By Tyler McFarland
For many of us, a pack on our backs and a rugged pair of shoes on our feet is the way to experience the natural world around us. The traveling American Long-Distance Hiking Association West (ALDHA-West) “Ruck” returns to Hayden, Idaho, for its 6th annual conference April 4. The event brings a full day’s worth of backcountry education, trail-stories, and a delicious potato bar at the Eagle’s club center. All who have graced a dirt path, or have the desire to, are encouraged to attend and learn more about our nation’s extensive list of long-distance trails. Whether you are working on cleaning up your triple-crown of the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail, or are interested in tips on how to pack your new Osprey backpack for the first time, the ALDHA-west ruck will have something to offer you.
The day consists of alternating back and forth between a “main-stage” panel of experienced hikers sharing personal experiences and advice, and breakout sessions where you can choose from many of the options, such as individual trail talks or discussions around navigation. The hiking community is one that is not only focused on getting out into nature, but also educating other hikers on practices that allow the next generation to have the same opportunities. This includes a heavy emphasis on “Leave no trace” principles as well as an awareness of how we can support local land conservation efforts.
The conference is held on April 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Eagles #4080, 1520 West Wyoming Ave, in Hayden, Idaho. For ALDHA-West members, the admission is $20 and $35 for non-members (membership is only $20, so you might as well become an official member while you are at it for the extra $5). Participants are encouraged to bring their full backpacking kit for a pack shakedown. Register now at aldhawest.org to hold your spot.