Saturday, May 30, 2015

Filmmaker Navigates The Appalachian and Marriage Trails

When a documentary is called The Long Start to the Journey, it naturally behooves to jump back to the starting point.

For Asheville, North Carolina filmmaker Chris Gallaway, that would be this page, which announced his plans to begin a documented hike through The Appalachian Trail in February of 2013. In the comments, Gallaway heard from Aunt Susan, a couple planning a similar hike in 2014-15, and others.

Tonight, the fruits of those 2,180-mile labors will screen at the Asheville Community Theatre. The event is also a celebration the 90th anniversary of The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and will feature warm-up music from local band The Wilhelm Brothers.

From a recent write-up in the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The film is a love story of Frost and Sunshine, two of the essential elements that create natural beauty and happen to be the trail names bestowed upon Gallaway and his wife, Larissa "Sunshine" Gallaway. The Frost-Sunshine love story started in 2010, when Gallaway met his future wife, a nurse at Mission Hospital, through friends at church. Sunshine had already thru-hiked The Appalachian Trail twice by herself, in 2004 and 2005, a feat that amazed Chris...
"I'd always been an outdoors person, but hadn't done a lot of backpacking until 2009 when my older brother, Ben, decided to do a week-long hiking trip in Smokies," Gallaway said. "I became an impromptu guide and spent a week with him on the trail. It was in April and that was my first interaction with thru-hikers. That was the first time I realized how many stories there were on the trail."

Gallaway packed a Nikon D800 SLR camera and 14-millimeter super-wide angle lens. Throughout his seven-month trek, Sunshine would meet up to replenish his supplies and take home the camera video cards, from which she would download, erase and return.

There is one moment however that Gallaway decided to keep away from the camera lens. That would be his marriage proposal to Sunshine, delivered on the Trail near Max Patch in Madison County. The pair this fall will celebrate their two-year wedding anniversary.

The film premiered earlier this year at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem.

[The Long Start to the Journey]

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