Long Start to the Journey: Help Osprey Ambassador Chris Gallaway share his Appalachian Trail story
Osprey Ambassador Chris Gallaway is seeking support through Kickstarter to make his a film, “The Long Start to the Journey” a reality. January 31st is the campaign deadline to support this compelling documentary about the Appalachian Trail and if the campaign does not meet its goal no funding will be collected and given to the movie.
In support of Chris’s Kickstarter campaign, we’re giving away an Exos 48 Superlight Backpack to the next donor to pledge $220. The Exos 48, our newest ultra-light technical backpack, is a masterful combination of ounce-shaving, durable materials and a feather-weight internal frame to keep you fast and comfortable on your next journey. Your pack will have a “The Long Start to the Journey” patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making this film possible. Note: We’ll need to get your unique sizing before fulfilling this reward and you must be a resident of the US to be eligible.
To follow Chris’s journey on the trail last year, visit www.theATmovie.com.
A question I have often heard since completing my 7-month thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail is how the experience changed me. That’s a difficult one for me to answer, and it’s probably better addressed by people who know me well and have observed me from the outside. The images above were taken at the beginning and end of my hike (the third, cold morning in February on Blood Mountain Georgia and the last day in September as I walked down from Katahdin). While I know that these two self-portraits encompass a host of experiences and some of the most significant changes of my life, it’s difficult for me to articulate what’s different between them.
I can begin with the obvious changes. I came away from the trail several pounds lighter and with bigger leg muscles than I’ve ever owned in my life. I felt more uneasy traveling in cars and moving at the pace of the modern world, and I’d developed a very strong distaste for the tone and content of television news. On the other hand, I had developed a very avid appetite for any and all foods that I could get my hands on, no matter how exotic or mundane the cuisine. I’d become much more sensitive to artificial odors like perfume and shampoo, sometimes finding them repellent; while simultaneously I was much more tolerant of the natural odor of human beings when they’d been without a shower for several days. For the first time I was engaged to a woman (Sunshine!) and would in fact be married to her a month after finishing the trail. I had also experienced the sudden death of my younger brother and was still living through the shock of that event, trying to figure out what it would mean to me.
When I set out on the trail in February of that year I felt that it would be a journey that would challenge me greatly and change me forever. Yet I held that “knowledge” lightly, fully aware that it was purely theoretical and that the challenges and changes I would face would surely surprise me and maybe overwhelm me. Beginning a thru-hike you have to make commitments that are not unlike those made on your wedding day, reaching as they do beyond your power to know. You commit to yourself that you will struggle through hardships that will wear you down and rub you raw, but you cannot know how deeply they will test you. You acknowledge that you will observe many beautiful things and meet many fine people along the way, and yet you really don’t know what kind of gifts these things will be to you.
I remember that early on in my hike when people asked if I was a thru-hiker I responded “Yes,” but that it was a statement of intent and not one of accomplishment. Now I have achieved it, and it surely ranks as one of the greatest, hardest journeys of my life. I’m glad that I got to experience this journey immediately before embarking on the much grander adventure of marriage. The butterflies I experienced on the drive down to Springer were much like those I felt as I stood before friends and family and waited on my bride to walk down the aisle. On both of those days I was at the threshold of a journey that stretched far beyond my vision, and yet I had a deep, abiding confidence that it would be good.
Sunshine and I feel a similar excitement and anxiousness now as we raise support to make a documentary film about the Appalachian Trail. It’s unclear if we will succeed in raising the support we hope for to make this film, but we know that the story will be told in the end, whatever it takes. We feel that that this is a good story, one worth telling, and we’re inviting people who believe in it to help us make the film. It will be another long, good journey to complete this film, and we’re thankful to have the support of many fellow travelers!
Note: We’ll need to get your sizing before sending you your bag and you must be a resident of the US to be eligible. In order to win this pack the person donating to the campaign will have to select the pack as their reward on Kickstarter. In order to win the pack, simply log in to Kickstarter and pledge your support to The Long Start to the Journey film at the $220 level; then select the “OSPREY EXOS 48 SUPERLIGHT BACKPACK” as the reward you would like to receive for your pledge.
If the campaign meets its funding goal by January 31st your pledge of support will go through and the pack will be shipped to you. If the campaign does not reach its funding goal, Kickstarter will collect none of the pledged support for the film and no rewards will be delivered. Many other prizes and rewards are available to those who would like to support the film at a lower level: everything from calendars to a copy of the finished film itself.