2600 miles in 4 minutes: A time-lapse of Andy's Pacific Crest Trail hike


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The wonderful music in this video is the title track from MARTIN SEXTON's album, IN THE JOURNEY. Please check him out at www.martinsexton.com and on iTunes.

Learn more about our new film exploring life at the end of the trail: Lost or Found. And more about Andy on his website: www.davidhazy.com

 

PRESS COVERAGE:

Flickr (broadcast on June 5, 2015)

 

PBS Newshour with Gwen Ifill (broadcast on April 7, 2015)

 

Bustle (a nice article about Andy's hat!)
Radio New Zealand National interview
Business Insider
People Magazine
ABC/Sacramento News 10 video interview
Daily Mail UK
Huffington Post BC
Weather Channel
The Daily Mail UK
Travel + Leisure (about Andy's hike and packing advice)
VS. Hungarian News (about Andy's life, adventures & family heritage)
Mashable, BuzzFeed and CNN

 

ANDY'S NOTES ON THE MAKING OF THIS TIME-LAPSE VIDEO:

The Pacific Crest Trail travels 2660 miles through the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington, starting at the Mexico border fence near the small town of Campo, CA, and finishing just across the Canadian border in Manning Park, British Columbia. It took about 5 months to complete and I lost 50 pounds in process. Total elevation change was about 450,000 feet, with the high point being 13,200 feet at Forester Pass in the High Sierras. I documented the physical transformation of the environment and myself by taking a selfie on trail every single mile of the hike.

WHY DID I DO IT?

Simply put, I did the hike for the challenge, and this was the hardest simple thing I could think of. In life I get rewarded for finding short cuts to things, being creative in the face of a challenge, problem solving, etc. But there's a lot of things I want to achieve in life, and as I've grown older I have begun to worry that they may not happen. So I wanted to test my limitations, fears and commitment by doing something that had no short cuts. You either hike every foot of the trail (from Mexico to Canada) or you don't.

Taking a photo of myself every mile wasn't about vanity, but rather a way for me to fully commit to the whole hike. If I were to quit or skip ahead at any point, myself and everyone else would know it. Apart from that, I simply wanted to document my transformation in a memorable way. Unlike a meandering walk in the woods, the PCT is a fairly well defined path that is in part quantified by it's length, which is why I chose every mile as the framework for my pictures and video.

THE PROCESS & EXPERIENCE

I kept track of the mileage using "Halfmile" paper maps, mobile trail app with GPS, and simply by time. After my body adjusted to the physicality of the hike, a mile almost always took me 18-22 minutes to hike. I used a small point and shoot camera to take the pics. The process of stopping to take a picture every mile had a big impact on the actual experience of doing the hike. I had to be well-aware of where I was at all times, which was quite distracting in that it took me out of the moment and made it difficult to maintain good momentum. Though I suppose it was nice to have something to occupy my thoughts with as well. In retrospect, I am happy to have done it. It provided a good conversation starter with so many hikers that I would meet along the way. And I now love seeing so many wonderful faces popping up in pictures in unexpected places.

Follow along with the trail and pictures in the video using the map shown below.

People ask a lot about the beard. Or more so, why I shaved it off during the hike. I simply got annoyed by it more than I cared about visual continuity. It also aged me more than I cared to admit at the time. I will share however, when I hit Reds Meadow (Mammoth Lakes) at mile 906 and went into town, I felt like a new man. The weight loss was only a small part of it. Shaving the beard off revealed that man to me for the first time, and my outlook on the rest of the journey was renewed.

It took about three weeks (200~ hours) of organizing and editing to pull this together. The first week was going through all the images, my journal and maps, to ensure the integrity of the mileage and location of each image. Then it was about two weeks of cropping and color balancing each image so that they aligned as best as possible. Needless to say, this was an incredibly tedious process.

Go to my personal webpage, to see some of my trail and lifestyle photos from the hike, as well as a little more background on the last 260 miles of the hike in the North Cascades.

For the purposes of showing the Pacific Crest Trail in it's entirety, this video is actually a combination of two hikes. Mile 0 through 2424 was done in 2013, before an early season snow storm dumped more than six feet of snow on the trail north of Snoqualmie Pass, WA making it impassable at the time. So, instead of quitting (or dying), I came up with a road detour that would still get me to Canada. I departed the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass, walking along the Iron Horse Trail and then Highway 97 north to Osoyoos, British Columbia. I took continuous mile selfies from the road walk as well, but decided not to show them here to keep the video PCT oriented.

I went back in 2014 to hike the 260 mile-long portion of the PCT from mile 2424 to the trail's Northern Terminus at mile 2660. The snow storm and road walk will feature in the upcoming short film, Lost or Found.


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