View Full Version : The poems of the 2001 Gathering

warren doyle
10-30-2004, 11:49
In response to several posts in the following threads/forums:
2004 ALDHA Gathering - Get Togethers
Message from the ALDHA Coordinator - Get Togethers

All poems were selected by myself to reflect the 20-year celebration of the Gathering; as part of the traditional poetry reading that took place in the Friday evening welcoming program of every Gathering since 1982.

POEM #1 (actually words I put to the tune of 'Woodstock' after the
first Gathering in 1982 and it was in our first newsletter)

PIPESTEM (sung to 'Woodstock')

I came upon a man with pack
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going?
And this he told me:

I'm going on down to Don West's farm
I'm going to join in a step 'n' walk band
I'm going to camp out on the land
And try to get my soul free.

We are walkers of all ages
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the trailways.

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning

Well, maybe it's just the time of man
I don't know who I am
But life is for learning.

We are walkers.....

By the time we got to Pipestem
We were two hundred strong
And everywhere there was talk and celebration.

And I dreamed I saw the Winnebagos
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into hikers
Above our nation.

We are walkers.....

POEM #2 ( by the Poetry Man, Don Hirsohn - AT Class of 1985)


Amidst the autumn fall of leaves
Amongst the yellows, reds, and browns
A common thread of hiking weaves
A gathering on hallowed grounds

The West Virginia mountain scene
The heart of Appalachian lore
Provides the place to reconvene
To meet, to learn, to explore

Long distance hiking seminars
Long distance hiking tips and tricks
Long distance hiking superstars
Long distance hiking politics

Slide shows, workshops and storytales
All vying for the hiker's sight
Exhaust the list of distance trails
But simply whet the appetite

A square dance stomps into a fire
A folksong artist walks through time
A bike trip spans the world entire
A poet captures truth in rhyme

But more than all the shows and acts
In truth the Gathering depends
Less on long distance hiking facts
Than on long distance hiking friends

The Class of '85 AT
Watch graduation rites prevail
Say sad so-longs, set off to see
If life goes on beyond the trail.

The next three poems were chosen by myself as the ones which I felt the late Don West would read to us if he still were alive.

POEM #3 (chosen to reflect the previous 2000 Gathering in Pipestem when my children and I performed a music/dance concept piece on Don's poetry on Sunday evening)


Ever hear about the song of the saw
Ever hear of John McCarty?

We were working a saw mill
Twenty miles from nowhere
On Troublesome Creek...

John was a sawyer
Ran a hot steel saw
Sixteen hours
Thru long Georgia pines.
Loved to hear
The song of the saw
Ripping thru the guts
Of a yellow pine,
Loved to sing about
His wife and baby
Back home...

John was young.
Muscles bulged out
Like iron hoops
On a whiskey barrel,
Soft blue eyes
That laughed like a child's....

The belt slipped
That Saturday.
John's belly struck the saw.
Ripped him open
Like a yellow pine log,
Straight thru the belly...

We picked up the pieces,
One on the saw dust,
One on the slab pile.
We tried to fit
The bloody things together
Before burying them
Under a tall Georgia pine....
But somehow they wouldn't fit.
Our hands were messy
With blood and grimme.
We were clumsy
And felt cold
Under a broiling sun...

No one wanted to go
Tell John's wife and baby
Twenty miles up Troublesome
We pulled straws
And it fell my lot...

Nancy just looked
And said nothing...
Looked out thru the pines,
Tall yellow pines,
Like John loved to saw.
I wondered if she listened
For the song of the saw,
For John's big voice singing,
If the splotches of sky
Clutched by the little fingers
Of the pine trees
Reminded her of John's blue eyes
And his laugh,
Soft, like the sound
Of a Southern wind
Walking thru the tree tops.

POEM #4 (This is the poem that caused some controversy but this was in keeping with Don's perception of the role of a people's poet. Although it was written in 1951, it struck a nerve fifty years later.)


Oh, America...
Sad, sad, America!
Once you stirred the souls of men
In dark places
And shook the smug oppressors
By declaring equal rights for all men!

Oh, my country,
Land that I love!
You have known glorious days
In your morning years!
The strength of your rugged arm
Sinew of the pioneer
Was raised against the tyrant.
To breathe your name
Roused hopes in bruised breasts
Of the humble in every land
And despots cursed you
With angry hearts!

But now, my country,
You eat a bitter fruit,
And I must eat with you!
You are betrayed by those
Who breathe your name
With honey-love words!

And I, at this moment
Walk in silent sorrow
By this rumbling river of time,
For these are sad hours...
Saddest in my country's history!

