Butterflies and Blackberry Flowers: A Photo Project

110 miles and 1 state down, with 2000 miles and 12 states to go. I may not be that far in on the AT but mile stones make me feel like I’m making progress.unnamed2

It has been colder and wetter than I expected–blackberry winter, that’s what the people in Franklin call it–a cold snap for a week or two after the first blackberry flowers have already bloomed. unnamed1

The AT has been beautiful beyond expected: trees pushing out brightly colored new growth, mushrooms in the damp mountain folds, an array of small animals that remind me to keep the little things in mind, outcropped lookouts, and yes, even blackberry flowers.unnamed3

My second day in trail, I was trying to take a photo of a butterfly using the macro setting on my camera. Butterflies don’t like to stay still for too long, and they, like most other animals, don’t like some dude getting all up in their faces with a camera seeking a detailed shot. After chasing several butterflies over the course of the day, it dawned on me that this is part of the beauty along the Appalachian Trail–small things.unnamed4


unnamed6There is so much life along the trail. I don’t know how many trees I might see in a singer mile, understory plant vegetation, squirrels darting to safety. It’s actually overwhelming. That combined with lookout points over green coated hills and blue mountains, blankets of fog, and the knowledge that the trail runs on into forever. unnamed7

There’s so much, and it’s hard to appreciate it all. Hard to take it all in and not grow complacent or take it for granted. I’ve started trying to take pictures of small things along the trail, singular subjects in each image, breaking apart the things I see on trail into digestible chunks. These change daily, and it’s import for me to notice and appreciate these small things. One at a time, they add up to what the trail is comprised of: worlds within worlds, small things adding up to larger ones, painting the image of the full trail.


I’ve dedicated my Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/moore.stew/) as I hike to hosting photos of the small stuff. Don’t worry I’ll also have pictures of the lookouts, the shelters, the miles markers, and state signs, but largely I wanted to mark and remember the things that comprise the trail on a daily basis, showcase them as individual works.


Right now it seems the best way to process the overload, appreciate the small, the butterflies and the blackberry flowers that have made up the last 110 miles and 7 days.

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