2005 Gathering at Serria Pines, California
If You Missed It,
Then You Missed the Passion,
Camaraderie and Magic
of Another Great ALDHA-West Gathering!
By Greg Hummel, Presentation Coordinator & ALDHA-West Board Member The 2005 Gathering
We all came from distant points, hurrying along to arrive as soon as possible to enjoy the surroundings, to explore the Sierra Pines Camp and to meet all of the familiar faces once more.
Friday afternoon the gathering got into full swing and early arrivers began to ask about registration and the presentation lineup. After a great dinner (the food at Sierra Pines was roundly applauded for being great, varied and plentiful!) Scrambler, the youngest ever PCT thru-hiker gave a great talk on her trek with her mom and dad chiming in occasionally with stories and memories of their adventure.
The accommodations, besides camping, were small cabins with bunk beds and a head and heater; simple, clean and functional for our needs.
Saturday, Jerry Goller conducted a great roundtable discussion of www.backpackgeartest.com and the all of the products evaluated and how anyone can become a tester. Peter Haskell gave a presentation on “Publishing Your Hiking Journal as a Booklet” and gave out a pamphlet with valuable supporting info. A talk on “Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women” miss-started when the presenter didn’t show up in time, yet true to the “There are no rules” form a spontaneous roundtable discussion broke out amongst the many women at the gathering on this subject.
The famous “Switchback” held a roundtable discussion on his “secrets of gear and backpacking techniques” that he lamented later should have been scheduled for two hours, as they were just getting going when the lunch call came. Jeff Gillarde and I gave a talk with Jeff’s two llamas on the basketball court at the same time that Switchback’s roundtable was ongoing. We discussed the Youth Outreach Programs that each of us are independently working on and the incredible benefits and feedback that just a little bit of effort that direction brings back to the trail.
Following lunch we all gathered in front of the main hall for a group picture and, for some reason, our great and fearless leader, Mad Monte Dodge, could not be found at the opportune moment, despite our calls and yells.
Scott Williamson started off the afternoon presentations with his incredible Yo-yo success and before and after series of pictures. Scott claims that Brian Robinson inspired him and Brian claims the exact opposite!
Triple Crown awards were presented to several “monsters” of the National Scenic Trail System, and yet, you couldn’t have discerned these fine people from anyone on the street.
We all then honored the incomparable, rock foundation of ALDHA-West, trail maintenance and hiker extraordinaire, Brice Hammack. The history of his youth in athletics and constant drive for experiencing the outdoors and wilderness came resounding through.
Linda Hunt, not a thru-hiker or even a long distance hiker, gave a presentation on “Bold Spirit”, a book she wrote about a women, Helga Estby, who in 1898 was challenged to hike from Spokane, Washington to New York City for $10,000 and did it! Victorian skirts and all. This, we all agreed, was a testament to the idea that it is solely passion that gets you from Mexico to Canada or from point A to point B and not your gear, your conditioning, your pack weight or the quality of your shoes.
And, then, with a slight adjustment of the LCD projector, a bit of fiddling with the sound system, Weathercarrot again presented his highly spiritual “2004 PCT” DVD to a packed room, even though most of us had seen this many times before.