Oh, America!
Sad, sad, this hour
When you rattle the atomic sword
And your bombs blast
Innocent brown babies
Eight thousand miles from these shores!

Sad, sad, the day
When men in Asia
Despise my country,
When women in Africa hate my country
And men and women of all the world
Look with a fearful gaze
Toward her Statue of Liberty!

Sad, sad, the time
When only the world's tottering
Decaying dictators
Look to America
With hope in their eyes!

Poem #5 ( The last poem is one of hope. Although Don could be quite angry, it always flowed from his love and hope for humanity. This was written in 1953 but also very appropriate fifty-one years later.)


And I saw a new earth,
Alive with joy
And the vibrant voices of men,
The laughter of children
And the daughters of men....

Ashes of the desolations
Of many generations
Were scattered amidst the fields
Where seeds sprouted
And flowers deep-rooted,
Reflected the everlasting hope
In the eyes of the sons of men.

There was a road winding
Up toward the high hills
Of consecration.
It ws no lonesome road
For it teemed with many feet.
No one walked alone
But together they moved...
And fear was nowhere about...

People marveled at tales
Of former generations
Who moved with fear and violence
At their side
And whose broken bodies
Cemented into the road-bed
Made a way toward the high hills
Away from the darkness of bigotry.

A great light was there
And it shone from the hearts
Of the people on the road
Who were of all nations and races,
Walking toward the high hills
In the new earth.....

Happy trails, especially to those headed to the high hills of the new earth!

10-30-2004, 12:22
In response to poem #4,

First of all, Thank you Warren, for finally posting it so those of us that weren't there can decide for ourselves what all the fussing and fighting between you and others has been about.

In my humble opinion, that poem was extremely innappropriate. Not only for a gathering of hikers celebrating hiking, but in the shadows of 9/11, its inappropriatness tripled in magnitude.

Had I been there, I would have walked out too.

Also, poem #3 left me wondering why on earth something like that would be read to a group of hikers celebrating hiking. I'm against clearcutting our forests, but I certainly don't want to see loggers disemboweled.

Jack Tarlin
10-30-2004, 12:56
My thanks to Warren for finally sending these along.

Warren, ever a master of understatement, mentions that it was his fourth poem that caused "some controversy" at the 2001 ALDHA Gathering. This is to put it mildly, to say the least.

In point of fact, it caused dozens of people to walk out of the auditorium in utter disgust, and caused at least one person to get in his car and leave the Gathering all together. Warren's poetry, and the manner in which he inflicted it upon a captive audience, became the talk of the weekend. The prevailing view at the time was that this alleged poetry, and his forcing it on an audience that neither asked for, desired, nor expected political hectoring at a hiker event, was rude, insulting, and singularly out of place.

And why did so many folks feel this way? Perhaps it was because this took place just weeks after 11 September 2001. The ruins of the World Trade Center were still smoking. Bodies and body parts were still being found in New York and at the Pentagon. Memorial services and funerals were still being held all over the country. The country was still in shock from the events of 11 September, and it was a time of confusion, shock, and great anger. America was within days of going to war in Afghanistan, a war that at the time was almost unanimously supported by the populace.

And it was at this time that Mr. Doyle saw fit to lecture us with his view of America, an America that he evidently saw as a rogue, outlaw, despised nation, a nation that was viewed with hope only by "the world's tottering decaying dictators."

Is it any wonder that so many folks at the Gathering were outraged at this? Is it any wonder that so many folks were furious with Mr. Doyle? Nobody ever felt or said that Mr. Doyle wasn't entitled to hold or espouse his political viewpoint, however abhorrent. What was objected to was the time and place in which he chose to share his views. In the audience at Hanover that day were many people who had lost friends or relatives on September 11th. There were many former members of the Armed Forces. There were many who had friends or families presently serving in the military. There were some whose friends, spouses, and even children were waiting for the call-up that would send them off to war.

Plain and simply, Mr. Doyle's "poetry" was viewed at the time to be insulting, outrageous, dis-respectful, and singularly out of place. This was NOT the time or place for Mr. Doyle to tell the ALDHA membership why America was a hateful nation, and why it deserved what it got from the rest of the world. However Mr. Doyle may feel about this country, this was NOT the appropriate time or place for him to share these sentiments, and it was particularly insulting and disrespectful of his audience to spew this filth at the opening session of ALDHA's Gathering, to an audience that was essentially captive to its speakers. An open microphone does NOT give one the license to say and do whatever one pleases, irregardless of the sentiments and sensitivities of one's audience, and for Mr. Doyle to think, or for him to pretend that his remarks caused only a minor controversy is ridiculous.

