The Gathering – 2018
by Charles Baker
Though the pool was closed to hikers, the ALDHA-West 2018 Gathering was a splashing success! The Gathering was held at Camp Kiwanis, Mount Hood, OR, and well attended. President “Allgood” rolled in early Friday, with the ALDHA-West booty trailer filled to the max with awesomeness and gear for the ultimate raffle – the ultimate weekend, of the year. A shout-out to all our sponsors who made donations towards the raffle and other giveaways, and a special thanks to our Board Member-At-Large, Craig “Pisco” Gulley, who spent a lot of time and energy coordinating this effort.
Friday’s schedule was light with check-in from 4 – 6 pm. It was great to see that so many members took advantage of the “Early Bird Special” and received a discount (saving the coin for hiking or gear). When arriving, hikers were met by the smiling faces of “The Punisher,” “Drop-n-Roll,” and “Salty” who efficiently checked everyone in, sold raffle tickets, and gave out special goodie-bags filled with many wonderful flavors like chicken, chocolate, and…; you guessed it – peanut butter! Friday night’s dinner and President’s Welcome from 6 to 7 pm was a glimmering hint of just how awesome the weekend would be. The food was wonderful – ALL WEEKEND! If there was a meal you especially liked (or disliked), please leave us a note below. The Camp Kiwanis staff prepped some great food for us and made sure there was plenty to go around. For next year’s Gathering, don’t forget to note any dietary restrictions/preferences you may have when you register.
Friday night Bingo!
Making sure we were all informed of the weekend’s events, welcomed, and tracking down the same trail, President “Allgood” took the floor for a charismatic “Howdy Y'all.” Then the true surprise of the night – who would have thought that “SoFar” had such bingo calling skills! We all had the chance to win special raffle tickets as “SoFar” melodiously called the game of chance from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Afterward, we were able to hang out and enjoy some delicious beverages, or, for those of us who were tired and done for the day, wander off to our bunks for a good night’s sleep. This is a great spot to send a special thank you to our sponsors who donated beverages: Widmer Brothers, courtesy of Rob Widmer; Thunder Island Brewing; and for that special keg, PCT Days Lager, a coloration project of Widmer and Thunder Island, donated by Jason Waicunas @ PCT Days.
Saturday began with a hearty breakfast. The first presentation, by Lindsay “Marmot” Malone quickly got our attention and riveted us to our seats. Lindsay currently oversees the largest Forest Stewardship Council group certificate in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not working on ecologically-based forest stewardship projects or teaching workshops, she’s outside climbing mountains, exploring trails, and honing her naturalist skills. Her presentation “Mountains to Sound Greenway,” was more than a tale of a trail, she encouraged us to be creative and put treks together that – well, could start from our own front door!
When I think of Saturday, at an ALDHA-West Gathering, my mind automatically flips to “Hiker Olympics!” This year’s awe-inspiring event, which was an adrenaline-pumping competition - pitted the world’s best hikers against themselves and the clock. This year’s event was organized and orchestrated by that guru of “Flextrek,” Renee “SheRa” Patrick. The spectators cheered and waved on their favorite hikers as the contestants battled their way through obstacles on the treacherous course while wearing the famed “Flextrek Backpack.” Hikers were seen flying through the air, skidding across dirt-track, and bouncing off obstacles as they made their way around the “Devil’s Loop.” Expect next year’s event to be just as rigorous and competitive. Rumor in the hiking community has it that some of the competitors are already preparing and training for this prestigious event. With confidence, I can report that the event was a huge success and we had great fun. Thank you “SheRa” for taking it to the next level in planning, coordinating, and running this event. Great volunteers like you make these events memorable and successful.
Renee “SheRa” Patrick is also a Triple Crowner! Since finishing the Continental Divide Trail in 2015, she has been working with The Oregon Natural Desert Association as the Oregon Desert Trail Coordinator to establish the 750-mile trail. She and Miguel “VirGo” Aguilar - an ALDHA-West Board Member-At-Large, great dad, and master video editor – gave a great presentation on “The Oregon Desert Trail.” They quickly put to bed the myths that this trail requires tumbleweed navigation, carrying dehydrated water, and only removing a rattle-snake from your leg if it is impeding your progress. However, their impressive visual and verbal presentation conveyed the beauty, real challenges, and options of this trail.
Phil Hough interviewing Jim Wolf
Phil Hough, aka “Nowhere Man,” is a founding board member of the Idaho Trails Association as well as a past president of ALDHA-West. Phil co-hosts a weekly radio show on Sandpoint’s KRFY.fm, interviewing guests on topics related to conservation and outdoor recreation. Phil applied his great knowledge of things outdoors and his skills as a radio host, and interviewed Jim Wolf “The Creator of the CDT,” after our lunch break on Saturday. In 1973, Jim Wolf hiked from the Canadian border through Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses. Convinced of the CDT’s merits, he described his observations of this and subsequent hikes in a series of guidebooks. His testimony in the 1976 Congressional hearings lent support to the statutory designation of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in 1978. Jim then founded the Continental Divide Trail Society, with a mission (1) to help in the planning, development, and maintenance of the CDT as a silent trail and (2) to assist users plan and enjoy their experiences along the route.
