The Enigmatic Journey That is “The Long Green Tunnel”

Like mentioned in previous posts, the Appalachian Trail has become a symbol for the avid backpacker and for obvious reasons. Every year several hundred (often thousands) of backpackers set out on the ultimate hiking pilgrimage, one that takes them from the rolling hills of the North Georgia Mountains to the low-lying valleys of New York and onto the high peaks of the Presidential Mountain Range and beyond.

One video that has been garnering a lot of attention recently is one made by Kevin Gallagher that is simply called “Green Tunnel” and for obvious reasons. His video shows a northbound AT thru-hike in stop-motion in approximately 5 minutes, highlighting several popular areas along the trail from Georgia to Maine.

Why is the AT often referred to as “The Long Green Tunnel?” Depending on which direction you’ve decided to hike, the vast majority of the miles along the AT are seemingly guarded by thick overgrowth and “green foliage,” giving the notion that the backpacker is hiking in a very long and greenish tunnel. And it isn’t just the physical attributes of the trail that make it more of a “tunnel.” Several thru-hikers have stated that once you’ve trained yourself to move like a thru-hiker, you tend to have a “tunnel vision” outlook on the trail, where all you’re looking for is the next shelter or the next hostel where you’ll set up camp for the night.

So if you’re an avid backpacker, no matter how short or long a trail you’ve hiked, there are sure to have been times where  the window of your mind shrinks drastically, where all you are focusing on is moving along the trail at a steady pace, how much further it is to camp and what your first meal will be once you’re off the trail.

If you’ve had any experiences like the “Long Green Tunnel,” be sure to share them by leaving a comment below!

Green Tunnel from Kevin Gallagher on Vimeo.

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~ by parkerherrin on March 23, 2011.

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