Mr. Doyle has shown, over the years, that he has utterly no respect for the feelings of others, and that he is entitled to say and do whatever he wishes; he has long felt that the ALDHA organization is his toy and plaything, and that he can do or say whatever he pleases. In the process, he has damaged the organization, and probably driven many people away from it, for in his insistence as speaking as the public voice of ALDHA, he has given a false impression of the organization to a great many folks. He DOES NOT speak for the organization, and it is time folks realized this------including Mr. Doyle.

This sort of behavior manifested itself again at this year's ALDHA Gathering in West Virginia. Happily, tho, the membership has finally seen the light, and took the matter in hand: In spite of the fact that Mr. Doyle spoke forcefully against it, the ALDHA membership ratified a proposal that ALL hikers, regardless of their own over-inflated feelings of self-worth or authority, were henceforth going to be expected to behave themselves appropriately while on the Trail and in town; in short, the membership said that that ALDHA's Endangered Services Campaign applied to EVERYONE, including ALDHA's founder, despite his evident dis-regard for what the Campaign stood for.

Furthermore, when it was time for ALDHA's membership to elect new Board officers for the upcoming year, Mr. Doyle came in a dead and distant last, which was clearly a sign from the membership that they wished the organization to head in a new direction, and to get there with leaders and representives other than Mr. Doyle. The message was loud and very clear indeed: Mr. Doyle no longer speaks for, or represents ALDHA in any official capacity whatsoever.

The events of this year's Gathering were due in no small measure to memories of lingering disgust over Mr. Doyle's actions in 2001; in short, it was evident to a great many of ALDHA's members that Doyle had a track record of disruptive, dis-respectful, and outrageous behavior, and that people were roundly sick of it.

There is a time and a place to for one to express their personal political views---for example, next week, in voting booths across the nation, millions of folks will do just that---but there are also places where it is simply inappropriate and rude to foist one's feelings upon folks who have no choice but to listen. If Mr. Doyle has such a low opinion of this country, well, that's his business. But if he wishes to share this viewpoint, or advertise it, there are proper ways to do so. Inflicting them on a captive audience of folks who'd assembled for a hiker Gathering, and not for an America-bashing political rally, was simply an outrageous thing for Doyle to do. For him to do this only weeks after thousands of Americans had been murdered made his actions even more distasteful. And the fact that years later, he still seems to view this as a minor controversy speaks volumes about him.

Lone Wolf
10-30-2004, 13:13
Does this mean you're gonna stop ranting and raving about Warren Doyle? You're consumed with it. You repeat the same s**t constantly. ALDHA is just a tiny organization. It means nothing in the big picture.

Jack Tarlin
10-30-2004, 13:23
1. Wolf, you weren't there in 2001.
2. You don't know the facts.
3. You have acknowledged that in recent years, you've only bothered to
attend a few of ALDHA's annual gatherings.
4. Your comments here hold more weight when you're speaking about stuff
you have firsthand knowledge of.
5. When this is not the case, your comments hold very little weight at all.

Lastly, tho, ALDHA is indeed a small organization, but in the hiking world, it's an important one. It is the ONLY national organization devoted to Long-Distance backpacking. To some of us, it's a vital and important organization, one that we're proud to be a part of, and one that we want to see heading in the right direction.

Wolf seems to think our discussions here about ALDHA's history and leadership are insignificant. He's entitled to his opinion. If he'd bothered to have taken a more active role in the organization over the years than he has, then I'd have a higher regard for his comments here. To those of us who actually take part in ALDHA events more than once every seven years, these issues are very important indeed.

Lone Wolf
10-30-2004, 13:35
You were nominated this past election and you declined. So much for taking an active role. Your main concern about the Gathering is being able to drink with your buddies and relentlessly bashing Warren. What have YOU done for ALDHA in the past 8 or so years? Unlike you I have a life other than the AT so Gatherings weren't on my priority list of things to attend.

warren doyle
10-30-2004, 15:44
Contrary to what Mr. Tarlin continues to write, this is what I saw from the front while reading Mr. West's poems:

During the reading of Sad, Sad, America, someone stood up and yelled "Shame!" and I then noticed what appeared to be 6-12 people get up and walk out.

After I finished reading all the poems and returned to my seat, a honorary life member of ALDHA said that "I did the right thing." I responded, "I wasn't sure I did." In the context of celebrating 20 years of Gatherings (and Don West's contributions to most of them), I felt justified in the poems I selected. I even made a disclaimer before I read Sad, Sad, America.

