11. Sarah "Harvest" Jones Decker, Photographer, AT Hiker & Author of "The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-Tos, and Huts
Play • 1 hr 20 min

On episode 11, Melissa talks with fellow Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, photographer, writer, farmer and good friend, Sarah Jones Decker, also known as “Harvest.” Sarah’s new book, The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-tos, and Huts was published earlier this year by Rizzoli, which highlights all of the shelters on the entire Appalachian trail with beautiful photography and facts, and to which Melissa contributed over 40 images.  If you’ve spent any overnight in the woods along the AT or elsewhere on the east coast, then you’ve probably come across a lean-to or two which are 3-sided structures with pitched roofs, set up in the backcountry to give hikers a place to rest or shelter from a storm. 

If you’ve listened to this podcast in the past, you may recognize Harvest’s voice from Girl Gotta Hike The Podcast, Episode 1. You may also know that Melissa loves the way ideas get sparked and conversations flow when hiking alongside someone. But due to this year’s travel restrictions and the fact that Sarah lives in North Carolina, an in-person recording seemed almost impossible. Instead of settling for sitting still though, Melissa decided to experiment and send Sarah a microphone and recorder so they could continue to walk together while chatting on the phone. 

The result? A super fun and insightful conversation about photography, the artistic process, the trials of taking photos while backpacking and the tenacity it took to dedicate over two years of her life to photograph all of the 270-plus shelters along the Appalachian Trail for her 10 year thru-hiking Trailversary. They also take a deep dive in to the history of backcountry shelters and the multitude of trail clubs that build and maintain them, as well as the looney logistics of what she calls “shelter-bagging.”

We hope their conversation gets you inspired to head out into the woods and onto the AT yourself, or at least to head over to Sarah’s website, sarahjonesdecker.com, where as a special treat for Girl Gotta Hike listeners, she has graciously offered 10% off all purchases of books, prints and posters by using the code “GGH” at checkout.  

 Useful links:

Gossamer Gear Discount — use code “GirlGottaHikeGossamer” for a 1-time 15% off discount on all core products at GossamerGear.com

Sarah Decker Jones  website — use code “Girl Gotta Hike” for 10% off all orders

Root Bottom Farm  Instagram 

AT Symbol Poster

Bernd and Hilla Becher

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