this year; an analysis of how many hikers defied various roadblocks to thru-hiking during the pandemic last year (you'll be surprised by the number of intrepid souls out there); a story about a yucky subject regarding Leave No Trace; and a reminder that tickets are now on sale for this fall's A.T. Hall of Fame Banquet which will see the induction of ALDHA Founder Warren Doyle as well as the late Walkin' Jim Stoltz.

If that's not enough, we have pages and pages of minutes to plow through, and another installment of "This Date in ALDHA History" looking back 5, 10, 20, 25 and 30 years ago in our organization. (Your first reaction might be: "It's already been five years since that happened?")

We also want to share the news that The Long Distance Hiker won a major award for last year's editions in a national competition, the first time we entered the contest since 2016, when we won it all.

So congratulations, and thanks, to all who keep contributing to your newsletter.

Bill O'Brien

Spring 2021

Here's the spring edition of The Long Distance Hiker, a newsmagazine of all things ALDHA with a few side trails thrown in for good measure. We are happy to unveil with this edition the Class of 2021 in the A.T. Hall of Fame, four individuals spanning a wide range of the history of the Appalachian Trail. They'll be inducted Nov. 20 along with last year's inductees. They are all profiled beginning on Page 13.

This edition sets a record at 72 pages. Print a copy and
take your time. We hope you'll find it worth your while. The centerpiece of this edition is a 21-page spread on the Gathering ... Not this year's Gathering per se, but the Gathering in general. We hope to inspire you to attend this year's Gathering with reminiscences of our 38 previous get-togethers. One story in particular will whet your appetite for this fall's Gathering workshops.

Speaking of gearing up for the Gathering, we have a story by Martha Wingeart about ALDHA's first trail magic of the spring at Gooch Gap in Georgia, where we fed this year's first big wave of thru-hikers with information about ALDHA, the Gathering and, yes, lots of food.

We also have stories about a variety of other topics: our educational outreach program known as HASTE; a serious discussion about post-trail depression convened by Odie; a donation by ALDHA to the Waynesboro Public Library that will greatly benefit hikers; a review of the late Tom Johnson's long-awaited history of the A.T.; the hiring of a 2016 thru-hiker as the new manager of the A.T. Museum; the 10th anniversary of our recognition of successful A.T. thru-hikers; and another Leave No Trace article, this one dealing with mud season.

Besides Martha Wingeart, other bylines include Ken Bunning, Larry Luxenberg, Ron Tipton, Penny Van, Vera Hurst, Jim Foster, Lorrie Preston, Mary Holmes, Chris Vores, Pete Lane, Peter and Joyce Cottrell, Don Hirsohn and yes, the late Tom Johnson, Walkin' Jim Stoltz and Benton MacKaye. Photos came from Dennis Newton, Mike Wingeart, Ken Bunning, Dean Clark, the ATC, AT Museum, ALDHA archives and elsewhere.

Many thanks to all who contributed.

Bill O'Brien

Winter 2020-21

The winter newsletter is now online. It’s 44 pages long and includes

  • info about the new plaque that ALDHA installed at Mount Oglethorpe,
  • the ATC request that hikers again refrain from thru-hiking,
  • an in-depth look at the A.T.’s premier research library,
  • a review of Leave No Trace principles as they pertain to winter hiking, 
  • and a roundup of the various awards ALDHA hands out. 

It also has the latest news on the A.T. Hall of Fame banquet. 

Fall 2020

The fall edition of The Long Distance Hiker newsletter has been uploaded on what would have been the weekend of the 39th annual Gathering. The cover of this issue is especially appropriate for the occasion. (Click the cover at right to open the file as a PDF.)

Inside this edition is a story that will remind you to go on our website,, and vote in this year's election of board members. In addition to bios on every candidate, there are face photos so you can see who the candidates are. They are listed in alphabetical order. Vote for any four of the seven candidates for member-at-large. (Two officer positions will be filled by acclamation, since only one candidate for each office -- treasurer and membership secretary -- was nominated, and both of them are the incumbents.)

