I had the opportunity this morning to watch two excellent documentaries on the Appalachian Trail. The first, White Blaze-Stories From Appalachian Trail, was filled with interviews of thru hikers explaining not only why they decided to hike the AT, but also had it had changed them.
This documentary features M.J. Eberhart, also known on trail as the “Nimblewill Nomad.” His insight and and wisdom is second to none as he has been hiking for more years than most people have been alive. His hiking accomplishments are many, and to me the most amazing is that at the age of 60 he hiked from the Florida Keys to the far North of Quebec. That is an astounding 4,400 miles!
He is also the author of Ten Million Steps: Nimblewill Nomad’s Epic 10-Month Trek from the Florida Keys to Quebec. I have read this and it is one of the best written hiking books out there. He is one awesome dude! I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants a detailed look at long distance hiking.
The second documentary took a little different path than the first. One group of people that thru hikers will encounter on their hike are “Trail Angels.” Trail Angels are folks that take time out of their lives to provide assistance to thru hikers. Often times in the form of a cooler left on the side of a trail, they can be filled with soda, snacks, beer and candy bars. Trail Magic can also be rides into towns, meals that are bought for you or even a free place to stay for the night.
This documentary featured “Apple,” a 30 year veteran of IBM who decided that in retirement he would spend his time providing Trail Magic to thru hikers. He sets up a 12 person tent that includes a stove, food and drink. For many at the start of a thru hike, something like this can be a life saver as the weather can be incredibly unpredictable with night temperatures in the 30’s to mid 40’s. He goes into some detail as to why he does this and the cinematography is just outstanding.
Here is the You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaZxBlVwhcE