Category Archives: backpacking movies

Episode 34: Pacific Northwest Trail “A Sense Of Direction”

PNT2

In Episode 34, Alex “Money Shot” Maier talks about his film “A Sense Of Direction” which documents his travels on the Pacific Northwest Trail in the summer of 2015.  Alex chose the PNT for his first thru-hike (and first hiking film) to explore one of the newest trails in the National Scenic Trail system – which earned the status in 2009.  Only a few hundred backpackers have thru-hiked the 1200 mile trail to date, and all have had the fortune to experience the PNT while it is still in it's infancy.

In the podcast, Alex talks about the early history of the Pacific Northwest Trail, the many scenic firetowers and peaks on the hike, life as a PNT thru-hiker, and his favorite (and not so favorite) moments on the Trail.  He also updates us on his latest long distance hike, and hints at a release date for his next major hiking film. For more information on Alex, you can click to his website or follow this link to watch his video for FREE on YouTube.  And to hear my conversation with “Money Shot”, see below…

Subject: Pacific Northwest Trail “A Sense Of Direction”

Interviewees: Alex “Money Shot” Maier
Interview Date:
July 18, 2016
Runtime:
1:00:22
Download Now: Pacific Northwest Trail “A Sense Of Direction” (WMA format 44.5 Meg);
Pacific Northwest Trail “A Sense Of Direction”(MP3 format 56.5 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

Episode 26: Blind Courage

In Episode 26 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Director Clint Ross who is hard at work with Producer Paula O'Neal on the film adaptation of the book Blind Courage, which is based on the 1990 Appalachian Trail thru-hike of Bill Irwin – the first legally blind hiker to complete the entire Trail within a single year.

In the show, Clint discusses the first draft of the screenplay, the trailer, and the upcoming plans to film the movie.  He also give us some personal insight in to Bill Irwin and how he overcame alcohol and tobacco addiction through faith in God and by heeding the call to hike the A.T.

For more information or to follow the making of this film, click here.  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Blind Courage

Interviewees:  Clint Ross
Interview Date: 
February 25, 2015
Runtime: 
1:11:04
Download Now: 
Blind Courage – The Bill Irwin Film (WMA format 68.2 Meg);
Blind Courage – The Bill Irwin Film  (MP3 format 49.2 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

Walk In The Woods premieres to mixed reviews

Walk In The Woods premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week to mixed reviews.  Here's a sampling…

The Guardian

Plenty of silly little incidents ensue along the way, with lots of jokes about advancing years. Most of these episodes are far too low-stakes to carry a movie and the bigger picture, about two men past their prime trying to figure out what to do in their dotage, is handled far too simply to have real impact. The result is something that is just fine. It’s pleasant enough to watch, but by no means riveting or revolutionary.”

Hollywood Reporter

A delightful journey with fine star turns by Redford and Nolte that should prove a good draw for finicky older audiences.” 

New  York Post

“Tame gags are about all the film has to offer. Major distributors were in attendance at the premiere; the chief of one of them left halfway through.” 

Salt Lake Magazine

“I fear the adaptation of the book that premiered at Sundance could destroy future sales of Bryson's travel cult classic—and could put the uninitiated off the AT itself.” 

Salt Lake City Tribune

“If you're going on a journey, it's good to have familiar traveling companions — which is why “A Walk in the Woods” is a trip worth taking.” 

Variety.com

It’s pleasant enough cinematic comfort food, but even so, you may be hungry again soon afterward.”

Episode 25: Flip Flop Flippin'

Flip Flop Flippin

In Episode 25 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Scott “Squatch” Herriott about his three part series Flip Flop Flippin'.  The films were shot on the Appalachian Trail during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2014 and they follow the thru-hiker community as they make their way along the nearly 2200 mile trail.

In the show, “Squatch” talks about his first ventures in to the wilderness, some of the thru-hikers and trail angels that he met on the A.T., and his experience as a filmmaker in the backcountry.  His skills as a stand-up comedian come across in his videos and on the podcast.  So I am sure that you will enjoy both.

Squatch

For more information on Squatch and his films, click here!  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Flip Flop Flippin'

Interviewees:  Scott “Squatch” Herriott
Interview Date: 
November 21. 2014
Runtime: 
1:20:46
Download Now: 
Flip Flop Flippin' (WMA format 55.1 Meg);
Flip Flop Flippin'  (MP3 format 75.7 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

Episode 23: Hard Way Home

hard-way-home

 

In Episode 23 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Kori “Rocket” Feener¬†about her recently released film Hard Way Home which documents her personal journey on the ~ 2200 mile Appalachian Trail in 2012. ¬†

In the movie, Kori talks about her physical and emotional struggles on the A.T., the healing powers of long distance hiking, and what it’s like to film and produce a film while hiking the Appalachian Trail. ¬†She also gives us some insight in to the film industry and talks about her recent trips to various film festivals in the U.S.