For the rest of the weekend, no negative comments were made to me concerning the poetry reading. In fact, I received a supportive comment from an ALDHA member who was a veteran stating "I didn't fight for my country to not have a right to free speech."

I also did not hear anything negative from the initial outburst until early winter, after a period of about two months. The issue was dealt with during the spring and it resulted in the discontinuing of Don West poetry reading at the opening ceremony of the Gathering. For the last three Gatherings, I have done Don west poetry readings as part of the programs/workshops offered during the day.

It should also be noted, that for the first time in Gathering history, a patriotic song was sung near the beginning of the opening ceremony. Although it caused at least one ALDHA member to leave the room, it was obvious that many people in the audience needed to do this which, even though it made me feel uncomfortable, I could understand and respect this reponse to 9/11/01.

With the posting of all five poems read, in addition to this post and my other posts on this matter, I have done all I can. I am beginning to grow weary of this info superhighway with its few, relentless aggressive drivers who have a penchant to be brave before their monitors and not face-to-face. One more requested post on the 9/2/75 Baxter State Park incident and I will be on my way to kinder horizons

Jack Tarlin
10-30-2004, 15:51

1. You are absolutely right. I was nominated for the ALDHA Board and I
immediately declined the nomination, as was my right. I did so because I
knew that there were other folks planning to run who were eminently more
qualified than myself to serve on the board, and I didn't want to hurt their
chances of success by appearing on the ballot. Sorry if you have a
problem with this. But I'll consider running next year if that's what you

2. As for what I've done at the Gathering over the years,well, for starters,
I've attended nine in a row, which certainly makes me more qualified to
discuss what transpires at these annual events than you. I've also led
discussion groups aimed at helping folks who are planing their first long-
distance hike, and I've participated in many more. I've attended the
annual Business meetings, contributed comments, nominated people for
the Board, and voted in elections. This past year, I was outspoken at
the annual membership meeting and spoke at length on why I supported
the resolution in regards to the Endangered Services campaign. My
comments were well received, and I hope they contributed to that motion
passing by a large margin.

That's what I've done at the Gathering in recent years, Wolf. What
about you?

3. Fact is, Wolf, even tho I live only a couple of hours from the Canadian
border, I've attended, and actively participated in nine consecutive
ALDHA Gatherings. This has included extensive travel from New
Hampshire to West Virgina or Pensylvania. I note that you live only hours
away from where the Gathering is held every other year, yet you've only
recently found a way to attend your first Gathering in something like
seven years. This makes your comments regarding other folks' lack of
participation at the Gathering more than a little silly, Wolf. If people are
gonna take a more active role in these events, it'd kinda help if they
bothered to show up.

4. You state that attending these annual meetings isn't a high priority for
you. That's fine. Yet you still feel entitled to comment on what
transpires at the Gathering, and what is decided there. Be aware that for
some us us, attending and actively participating in these meetings IS a
high priority. If you want to take part in these after-the-event dialogues,
that's certainly your right, but if you want your comments to have any
authority or credibility, then you might consider attending the Gathering
more than once or twice every decade. And if, in fact, this event has
little importance for you, if it is in fact "low priority," then please try to
show some consistency: If you don't care enough to attend these
meetings, then you should likewise stay out of discussions about what
has taken place there. You clearly stated that what happens at ALDHA
Gatherings isn't important to you. For someone who purports to be
disinterested, you sure seem to want to talk about it anyway.

5. And lastly, Wolf, I didn't spend much time bashing Warren at the
Gathering. Through his words and deeds, he managed to do himself
so much damage that he hardly needed any help from me in hurting his
standing and reputation. He's perfectly capable of achieving that on
his own, and this is what he's done for years. His long-standing track
record of poor behavior at ALDHA Gatherings is so profound that he
doesn't require any help from me in doing himself any harm....there's no
need for me to bash him when he's so extraordinarily talented at doing
it to himself. And that's what this thread is all about.

6. Hope to see you in Hanover next year.

Jack Tarlin
10-30-2004, 16:13
Quick reply to Warren:

1. The person who responded to your poetry with the one-word comment
"Shame!", was me, as you well know.

2. If you think that only 6-12 people followed my lead by walking out of
the auditorium, then you either can't tell the truth or you can't count.
DOZENS of people turned their backs on you and walked out.

3. This isn't a "free speech" issue. Don't try and make it one. Nobody is
questioning your right to read whatever poems you wish, or to express
whatever political sentiments you choose. There was a "Poetry of Don
West" presentation at this year's Gathering, which folks were able to
voluntarily attend if they felt they wished to. This whole issue, as you
well know, has nothing to do with muzzling anyone's free speech.
Instead, it has to do with the propriety of your remarks, considering that
this was a hiker gathering, and not a political event. Also, the timing of
your comments, to say the least, was questionable.