Also inside this newsletter is an in-depth look at a new exhibit being prepared for the A.T. Museum that will be part of next year's centennial celebration of Benton MacKaye's "Big Idea" -- the proposal for an Appalachian Trail. The exhibit is a re-creation of MacKaye's office and study, a room he dubbed Sky Parlor. Find out the special friend of MacKaye's who'll be part of the display.

Read about the elevation of a former ALDHA coordinator to much loftier heights; see how to properly take a dog on a hiking trail; and catch up on what some members have been doing recently.There's also a special section devoted to book reviews of titles that will get you pumped up to go back outside when you feel it's safe. Five different books, most by ALDHA authors, are reviewed.

Enjoy the newsletter. We hope, in a small way, it helps to make up for the camaraderie we're missing from this year's postponed Gathering.

Bill O'Brien

Summer 2020

Spring 2020

The spring contains a story and lots of photos of this year's four inductees into the A.T. Hall of Fame, including ALDHA founder Warren Doyle and the late Walkin' Jim Stoltz; a profile of the featured speaker at this fall's Gathering, Jessica "Dixie" Mills; stories about the Southern and Northern Rucks; and a detailed story about how the threat of coronavirus has virtually shut down the Appalachian Trail, including most thru-hikes.

Fall-Winter 2019-20

Photos and stories from the 38th Gathering are in this issue of the ALDHA newsletter. The e-edition is 24 pages.

New Coordinator Ken Bunning has an eye-opening story on what the future may hold for A.T. hikers storing their food at shelters and campsites. The safety of both hikers and critters — namely bears — is at stake.

There is also news on the A.T. Museum: it is now the lessee and operator of the Ironmaster's Mansion Hostel in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pa.  The ALDHA board will have its spring meeting there in April.

Those who wish to contribute to the newsletter are encouraged to send their text in a simple email, preferably with high-resolution photos attached, to Please include the word “newsletter” in the subject line.

Summer 2019

Fall/Winter 2018

Fall-Winter 2018

Winter/Spring 2018

Stories about the May 4 A.T. Hall of Fame induction, this year's Trail Days, theWinter-Spring 2018 Southern and Northern Rucks, ALDHA work trips, the ALDHA Care hostel cleanup, and other handy information about ALDHA are contained in the 48 pages of this issue. Near the front is a special invitation to not only attend this year's Gathering but to put on a workshop as well. We also have additional news from the A.T. Museum, and a nice feature from an ALDHA couple who hope their words and pictures entice fellow members to explore trails in Europe besides the Camino de Santiago.

We also have updated versions of the ALDHA Almanac and ALDHA Store, including a special tribute to the A.T. Thru-hikers' Companion on its 25th anniversary, minutes from board meetings in October, some free stuff and four pages of financial statements from 2017.

One final note: The back page is a poster for the Gathering. It's designed for you to print it out (on heavy, bright colorful paper if you can!) and post it someplace where hikers will see it, preferably in stores and businesses near the trail. Do not put it in shelters or anywhere on the A.T. itself, thank you. Your help in getting the word out will be greatly appreciated.'


Fall/Winter 2017

With apologies to all, a new ALDHA newsletter is now online. The black andFall-Winter 2017 white version was sent to the printers last week and is in the process of being printed and mailed. Juggling more demands on my time at my full-time job have eroded the amount of time for anything else so this was a chore like you wouldn't believe. Getting two days off a week is essential for devoting time to the ALDHA newsletter, and that just doesn't happen often. Hoping things will change in 2018.

This newsletter has news and lots of photos from the Gathering, as well as updates on the Companion, elections, the Directory and the A.T. Museum. We have a couple of poignant remembrances of past ALDHA members, and a reprint of a story on the founding of ALDHA that was written for our 20th anniversary and is repeated here on our 35th. Click the image of the cover to open the PDF version of this edition.

-- Bill

Summer 2017 

It's the summer issue of the ALDHA newsletter and it contains all the latestSummer 2017 information about our premier event of the year, the fall Gathering, which will be Oct. 6 through 9 in Abingdon, Va.

