Thursday, December 1, 2016

Joseph Finchum's AT/Art Thru-Hike 2018

Dear Family, friends, hikers, campers, artists, and travelers,

For a long time, I have had two real goals in life, basically the top two of my bucket list.

One is to make and sell art for a living... Making enough to support myself and not starve.

Two is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. (South Bound Yo! This is a SOBO hike, it’s a challenge not a party, not that I wouldn’t join a party.) This is something that I am constantly putting off; because of number one above as well as the fact that I am a stay at home care taker for my mother while my father still works his 9-5. He retires late in 2017 so I am shooting for a Spring 2018 start after I no longer have to be 24/7/365.
This is yet another camping excursion that takes the average person 5 to 8 months to complete. Hiking the trail in its entirety, 2,189.1 miles from Maine to Georgia. Living completely by mail drops and resupplies in towns all while carrying your home on your back. One stretch at the beginning of the trail requires you to carry 10 days’ worth of food, no stops along the way… at all.

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail 

So a thought occurred to me the other day... "What if I combine the two?"
What if I could hike the trail and paint it along the way or quick sketch it or at the very least get the reference photos to paint them at a later date (off the trail) the former being the preferred method.
Well this would be an extremely daunting task for a few reasons.
From on top of Mount Katahdin In Maine
1) As an already struggling artist, money is always tight. I have most of the gear I would need already (I am an avid hiker camper) but adding the weight of painting supplies is slightly insane, there are also many specific costs along the trail that would be out of my reach at present, including water purification, permits, camping fees, emergency cash, shipping and handling food resupplies. The average hiker burns around 6000-9000 calories a day and replenishing that is costly. (Food man, Food!)

All the way to Springer Mountain, Georgia
2) The trail is long and hard and weight is always a factor in packing for this kind of hike. My gear without art supplies comes in at 29.66 lbs. w/o water, food, and fuel.  Adding that plus my current art supplies brings this up to a whopping 60-70 lbs. Calculations for the longest unsupported stretch.  This would be an absolute nightmare on the shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles and toes while walking 2189.1miles. Carrying a lightweight plein air setup would be the optimal piece of gear, but this I do not have and most of my gear has never been used for longer than a weeks’ time, so weight wasn’t a considerable factor at the time. It also wasn’t lugged up 4,000+ foot mountains… and back down again… repeatedly... for months on end. (Ugh, it’s just like too darn heavy.)

3) Time is a factor as well when hiking the AT. The longer you take, the more it will cost. An average has been set at about $1.50-75 per mile. Stopping to paint along the way would add to that significantly. Cost goes up to around $3.00-$3.75 per mile.  $3.75 X 2189 = $8209.13

4) Going SOBO you have to start in some frigid but not freezing weather and walk smack dab face first into the summer heat and humidity of the North East and then into the South’s winter mountains.. So at some point, a different set of gear will need to be swapped out for lighter summer gear, and then back again. This requires shipping and receiving gear at some point along the trail, changing out clothing and sleeping bag for lighter and less bulky versions. These mailing costs are also part of the problem. 

The Appalachian Trail is 2,189.2 miles long

This is hopefully where my friends and family and strangers alike will help out. I am looking for donations to make this happen. Any small amount can and will help make this artistic adventure come true and inspire a whole series of paintings. If you have a buck or two lying around unused… please consider throwing it my way. I humbly ask for anything you can give, be it a dollar or a thousand, every penny counts.

So, what will the money be used for?

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail 

$3000.00 will fund the trip end to end. (Taking reference photos only)

$5000.00 will make it not be as challenging and speed can be relaxed, making for an overall better experience. Allowing myself the ability to stop and take a zero day here and there to recuperate or rest an injury. (Injuries will happen.) Taking reference photos and sketching.

$7000.00 (a totally unreasonable amount I know) Will allow for improving gear and lowering weight overall, making the trip easier in the long run and more enjoyable, allowing for more time to get some art done on the trail. Taking reference photos and some painting or sketching.

$10,000.00 (Wow, I am really pushing limits here) would allow for ultra-light gear and the dreaded health insurance (something I have never had to begin with) while on the trail that would make life so much less of a risk. No one wants to get hurt but accidents happen and long miles can make one make mistakes, and mistakes cause injury. Uninterrupted phone service because being alone for that long is weird and last but certainly not least, the occasional stay at a place that has a shower and food meant for consumption by actual human beings. I’ll be painting and sketching throughout the entire journey.

Thanks to all those that help make a dream come true,
Joseph Finchum
2000’er Looking to get that SoBo Thru Hike done.

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail

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