4. I'm sorry you find that the singing of patriotic songs during wartime makes
you feel "uncomfortable." Poor baby.

5. You mention that you're troubled by folks who won't speak to you "face-
to-face." Get real, Mr. Doyle. At the annual meeting, when you spoke
against the Endangered Services campaign, I stood up in front of about
two hundred people and told you, in your presence, that I thought you
were wrong. And the audience evidently agreeed with me. The next day,
when you went ferreting around our campsite looking for evidence of
wrong-doing, you neglected to actually look at our campsite or speak
with us, even tho we were all there at the time of your "inspection." If
you were interested in a "face-to-face" dialogue, Mr. Doyle, you blew
your chance. And when asked around fifteen times to state publicly what
you discovered during your inspection, you STILL haven't acknolwedged
the truth of the matter, which is that there was nothing amiss to be
found. Yet you lack the integrity to admit this.....how gutsy is THAT?
And now you have the gall to comment on other people's integrity or
bravery? Don't make me laugh.

6. And as for your feeling unhappy with what you've found on the
information superhighway, well I'm sorry you're leaving unfulfilled. Don't
let the door hit you when you leave. But if you ever wanna come back,
even if it's just to shill your Trail Institute or other financial ventures,
feel free to come back. When you're done with your next slackpacking
expedition, you know where we are.

10-30-2004, 16:19
What the heck was going on in 1951 to cause this poet to write this poem? The only significant thing I remember was the threat of nuclear war.
Odd that this poem should be posted days before the election. Kinda like the Osama tape.

Jack Tarlin
10-30-2004, 16:35

The main thing that was going on in 1951 was the war in Korea, which had started the previous June. The Russian backed and Chinese supported invasion of South Korea led to the deaths of at least 1,300,000 South Koreans, mostly civilians. Also lost were 1,000,000 Chinese, half a million North Koreans, not to mention thousands of Americans, Britich, Australian, and other UN troops.

Evidently, Don West and his admirers didn't think our involvement in Korea was a good thing, and no doubt thought Kim Il-Sung, North Korea's dictator from 1948 to 1994 was a swell guy. I wonder what they'd think of the PRESENT North Korean government, led by his son, Kim Jong Il. On second thought, I don't want to know.

Lone Wolf
10-30-2004, 18:34
You're full of s**t on all accounts Jack. Did you major in theater in college. You're awfully dramatic. Get a life, it's just hiking. :rolleyes:

Blue Jay
10-30-2004, 21:18
Is it any wonder that so many folks at the Gathering were outraged at this?

THAT was the poem that has sent you into a 3 year tizzy. I can sometimes be a master of over reaction. It takes one to know one. You are the King.

10-30-2004, 21:34

"Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion"


TJ aka Teej
10-31-2004, 00:56
THAT was the poem that has sent you into a 3 year tizzy. I can sometimes be a master of over reaction. It takes one to know one. You are the King.
Context, Blue Jay. Context and style.
Less than a month after 9-11, while bodies still smoldered beneath the ruins.
We were 'escaping' to our hiker's Gathering, to be with friends. We had exchanged our 9-11 stories, I told people about my cousin's boy who was in the Pentagon that morning, about the pilot from a neighboring town, about my company losing three employees - I listened while friends told me of their losses, their feelings..
And then it was time for opening ceremonies - the calling of class years that would go back in time until just a few stood - until just one stood. The highlight of the Gatherings for many of us.
A few speakers in, and it was Warren's turn at the mic. After shouting a few horrid "poems" at us, Doyle proclaims that "this is the poem Don West would read to you if he were here!", and then Doyle delivers the lines yelling at the mic in his clenched fist, pop-eyed, red faced, fist pumping in the air, with his high pitched shouting turning into demented sort of screeching. Dozens of people walk out on the founder of their organization, and an angry crowd outside almost becomes a mob.

Months later he writes us a weak "I did nothing wrong, but if an apology would make you feel better here it is" letter. And then Doyle comes to this website and brings up the subject of his shameful behavior that night himself in a thread about Peace Pilgrim;

Gee, I wonder if BJ would have yelled "Shame!" at her if she spoke at a Gathering. Interesting thought?
We had let it go, Blue Jay. No one here had mentioned it after Warren joined us and started posting. Until Warren himself decided he needed some attention, that is.

Blue Jay
10-31-2004, 13:10
Thank you TJ. I wasn't there and you are correct that timing and delivery are important. I was just expecting something far more inflamatory.

