Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Joanna Campbell

Faculty Mentor’s Department

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Abstract

This past Summer, I spent two months solo-hiking the first third of the Appalachian Trail. I completed 737 total miles, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and continuing through North Carolina and Tennessee, before finishing my journey in central Virginia. I am no stranger to backpacking, but the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of the Southeast were completely foreign to me. Throughout this two month excursion I kept a daily journal, logging everything from mileage and geographical features, to encounters with wildlife and humans alike. Over six months have elapsed since I completed my journey and, having had plenty of time to reflect, I realized that it is these latter brushes with humanity that have stuck with me most poignantly. The kindness, selflessness, and immeasurable sense of community I experienced while on the AT is truly what mattered most. The scenery was merely the backdrop. The catalyst. A means to the end.

But enough reminiscent ramblings. Time for the nitty-gritty. What I am proposing is this: a multi-medium creative scholarly portfolio—working title: “Solitary Solidarity: Vignettes of the Appalachian Trail”. The project will utilize my journal entries and photos, alongside creative writing and original sketches, in order to create a collection of individual profiles, detailing the people I hiked with, interacted with, and genuinely got to know. In order to provide this project with a sense of cohesion, a continuous written narrative will be woven throughout the entire piece, emphasizing the themes of community and humanity. I plan on adapting this portfolio into a spoken presentation, to be presented at UMCUR, accompanied by both photos and original sketches. I plan on meeting with Joanna on a regular, bi-weekly basis. These meetings will serve to keep me both on track and focused, while also serving as an excellent opportunity for soundboarding. Having completed the Wilderness & Civilization program, as well as having worked under Joanna at the Wilderness Institute, I am very familiar with her uniquely excellent writing and mentor styles, which will be a great benefactor to the quality of my work in this endeavour.

This project is one that I am acutely passionate about for many reasons. As with almost every other Missoula local, I am deeply passionate about outdoor recreation and the preservation of our Wild places. But I am also deeply passionate for the ways in which people interact with and become part of their landscapes. As a Communication Studies major and Wilderness Studies minor, I cannot think of a more perfect way to encapsulate my college experience than with a collection of human interactions, bonds, and experiences, forged in travel, exploration, and a whole lot of blisters.

Category

Visual and Performing Arts (including Creative Writing)

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Solitary Solidarity: Vignettes of the Appalachian Trail

This past Summer, I spent two months solo-hiking the first third of the Appalachian Trail. I completed 737 total miles, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and continuing through North Carolina and Tennessee, before finishing my journey in central Virginia. I am no stranger to backpacking, but the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of the Southeast were completely foreign to me. Throughout this two month excursion I kept a daily journal, logging everything from mileage and geographical features, to encounters with wildlife and humans alike. Over six months have elapsed since I completed my journey and, having had plenty of time to reflect, I realized that it is these latter brushes with humanity that have stuck with me most poignantly. The kindness, selflessness, and immeasurable sense of community I experienced while on the AT is truly what mattered most. The scenery was merely the backdrop. The catalyst. A means to the end.

But enough reminiscent ramblings. Time for the nitty-gritty. What I am proposing is this: a multi-medium creative scholarly portfolio—working title: “Solitary Solidarity: Vignettes of the Appalachian Trail”. The project will utilize my journal entries and photos, alongside creative writing and original sketches, in order to create a collection of individual profiles, detailing the people I hiked with, interacted with, and genuinely got to know. In order to provide this project with a sense of cohesion, a continuous written narrative will be woven throughout the entire piece, emphasizing the themes of community and humanity. I plan on adapting this portfolio into a spoken presentation, to be presented at UMCUR, accompanied by both photos and original sketches. I plan on meeting with Joanna on a regular, bi-weekly basis. These meetings will serve to keep me both on track and focused, while also serving as an excellent opportunity for soundboarding. Having completed the Wilderness & Civilization program, as well as having worked under Joanna at the Wilderness Institute, I am very familiar with her uniquely excellent writing and mentor styles, which will be a great benefactor to the quality of my work in this endeavour.

This project is one that I am acutely passionate about for many reasons. As with almost every other Missoula local, I am deeply passionate about outdoor recreation and the preservation of our Wild places. But I am also deeply passionate for the ways in which people interact with and become part of their landscapes. As a Communication Studies major and Wilderness Studies minor, I cannot think of a more perfect way to encapsulate my college experience than with a collection of human interactions, bonds, and experiences, forged in travel, exploration, and a whole lot of blisters.