5 Million Steps in 5 Minutes: Badger’s Appalachian Trail Video Slideshow

Badger before and after on the Appalachian Trail

In the picture above, you are witness to what happens when a ginger head lays unattended for five months.  Despite it’s inherent ability to repel women, the beard will remain an indefinite resident of my face.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Over the past five months, I have done my best to paint you a picture of what life looks like on the Appalachian Trail- with words.  Today, I paint this picture with, well, pictures.

The video below highlights some of my favorite pictures taken over the course of my five months on the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve been off the trail for less than a week and this slideshow already makes me feel super nostalgic.  I’ve been told that the AT will leave a permanent emotional mark.  I’m starting to understand this first hand.

Luckily I can tell people the tears on my face are merely beads of reverse-gravity beard sweat.

Quick side notes:

1)  All of the pictures were taken with my iPhone 4

2) The songs in the video below, “The Day is Coming” and “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” are from My Morning Jacket’s latest album Circuitular.  I listened to this album no fewer than 30 times, therefore it has a strong emotional connection to the trail for me – thus my reason for the selection.

3) I saw a total of one rainbow while on the trail (photo included in the video).  It just so happened to appear while I was listening to Radiohead’s album In Rainbows.  Coincidence?

4) The video is actually much closer to six minutes. I didn’t think that “Five Million Steps in Six Minutes,” had the same ring. No need to point this out.


Update: apparently YouTube is blocking the video because of the songs….trying Vimeo….stay posted.

Problem = resolved.  For anyone who’s interested, this is how you can legally bypass YouTube’s audio copyright block.

  • im so proud of you. 

  • busybee2

    Wonderful video – you got some great shots.  Loved it.   What a walk of a lifetime!

  • Megarino

    amazing photos zach!  the scenery looks gorgeous!  congrats again–you are phenomenal 🙂

  • Thanks Megarino 🙂

  • Rldaviscpa

    Awesome video Zach! What were the three or four snakes in the video? What an accomplishment! Welcome back to reality…..the country is bankrupt and Osama Bin Laden’s sandals now float somewhere in a sea.  

  • Jackson Harrison

    Thanks for giving us couch hikers a beautiful view of the AT. 

    Welcome back to box spring mattresses and porcelain commodes. 

    Did you happen to see any of those shovel ready projects or was the nearly one trillion stimulus a complete failure?

  • How’d you charge you Iphone on the trail?

  • You had me at the instant I saw that you had pissed your name in the snow.

  • Thank you for sharing glad you finished before the big hurricane, My prayers are with all of you. Iam watching 3 others as they hike thro their at NH white mountain area now. Congratulations hope I can do this in 2 years planning already!! Thank you. 

  • Thank you for sharing glad you finished before the big hurricane, My prayers are with all of you. Iam watching 3 others as they hike thro their at NH white mountain area now. Congratulations hope I can do this in 2 years planning already!! Thank you. 

  • I didn’t even realize that any of the trail’s maintenance was related to the stimulus.  In past years, the trail has mainly been maintained by volunteers.  Either way- I did pass my fair share of trail maintainers and made a point to thank each one of them. 

    Thanks for following along Jackson!

  • Linda-

    Let me know when you’re ready to start prepping for the trail.  I’m happy to help!


  • The next snowstorm will result in a yellow “Jas”.  Thank you for having a short name.  

  • I had a solar charger for most of the trail (eventually the chord broke and I was too lazy to try and organize getting a replacement).  The “solar” function of the device was pretty useless – it required 24 hours of direct sunlight for a full charge.  The vast majority of the AT is under tree cover.  I could charge the device in an outlet when in town, however.  This gave an extra 70-80% – which proved helpful.  This is the charger I used: http://bit.ly/pihhdO – I imagine there are better ones out there, especially considering there was no way to fasten this to my pack. 

  • Thanks Bob!

    The snakes in the video (in order of when they appear): black snake, rat snake (I’m only semi-sure about this one), rattle snake, copperhead.

    Glad that the CIA didn’t mistake me for Osama – aside from the color of our beard, physical build, and an aura of murder, we look very similar. 

  • Chuck L

    I’ve been wanting to ask you one question…what was on your mind that last 100 yards?

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  • My friend called this “earth porn”. LOL.

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  • nighthiker maine

    keep rocking the world. Maintain that huge energy through out your life my newly found friend, Nighthiker Maine

  • Thanks Nighthiker 🙂

  • Darius Russell

    Radically AWESOME, Badger!! Great video (and tunes!!) I feel it!!

    Thanks for sharing,

    **I’ve been reading Jennifer Pharr-Davis’ great book about her 2005 thru-hike, “Becoming Odyssa” and after blogs and videos like yours (and a others) I look forward to conquering myself on “The Trail” in my daily life, as well as one day soon do my own “AT thru-hike” or perhaps a similar type challenge doing something else!

    So awesome! What an experience I can see (and read) that you had. What a great metaphor to carry you into the rest of your life whatever dreams may come. Enjoy the ride as much as I’m enjoying reading about your experiences from it.  

  • Flicka (Heather)

    AWESOME video… and your book, also AWESOME! Starting my 2 season section hike this year and your video just adds to my list of my reasons why I am doing this.  Thank you!


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  • Dukoach

    I had an “epiphany” of sorts that shot out of the blue telling me to do a through hike of the AT.  Had never thought about it or researched it.  Now I can’t get enough and your video has done even more to motivate me.  I’m 3 – 4 years away and have already started buying some of the gear, done a day hike and planned a weekend hike in Va. (yeah, I know that’s supposed to be the “easy” part, but I need a taste of the trail).  My brother (1 yr. younger) is also commited and excited about it more each day.  The 3-4 year wait is for me to be able to retire.  I’ll be 59 or 60 and my brother a year younger when we plan to start.  My question……did you see/hike with a lot of longer in the tooth hikers?  We’re both in pretty good shape and still do warrior dashes and triathalons, work out regularly and have been avid campers and outdoorsmen on and off throughout our lives.  Any insight would be appreciated.  We’ve seen as much about needing mental toughness and committment to succeed as anything….whatsayou Badger?

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  • badger that is awesome….met you last year in maine on my sobo video with my daughter…thanks it brought back awesome memories

  • badger that is awesome….met you last year in maine on my sobo hike with my daughter…thanks it brought back awesome memories

  • Hey Jack – I totally remember you and your daughter. How’d the rest of the hike go? Thanks for checking the site and video out.

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