10-31-2004, 20:36
I have to say that, with context and all, I don't have a major problem with that poem. Just because some people were outraged by it doesn't make it wrong to have read it. I don't know if it was used with politics in mind or not, and I don't really think it's that big of a deal. Bush, Kerry, and company have been using 9/11 for political reasons for a few years and it's not considered unacceptable. I also don't see anything in the poem indicating that the US deserved what happened. And as for the timing, I'd say that if you believe that some US policies have been the cause of this hatred and this attack, it could actually be seen as civic duty to denounce them.

I know, I know. I wasn't there, I'm not a member, etc. But if that means I can't give an opinion, than what the hell are we doing here? We're not in the White House either, but it doesn't keep us from formulating opinions on whether or not the president acted the best way given intelligence he had (intelligence that we have doubts about). My 2 cents...

Spirit Walker
11-01-2004, 17:39
One thing that has not been noted in all the diatribes against Warren is the hard work that he has done to make the Gatherings happen in West Virginia. Coordinating the Gathering is a lot of work, with site visits months in advance and again in the weeks just before the event, communicating with volunteers and with workshop presenters, getting a schedule together, etc. It is much more involved than you would think. While he has had help, Warren has been essential in making the Gathering happen in the southern location. Others who live up north have been willing to coordinate with Dartmouth, but Warren's contacts with the college and the Folklife Center are a part of what makes it possible to have this weekend event run so smoothly and so cheaply. Warren's many years of volunteering for the good of the organization are totally ignored by his detractors. I haven't seen any of you step forward and volunteer to coordinate. Why not? If he decides that it is more trouble than it is worth, especially after the attacks here, which of you will go to Athens, WV and make sure that we have a place to hold the Gathering in 2006? Who will make sure the port a potties show up? Who will create a balanced schedule? Who will coordinate with the AV department to make sure someone is at the auditorium who knows how the system works? Who will warn the cafeteria about the influx of hungry visitors? I'd like to see one of you do it -- but I won't hold my breath. Talking is easy. You all love to talk. Personal attacks seem all too easy around here. Giving credit where credit is due - that seems to be a rare thing. Warren's choice of poetry was definitely insensitive - but none of you seem to have a handle on sensitivity either - and that doesn't take away from all the good he has done for ALDHA.

11-01-2004, 19:01

The main thing that was going on in 1951 was the war in Korea, which had started the previous June. The Russian backed and Chinese supported invasion of South Korea led to the deaths of at least 1,300,000 South Koreans, mostly civilians. Also lost were 1,000,000 Chinese, half a million North Koreans, not to mention thousands of Americans, Britich, Australian, and other UN troops.


Yes. I remember it well. I was drafted into the Army on Jan. 3 1951. Let me add a bit of history. Korea, as I remember, was one of three hot wars we fought during the Cold War -- Korea, Cuba and Vietnam. By happenstance, maybe coincidence, (there may be other scenarios, I guess) these are also the primary Communist regimes still remaining.

Vietnam, thanks mostly to the belated efforts of John Kerry and John McCain, who joined to restore normal American relations, is gradually evolving into a capitalistic society. Cuba and North Korea remain solidly Communistic.

I know, some still think of China as Communist, because China so claims to be. But I think a "capitalistic dictatorship" more accurately describes that country today.


Jack Tarlin
11-01-2004, 19:01
Spirit Walker is correct in stating that Mr. Doyle deserves some thanks and recognition for both founding ALDHA and taking a leading role in its activities over the years. This includes his association with the Folklife center in Pipestem, WV.

On the other hand, Spirit Walker, he deserves neither praise nor recognition for being a disruptive influence at several recent Gatherings; for his attempts to speak for the organization when he is only speaking for himself; and most of all, for his insistence on demanding the right to say and do whatever he pleases while on the Trail. Warren Doyle is allegedly a "leader" of the hiking community, but so often, his behavior is at odds, if not outright damaging, to that same community. His recent public oppostion to ALDHA's Endangered Services campaign is an excellent example of this: ALDHA, as an organization, acknowledged that poor hiker behavior was becoming a serious a problem. No less a respected hiker than Spirit Walker's own husband, a man whose opinions I value a great deal, initiated a lengthy discussion of this issue several weeks ago, when he pointed out that the "hostel" in Palmerton was about to close due to abuse and bad behavior.

I algree that this is a very serious issue, and it needs to be discussed. I'm delighted it bacame a major issue at the recent ALDHA Gathering. But it was distressing in the extreme, Spirit Walker, to see folks like Warren Doyle, the founder and sometime leader of ALDHA, taking such an active and vocal role in criticizing and damaging ALDHA's attempts to get this issue addressed. Is this was you consider responsible leadership? Is this something to be applauded and praised? Hardly.