The Gathering information includes a map and directions, some details about the workshops, news about a contest involving patches, and an interesting history lesson about the historic ground where our Saturday night campfire will occur.

There's an in-depth look at one of this year's inductees into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame, an exciting proposition from Coordinator Ron Burger about how ALDHA can celebrate next year's 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, and a unique overview of the A.T. that helps unlock some of the secrets of the trail.

We have numerous reports on ALDHA activities including Trail Days in Virginia, the Flip Flop Festival in West Virginia, Hard Core in Virginia, ALDHA Care in Maine, the RPH work trip in New York, and the Duncannon A.T. Festival in Pennyslvania. For those of you who hiked the trail in 1985, we have a special treat with news about some home movies you may not have seen in more than 30 years, if ever, that feature familiar faces like Warren Doyle, Ed Garvey, Jean Cashin, Keith and Pat Shaw and Bonnie Shipe.

Click the image of the cover to open the PDF version of this edition.

-- Enjoy the read, Bill

P.S. Click here for the Flipbook version of the newsletter, which shows the pages as if they were in a bound, printed copy.

Spring 2017 

The current newsletter is now online, packed with news about ALDHA's activities,Spring 2017 starting with the Gathering but including ALDHA Care, work trips, Search and Rescue, the Rucks, AT Kickoff and other events.

An amended newsletter was posted online Sunday to fix an error with the Sunday night speaker. An earlier version of the story has been replaced. Matthew "Odie" Norman of The Hiker Yearbook will be the evening's speaker.

There's an environmental action alert about a pipeline threatening views in Virginia, a story by an ALDHA couple about a hiking trail in Denmark, and detailed preview of the total solar eclipse that will darken more than 180 miles of the Appalachian Trail on Aug. 21. Find out where exactly it will cross the trail, and how you can safely view it.

Oh yeah, there's also front-page news that ALDHA's newsletter has won the highest honor in a national competition of other newsletters across the country. Last year we were one of 16 runners-up. This year we are No. 1, one of only four Grand Award winners. So thanks to everyone for their patience, and hope you enjoy this edition.

-- Bill

Winter 2016-17 

The winter newsletter is now online, packed with some great photos and storiesWinter 2016-17 from the Gathering and from our clan.

Of particular interest is a story about a paraplegic professor from Presque Isle, Maine, who attended the Gathering last fall because she is planning to do the A.T. this year. Read the story to see how she plans to accomplish that feat without the use of her legs. (You just might be able to give her a hand; one ALDHA member already has joined the team.

We take a look at one of the elders of our clan, "Billy Goat," on the publication of a beautiful profile of him in January's issue of Backpacker magazine. Copies of that story are still on newsstands if you want to get one, or read it online. See how in this issue of the newsletter.

A student at Williamstown wrote the story about the Gathering that runs in this newsletter. And John Wilson, "Canada Goose," once again reports on the post-Gathering work trip that cleared brush on the Greylock range on Columbus Day.

There are several more features and news items to check out: Click on the image of the cover to get started. Or give the Flipbook a try. If it works for you, it's the best way to view the newsletter as though it were a printed publication,with two facing pages visible at the same time. The layout often treats two facing pages as one, as in the case of the Billy Goat feature, so this allows you to see it as it was intended. Here's the link:

The Flipbook version

Enjoy, Bill

Fall 2016

It is Sept. 22nd, the first day of autumn, and what better way to celebrate than toFall 2016 curl up with the fall edition of The Long Distance Hiker, ALDHA's award-winning quarterly newsletter.

First things first, it contains the latest information on all the workshops that await at this year's ALDHA Gathering, including a schedule of when and which day each workshop will occur. The list is still tentative but it will be locked up very soon and there should be few if any changes. So start planning your itinerary now. And if you haven't already done so, now's the time to register for the Gathering. The details are on Page 8 and you can do it all in five minutes online.

