The Camera: Kevin Gallagher's Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail (AT) runs from Maine to Georgia, covering 2,181 miles along ridges, through valleys and thick forests, 14 states, and Kevin Gallagher's childhood backyard. As a kid, he was an AT regular, hiking sections of the trail with his family near their home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It was those day hikes that would turn Gallagher on to the six-month trek of the entire AT.
"I remember standing on the trail and my mom pointed in one direction and said, 'if you walk all the way that way, you'll get to Maine.' Then she turned me around and said, 'if you walk all the way that way, you'll get to Georgia."
Gallagher was only seven at the time, but the moment was definitive.
On April 2, 2005 he set out from Springer Mountain in Georgia and hiked north, arriving at Katahdin, Maine on October 6.
"I sure would have loved to keep going," he said.
Along the way, he took 24 photographs of 24 steps of a section of trail each day. When Gallagher returned home, he had over 4,000 slides. In February 2011 he released "The Green Tunnel," a video that strings together each scanned slide and takes viewers down the epic footpath in under five minutes.
Gallagher didn't have an exact intent for capturing the AT, but with the help of his degree in filmmaking, he was able to create a video that is reflective of his passions for both long-distance hiking and film.
"I would say a moving image is where my heart lies."
Gallagher studied film at Virginia Commonwealth University and continues to work on personal projects and documentaries.
"It's really just a gateway to make some money to go hiking," Gallagher said of his filmmaking career.
So far it has worked out well for him. In 2007, from April 19 to September 30, he was once again thru-hiking, that time on the west coast's Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile walk between Canada and Mexico. Looking ahead, he hopes to walk the Colorado Trail next summer.
As for other projects to share with his growing fan base, only time on the trodden dirt beneath his boots will tell. But he does like the idea of "The Green Tunnel" inspiring others and letting them partake in his saunter through the woods.
"I wouldn't say I have an agenda," Gallagher said. "But it's a way to bring them closer to the trail."
--Lauren Pope / images and video courtesy of Kevin Gallagher (anothergallagher.com)
This post is part of a three-part series, which profiles adventurers who traveled along iconic long-distance hiking trails in North America, documenting their experiences through unique and extraordinary means.