West Virginia Motto – Mountaineers Are Always Free

West Virginia Motto – Mountaineers Are Always Free

These days, there is a “group” for everything. Like-minded people get together
and do their thing. Trekkies. Stay-at-home Moms. Stamp Collectors. The list goes on. Deal’s goes to
rec director conferences, where they play whiffle ball. I go to my
medical writer conferences, where we get our smart on.

It’s always nice to interact with people who “get it.” Which is why Deal & I felt so much at home at the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) “Gathering” this weekend in West Virginia.

It was our first time attending the conference and we will definitely go
back. We went to sessions on other people’s tales of trails, trail
development and hostel management. It just reaffirmed that we are where
we should be. Maybe someday I will revisit my career of medical writing
and Deal of parks and recreation, but for now, the trail is our life.

They do a roll call in the beginning to see what hikers are in attendance. We of course are part of the Class of 2011 and there were just a few others from our year. But they went all the way back to the Class of 1971!!! And some people weren’t just in one class. One guy has hiked the AT 9 times. NINE TIMES. They also ask who has the most miles under their belt. The highest was 45,000 miles!!! Can you imagine hiking 45,000 miles??!?!?!?! Deal and I have a long way to go … And the end note speaker … a 32-year-old who has about 35,000 miles under his belt with his most recent expedition being over the 2500-mile Himalayan Range through India and Nepal. Nah, that’s not impressive. Not at all.

FYI, the meeting was on a college campus and I must say, school cafeteria food has definitely change. I had shrimp one night!!!

The meeting was in south central West Virginia, so on the way there, we
meandered the back roads to do some exploring in the Monongahela Forest.
Two observations:

1) I’ve never seen so many unincorporated towns (means there is no self-ruling)
2) I am very proud of myself for not upchucking while reading the map
and going up and down and around the serpentine roads. Mind over matter.

We camped for the weekend and it was good to get in the tent again. It
was our bigger tent, so it felt like a luxury compared to what we camped
in this time last year. Campfire, camp food, chill in the air, no
showers for 3 days … love it.

On the way down, we stopped at the high point of West Virginia–Spruce Knob at 4,861. Numero 26 for us! Very pretty high point, especially since that area of W. VA is at their peak fall colors. 

And well, since we got away for the weekend from BD, Deal had to tie in a concert. So we got together with these 2 clowns to see one of their fav singers … Peter Gabriel.

Now back to usual programming, but you can look for an announcement from us later in the week!! 

2 responses to “West Virginia Motto – Mountaineers Are Always Free”

  1. Misti says:

    Awesome! I would love to go to that conference…I should actually join them too. 😉

    Congrats on your new state mtn! 🙂 WOO!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Was reading my journal and came across ur address. Hays shelter. 6/26/11. Great posts. Glad u guys made it. T-coZee

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