For more information on Kori and her film, click here!  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Hard Way Home (via the Appalachian Trail)
Interviewees:¬† Kori “Rocket” Fenner
Interview Date: 
September 29. 2014
Runtime: 
1:02:31
Download Now: 
Hard Way Home (WMA format 45.2 Meg);
Hard Way Home (MP3 format 60.0 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

 

 

#7 Listen to music

Just read an article at Appalachian Trials on “9 Things A Former Thru-Hiker Wishes She Had Known Before Hitting The Trail“. ¬†And what was on the list? ¬† My personal favorite….

#7 Listen to music:

”¬†It will help keep you positive in the present as you hike and afterwards the music you listened to will become a time machine back to exact moments on the trail. You may not know the place or even the state but the song will bring back a perfectly rendered memory. “

Many go in to the woods to leave technology behind. ¬†I work in technology, and I promise you that¬†when I go in to the woods there’s nothing more that¬†I want to do than leave technology behind.

But when you are hiking ~ 2200 miles to Maine – it’s a long, long way to walk. ¬†Yes, music helps – believe me. ¬†Actually, everything helps – hiking in silence, listening to the birds, talking with a¬†day-hiker or fellow thru-hiker, and ¬†…..¬†even listening to music for an hour or two. ¬†(It’s an 8-12 hour thru-hiking¬†day, you get that.)

So this week, I’ve¬†been listening to¬†cassette tapes that a group of¬†friends made me for my hike in 1994. ¬†I summited Mt. Katahdin¬†20 years ago¬†this October, and the music does bring me back – as the article states. ¬†There truly is a soundtrack to a thru-hike (and your life.) ¬†And yes …¬†all the memories do¬†come flooding back.

Even if it originated¬†on¬†cassettee tapes that were played on a yellow waterprooof Walkman. ¬†¬†On a thru-hike … the music does matter, maybe not today – but tomorrow.

 

 

Episode 22: Walk In The Woods, Life As An Extra

Walk In The Woods

In Episode 22 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Ken aka “The Weasel” about our experience as extras in the soon to be released movie Walk In The Woods.   It is based on the best-selling 1998 book by Bill Bryson, and stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte – both who were on set for our scene in the movie which was filmed at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia.

Ken and I record the podcast 2 years to the day of an  interview we did on the Chattooga River Trail (Episode #5).  We talk about what it takes to get the casting call, discuss life on the set, review some scenes from the movie, and talk about the impact this Hollywood production may have on the Appalachian Trail and other long distance hiking trails in the future.    

Want a shot at your 15 seconds of fame?  Hurry, because they are wrapping up production of Walk In The Woods in June.  But you can follow this link to CL Casting to see the Atlanta casting calls that remain.

Subject: Walk In The Woods, Life As An Extra
Interviewees:  Ken (aka The Weasel)
Interview Date: June 10, 2014
Runtime: 1:09:40
Download Now: Walk In The Woods (WMA format 50.3 Meg);
Walk In The Woods (MP3 format 66.8 Meg)

 

 You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

 

From movie set to backcountry set, a Walk In The Woods on the Appalachian Trail

You may have heard that Walk In The Woods is filming now in the Atlanta area, and Friday I was cast as an extra in a bunkroom scene with actors Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.  True to the book, it was set at Rainbow Springs, N.C. after an April snowstorm.  Needless to say, I had the Appalachian Trail on the brain and talked two friends in to a hike this weekend on the Trail.  Took my backpack straight from the set, and arrived at Hightower Gap on the A.T. on a beautiful spring day.

We had sunshine and cool temps with mountain breezes all day and climbed ~500 feet to the shelter with leaves just beginning to break out on the trees.

 

Campsites are plentiful at the shelter, but with kids in tow – we opted to camp on the ridge at the junction with a blue blazed side trail.  The bonus – many hikers passed by and had interesting stories to tell.

 

After setting up camp, we walked down to the shelter to chat with some of the other backpackers.  Two were hiking to Damascus, VA but we only ran in to one thru-hiker this trip who intentionally waited until late in the season to start and miss the masses.

 

Then back to the campsite where the dog relaxed …

 

And the kids entertained themselves with making bows and arrows…

 

A great night in general and a beautiful evening in the backcountry – with a spring sunset through the trees and stars and a cresent moon lighting the sky.  No wonder we stayed up until after 1am.  

 

Hopefully, Walk In The Woods captures this kind of Spring magic on the Trail.  And from what I've seen so far … it will.