Secondly, this issue is the biggest in ALDHA history. It's a whopping 60 pages. It wasn't planned as such, but this summer brought the stunning news that thousands of acres east of Mount Katahdin were turned into a national monument. It was indeed fantastic news for long-distance hikers because the first steps of the burgeoning International Appalachian Trail occur on this land. With the help of several photographers and other sources, we hope we've imparted some of our excitement over this development with a special presentation that runs 24 pages and features stories, quotes, excerpts, a timeline, stats, maps and lots and lots of photos. It's part of our overall observance of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

If that's not enough, we have a shorter but equally special package of stories and photos from the A.T. Museum, long a favorite beneficiary of ALDHA's volunteer efforts and contributions.

We also have stories about this summer's RPH work trip and about future ALDHA work trips; the health benefits of hiking; the opening of a new visitors center for hikers in Monson, Maine; the passing of two trail angels; and five pages of the ALDHA Almanac that you don't want to miss.

Enjoy, Bill

The Flipbook version

Summer 2016 

The summer issue of ALDHA's newsletter is out, and it has some exciting newsSummer 2016 for fans of the E-edition. We've won a national award of excellence in competition with more than 100 other online newsletters. The full story is at the bottom of Page 1.

Also in the summer issue is a package of details about this year's Gathering -- everything you need to know, in fact, to prepare for and register for the fall classic, being held in Williamstown, Mass., from Oct. 7-9.

Other stories and features include:

-- Stories and photos from Trail Days, from the ALDHA Hiker Reception to the Hard Core work trip;

-- Photo gallery and story from the 2016 A.T. Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony, featuring profiles of the other inductees besides Larry Luxenberg (we profiled him in the spring issue);

-- A photo gallery from the A.T. Museum Festival on National Trails Day, including the grand opening of the new Children's Exhibit in the totally renovated ground floor of the Museum building.

-- A color poster you can print out and post in an appropriate place to help promote the Gathering (keep it out of shelters, please!);

-- Plus two opinion pieces, meeting minutes, the ALDHA Almanac and ALDHA Store.

Spring 2016

The spring issue of ALDHA's newsletter is out, and it's another big one at 44Spring 2016 pages.

The E-edition includes the following stories:

-- Details about the new hiking permits -- in the form of a card -- that most hikers will need to enter Baxter Park in Maine this year;

-- News about the speakers lined up for this fall's Gathering in Williamstown, Mass.;

-- The election of one of ALDHA's own into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame;

-- An inside look at one of the newest long-distance trails in the Adirondacks of New York;

-- The fascinating history behind one of the newest pieces in the A.T. Museum's collection;

-- A story about a trail work trip carried out by U.S. Army Rangers in Georgia;

-- A brief look at how you can now read in full, and online, Earl Shaffer's "Little Black Book," the diary he kept on his 1948 thru-hike;

-- The Hikers' Muse featuring an essay by "Uhaul," a 2015 thru-hiker from Germany;

-- A handy color poster you can print out and post in an appropriate place to help promote the Gathering;

-- Plus letters to the editor, an opinion piece, two book reviews, meeting minutes, new board member profiles, the ALDHA Almanac and the ALDHA Store.

Winter 2015-16 

The winter issue of ALDHA's newsletter is out, and it's a big one. While the 12-Winter 2015-16page print version is still at the printers, we've posted the online version, and it's 44 pages, trying the record set with the winter 2014 issue.

The E-edition includes the following stories:

-- A front-page story with photos about ALDHA's purchase of a brand-new storage trailer, complete with a wrap depicting images that tell the ALDHA story;

-- Stories about the Southern and Northern Rucks, with a photo page devoted to the so-called "SnoRuck" at Bears Den, and a 2-page photo spread from the trail work trip after the Southern Ruck that built new tentpads at Hawk Mountain, Ga.;

-- An update on ALDHA's outreach programs, specifically the ALDHA hostel notebooks and the ALDHA Care program that helps hostels;

-- Updates on the effects of hiker behavior on the use of Baxter State Park and now the Kennebec River ferry, and an update on the case of Geraldine Largay and her autopsy findings;

-- A special invitation for you to attend this year's Gathering, as well as put on a workshop;

-- A story on how you can help support the bid to get a sheet of 12 U.S. postage stamps honoring the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and all 11 national scenic trails, including the AT and PCT;

-- A story about how you can nominate someone for the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame;

-- A personal retrospective on the 25-year anniversary of the murders of Geoffrey Hood and Molly LaRue, and how ALDHA members played a part in the saga;

-- A five-page catalog from The ALDHA Store, featuring some brand-new shirts, a winter stocking cap and other items;

-- Plus poetry, paintings, minutes and blurbs about many of the programs ALDHA has to offer.

