2008 Gathering at Lake Wenatchee, Washington
How Great it Was!
The 2008 ALDHA-West Gathering was a great success! Over 80 hikers attended this year, including a number of this years' thru-hikers. Also in attendance were8 new Triple Crown recipients.
Nimble Will Nomad started the presentations Friday evening, after dinner, opening with insights, poetry and prose on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the long distance hiking experience.
Friday night kicked then kicked into high gear with Erin and Hig McKittrick as they spun their tale of their 12 month, 4000 mile, adventure from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Theirs was an adventure of hiking, skiing and paddling through all four seasonsand amid the abundant wildlife the great north has to offer.
After breakfast, Saturday began with a panel discussion of The Evolution of Long Distance Backpacking. The panel was composed of such notable hikers as Eric Ryback, Bert Ewing and "Mad" Monte Dodge. It was very interesting to hear how equipment and ethics have evolved to make the long distance hike much more of a reality for so many people.
Teresa "Dicentra" Black shared some simple trail tested recipes and cooking techniques. She shared numerous sources of online bulk and quantity suppliers of foods and spices. The best part of all was the actual sharing of the recipes as samples were available to all that wished to partake.
Following an afternoon of stove and cooking demonstrations Jonathan Ley did a captivating job of presenting a variety of techniques for capturing better images on the trail. Jonathan is a professional photographer and experienced long distance hiker, having thru hiked the PCT, CDT and Iceland. You can see some of Jonathan's photography & learn more at his web site: www.phlumf.com
But the main event of the weekend was the presentation of the Triple Crown awards. Eight incredibly diverse hikers accomplished the feat of completing the AT, PCT and the CDT. They stood and recieved their plaques to the thunderous applause of the other hikers. Some TCers were somber, tearful, timid,or emotional; others reveled in the moment dressed in their finest attire and had no problem sharing their moment with everyone.
Not everyone chooses to receive their Triple Crown award immediatly after completing the big 3. Some wait a few years, like Eric Ryback. He completed the AT in '69, the PCT in '70, and the CDT in 1972. It only took 36 years for him to make it to the Gathering and receive the recognition he well deserved.