My name is John Robinson, and I am the Co-Director of Project 2663, a documentary aiming to explore and attempt to understand the reasoning behind several hikers’ pursuit of the lofty goal of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, including my own.
We enter this project with a few key questions that we are fascinated by and hope to answer:
- What would make a person leave their lives and the rest of society behind for 6 months in order to disappear into the wilderness.
- Why is there an increase in people attempting the trail?
- What parts of their personal histories have led them to this decision?
- What are they hoping to achieve in completing the trail?
- How will these people cope with the prolonged removal from society, both on the trail itself, and after, once the experience is over.
- Why the PCT? What makes this trail special to them?
- What special challenges does the trail present, be they physical, mental, or emotional
As a part of this documentary, I will hike the trail, meeting other hikers along the way and interviewing them, as well as keeping an ongoing record of my own trek, his struggles, his victories, and his defeats. The project’s second director, Zac Petrillo, will remain in Los Angeles, traveling to meet hikers as they pass through pockets of civilization and compiling the hours of footage sent from the trail as the hikers progress along its length.
In addition to my story, which will form the spine of the film’s project’s structure, we seek to involve several other hikers, still to be determined, to get a varied and multi-representational perspective on the trail and their reasons for hiking it. It is our hope that through collaboration with the Pacific Trail Association and other resources, including social media, to connect with these fellow hikers and develop a strong relationship from which we will collect footage, journals, photography, and anecdotal interviews before, during, and following their attempts to complete this six month odyssey along the mountains of the western United States.
The film will be shot on a variety of formats, DSLR cameras, Go Pro action cameras, iPhones, etc. and will be sourced directly from the hikers themselves, providing an accurate and personalized account of their experiences. We will see the trail as the people who experience it see it. The people we follow in this documentary will each have their own story.
Other hikers will hopefully include, but not be limited to several sub-sections of the population who hike this trail. We hope to enlist the aid of a wide variety of hikers, whose stories we hope to highlight in the making of this project. Without knowing specifically who they are, we hope to develop relationships with the following types of people:
- Women hiking the trail alone or as a group
- Parents hiking with their children
- Divorcee’s or widowed individuals
- people who have walked away from careers, from family, or other responsibilities
- couples, either trying to build on a relationship or attempting to save it
- retirees or older hikers
- people running away from their lives
- people trying to rebuild their lives
Regardless of the story, we want to hear it, whether it’s positive or negative. It is our belief that everyone who attempts this hike does so for a reason beyond the desire to do it for the sake of doing it. This is more than climbing a mountain or running a marathon, this is a six month commitment and one of the greatest challenges the American outdoors has to offer, and we want to tell these peoples’ stories.