092 Allgood - Whitney LaRuffa
Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa is the current President of ALDHAWest.org, who hosts the Gathering once a year, bringing together many people that love long trails.
Allgood was a Boy Scout who found a passion for the Appalachian Trail as soon as he found out about it. For three years in High School he saved money washing dishes to pay for his AT thru hike in 1996, the year after he graduated.
In 1997 and 1998 he worked as a Ridge Runner followed by some smaller thru hikes on the West Coast before thru hiking the Continental Divide Trail, 20 years after the AT in 2006.
Those 20 years between Allgood's major thru hikes, the trails were so different and the gear got a lot lighter. Hiking all day is easier because his base weight changed from 35 pounds to 12-14 pounds in that time. Information on the trails changed, having written letters 20 years ago to get intel and now it is all online.
He has helped launch a hat and beanie line promoting National Scenic Trails and soon National Parks also. Each hat gives a bit back to the organization they feature. Pacific Northwest Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Arizona Trail and John Muir Trail are a few of the long trails available now. National Parks they will be featuring are Mount Rainier, Olympic, Denali, and Arches. Go to- crowntrailsheadwear.com
Living in the Portland area, Allgood loves the Columbia Gorge so we chat about the early season Eagle Creek fire this past summer and the Labor Day Weekend Eagle Creek Fire which was devastating. Started by fireworks, the fire put many hikers in danger and wiped out some amazing swaths of wilderness areas. He talks about the future of the area and how it differs between Wilderness and non wilderness areas.
Allgood tells the history of the Chinook Trail, which starts at Silver Star Mountain in the Columbia Gorge. It goes east to Merry Hill where it crosses the Columbia River at Bigs Junction and heads west down river to Angels Rest. The Chinook Trail became a National Recreation Trail in 1994. There has only been 30 of the 300 miles of trail completed on this route.
He decided to hike the trail with his hiking buddies Snorkel and Tomato with a map of the area and the Chinook Trail roughly marked by a Sharpe! On the Oregon side of the Gorge, they were able to connect some existing trails. When they reached the eastern side of Oregon, they were passing through farm lands mostly. The Eagle Creek fire put a hold on plans for further mapping and a guidebook.
AK9 Adventures is a passion of Allgoods where he helps hikers learn more about hiking with dogs. He has a long history with his dogs on long trails and day hikes. Gear and adventure advice is always good to research when thinking about taking your dog hiking.
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