Katahdin | Completing a Life Long Dream!

Hello from the comforts of home and soft beds! I would like to announce The Thru-Project has successfully finished the 2,185 mile north bound journey across the Appalachian Trail. From the up and downs of Georgia to the vast wilderness of Maine, the journey has finally come to an end.

After the last post we trekked into the 100 Mile Wilderness! The image time-line below will lead you from the start of the 100 miles to the end of the journey.

Jerky Jerky Jerky... Thanks Paramount Fit Foods!

This is the sign that starts the 100 Mile wilderness, from this point we have 100 miles without resupply everything we need for this hike is on our backs! about 6-7 days of food!

The 100 mile wilderness is full of rivers we have to ford!

The plant life in Maine is extrodinary above is an image of Pitcher plants, these guys must be pretty resilient to pop up in an area where snow is on the ground half the year!

Our first view of Katahdin take from Pemadumcook Lake at mile marker 2138.2

This image was taken from Nesuntabunt Mountain at mile marker 2149.6

This image of Mount Katahdin  was also taken from Nesuntabunt Mountain in the evening time!

This image of Katahdin was taken from the Rainbow Ledges at mile marker 2164.8.. Getting Ccose!!!

Here I am signing in at the begining of Baxter state park to reserve my spot at our last shelter at the base of Katahdin known as The Birches!

On September 14th Jarred Douglas "Muffins" and Joel Dallas "Mr. Dallas" completed their hike, at 7:14am they reached the summit of Mt Katahdin sitting at 5268 ft in elevation.

Muffins and Mr.Dallas make it to the end!

Muffins on K-Top

On September 19th Myself, Joshua Niven "Still Dont" reached the summit at 5:30am or so accompanied by Nick Browne "Brownie", Jonathon Harvey "Mellow Johnny", and Ryan Underwood "Samba". That morning we woke up at the base of the mountain at the long distance hiker shelters known as The Birches in Baxter state park at 2 am trying to reach the summit before the sun broke the horizon. It was my aim to catch some stars and the full moon before the early sun lit up the sky and made them all disappear.

On the way up it was dark in the tree line but as soon as we hit the Alpine zone about 2 miles into the hike, the full moon lit up all the rocks and the head lamps where turned off. The winds that were whipping while we climbed the vertical portion of the climb were enough to nearly throw you off the mountain. About .5 miles from the summit I noticed the sun was starting to breach the horizon with its orange and pink intensity. I soon realized I may not make it to the sign before the stars disappears so I asked Samba to let me pass and I proceeded to run.

This seemed like a good idea at the time but not 20 steps in to my sprint I got thrown to the ground on all fours, turned around and saw Samba laughing, got myself together and continued to run. This is not something anyone should ever do on Mt Katahdin, especially at night, but for my pictures it was necessary. I recall screaming, "Come on" over and over frustrated at the rate at which the sun was rising. Finally I reached the summit, threw my bag down, pulled out all my equipment and began to make my photos.

After 20 minutes of shooting, I finally took a break and got my hands back to life, the cold had locked them up! I finally got the rest of my clothes on and as I saw the other guys approaching the summit, It finally hit me; The journey was over...we did it! The feeling I felt at this moment as I looked at the Katahdin summit sign with the sun shooting across the land on my right and the full moon blasting on my left simultaneously will remain embedded in my brain for the rest of my days.

This image was taken around 4 am on the hike up Mount Katahdin shortly after breaching the tree line.

We did it!!!!!!!!

Paramount Fit Foods on K-Top!

Katahdins shadow being created by the early morning sun as the fool moon as yet to disappear in to the horizon!

Success!

Detail shot of the summit sign atop Mount Katahdin!