Fall 2015

ALDHA had an amazing past year of trail aid work projects, beginning with theFall 2015 post-Gathering work trip in late 2014 and continuing all throughout 2015, so this edition of the newsletter pays tribute to all the volunteers who turned out for these projects. There's also a nice writeup on the end of an era, the last major Hard Core work project after 15 years of 100-person trail crews fixing problems in Tennessee and North Carolina.

We also have stories looking at the sad end to the saga of Geraldine "Inchworm" Largay whose body was finally found in the Maine woods and her cause of death revealed ... Previews of the Southern and Northern Rucks that are coming up fast .... News about the new edition of the A.T. Thru-Hikers' Companion, the official guidebook for A.T. thru-hikers that's now on sale ... A feature story on the rising number of women hikers on the A.T. ... Reports and photos on our summer hiker feed in Connecticut and the 2,000-Miler Reception in Virginia ... Plus assorted other stories, updates, blurbs and pictures.

Summer 2015

It was delayed for a host of reasons and for that we are sorry but the issue is onSummer 2015 the way for hard-copy subscribers and, now, you can read it here online in color.

It's an expedited edition but contains the information you need for the Gathering that's quickly coming up in October. Betsy Kane, the program coordinator, has compiled details on the camping facilities, showers, workshops, contests, work trips and other facets of the Gathering, which leads off the newsletter on Page 1.

Other stories look at what's new with members of our group, including the passing of one of our oldest members, an update on the activities -- and many miles traveled -- by our outreach coordinator, and a story on ALDHA's involvement with Trail Days.

Spring 2015

At 36 pages, the E-edition of the spring newsletter is 4 times the size of the printSpring 2015 version that should have been delivered in the mail by now. Click on the image of the spring issue's front page at right and you should be taken to the PDF of the digital version, which was posted as of April 8.

Included in the spring issue are stories about the shelter we're hoping to build in Waynesboro, Va., a look at where things stand between Baxter Park and the ATC over the future of the A.T. on Mount Katahdin, a profile, with pictures, of the featured speaker at this fall's Gathering, a fascinating account of a snowy climb of Mount Washington 30 years ago this year, a recap of the Northern Ruck which was organized for the first time under the auspices of ALDHA, and several other things we hope you enjoy reading and looking at.

The deadline for the summer issue is May 15. Please submit something between now and then, the earlier the better. You need to remember we are all just volunteers and need plenty of time to take away from our lives to keep putting together worthwhile ALDHA projects like The Long Distance Hiker. Don't Be Late. Email your stuff -- blurbs, stories, photos, book reviews, even letters to the editor! -- to

Winter 2014-15 

Well, taking nearly a month off this winter between vacations and flu seasonWinter 2014-15 added up to a late E-edition of the winter newsletter, but we hope you'll find it was worth the wait. The print version was sent to the printer on Jan. 9 and it arrived in the mail about a month later, on the same day that the E-edition is being posted online.

The cover of the E-edition does not resemble that of the print version because of a late-breaking story involving the future of Mount Katahdin as the trail's northern terminus. Besides the time off, work on that story also kept us busy. We're sure it won't be the last you'll hear about this issue, but this story should serve as a good intro in case you haven't been following the news.

