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.
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.
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.
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"