In Mr. Doyle's alleged farewell to this website, he wished "Happy Trails to all, especially those who jump safely from bridges, avoid paying fees to access the Trail, overcome locked gates on the Trail, safely ford the Kennebec, and don't treat their water."

On other words, Spirit Walker, Mr. Doyle, who you feel hasn't been treated with sufficient deference or respect here, makes it a point to offer his finest praise and best wishes to folks who, like himself, set themselves above other hikers, say and do whatever they feel like, selfishly feel that they aren't expected to conform to standards of proper behavior, wilfully break rules and laws whenever they please, and in short, selfishly feel that they can do whatever they feel like while on the A.T. And this, despite the fact that the organization he founded and led for many years is doing its best to alter and educate against this sort of behavior.

Sorry, Spirit Walker. I'll give the man credit for founding the organization, helping to lead it, and for establishing close ties with one of the spots where we get together every other year. But that's where the praise and hosannas stop. In point of fact, much of Mr. Doyle's behavior and activity over the years is hardly worthy of our praise and thanks, much of it is questionable, and much of it is reprehensible.

His final post here is to send his best wishes to folks whose thoughtless behavior is damaging to the hiker community, negatively impacts other hikers, and flies in the face of what a responsible hiking organization is trying to teach, i.e. responsible behavior by ALL members of the A.T. community.

And Spirit Walker thinks we're being a little hard on the guy?

Sorry. If his alleged "last" post and comment is any example of what he has to offer us, especially to Trail newcomers, and if his last post is an example of
what he has learned over the years and wishes to share with others......well, if his last post is any example, I'm glad he's decided to spend his time elsewhere.

Lone Wolf
11-01-2004, 19:08
You're a tiresome broken record. blah, blah, blah. Warren has NEVER said he was a "leader" in the hiking community.

11-01-2004, 19:16
I've said this before, but apparently no one believed it -- or perhaps just didn't notice.

But I can't think of anything more destructive of ALDHA than this continuing public bickering. Autumn tends to be a busy time of year for me. But until this year I have always thought about attending and trying to rearrange things so I possibly might.


Magic City
11-01-2004, 19:20
There seems to be a bit too little tolerance for nonconformance around here. Before long, backpacks will have to come in approved colors and trail names will be issued from a central registry. I've never met the man, but from what I can determine Warren Doyle is probably a jerk, but I wouldn't heap compliments on those who have made it a mission to point it out at every opportunity. One problem with this country is that every good idea is eventually destroyed by those who will not permit new ideas, other than their own.

11-01-2004, 19:20
If he decides that it is more trouble than it is worth, especially after the attacks here, which of you will go to Athens, WV and make sure that we have a place to hold the Gathering in 2006? Who will make sure the port a potties show up? Who will create a balanced schedule? Who will coordinate with the AV department to make sure someone is at the auditorium who knows how the system works? Who will warn the cafeteria about the influx of hungry visitors? .

No one is indispencible or irreplaceable. Someone will step up to the plate and who knows? they may do a better job.

Jack Tarlin
11-01-2004, 19:37
Thanks, Wolf, for yet another kind comment.

But fact is, Warren has LONGED claim to be a leading member of our community and you very well know it. On his own website, he boasts of his leadership qualities as a hiker. And the fact that he founded ALDHA is public knowledge and is hardly a secret----in fact, he mentioned this himself in his "Member Profile" when he joined us here at Whiteblaze. In short, it was obviously important to Warren himself that we recognize and be aware of his connection to this group, and his standing in the hiker community. Were this not important to him, then why did he take it upon himself to make sure we all knew about it? So for you to say that he's never considered himself a "leader" is simply untrue. He has. He still does. And he never tires of reminding us.

If it's important enough to him to advertise his historic connection to ALDHA, then it's perfectly OK for others to comment on this connection as well.

And as to the "broken record" thing, Wolf, it's YOU whose childish bleating defenses of Warren at every opportunity are getting a little tiresome. According to you, we couldn't criticize him when he noisily arrived here and immediately started spouting nonsense. We couldn't criticize him after his arrival when he continued to spout more of the same. And now we can't criticize him when he he realizes he can't control the dialogue here and storms off in a huff. At all times, according to you, he's beyond reproach. Is there something about you guys we should perhaps know about?

He must be pleased to have such an ardent defender. And you're welcome to continue doing so, whether he keeps his promise to go away or decides to re-join us. But if folks like Spirit Walker are going to take the time to admonish us for being too rough on the man, or failing to give him credit for his accomplishments, well, she's going to get a response.