Excitement of completion and the realization of returning to the real world is setting in for all the Thru hikers who have recently completed the hike.  The comforts of home and the chaos of the real world has finally returned to our lives. Pride and the feeling of accomplishment is dancing in our brains while the intense feeling of knowing it's all over pierces the gut. For some, returning from such a trek is wonderful and for others it is somber. Having such a one track mind on a goal set in front of you creates a world of knowing exactly what you're doing every day. Completing the trail is priority every day and with the completion of the goal realization that it's over is equally wonderful and sad all at the same time. With the goal reached for many hikers, the feeling of not knowing what's next can make you have a bit of an emptiness inside. Fortunately for me this is not the case, for all the post-production hangs above my head.

Now that the hike is over and the content has been created, it is time for all post-production work to begin. In the immediate future I plan to re-vamp the website and get it set up for moving the artwork and start all the gears turning with the gallery work and the book. Over the course of the next month or so I will be editing and releasing the first batch of imagery that will hopefully start generating attention to assist in getting the book off the ground and get things all sorted. These images will be included in honoring all the perks our donors will be receiving from our crowd funding we did before the hike.

The future for the Thru Project will involve an array of artistic endeavors created from the content from the hike, raising money for Appalachian Conservation with 25% of all proceeds being donated annually. As the book and gallery work begin to come together, I will be working with like minded people and our sponsors to come up any and all ideas for spreading the love of the Appalachian Trail across the nation. It is my goal for when it's all said and done to make The Thru Project a platform for other artists to come together and create in the name of the Appalachian Trail and any other outdoor endeavors that may need the publics attention. All though the hike is over...The Thru Project is just beginning to come to life!

Over the course of the 6.5 months we where on the trail more than 15k images where captured. These images include everything from composed work to candid shots of the guys. The editing process and creating everything I plan to create with this content is going to be a long and exciting ride!

I will be posting on the blog with updates and images of progress and all sorts of awesome things along the way. Stay tuned as this project comes to life...It's going to be a blast!

I would like to thank all of the wonderful people that have helped us along the way, from the contributors of our crowd funding to all the trail angels, family’s and people who picked us up while we where hitch hiking between town and trail, Without you none of this would have been possible. The enthusiasm and amazing attitudes of all the people we met along the way helped give us purpose and love for what we where doing. Without these people this project could not have made it to the finish!

I would like to shout out to our sponsors and everyone who made it possible..

- Darren “Spicy Jesus” and Valerie at Paramount Fit Foods for all the nutrition and help with everything, such an amazing product and such wonderful people. http://www.paramountfitfoods.com/

- Fabio and Woody’s Skatepark, for absolutely everything and being there for us no matter what whenever all the time whenever we needed you. http://www.woodysskatepark.com/

- Yama Mountain Gear for the greatest tarp in the world that assisted countless amounts of times keeping the equipment and us dry! http://www.yamamountaingear.com/

- Ed and Phil Primm with Creative Motion Design! For the support! http://www.creativemotiondesign.com/creative/index.html

- ClifBar for the nutrition! http://www.clifbar.com/

- Lew and Fickle Skateboards for being the raddest guy on the planet! http://www.fickleboards.com/

- Kevin at Sakura limo services for the awesome rides and the best lunch I have ever had!

- The Sparetime for the networking help and being the best bar in Savannah. http://sparetimesavannah.com/

- PowerStance for making the best music on the planet and providing me and Muffins with constant inspiration. http://www.powerstance.org/

- Blue on Blue for the web hosting! http://www.blueonblue.com/

- ManyWaters, JustBill, and Bill Thomas in Damascus for all the moral support and love for the trail.

- Jade my mother and Derek for always coming through when we needed it!

-  Jeff Douglas and Denise for all the support and enthusiasm

- Maria Douglas! For always coming through, for all the rides, all the love, and everything you do...You truly are amazing!

-  Miss Janet for all the rescues!

-  Rock Ocean!  For doing what you do!

- Janet and Tim for changing our perspectives!

- Ryan Klinger for saving my life countless amounts of times and supporting everything I have ever done!

-  Brownie for saving my life!

-  Samba and Mellow Johnny for all the help!

-  All of our friends and family!

- Thanks to all the Thru-hikers and friends we met along the way! You are the heart of the project!

