The Smokies and Chris Gallaway’s AT Movie

by admin on March 29, 2013

My friend Chris Gallaway is working on a pretty amazing project right now called THE AT MOVIE. As one might guess he is hiking the Appalachian Trail this year. He invited me to walk with him for a few days as he passed through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

IMG_9250_view_tree Organic Totem: Pretty much everything out there freezes, thaws, grows, shrinks, rots, decays and makes a place for the next new life form to exist. IMG_9265_gallaway There was substantial snow accumulation throughout the Smokies hike. Chris had already weathered several days of freezing temperatures and snowfall before I met him at Newfound Gap. DSC_0642_group_shot Group shot by Chris. As long as we were moving and generating body heat the cold wasn’t too penetrating and we stayed comfortable. 

A very tiny Chris (bottom right on rock outcropping) takes in the unreal view.


IMG_9271_gallaway_briars A regular sized Chris looks at a big ol’ briar thicket. IMG_9276_smokies_view
Pretty much anywhere you looked was an amazing view. DSC_0750_night_hike Photo by Chris – The first day we hiked through twilight and in the dark for a couple hours until we reached the first shelter. Coming off the couch for this long walk, my 37-year-old legs felt far older. IMG_9292_gallaway_tunnel
This was from our second day out, and it rained all day until we were soaked to the bone, and cold. On our lunch-stop my tired legs wanted to sit down so badly, but I couldn’t because I needed to stand and keep moving just to keep my body temperature at a reasonable level. IMG_9299_gallaway_snowcreek To make things a bit more challenging we were forced to hike on the slanted trail sides due to a growing stream in the trail-bed. IMG_9300_snowcreek Closeup of moist trail conditions. IMG_9307_gallaway_shelter Shelter, dry clothes, food and sleep were oh so welcome that night. IMG_9320_gallaway_breakfast Breakfast in bed before heading out to six new inches of snow. Almost 100% of our wet gear became very frozen gear. IMG_9325_frost_bite Frost himself with frostbitten hands. IMG_9339_gallaway_cold Yes, he was as miserable as he looks here. That day served up some brutal and cutting winds. Despite the conditions and my painful, old-man legs the scenery and company remained pleasant and welcome. IMG_9351_frost_sunshine Arriving at i40 and the Pigeon River I traded places with Sunshine, Chris’ Fiance-to-be, and took her vehicle back to Asheville while they continued on to Hot Springs. IMG_9365_sunshine_camp_shoe With fresh legs, patience and a good sense of humor Sunshine begins one of many hikes with Chris. IMG_9368_i40 As my sorry ass limped away with sore knees I watched my friends cross under i40 and venture back into nature. Thanks to Chris for including me in such an adventurous excursion. Chris spends a day off the trail processing an ever growing library of footage. Chris spends a day off the trail processing an ever growing library of footage.

Visit The AT Movie Dot Com to see the beautiful video documentation Chris Gallaway is turning out from his trail journey.

– Spencer Cooke, Effort Inc.

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