I first learned of the American Long Distance Hiking Association (ALDHA-West) while hiking a section of the PCT in 2013. Each fall this organization holds an event to bring together hikers and the trail community. I wasn’t sure this was my community as I hadn’t thru hiked any of the long trails, so I resisted attending in 2013, and as the years went by for some reason or another continued to skip this event. Well in 2017, I vowed if I was near the vicinity near the event date I’d attend.
One of the highlights is Triple Crown Awards, recognizing those who’ve hiked the three long trails, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and Appalachian Trail (AT). That’s about 8,000 miles of walking!
It’s a great place to connect with friends and make new ones. A surprise for me was finding Chili and Pepper, a father son team whom I provided trail magic in 2011. There were several who I’d been facebook friends with for years and finally got to meet in person. My reunion would have been incomplete without Buddy Backpacker whom I first met when he was hiking the PCT in 2016.
And, now at 9 years old, he’s a record-setting Triple Crowner. Outside Online’s article, “This 9-Year-Old Completed Thru-Hiking’s Triple Crown,” is a good place to catch the details of his accomplishments.
The presentations were outstanding. I especially enjoyed hearing about two gals who hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) in 1979, the same year one of my friends did the same. I was able to reunite them.
Trail angels enhance our journeys, and therefore it was only fitting that ALDHA-West includes recognition in this program. This year long-time, much-loved PCT trail angels, the Dinsmores were honored. Here’s a link to the podcast.
My thoughts about this organization and event:
- The leadership gets an A+. I was very impressed with the team. They are go getters, balancing professionalism with fun.
- The event is also deserving of an A+
- The time police kept the program running according to the itinerary
- There was adequate time for visiting along with the formalized program
- The eats and drinks were well matched to this group
- Accommodations were adequate
- Presentations were a nice mix of topics
- Location was good
- Price was acceptable
- Did I belong as someone who still hasn’t thru hiked one of the big 3 long trails?
- Would I go again?
- Maybe, it was a little overwhelming for me, but there were many things I enjoyed . . . so probably if the location and timing fit my schedule.
Want to know more? I encourage you to check out the ALDHA-West web page and consider joining the organization. At $15 per year it’s a great value. You can read more about this event in their recent Gazette article.