Throughout the second half of my time on the PCT, I conducted a personal project to explore a novel way to document the trail. I took two portraits of each thru-hiker I passed. One tight facial portrait and one foot portrait. This I managed to do with 49 different hikers, and all with the minimal amount of lightweight gear in my pack.
Below you will find some highlights of the series. The full project can be viewed on my personal website. Special thanks to Soapbox and Ms. Frizzle, without whom this project would not exist.
Hiker Trash: noun: a term used to describe thru-hikers and all of their hairy, dirty, grunginess. They are typically characterized by their far-beyond disheveled appearance and god-awful smell. These are people that set out to complete a 2,663 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, a long distance trail spanning California, Oregon and Washington. I consider them my friends and comrades. They put aside their daily lives in ‘the real world’ to spend about five months walking in the woods and experiencing life and nature. They attack a pile of food like no human you have ever seen, and they do it without remorse or shame. The nomadic community created by Hiker Trash is one of the most beautiful and ephemeral tribes a person can experience. For the five months I spent on the PCT, everyone I met treated me as one of their own. They were my tribe. I was their kin.
They embrace the constant and daily challenges presented by the grueling terrain, merciless pace, and mercurial weather. All in the name of making it from Mexico to Canada armed with nothing but sheer force of will and their own feet. It is with perseverance and grit that every thru-hiker is able to put one foot in front of the other. The pounding on a thru-hiker’s foot is constant and brutal. The cost of their dream is shown in their battered and bruised feet. Their indomitable spirit and fortitude is shown in their faces. These are their faces. These are their feet.