Miles for Mountains: Max Patch and Mount Sterling

Miles for Mountains


Whether it’s photographers going to capture great landscapes or families spending time in the outdoors together, the National Parks are receiving more foot traffic than ever before. As an outdoorsman growing up in this great country I’ve spent more time than most at the pristine environments that the National Parks Service preserves but unfortunately the political climate surrounding this part of government has become volatile. In response to the growing need of preservation of our lands I’ve chosen to join Miles for Mountains a collaboration of creatives and concerned citizens to give back to the National Parks Conservation Association. How it works is for every mile you hike to get the “shot” you assign twenty dollars to the photograph. After the hike, you pick the best photograph and it’s put up for sale on the Miles for Mountains site. Then, when the print is sold 75% of the proceeds go to the NPCA and the rest goes to covering printing and travel costs.

“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”

- John F. Kennedy
President of the United States

Please help support the NPCA by purchasing the high-quality prints off the Miles for Mountains website starting April 22nd ( and please spread the word to your friends and family who would support the cause. A huge thanks to Andrew Shepherd (@LostFoxPersonal) for organizing, creating, and inviting me to be a part of this awesome collaboration. Lastly, thank you to Topo Designs for providing gear and a helping share the cause through their great platform. We can all make a difference and help preserve what makes this country great together!


Max Patch and Baxter Creek to Mount Sterling


Our first stop of the trip was catching sunrise at Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail and after driving overnight with no sleep it was completely worth it!

After the sun came out we head back down the trail and jumped back in “Guac” then headed to our trail head at Baxter Creek in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with the rushing waters of Big Creek which was a nice place to enjoy our breakfast and filter water before we started the 6.7 hike to the top of Mount Sterling.

Throughout the day, we got to enjoy the true beauty of the Smokies through old growth forests, deciduous trees, and in the last 2 miles of the hike snow and spruce. It was one of the most physically demanding hikes I’ve been on with 4000 feet of elevation gain over the course of the ascent.

After four hours of intense hiking we summited Mt.Sterling and were immediately greeted by the watch tower located on the top. Super excited to see the views and enjoy a well-deserved cup of coffee we setup camp and quickly scrambled up the tower. The vantage from the top provided me with views I had never seen on the east coast.

It’s so often I find myself in the mountains being humbled by the pure majesty of the place we get to call our home. As humans, we have primal connection to these places and I’m no different.

As the sun fell below the horizon we enjoyed our warm dinner and promptly laid down for the night we both hadn’t sleep in over 24 hours and were completely exhausted.

I woke up and climbed the tower one last time before the long hike back to the car. The sun was peaking over the mountaintops and gave the best light of the entire trip.  The hike back to the car was bittersweet as our knees were tested the entire way and I was leaving the mountains to head back to the 9-5 back in Charleston. This was one of my favorite hikes on the east coast.

- Chris Ramsey Jr. (@chris.ramsey.jr)

Fitness Fuels Creativity

In today’s world, the quality of work being put out into the creative spaces is as high as ever. With the cost of entry being the lowest it’s ever been and the quality of technology being constantly put out, making name for yourself is getting harder and harder. We are always looking for that “edge” that sets us apart from the crowd or that little extra boost of energy needed to finish that late night editing session. There has only been one answer for me and that’s exercise. It wakes up my body and mind in a way that can’t be replicated artificially. In a world where everything is put on a platter for us (literally) we fail to understand that our bodies are meant for so much more than sitting behind a desk all day or in front of a TV binge watching our favorite Netflix series. We are meant to be out physically stressing ourselves daily. That is what we are genetically designed for.


Physical Capacity

            Now in terms of actual physical fitness there is way more to it than just looking good in the mirror, it’s about being functional. When we are in good shape things like a hard day at work or an all-day photo shoot, we can function at a higher level for a longer duration than someone who doesn’t push themselves physically. This should be a huge reason to consider taking fitness seriously in itself because what is worst them being at a point where you just can’t physically function anymore? How do you tell a client that physically you just can’t handle the demands of the job?


Mental Function

            In a recent interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson, TV host and the face of Old Spice Terry Crews explained in detail about how when he’s running and pushes through the “runner’s wall” that’s when his great ideas come alive. Now it effects everyone differently, but I can say from experience that after an intense workout I have a mental clarity that I haven’t been able to find otherwise. Study after study has gone on to say brain function is boosted more by exercise than anything else including highly consumed caffeine (I choose to combine both in high quantities lol). Even if you didn’t need to be creative having this clarity is something that everyone always could benefit from.


Overall Well Being

            Along with physically feeling better and being mentally clear there is the well-being aspect. These are just a few of the many side effects of fitness: better sleep quality, better dexterity, better immune system, better hormone production, more confidence, and the list goes on and on. Combine these all together from on singular act and you have one of the beneficial things you could do for yourself.


            When it’s all said, and done fitness in general is something that is meant for all of us. Some of aren’t going to be lifting ungodly amounts of weight, some us aren’t going to be running ultra-marathons, but ALL of us are built to be physically active. When you factor in what all fitness can do for you, you owe it to yourself to at least try it. All it takes is a few minutes out of your day and I can guarantee that if taken seriously it can change your life for the better, as it did for me 6 years ago.

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”
— -Wilhem von Humboldt

- Chris Ramsey Jr. (@chris.ramsey.jr)