- I want to thank my partners in all of this for all of the hard work, Mr. Dallas for all the painstaking work and being a kick ass content writer, Muffins for being you no matter what all the time and for not killing me, and Rickshaw for always helping me with all my projects, no questions asked!

Again thank you to everyone reading this and all the wonderful people who made it all possible. You rock!

- Joshua Niven "Still Dont"

Throw back image from our first day on trail as we started the approach trail. Mile marker - 8 March 4th 2013! Seems like a life time ago!

 

151.2 Miles Left!

The project is currently in Caratunk, Maine - 151.2 miles from the end of our journey! Maine has been wonderful, we have met a lot of really amazing people. Up here at the northern end of the trail, people are fewer and further between, but they remind me of those in the deep south. There is certainly a touch of Northern hospitality here. Upon entering Maine, we had 5 days of rain, but we have finally hit a streak of good weather and we are pushing for the finish! With only one more re-supply comming up before the 100 mile wilderness and limited access to technology, this post will be the last post until the trip has been completed.

Shortly after we summit Mt. Katadin, I'll summarize the hike with a final post for this section of the project. Then all of the wonderful post production and hand breaking work will begin! Stay tuned - it will be exciting! Thank you all for your continued support.

-Joshua Niven "Still Dont"

Below is an array of images from our last week of hiking!

Stairs, rain and more stairs! Maine is beautiful but quite slippery and dangerous! Obstacles like these are everywhere!

This image was taken on the way up Saddleback mountain mile 1971.2!

 

We found a boat! While hiking by Ethel pond I spotted a boat hidden in the woods, we quickly jumped in and paddled out  to the middle of the beautiful mountain pond!

Feet!

Selfie on the pond! Sweet curl bro!

This image was taken from Saddleback looking at The Horn. Check out the rainbow behind The Horn!

Un-Official 2000 mile mark!!! This image was taken on Bigelow Mountain.

Trail Magic! These guys have been giving trail magic in the most un likley of spots in Maine, 50 minuets down a dirt road to the trail in the middle of no where. They have been giving back to the trail this way since 1998! Thanks guys the dinner and breakfast was amazing!

The one and only white blaze that moves! At mile marker 2034.3 The Appalachian Trail crosses the Kennenbec river since the 1980's a ferry service consisting of a canoe with a white blaze on it and a ferry oppurator take hikers from one side to the other. Back in the day, before this service was provided hikers had to find there own way across this wide river.

Kennebec River Ferry opperator!

Posted by Joshua Niven "Still Dont"

Good Bye New Hampshire!

The Thru-Project would like to let everyone know that the photographic needs of the project have created some conflicting schedules. We've made the decision to separate for the remainder of the hike. New Hampshire and Maine have presented me with increasingly dramatic landscapes to create in and I will need to slow down to get the coverage I need.  I will be posting a timeline gallery of my hike as often as possible. Thank you and enjoy!

- Joshua Niven "Still Dont"

The following is a selection of images taken between Franconia Ridge in The White Mountains and the New Hampshire-Maine border.

Welcome to Franconia Ridge!

THE THRU PROJECT!

Muffins loves him some Paramount Fit Foods!

Samba...The God.

Zealand Falls

This is Max! Trail angel and awesome guy, he treated us to a place to stay, dinner, awesome people to talk to and Django on dvd! Thank you Max, your personality was inspiting to all of us!

Lakes of the clouds hut!

The hut close up!

Our introduction to Mt.Washington

Summit! Whats with all of the buildings?

Mt.Washington without the walking!

The best weather in the whites we could possibly ask for!

Lake view behind Madison Spring Hut

Friends! Dumptruck, Clever girl, Clever Girl's Mom, Grim, Mellow Johnny and Samba!!!

We went caving! View from within!

This is a Ruffed Grouse

The Border! Finally, 13 states down 1 to go

Brownie is happy!!

I had an abrupt introduction to Maine!

This image is the begining of Mhoosuc Notch, the longest, hardest, most fun mile on the Appalachian trail!

