This weekend, Ashli and Ruthie ventured out to the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association’s (ALDHA) 34th annual event “The Gathering” in Shippensburg, PA. Each year, the event hosts interesting workshops, forums, keynote speakers, and ends with an ALDHA sponsored work trip on the AT.
Preserving the Trail after “A Walk in the Woods”
This past year the Appalachian Trail received more publicity than any other time in the past 25 years. The unexpected attention came as a result of the movies “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods” as well as the controversy surrounding Scott Jurek’s recent record setting hike.
Amidst the already growing number of hikers on the trail annually, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy stressed the importance of preservation, and are concentrating their efforts on the beginning section of the AT in Georgia and end section in Maine. Changes include new campsites in high traffic areas and a voluntary registration system for thru-hikers.
Featured Speaker Cam “Swami” Honan
Cam Honan, known on the trail as “Swami”, gave the keynote talk Saturday night about his 12 Long Walks—a series of 12 North American long-distance hikes totaling over 14,300 miles—all of which he completed consecutively in less than 18 months. Intensely captivating, Swami’s story featured incredible landscape photos, frightening and dangerous interactions with nature, and moments he described as “serendipitous.”
The Gathering ended with a work trip to the nearby A.T. museum. Feel like helping out? ALDHA and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are always looking for volunteers all along the trail. Click here to find out how you can help.