Ruckin' Season by Whitney "Allgood" La Ruffa
The Orginal ALDHA-West Ruck in Cascade Locks, OR, circa Feb 2013
Seven years ago, I was a new board member at ALDHA-West (American Long-Distance Hiking Association -West) and came up with the idea to host a Ruck in the Pacific North West. We originally thought this will be a fun day and we’ll help about 30 people prepare for hiking season, we had 85 show up and it was awesome! Fast forward 7 years and ALDHA-West now hosts 5 Rucks annually all over the West and helps over 500 hikers a year prepare for the hiking season.
A breakout session led by award-winning author Liz "Snorkel" Thomas
For those of you who don’t know ALDAH-West is the home of the Triple Crown Award for hiking and a great organization that helps educate and promote fellowship amongst long-distance hikers, I was the President from 2013-2019.
Now you might be asking yourself, what is a Ruck? It’s not the scrum in a rugby match or a misspelling of a dirty word, but it is a day or weekend event that focuses on helping hikers prepare for their first or even 20th long-distance hike. The days’ programing helps new hikers learn from experienced hikers on everything from selecting the proper gear, food, nutrition and resupplying, leave no trace, and even personal one on one pack shakedowns. There are breakout sessions focusing on specific trails like the Wonderland Trail, John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail but also ones focusing on weekend hikes in the local area.
Engaging speakers at the Rucks help new hikers with their real-world experience.
My favorite aspect of the Rucks though is the people we get to meet there and the old and new friends I get to spend time with. The Ruck is one of the rare times when my friends aren’t out on the trail, exploring the world by foot, and during the darkest days of winter, it’s nice to get to catch up, share some laughs, and help other people prepare for the life-changing event that is a long-distance hike.
From hanging with friends to showing the proper way to poop in the woods, the Ruck has something for everyone
So come out and spend the day with ALDHA-West and Six Moon Designs, who knows maybe you’ll learn a thing or two, meet some new friends, or if you’re really lucky you'll meet a new hiking partner to share some trail time with.
The Rucks happen over the next few months use the links below to register
Cascade Ruck, Feb 22, Stevenson, WA
Colorado Rockies Ruck, March 7, Golden, CO
North Cascades Ruck, March 21, Sedro-Woolley, WA