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We got back from the Gathering last night - and some of you either weren't
there or you were hiding from me. We missed you.
If you weren't there you missed Warren Doyle's "How To Hike the AT"
workshop and at least 4 different AT slide shows. For those who don't know -
Warren ran a week-long AT thruhikers workshop for a number of years and
the success rate of his graduates was about 90%. He'll be starting that
workshop up again - possibly in time for some of the class of 97.
There were also workshops and slide shows on a lot of other trails -
the PCT, CDT, ADT and Pacific Northwest trails, the Finger Lakes Trail,
the Sheltowee Trace, the Arizona, Tuscarora, Colorado, Pinhoti, Superior
and John Muir trails, the Long Trail, the Canadian Continental Divide,
and others in the British Isles, Iceland, Norway, Peru, New Zealand,
the Himalayas - even such mundane places as Pennsylvania and South
Dakota. There were even disscussions on Highpointing and speed hiking.
The workshops covered a lot of hiker issues and interests such as -
Life after the Trail, Womens Issues, photography, food dehydration,
the Impact of Liability, ATC Trail Crews, Winter hiking, First Aid,
Backpacking with Llamas, the impact of media coverage, Environmental
Issues, and GPS Trail Mapping.
For those who wanted to be entertained there was the Hikers Fair and
Trail Jeopardy, the Apple contest, videos, Jesters Song and Poetry
Swap, Raven's AT Songfest and the contra dance on Saturday night.
But the capstone was Earl Shaffer's slide show of his 1948 thruhike.
For anyone who doesn't know - Earl was the first person to do a thruhike.
And when he finished, nobody believed him. This is probably the first
time in 20 years that he's shown his slides to a group larger than half
a dozen people - and he probably had 500 people in that auditorium.
It may also be the last time he shows them (Earl is in his late 70's and
still as sharp as a tack), so if you weren't there - you missed it.
On the other hand - he's also talking about doing a 50th anniversary
thruhike in 98. We'll see.
I didn't even list everything - there was so much information that some
people burned out before it was over. Our only problem was that we
couldn't get to everything that we wanted to see. Two days is much
too short for something like this.
Next year's Gathering will be held on Columbus Day weekend in
One thing I'm gonna point out here - the people who plan and make the
Gathering happen are people who have 5,000 to 30,000 miles under
their boots - and except for Warren's AT workshop for wannabes,
there wasn't a single workshop or discussion or slide show about gear.
The only common gear question during the workshops was "What water
filter did you use and how did it work?". Just something for you to