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  1. #1
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    Default Impression of ALDHA Gathering

    Just wanted to share some impressions from the ALDHA Gathering this past weekend. It was my first time attending. (My hiking experience: I haven't hiked in about 15 years and am planning a thru-hike next year.)

    1) I appreciated that there was a lot more about the experience of hiking the AT than tips and suggestions on gear and logistical issues. Just before the Gathering I blogged about getting wrapped up in being what I sarcastically refer to as "that special breed, the hopeful thru-hiker."

    2) It was an opportunity to see what the AT community was like in the past. My first camping experience was in 1975, the summer before I started high school, at a camp run by the youth division of the Unitarian-Universalist church. It reminded me of that. (I even spotted some tie-dye!)

    3) I came away with a more positive perspective on doing a flip-flop.

    4) It reminded me that the thru-hike, and hiking in general, is not about gear or shuttles or hostels, etc. It's about the sounds and smell of the natural world and opening your heart to it. It's about the challenge of overcoming obstacles. It's about camaraderie.

    5) It was the only activity I have ever been to where not a single person of color was present. I'd welcome thoughts about that.

    Thanks to the organizers, workshop leaders and attendees for an eye-opening and motivating experience.

  2. #2
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Not many people of color hike. Its a rarity. Long distance hikers seems to be predominately white, male and middle class. It seems to be a cultural thing. Whenever I see a black man or woman hiking, I try to get their story. Curiosity on my part, but they always seem happy to talk to someone. I hike almost every weekend. The last time I ran into anyone ofcolor that was hiking was last July. I’ve seen hundreds of people since then, all white. But, in my part of the country, most people are white.

  3. #3
    Wanna-be hiker trash Sarcasm the elf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthN View Post
    5) It was the only activity I have ever been to where not a single person of color was present. I'd welcome thoughts about that.

    Thanks to the organizers, workshop leaders and attendees for an eye-opening and motivating experience.
    There was a recent dirtbag diaries podcast that touched on this subject quite well (though it was about long distance bike touring), the link is below:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/...=1000386355547
    "This sucks and I love it."

  4. #4
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    Ive encountered black hikers on AT. Few, yes.

    Go to CA, theres no shortage of "people of color" hiking.
    Very high % mexican descent population. Its reflected on trail.

    Not to mention large groups of japanese hikers on jmt.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-10-2017 at 11:05.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
    Wayne
    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
    Wayne
    That's your girl..ain't it Wayne?!

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Right!
    Wayne


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    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

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    Anish gave a very good talk. She also had a table and she came to the Sunday evening talks.

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  10. #10
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Grinning. Thanks!
    Wayne


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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
    Wayne
    I did. She was good and told of some of the hardships she has gotten into (Tornado) including a very down to earth story of her own internal struggles along the way.

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    On thing I did see at the ALDHA meeting is that most of the guys were retired and many women who solo. In fact the body voted several women on to the board.

  13. #13
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Isnít the audience would be wannabe hikers? Hence the retirees?
    Or I could be wrong.
    Wayne


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  14. #14
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Oh, I’m dying here.

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    I also attended this year's ALDHA Gathering. Except for the lack of food trucks, it was the best of the 4 I have attended. Yes, I attended Anish's presentation and I came away most positively impressed. I spoke briefly with her the next day. Very nice.
    Regarding people of color hiking the AT, this past August, near the NJ/NY border, I ran into Blackalachian doing a northbounf hike. Pleasant man. Wish I could've spent some talk time with him. About a week later, I saw him on YouTube videos; he's taping his hike. Neat.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Isn’t the audience would be wannabe hikers? Hence the retirees?
    Or I could be wrong.
    Wayne
    Many of the regulars at ALDHA are people who thruhiked one or more of the long trails many years ago. Going to the Gathering is a way of keeping in touch with others who know what it is to be a thruhiker. Some continue to do long hikes and share those with other hikers via workshops and slideshows. Others just want to be with like-minded people and see old friends. I don't know what percentage of attendees are wanna bes. A large percentage have already BTDT.

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