Hiking is a solo sport, we carried our own packs, cooked our own food, and stubbed our own toes. Each mountain was a personal challenge and each mile our own accomplishment, but don't let that fool you. We did none of this alone, not a single summit could we claim under our own hand.
The Hiker Yearbook was dreamed into reality just before Trail Days 2014 where we quickly put a team together and by only going to the festival gathered nearly 500 portraits and trail names and in the fall of that year published the 1st Edition of The Hiker Yearbook.
With experience and a new drive we not only went to Trail Days in 2015, but we also traveled to several trail towns and attended 11 Trail Festivals, allowing the 2016 Hiker Yearbook to be published with over 1,700 hikers and nearly 700 Summit pics! The Yearbook also featured Non-Profit organizations such as "Hike For Mental Health", "Warrior Hike", "ATC" with all 31 Trail Clubs, and 6 Trail Crews! While also highlighted such hikers as "Anish", "Bionic Woman" and "The Packing it Out Crew"!
Having 2 years of experience we are ready to establish The Hiker Yearbook as tradition on the Appalachian Trail. We have grown from dream to reality, put in the work, and established the method. The Hiker Yearbook is produced in the hiking spirit and belongs to the hiking community.
The best part of the trail is the people, the instant family. It is these people that changed our lives, made us better and pushed us forward. The heart of a trail angel, the hand of a maintainer, and the time of a volunteer. We thank you, those who believed in us, encouraged us, and gave us strength to keep climbing, we love you, you are a part of our story, and it is that story that this book tells. The Endless Story.....HIKERS HIKE!!!
Sure that was heartfelt and all, but lets get down to business!
WHAT ARE YOUR OPERATING COST?
Driving to 11 festivals and the length of the Appalachian Trail each year:
- GAS: 800 GALLONS $2,400
- MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP: $2,000
- FESTIVAL REGISTRATION FEES: $730
- PAID CREWS AND LODGING AT EVENTS: $2,300 (Includes photographer at Trail days and contracted helpers for bigger events and the cost of their hotels/hostel stays.)
TOTAL ON TRAIL EXPENSES: $7,430
For this project to work with the amount of photo accountability, and hiker communications, along with events planning, we must hire a part time professional Administrations Manager. This is more than hiking with a camera and a note pad. The office work involved is incredible.
PAID ADMINISTRATIONS MANAGER FOR 6 MONTHS: $7,200
This brings the TOTAL OPERATIONS BUDGET TO $12,330
Having turned a profit on book sales in 2015 of $4,930 we only need an additional $9,700 to fund the budget for this year. All other cost will come from my personal savings.
I know if this project can make it through it's third year we will be able to pick up sponsorship and expand our book sales by dropping the price of each book as we grow in popularity on the Appalachian Trail.
I realize this project will never make me rich (thank God!), But I do believe with diligence and accountability it can and will be self supporting and mildly profitable. I love this project, because I love the trail and the hiking community. This has never been about the money, but as we all know it takes it to make it! Thank you for your consideration and for backing this project! HIKERS HIKE!!! - Odie
Other Ways You Can Help
I understand that not every person can help fund this project. That doesn't mean you can't still help. Get the word out and share this project! With just a little help from a lot of people we can go a long way.
Risks and challenges
We have made mistakes along the way and are happy for them. Each mistake has brought us closer to a better method, a better system, and a better product for the hiking community.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET EVERY LONG DISTANCE HIKER IN THE BOOK?
Well, that's simply not possible. We have worked diligently to develop a system of collecting photos on trail as well as at over 11 festivals, we have also designed an easy system for each hiker to send in their own pictures. With both of these detailed systems proving to be a success we were able to gather most of the Thru and Long distance hikers. Like always it's completely voluntary to be in each edition.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE SURE THE TRAIL NAMES ARE CORRECT WITH SO MANY PICTURES?
We have painstakingly developed a "Photo filing and information accountability method" Yes there are Hikers in the 14' and 15' books who have misspelled or even misnamed pictures. This was not an easy system to develop, but we understand the importance of each photo and the memories that it represents. It is standard operating procedure for us to double check spelling and we use the contact information gathered only on an as need basis to triple check. This problem is faced with an attention to detail and a system of checks and balances.
WHAT IS THE WORST MISTAKE YOU HAVE MADE ON THIS PROJECT?
There are 2 known hikers who's pictures were either sent in or taken on trail, who's pictures were not placed in the book. This was not discovered until after printing and we were devastated. We really understand the importance of each hiker and to have overlooked someone was a kick in the gut that I can't explain. We refunded the price of the book immediately, contacted the Hikers personally and gave the best apology we could. This was a hard pill to swallow, but it did give us a drive to correct our system and add new checks and balances in order to make sure it never happened again. This book will never be perfect, but we think it's pretty great.
WHAT ABOUT PRINTING COST?
With printing cost, the more you buy up front the less the cost of each book. We are working diligently to keep the cost down for the individual hiker. We have signed with a printing company and are only required to print a minimum of 20 books at a time, so getting the books out will not be a major hurdle, however if we can get the print cost secure and print a larger number of books the price per book would be dramatically reduced for the individual hiker.
SHIPPING WORLDWIDE SEEMS COMPLICATED AND EXPENSIVE, IS IT?
Shipping cost for the United States is manageable being less than $5 per book, however international shipping is more of a concern this could cost upwards of $26 per book. We are looking into international shipping with different companies as well as sharing the load by charging more for shipping international orders. Yes we have already sent books overseas!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)