Sorry if you don't like it.

Lone Wolf
11-01-2004, 20:06
You're still a tiresome broken record. And a horses ass too. Get a life. :)

11-01-2004, 20:16
There seems to be a bit too little tolerance for nonconformance around here. Before long, backpacks will have to come in approved colors and trail names will be issued from a central registry. I've never met the man, but from what I can determine Warren Doyle is probably a jerk, but I wouldn't heap compliments on those who have made it a mission to point it out at every opportunity. One problem with this country is that every good idea is eventually destroyed by those who will not permit new ideas, other than their own.

Having met Warren and watched his activities over the years, I can attest that he is not a jerk. He does march to a different drummer at times. But I always find that a plus, not a negative.


Jack Tarlin
11-01-2004, 20:29
I gotta great life, Wolf. But thanks anyway.

And thanks, too, for your inciteful, pithy, instructive commentary. Always a pleasure to read such well-formed, well-expressed, mature and thoughtful postings. Your contributions add immeasurably to this site.

Keep 'em coming, you're a real day brightener.

But in truth, Wolf, you were a hell of a lot more entertaining when you weren't such a curmudgeonly, angry, bitter, and consistently negative guy. You think it comes off as laconic, cynical, and amusing. Sorry. All too often, it's just plain nasty; instead of thought-provoking, your comments are merely provoking, period. On the Internet, this sort of intentionally inflammatory posting doesn't elevate you; instead, it makes you the consumate troll. You begin dialogues, or contribute brief ripostes to ongoing discussions, and then back off in a hurry when the conversation doesn't go your way. (Gee, sorta like Warren, now that you mention it). Or you just get mean and abrasive: When you can't win an argument with facts, reason, or logic, you resort to calling someone names. Great debating style, Wolf, except most of us moved past it somewhere around the fourth grade.

Youu're too young to have become such an embitterred, cantankerous, and grouchy old man. If anyone needs to get a life, Wolf, it ain't me.

Have a nice day.

Lone Wolf
11-01-2004, 20:34
...and on and on he prattles. A lot of adjectives. Blah, blah, blah. :D
BTW Jack if ALDHA gets a bad name it will be because of you.
And I bet Warren harbors no hatred for you like you do him. Probably feels sorry for you. I'll say it again, your obsession isn't healthy. Move on. I've known Warren much longer than i've known you. He's a better man. I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone. This will be my last post on this so you can have the limelight that you need.

11-01-2004, 20:55
He does march to a different drummer at times. Well, I would think that anyone who takes a big chunk of time that society deems to be productive, as uses it to wander around in the woods, is certainly viewed by society at large as "marching to a different drimmer."

With all the loud finger pointing and unending talk within our little societal niche, I'm sure that as far as most of the population is concerned, we are all faceless and more or less identical "dropouts."

I for one am looking forward to a 2005 thruhike, and creating yet another drumbeat.

11-02-2004, 00:18
I have to say that, with context and all, I don't have a major problem with that poem. Just because some people were outraged by it doesn't make it wrong to have read it.

It had nothing to do with hiking. It was off topic and that was sufficient to make it inappropriate. If Warren (or anyone else) had gotten up and read 'Ode to a Grecian Urn' it might not have been offensive but it still would have been inappropriate. That Warren not only selected an off-topic poem but an offensive one also simply emphasized the lack of judgment involved.

The folks gathered in the auditorium that night were there to hear and talk about hiking. If the meeting had been advertised as a gathering to discuss American foreign policy past and present then perhaps even an outrageous poem would have been appropriate but that was not the purpose of the *private* meeting (i.e. this isn't a 1st Amendment Constitutional issue).

11-02-2004, 00:47
It had nothing to do with hiking. It was off topic and that was sufficient to make it inappropriate. If Warren (or anyone else) had gotten up and read 'Ode to a Grecian Urn' it might not have been offensive but it still would have been inappropriate.Excellent point. I think you have found the center of the issue right here.

11-05-2004, 09:37
It had nothing to do with hiking. It was off topic and that was sufficient to make it inappropriate.
I see your point and respectfully disagree. I discuss and read about non-hiking issues on this web site because this is a hiking community, which does not restrict it to discussing hiking topics. Hikers are a different breed which can give their opinions a certain slant. I'm interested in hearing their perspective. And given the activity in the off-topic forums, I think I'm not the only one. But this one's been discussed and beat to death: some people think this site should be about hiking only and others don't. Likewise, some people will argue the gathering should focus on hiking exclusively and others think otherwise.