As I have touched on in various documents of my eminent progression, I first heard of the Appalachian trail, Benton MacKaye, and Myron Avery while reading ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson. Because of this, I thought ‘Who better to interview than the person who inspired my eminent subject in the first place. Because of Bryson’s popularity, I thought it best to have a secondary interview  because it was not likely to be able to contact Bryson, let alone score an interview. I began to think of other potential options.

Cover for A walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

My aunt was a visionary and a founder for a trail in Sooke that a friend and I hiked over the summer. Though only 48 km and relatively new, the trail has a history to go along with it. I asked a friend who is a member of the trail club for the contact information for the president of the Kludahk Outdoors Club. I set the president, Ray Fischer, an email. He responded, saying that though he would be happy to help, he was new to the club and perhaps I would find more value in interviewing a visionary, and so he cc’d Phoebe Dunbar. She replied very quickly and enthusiastically, so we set up the interview for November 1st.

Trail marker on the Kludahk

Phoebe was a fantastic interview subject. She spoke about the trail with passion and admiration, giving insight to the lengthy but rewarding process of creating a trail. I learned about Phoebe’s first encounter with the San Juan ridge, the first concepts for the trail and how that changed, evolved, and in some cases stayed consistent. I also heard about who and what was involved to make the trail happen so successfully, as well as how she feels about the current state of the trail. Phoebe provided me with a view of trails and their history from someone who was at the top and heavily involved in the process of them, just as Benton MacKaye was. This is important, as I have only ever loved and hiked these trails, as well as researched and heard stories, it is completely different to witness their history firsthand. The results of the interview fit very well into the rest of my research, but mostly my speech. My speech is aimed at the origins of the trail, and that is very much what I have gained from this experience. Rather than explicit fact directly relating to me eminent person, she provided me with lenses and things to think about in relation to the trail. Things such as her draws to creating a trail, the challenges, and the group dynamics were some of the most beneficial portions of my time with her. These definitely inspired the perspective used in my speech.

Although the results from my interview were mostly weaved into my speech, they will also be included in my learning centre as an insight when I describe the origins of the trail, or describe the perspectives of those outstanding people involved in the Appalachians throughout the whole experience. It has been an incredibly beneficial experience, not just for the results but equally for the process.

I can’t wait to see how other peoples interviews influenced their projects at Night of the Notables!