My Favorite Appalachian Trail Vloggers
I must confess that I did not follow Darwin on the Trail or Following Bigfoot on their actual AT thru-hikes but I greatly appreciate the wealth of hiking information that they continue to share with the hiking community. Which one is my favorite? I think it was Following Bigfoot, who first turned me on to sock liners so I will be forever grateful to him for that. However, I must admit that I am weak and can’t get past my fascination with Darwin on the Trail’s amazing blue eyes. I can’t decide if I actually love those eyes or if I’m being mesmerized by some supernatural or alien being. Sorry Bigfoot.
There is a serious lack of female hikers vlogging their journeys – especially older female hikers who I can relate to. Women are always the toughest critics of other women. I tried to watch Homemade Wanderlust on her AT hike but she was just too blonde, too cute and her Southern drawl was even more Southern than my Texas drawl. Stay tuned for more on Dixie.
My favorite 2016 hikers who I watched from start to finish were Chris Berry and Speilberg. These guys are regular, no drama “nice guy” hikers. The visual quality of Speilberg’s videos is amazing and they represent the cinematic excellence that his trail name implies. Speilberg is also responsible for one of my favorite thru-hiker quotes. He said something like, “Everyday I do my best to prepare and plan but every day the trail does something to punch me in the face.” I suspect that might reflect the reality of thru-hiking.
Sometimes I wanted to punch Chris Berry in the face because no matter what the conditions that guy was always smiling. He seemed to find joy in every step he took on the trail, which was ultimately what kept me watching. Someone also commented that they appreciated the fact that he was one of the only hikers who actually knew exactly where he was on the trail. Getting an idea of possible trail conditions on specific sections of the trail is a huge benefit for hikers planning their own future thru-hikes. So kudos to both of you.
2017 Thru Hikers Of course, I watched Early Riser. As a 40 something male ex-Marine who often logged 25 to 30 mile days, he was possibly the hiker I could least relate to. Yet I kept watching. He won me over when I discovered that the dogs at home that he kept mentioning were not macho Marine guy Dobermans or German Shepherds but cute little fuzzy dogs that adored him. I am also an early riser but not that friggin’ early. Why would you want to start hiking before the sun comes up? I understand that it was probably a peaceful time with no other hikers on the trail and he was trying to get miles in but I wouldn’t want to miss seeing whatever there is to see along the way. Early Riser was a man on a mission and that might actually be the best mindset for completing a thru-hike but I felt that his videos were only about his mission and not so much about the trail. Despite that I was drawn in and couldn’t stop watching.
I also watched Red Magge from start to finish despite being totally unable to relate to the Pizza Hut delivery gamer guy from south Louisiana where the tallest mountain is a levee on the Mississippi River. I am pretty sure I kept watching to see where he would quit. But he didn’t quit and I respected him more and more with each video. He shared his good days and bad, weak moments as well as strong ones. I must admit that my favorite video was Mahoosuc Notch, where he hiked with a group of guys while documenting every route decision, every rock and every agonizing climb and drop off. Toward the end, two young, agile women excused themselves as they made fast work of a trail section that the guys had been laboring over for some time. So maybe a little more drama than necessary but overall an impressive journey.
My favorite 2017 AT thru-hiker videos were Jen and Greg’s Appalachian Trail Tales. Without actually having met them, I liked them and felt like they were people I’d enjoy hanging out with. Their videos combined beautiful photographs with good video and verbal description of scenery, trail conditions and overnight options along the way. Greg’s weekly summaries were also good info for those planning a thru hike. I also enjoyed sharing in their wonderful relationship as a couple on the trail. Great job, y’all!
Now back to Homemade Wanderlust. Somewhere along her 2016 Appalachian Trail hike that I didn’t watch, Dixie evolved into the absolute queen of the trail. I watched her 2017 PCT videos and was beyond impressed with her skills, her bravery and her perseverance over extremely beautiful yet harsh and dangerous trail conditions. The quality of her videos is amazing and yes, she has someone else editing and uploading, but the editor had to have some amazing raw footage to create those stunning videos. So I totally forgive you, Dixie, for being young, blonde, cute and more Southern than me and henceforth will bow down to you as “O Great Dixie Queen of the Trail”! She is not merely one of the greatest female thru-hikers but one of the best overall hikers of either sex.
In 2018, I am going to attempt to vlog my AT hike. I am old and not tech savvy so I have recruited family and friends to help me out with editing. I have no idea whether anyone will be able to relate to me or will want to watch but as with other hikers, the main purpose of the vlogs will be to document my journey and to hopefully provide other hikers with information and inspiration that will be helpful in their preparation for their own future hikes.
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