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[at-l] The Gathering

Kahley asked about the Gathering in Hanover.   The Gathering is great. 
I have been for the past four years, and we hope to make it again this
year.  It is a place for those who have done a long distance trail, and
for those who dream of doing one - or many.  It is a place to learn and
a place to connect with people who have really walked the walk. If you
are seriously thinking about a thruhike, it is a great place to learn
about the realities of the trail, and to meet people who have actually
done it.  If you have already hiked a long trail, it is a chance to be
with other people who really understand what you have done, and why it

I went there last time it was held in Hanover.  It is a good place , but
spread out.  Parking is far from the activities, so bring a day pack on
Saturday and Sunday with water, drinks and a sweater as it is likely you
won't see your car from early morning until late afternoon. The day
tends to be very full - if you want it to be.

Friday night  - activities begin about 7:00 at Cook Auditorium, on
campus.  There may be parking in a short term lot on Wigwam Circle, but
not at the Auditorium.  Registration begins at noon at the auditorium,
and they will give you a program and maps so you can find your way

If you get there early, you can set up a tent at one of the camp areas. 
They are in some farmers' fields.  You go through town on Wheelock
almost 2 miles past the Hanover Inn to Grasse Road.  Turn left.  The
first campsite is 0.3 on the right, the second (quieter) site is 0.9
further on Grasse. There should be signs.  You bear right at a fork with
a small gate ,then turn right into the parking area for the campsite. 

Note: We are supposed to park on Saturday and Sunday at either A lot or
Thompson Lot.

You can eat in town or at the cafeteria on campus, Thayer Hall (AYCE) or
one of the other campus eateries.

That's the practical part, the fun part is what happens while there.  A
lot.  Be prepared for a lot of interesting and insane people (but not
the kind of party atmosphere you get at Damascus.)  All day Saturday and
Sunday there are workshops, slide shows, videos, games, forums etc on
subjects like the AT (of course,) PCT, CDT, John Muir, ADT, Coast to
Coast in England, Highlands of Scotland, Wonderland Trail, Colorado
Trail (Firefly - you will be there I hope!), etc. There usually are
workshops on winter camping, women and the trail, Rosie is doing one on
self-esteem, land management issues, etc.  There is also ALDHA business
- elections and discussion on issues the long distance community cares

Then there is the music - best is Walkin' Jim Stoltz - a
hiker/musician/poet/photographer/environmentalist - he does a fantastic
slide show/concert.  There will probably be music Friday night and at
the BEMA on Saturday afternoon. There is contra dancing (like square
dancing) on Saturday night- more fun than you would imagine - there are
games like the ultimate Frisbee contest, Trail Jeopardy, the Sunday
morning Bridge Jump, the evening bonfires at camp site #1, etc.

The final slide show is Sunday night - I think it may be Cindy Ross and
the continuation of her family's trek on the CDT.  If you can stay until
the end - it is worth it.  Monday morning, we'll go home.

The week after the Gathering they will have a work trip for those who
can stay a few days extra.
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