#JamesOnTheAT Week 6 & 7 Update: Poor Reception, Deep Connections

Uncategorized / ZZBLOG POSTS

As I said from the beginning, one of my greatest fears about following the adventures of an Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker was being stuck with nothing to report due to the limitations of cell coverage. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened the last two weeks as James made his way from Tennessee into Virginia, culminating with yesterday’s arrival at arguably the most iconic point of the AT.

James McAfee Knob

For obvious reasons, McAfee Knob in Virginia is known as “the most photographed point of the Appalachian Trail.” I get chills just thinking about that ledge James is standing on so casually. At 708 miles, James is now 1/3 of the way through his journey which (is it should be) is less about him sharing every moment and more about him ENJOYING every moment. I’m compelled to say that the only compensation James has received for his photo sharing efforts is a Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit compliments of our friends at Goal Zero, and the pack on his back given to him by the EMS product design team. In addition to updating me on his progress, James is providing our pack designers with some excellent feedback on fit and features.

James may not be getting paid, but when he visits the post office today, he will find a nice surprise:

photo (44)

We shipped this “care pack” to him yesterday. It includes a new pack prototype for James to carry the rest of the way along with a ton of Clif Bars, some dehydrated meals, instant coffee and peanut M&M’s.

James Trail

James is a man of few words, but he is also a man of exceptional photographs. He snapped the photo below at the end of his first day in Virginia:

James Virginia

I loved the quote James sent along with the photo below: Everyday there is a new set of mountains to climb up and climb down. Sometimes there are fields, the fields are always welcomed.”


Good things happen when you slow down and take the time to enjoy the journey. The photo below is a perfect example.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 1.33.11 PMI think we can all learn something from James’s experiences on the Appalachian Trail. We spend so much time maximizing our efficiency, obsessing over details and moving on to the next challenge that we rarely take the time to appreciate where we’re at, how far we’ve come and how damn lucky we are.

Jim Darroch