The deadline for the spring issue has been pushed to March 1st. Please submit something between now and then, the earlier the better. You need to remember we are all just volunteers and need plenty of time to take away from our lives to keep putting together worthwhile ALDHA projects like The Long Distance Hiker. Don't Be Late. Email your stuff -- blurbs, stories, photos, book reviews, even letters to the editor! -- to

Fall 2014

Sept. 22 -- Hard to believe but those slanting rays of the sun indicate that we'veFall 2014 turned another corner in the calendar and autumn is upon us. The fall edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be opened and/or downloaded by clicking on the image of the cover at right. The 24-page E-edition is twice as long as the print version and in full color. (The print version, by the way, is already on the way via snail mail.) The digital edition includes the latest information about the Gathering, updates on ALDHA-related work trips, a look back 40 years to the A.T. Class of 1974, a story about "Gray Jay" Judy Young, a book review and the Hikers Muse. (That story about the Class of 1974 was written by a thru-hiker from that year who summitted Katahdin exactly 40 years tomorrow, Sept. 23!)

Just a reminder: The deadline for the winter edition is Nov. 1 and it will be here before you know it. Please submit something between now and then, the earlier the better. You need to remember we are all just volunteers and need plenty of time to take away from our lives to keep putting together worthwhile ALDHA projects like The Long Distance Hiker. Don't Be Late. Email your stuff -- blurbs, stories, photos, book reviews, etc. -- to

Summer 2014

The summer edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be opened and/orSummer 2014 downloaded by clicking on the image of the page at right. The E-edition is another big one -- 40 pages in full color -- and there are a lot of photos in it. A nice story with photos about the dedication of the new ALDHA Hiker Pavilion in Waynesboro, a feature story on the creator and artist behind the well-known Boots McFarland cartoons and a story about the A.T. Museum's celebration of National Trails Day with a reunion for the Class of 1974 are all included in this edition. There are also 6 pages devoted to a preview of this fall's ALDHA Gathering. (You'll find a surprise Boots McFarland cartoon about the Gathering in the centerspread.)

One of ALDHA's newest members came up to us at Trail Days in Damascus and volunteered to do a story about Lyme disease. You'll find that story in this newsletter. It's that simple: If you write a story about ALDHA and/or long-distance hiking, we'll be happy to print it. Please email your stuff -- blurbs, stories, photos, book reviews, etc. -- to

Spring 2014

The spring edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be opened and/orSpring 2014 downloaded by clicking on the image of the page at right. The E-edition is 28 pages in full color, and there are a lot of photos in it. A feature story on McAfee's Knob, a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail and the Great Eastern Trail, plus a review and excerpt from the brand-new book about Grandma Gatewood by journalist Ben Montgomery are all included in this edition.

We need help with submissions so that the same person is not writing every single story. Our next edition should be a Gathering preview complete with photos of our new campus and previews of some of the workshops, but your submissions on a host of other topics or experiences are most welcome. Please email your stuff -- blurbs, stories, photos, book reviews, etc. -- to

The spring e-edition is 16 pages longer than the print version, so consider dropping the print version if you're still subscribed to it and start helping the planet keep its trees. 

Winter 2013-14

The winter edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be opened and/orWinter 2013-14 downloaded by clicking on the image of the page at right. The E-edition is 44 pages in full color — the largest in ALDHA history — with a 12-page look back at the Shippensburg Gathering, a profile of the first A.T. thru-hiker to do the trail without any support in under 60 days, a chat with the oldest known woman thru-hiker who was recognized at the Gathering opening, a synopsis of the mysterious case of Geraldine Largay who went missing in Maine over the summer, and a look at the new AT Passport modeled after the one used on the Camino de Santiago.

We also have the usual features including a photo gallery of the Gathering, the Hikers' Muse of ALDHA member fiction, a book review, a very colorful Boots McFarland cartoon, the ALDHA Almanac, and minutes of past ALDHA meetings. New this issue is a clever little trivia quiz testing your memory of the last newsletter and a handy 2014 calendar with key trail festival dates and ALDHA reminders that you can print out for home or office.

It's a whopping 44 pages long but only about 5.5 megabytes in size.

This issue was an especially onerous one, consuming hours of time almost every single day from the end of October through the day after Christmas and then some. Many thanks as always to H. Dean Clark, aka "Crooked Sticks," for his treasure trove of photographs, not just from this year's Gathering but from previous years as well, and a tip of the editor's cap to Cindy Taylor-Miller, "Mrs. Gorp," for her diligent proof reading during the days preceding Christmas! (Yes, one E!)