Mahoosuc cave pass.

Climb on!

Mahoosuc cave break!

Truckin along on the hardest /most fun/ hard mile!

Squeeze!

The Mahoosuc Notch hike ended with these lovely people. Steve and Lee Smith, Amazing home and amazing family! They brought us in and fed us and gave us beds to sleep in.. They made our week! Thanks Guys!

Soooo good!

Hikers Welcome Hostel!

The Thru Project would like to thank Hikers Welcome Hostel for the amazing facility and hiker sanctuary they have created. The hostel is in the White Mountains, located at mile marker 1787.2 on the Appalachian Trail in Glen Cliff New Hampshire on NH25. They offer laundry, bunks, tenting, food, fast internet, computer and good times. When The Thru Project arrived we ran in to a bunch of hiker friends and Miss Janet cooked all the hikers a taco feast! Following the meal we watched the greatest story ever told...Forrest Gump! Check them out at www.hikerswelcome.com or on Facebook!_92A9599

This is Legion!

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Compost!!

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Live Free or Die

Yes please.

In New Hampshire we discover the virtue of the granny gear. It is a slow arduos new challenge riddled with rebar and slick root tangles.

From a fire tower in New Hampshire looking south.

We climbed high into fire towers perched atop piney mountains. Flat rolling hills and smooth elevation profiles became a thing of the past.

Smooth terrain.

1800 miles in and we find ourselves reinvigorated by the grinding burn of four thousand foot climbs crunched into four miles.

One step forward, two feet up.

Our Angels have continued to bless our odyssey. Miss Janet slack packed us over Mt. Moosaulake. At 4803 ft., Moosaulake is not the highest mountain we have climbed, but was indeed a formidable hike.

Rocks are essential for any alpine environment.

We hiked Moosaulake south bound from NH 112 to Hikers Welcome hostel. It is about a 10 mile walk, and we were off to a early pre 9 a.m. start.

Cube Mtn. 2990 ft. The sun sets here every night.

The sign said it all. We were in for a nice ride. Right off, the trail took us up a waterfall for a couple miles. The clouds grew closer and colder. Ever step forward was two to three feet vertical in the steepest stretches.

Getting fat for winter.

Slips and falls around every corner, but nothing was too dangerous. Never trust a wet root, or a rock at any angle other than flat. Luckily, we were not carrying fully loaded packs, oh the joys of slack packing!

Welcome to the jet stream.

Near the sumit we entered a cloud realm inhabited by elves and flourescent moss amalgamations. The pines grew shorter and more stubby in a permanent droop dragged by the wind. It was wool sweater weather, the stuff of mooses.

Going up again!

Clouds whipped through the christmas tree lined path and swirled about like cold breath. Suddenly, all the trees shrugged away and we were thrashing about in a cold stone jet stream. Sturdy stone piles lined the trail in intervals like sentries known as cairns. They are large enough to hide behind and shelter you from the wind.

The clouds break apart just as we depart.

Still Don't was rigged to snap a photo every 5 seconds for the entire ten miles. His tripod hoisted the camera above his head making him appear as an ostritch through the fog. There is some stop action in the works out of an incredibly dynamic couple thousand frames.

Moosaulake posing for the camera.

BrownE was shirtless and in a pair of boxer shorts wild man style. Muffins was dressed for a soccer match. Still Don't was in shorts and a hoodie. Mr. Dallas was layered like a lasagna. Needless to say, we couldn't stick around on top in the cold cloudblast for long.

Cold snacking nude wild man.

Not five minutes after we started down the other side, did the clouds break and the hidden mountains were revealed. Grey nothingnes yeileded to green mountains with white rocky tops wrinkling to the horizon.

Protein snack on Moosaulake thanks to Darren and Paramount Fit Foods.

The cold is back. The straight up Paula Abdul climbs are back. This is our first taste of the infamous White Mountains, and we like it.

This is a mushroom.

Wrote by Mr. Dallas.