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RuthN
10-10-2017, 00:47
Just wanted to share some impressions from the ALDHA Gathering (http://www.aldha.org/gathering.html) this past weekend. It was my first time attending. (My hiking experience: I haven't hiked in about 15 years and am planning a thru-hike next year.)

1) I appreciated that there was a lot more about the experience of hiking the AT than tips and suggestions on gear and logistical issues. Just before the Gathering I blogged (https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/ish-gets-real/) about getting wrapped up in being what I sarcastically refer to as "that special breed, the hopeful thru-hiker."

2) It was an opportunity to see what the AT community was like in the past. My first camping experience was in 1975, the summer before I started high school, at a camp run by the youth division of the Unitarian-Universalist church. It reminded me of that. (I even spotted some tie-dye!)

3) I came away with a more positive perspective on doing a flip-flop.

4) It reminded me that the thru-hike, and hiking in general, is not about gear or shuttles or hostels, etc. It's about the sounds and smell of the natural world and opening your heart to it. It's about the challenge of overcoming obstacles. It's about camaraderie.

5) It was the only activity I have ever been to where not a single person of color was present. I'd welcome thoughts about that.

Thanks to the organizers, workshop leaders and attendees for an eye-opening and motivating experience.

egilbe
10-10-2017, 06:52
Not many people of color hike. Its a rarity. Long distance hikers seems to be predominately white, male and middle class. It seems to be a cultural thing. Whenever I see a black man or woman hiking, I try to get their story. Curiosity on my part, but they always seem happy to talk to someone. I hike almost every weekend. The last time I ran into anyone ofcolor that was hiking was last July. I’ve seen hundreds of people since then, all white. But, in my part of the country, most people are white.

Sarcasm the elf
10-10-2017, 09:52
5) It was the only activity I have ever been to where not a single person of color was present. I'd welcome thoughts about that.

Thanks to the organizers, workshop leaders and attendees for an eye-opening and motivating experience.

There was a recent dirtbag diaries podcast that touched on this subject quite well (though it was about long distance bike touring), the link is below:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dirtbag-diaries/id218290471?mt=2&i=1000386355547

MuddyWaters
10-10-2017, 11:02
Ive encountered black hikers on AT. Few, yes.

Go to CA, theres no shortage of "people of color" hiking.
Very high % mexican descent population. Its reflected on trail.

Not to mention large groups of japanese hikers on jmt.

Venchka
10-10-2017, 11:44
Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
Wayne

notbad
10-10-2017, 12:22
Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
Wayne

That's your girl..ain't it Wayne?!

Venchka
10-10-2017, 13:01
Right!
Wayne


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hikermiker
10-11-2017, 07:52
Anish gave a very good talk. She also had a table and she came to the Sunday evening talks.

Odd Man Out
10-11-2017, 15:06
Have you seen this one?

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/24b56caf3e/black-hiker-with-blair-underwood

Venchka
10-12-2017, 20:53
Have you seen this one?

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/24b56caf3e/black-hiker-with-blair-underwood

Grinning. Thanks!
Wayne


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Reverse
10-12-2017, 21:15
Did anyone meet or hear Heather Anderson, Anish, speak? She was there. Fresh from her ODT-CDT hikes this year.
Wayne
I did. She was good and told of some of the hardships she has gotten into (Tornado) including a very down to earth story of her own internal struggles along the way.

Reverse
10-12-2017, 21:27
On thing I did see at the ALDHA meeting is that most of the guys were retired and many women who solo. In fact the body voted several women on to the board.

Venchka
10-12-2017, 23:53
Isnít the audience would be wannabe hikers? Hence the retirees?
Or I could be wrong.
Wayne


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egilbe
10-13-2017, 07:17
Have you seen this one?

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/24b56caf3e/black-hiker-with-blair-underwood

Oh, I’m dying here. :D

sfdoc
10-13-2017, 08:40
I also attended this year's ALDHA Gathering. Except for the lack of food trucks, it was the best of the 4 I have attended. Yes, I attended Anish's presentation and I came away most positively impressed. I spoke briefly with her the next day. Very nice.
Regarding people of color hiking the AT, this past August, near the NJ/NY border, I ran into Blackalachian doing a northbounf hike. Pleasant man. Wish I could've spent some talk time with him. About a week later, I saw him on YouTube videos; he's taping his hike. Neat.

Spirit Walker
10-13-2017, 20:12
Isn’t the audience would be wannabe hikers? Hence the retirees?
Or I could be wrong.
Wayne



Many of the regulars at ALDHA are people who thruhiked one or more of the long trails many years ago. Going to the Gathering is a way of keeping in touch with others who know what it is to be a thruhiker. Some continue to do long hikes and share those with other hikers via workshops and slideshows. Others just want to be with like-minded people and see old friends. I don't know what percentage of attendees are wanna bes. A large percentage have already BTDT.