The 38th Biennial Conference of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy opened last evening. It’s being held at Emery and Henry College in Southwest Virginia north of Abington.The opening meeting was a festive affair.
We registered at the exhibit hall and that’s where we met the Who’s Who of the hiking world.
Johnny Molloy, author of countless hiking guides had a table.
So did Leonard Adkins, probably the best guidebook writer in my estimation. He wrote Walking the Blue Ridge Parkway, the best book on all the trails off the Parkway.
Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail had a booth. John J. was staffing the booth when I got there
And of course, Carolina Mountain Club
had a nice exhibit of our hikes and maintenance work. This is where the work gets done and the connections get made and renewed – at informal gatherings.
The kick-off meeting was a grand affair. Those who volunteered for 25 and 50 years got awards. Think about it – 50 years of volunteering for the A.T. They must have started when they were 20. All those who think that volunteering and hiking starts when folks retire should rethink their assumptions.
It is not that difficult to make hiking a priority, even when you’re punching a clock. If all goes well, we’ll get our 25 year pin in 2013.