I’ve been working super hard on a personal photography project, that very bittersweetly is now complete. I’ve mentioned it in a couple blog posts and of course on Facebook, but if you haven’t found out yet, I’ve been on the Appalachian Trail for about 8 hours every day for the last two weeks doing trail magic and photographing the Thru-Hikers. I’ve met over 80 Thru-Hikers in that time and It’s been a blast!


Yep. It’s a little piece of hiker heaven.

When a hiker stumbles upon a ripe blueberry bush along the trail…. TRAIL MAGIC!

When an amazing person leaves a cooler full of Coca-Cola and Snickers Bars on the side of the trail…. TRAIL MAGIC!

When someone like me takes it to the next level (because I can’t do anything without doing it BIG) and sits outside with chairs, an umbrella, a cooler full of fresh cooked foods, a cooler full of soda (and sometimes beer), fresh fruits, a box of dried foods and granola bars and a box of health and medical supplies…… TRAIL MAGIC!


I’ve never done any volunteer work in my entire life… ever. This year I got my start and man, does it feel good. You see, I grew up really close to the Appalachian Trail in northern NJ. (Ya know, the part with the trees… far, far, away from the Turnpike.) I spent a lot of time in the Delaware Water Gap and hiking on the beautiful Appalachian Trail where it crosses into the tip of NJ for 67 glorious miles. I have been familiar with the trails history and of course the so-called crazy people that hike the trail from Georgia to Maine each year – They’re called Thru-Hikers and I think they’re AWESOME. I wanted to do something really great this summer and decided to put this project together to help the Thru-Hikers. I had many people who helped me greatly with this project, whom I will list at the bottom of this post.


The Portraiture part of my project:

I first planned to photograph each Thru-Hiker in front of a white backdrop with a studio light. I ended up not using a studio light at all, as I found the time I spent with the Thru-Hikers to be way less formal and in many cases very personal. I thought that using studio lights ruined the inmate moments and conversations I shared with many of these people and that it was a better idea to photograph them naturally. After all, they’re spending 6 months in the woods, they have a new name and a clean slate in a new community along the trail… The natural environment just fits them, right?? During our conversations I took mental notes to remember stories and quotes from each Thru-Hiker.

Their stories are amazingly inspirational and in some cases humorous or thought provoking. I’ve paired the stories with their portraits to create a series of images that tell the story of the community, camaraderie and life on the Appalachian Trail.

I’m calling this series: TALES OF THE TRAIL


Dallas is a 60 year old woman from Louisiana. She said that what she’s doing is fun, but it’s hard to be away from home. She has a husband and a dog that she misses.
I asked her what got her interested in hiking the AT and she told me that she always thought it was kind of cool and when she turned 60 she figured she had to do it, even without much backpacking experience. “You have to push yourself to grow”, she says.


Meet Gone Walkin’. He’s a retiree from North Carolina and this is his second time Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail. The first time he hiked it was in 1973. He told me, “I had a friend from Hot Springs, NC that knew all about the trail. Nobody knew about it back then. It took him a year to convince me! When I first heard about it I thought, “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would anybody want to do that?”” He was convinced though and hiked it that year, and now again. He calls it “book-ends”, because he did it right after college and now again right after retirement.

The NYNJTC has asked me if I wanted to exhibit this body of work for their Appalachian Trail Community Day in Warwick, NY. I obviously said, YES! The exhibit will be on view from August 8-24, 2014 with an Opening Reception on Saturday, August 9th from 7-9pm. It will be at Love Life Tattoo & Art Studio on South Street in Warwick.

If you’d like to see more of this series, visit this webpage:



This project could not have been possible without the generous help and/or donations by the following people:

Lee-Anna & Dorothy, Paul, Amber & Jaime, Laura, Lisa, Jamie, Amy, Shawn, Bob & Briana, Kate & Stephen, Donna, Kate, Gene, Kate & Erch, Bruce & Linda, Tom, Janelle, Kaylie, Jerrica, Triona, Kellie, Alex & Shawn.

I can’t thank you all enough! <3 <3