The Keynote speaker at this year’s Gathering was Jennifer Pharr Davis. JPD has a little over 14,000 miles of hiking under her belt. She has logged miles and long trails on six continents. In 2007, she set the self-supported FKT on the Long Trail and the supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. Her AT FKT landed her the honor as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year. She has figured out how to have a life off-trail as a wife, mother, and professional… and continue hiking. She has kept it classy amid the negativity and tense confrontations that can be part of the hiker trash community, and she has always found ways to give back to the trail and conservation organizations.
While having fun, getting married (way to go Story and Bright!), and chatting it up during free time on Saturday, hikers were able to see gear brought in by some of our sponsors. In attendance this year were: Tarptent, Montbell, Six Moon Designs, Next Adventure, and CNOC.
Party Like it's 1968!
With the great presentations completed, it was time to “Party Like it’s 1968” at the annual Awards Dinner, sponsored by Henry Shires - Tarptent. There were those who came in 1968 style costume, there were those who wore the same clothes they had worn in 1968, and then there were those who are wearing the same clothes that they have been wearing since 1968… 1968 was a great year of music, apparel, hair, and flowers – yes, those of us that were there did much more than sit around and watch rocks form. The theme came about as a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Scenic Trail Act. Great idea! – Yes?
Trail Angels extraordinaire, Carole and Hugo Mumm
Dinner over, we settled down to honor those special individuals we call “Trail Angels” with the Martin D. Papendick Award. This year’s recipients were Carole and Hugo Mumm. Memories were shared – some funny, some somber, all heartfelt.
This year’s Triple Crown recipients were honored as 62 hikers received this prestigious, hard earned, award. They shared some thoughts - the high or low points of their journey; some gave thanks to their respective support crews/individuals, as they were awarded the honorific of “Triple Crowner.”
Sunday – Nutrition made simple; line up at the breakfast bar and fill your plate high with savory morsels. The Annual General Meeting and Elections were held after we had devoured a “hiker’s portion” for breakfast. Most of the time spent in this meeting was given to the general elections. There were several positions vacated due to term limits. Each of the individuals leaving had donated much of their time, talents, and energies – as well as financial sacrifices – in fulfilling their duties as Officers and Board Members of ALDHA-West. Each deserves a huge thanks for jobs well done, but each also deserves a respite from this hard work. Noted: Elizabeth “Snorkel” Thomas, Vice-President; Felicia “Princess of Darkness” Hermosillo, Board Member-At-Large; Scot “SoFar” Forbes, Board Member-At-Large; Miguel “VirGo” Aguilar, Board Member-At-Large. The general membership then cast their votes to elect the following individuals as noted: Katie “Salty” Gerber, Vice-President; Naomi “The Punisher” Hudetz, Treasurer; Miguel “VirGo” Aguilar, Board Member-At-Large; Amanda “Zuul” Jameson, Board Member-At-Large; Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker, Board Member-At-Large.
Thank you VirGo, SoFar, POD and Snorkel (not pictured) for your service to ALDHA-West!
It should be noted that Miguel “VirGo” Aguilar, did not term limit out, but sought re-election at the end of his current term. Also, Naomi “The Punisher” Hudetz, had been asked to fill the position of Treasurer by the Executive Committee when Steven “Twinkle” Shattuck resigned from the post earlier in the year. Naomi volunteered her time and expertise, and had a significant part, in the effort to establish ALDHA-West’s 501(c)3 status. Her professional skill sets and experience make her significantly qualified for this position.
What could be called the capstone event of the Gathering, the Raffle - and what a raffle it was, followed the elections. There was so much stuff to be raffled off, BIG STUFF too! Thanks again to our contributing sponsors who made this possible and to Craig “Pisco” Gulley, the Board member who pulled it all together. The burning question is… will “Pisco” force “Allgood” into a larger trailer next year to get it all the raffle prizes to the Gathering?!! Of course, thanks to all who purchased raffle tickets. The raffle is a major funding event for ALDHA-West, and the proceeds help finance the mission of ALDHA-West, “To inspire, educate and promote fellowship among long-distance hikers and those who support long-distance hiking.”
Another special thanks to all those who wrote postcards and notes to their respective Representatives, requesting support for our wilderness areas.
From the Officers and Board of Directors of ALDHA-West, we invite you and look forward to seeing you at the 2019 ALDHA-West Gathering in northern California. Plan to come early – this is a great place and a great time for a hike!
Check out lots more great photos from the event taken by our photorgrapher John "Biggie" Carr.