Muchas gracias!

Fall 2013

The fall edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be opened and/or downloadedFall 2013 by clicking on the image of the pages at right. The E-edition is 28 pages in full color, with 4 pages on the Gathering including GPS coordinates to our host college, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, and details on some of the workshops and programs we have lined up. It also includes news about ALDHA at the ATC Biennial Conference in North Carolina and the RPH work trip in New York, and an interview with a 1991 thru-hiker who is likely the only A.T. thru-hiker to have ever won a Pulitzer Prize.

There is also news about an exciting partnership with Ryan Linn on his new "AT App" -- a digital trail guide for your smartphone. It's bound to be the most popular app for the Appalachian Trail out there.

Elsewhere in the newsletter are updates from the Appalachian Trail Museum and the International A.T., essays from ALDHA members in the Hikers' Muse section, and a brief reminiscence about the 1998 Gathering -- 15 years ago -- as recalled by Gene Espy.

Summer 2013

The summer edition of The Long Distance Hiker can be downloaded by clickingSummer 2013 on the image of the front page at right. It's 28 pages long, full color, with 4-plus pages on the Gathering including a color graphic showing our venue, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, with key centers of activity pointed out. It also includes news from Trail Days, an ALDHA Hiker Feed in Connecticut, the exciting news about the construction of the first solar-powered "ALDHA Hiker Pavilion" in Waynesboro, Va., and a full report with minutes from the spring Steering Committee meeting.

There is also news and photos from the Appalachian Trail Museum and the A.T. Hall of Fame, and a review on Ron Strickland's latest book, "Pathfinder," a thoroughly enjoyable read. We also have news & notes from around our clan, and a sneak preview of an exciting partnership with Ryan Linn on a new A.T. app for your smartphone. (More on that later in the fall newsletter and here on the website.)

Apologies for this issue coming out late, but the editor came down with Lyme disease (it was probably only a matter of time, right?) and it threw quite a wrench in things. This digital edition of the newsletter is roughly 4.5 megabytes in size.

Spring 2013

This issue was intended to make full use of the margins in the print edition, butSpring 2013 it didn't quite work out the way it was intended. However, the digital version of the newsletter was posted online the way it was originally supposed to look, so you should check that out if you're able to. It appears on tabloid-size pages, 11 inches deep by 17 inches wide, and with full use of color it has a magazine-style layout.

Among the stories in this edition are a look back at the "Storm of the Century" in the Smokies 20 years ago this year; a review of the movie "The Way" starring Martin Sheen, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery along the Camino de Santiago in Spain (click inset image for a readable PDF of that page); stories, photos and news from the two winter Rucks; and an interview with author Ben Montgomery who has written a book, due out next year, about the legendary Grandma Gatewood.

Winter 2012-13

We boosted the number of pages for the print version of this edition from 12 toWinter 2012-13 16 to accommodate all the photographs and other material from the fall 2012 Gathering. And because the digital version of the newsletter is usually twice the length of the print version, that meant our winter E-edition was a whopping 32 pages long! That made it the longest newsletter in ALDHA history.

Most of this edition is devoted to stories and lots and lots of photos of the 31st Gathering at Concord University and at the folklife center at Pipestem, with many of the photos by H. Dean Clark, aka "Crooked Sticks," whose photos also grace the redesigned website. We used one of Dean's photos from sunrise at the folklife center for a wrap-around cover, which came out quite stunning in the color digital version. (Click inset image to see full size in PDF.)

Other stories in this issue include a look at the views that Bill Bryson missed when he skipped the entire northern half of the Smokies; reviews of four new trail books; the story of the inaugural presentation of the new Walkin' Jim Stoltz Award; and poetry and artwork from a new feature in the E-edition called The Hikers' Muse.

Past issues of the Blaze

(our monthly email blast)

Newsletter Archive


Spring | Summer | Fall


Fall/Winter | Summer


Fall/Winter | Winter/Spring


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter


Spring | Summer | Fall | Winter

Award Winning Newsletter

ALDHA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization ©     Top

Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association - ALDHA

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software