The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.
Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life. Appalachian Trail Conservancy
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I’ve been shooting photos ever since I can remember, but after watching a video a few years ago where the Milky Way sprawled out above a mirror-like lake, I knew I had to try my hand at astrophotography.
It’s not everyday that you get to see the stars clearly when living in New England. I learned this the hard way when I moved out East after living in Colorado for 15 years. It was a whole new world, one that was rainy, cloudy and whose inhabitants were not nearly as friendly. Luckily for me I chose to attend the University of Connecticut, which at certain times of the year has a decent enough view of stars for me to get the shots that I want.
The past few months I have been venturing out into UConn’s woods armed with a 120-lumen flashlight, my Osprey Packs Kode 32 packed with all my camera gear and the ever-important thermal underwear. I try to venture out each week when the conditions are ideal; I’m talking no clouds and little moonlight to get the clearest possible shot. This winter has offered a good amount of chances to get out and shoot. It is an amazing feeling to venture out in the dead of night to gaze up into the sky — especially when everything is silent, muffled by the recent snow. (more…)
Our friend Ace Kvale is one of the world’s top adventure photographers. For over 30 years his action photos, striking portraits and stunning landscapes have captured the essence of wild places and diverse cultures in the far corners of the globe. Recently, Ace has used photography as an opportunity to raise consciousness. Through his latest work with vanishing cultures and international philanthropic organizations, he’s discovered new inspiration and purpose by using his skills to help people at risk. He specializes in cultural, documentary, travel and outdoor adventure photography.
The Desert Dawg Trail
In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll begin to see something, maybe. Probably not.
–Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The first time I read those words I was living in a small cabin in the woods in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. I’ve never forgotten them. Ed Abbey left a huge impression on me. Since then I’ve been lucky to travel, ski, climb and photograph on six continents. From mountains in Tibet to rivers in Alaska I’ve been one lucky dude.
But the words of Ed Abbey have always held a grip on me. Hundreds of desert climbing trips have in no way extinguished my insatiable curiosity for the beauty of the canyon wilderness. That’s the thing right there. Wilderness. That’s the word. So simple.
Glamping. Wtf? Seriously? Yet it exists. The other day I saw a piece on the best iPhone apps for camping. No shit. But, to be totally honest I have an iPhone. I have the topo maps app with all the maps I need downloaded in it. I can press a few buttons and have my position pinpointed with incredible accuracy. It tells me right where I am on the map I’m holding in my sweaty hand. You are here. Awesome.
The year 1987 was the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, which passes right through Damascus. That year, members of the Town Council decided to celebrate the anniversary with an event for hikers. At that time, there was no town park in Damascus, so the small festival was held in the parking lot of the town hall and behind the bank. The festival was held again the following year, the year after that, and every year that’s followed, growing to the tens of thousands. In the early years of Trail Days, a street was sometimes roped off for a dance, but there were no vendors. There were only the hikers and the cyclists who followed, who inspired the town to rebuild its economy, which had been devastated by flooding and the loss of most of its industry. (more…)
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Each year, thousands of hikers make the 2,180 mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Katahdin. Each of those hikers crosses the Nantahala River along the NOC Founder’s Bridge, in Bryson City, NC. Most of these hikers cross on their way north in early April, just before beginning the difficult ascent into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many more hikers enjoy the Appalachian Trail in segments, hiking one section at a time over the course of many years, or maybe just sticking to their favorite sections of trail. (more…)
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Osprey Athlete Payge McMahon is an adventure athlete, ‘rockin’ yogi’ and journalist who travels the world inspiring others to get outdoors, try new things and start checking off that bucket list.
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Round 3 of #OspreyAt40 starts tomorrow, February 15th!
Tomorrow morning we’re kicking off Round 3 of our 40th Anniversary Photo Contest: at 11:15 am MT all of the “votes” on every photo submission in the #OspreyAt40 contest will be reset to “0.” Resetting the votes at the beginning of each round means that everyone who has entered has another chance to automatically win a Transporter 40 if their #OspreyAt40 photo is one of the first 5 photos in this round to reach 40 votes on the contest page/gallery www.tinyurl.com/OspreyAt40.
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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. (more…)
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