Love, Trails, & Dinosaurs

Meet the first person with autism to hike every trail in the Smokies.

From the Director, Alex Oliver:

It’s 6pm and the local news is on in the background. I’m cooking dinner and hear a reporter introduce the story of Garan Moore, “a 25-year-old Cosby man is now the first person with autism to hike all 900 miles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” I drop what I’m doing, walk into the living room, and get fully immersed in this incredible story.

As soon as it was over, I wanted to – no, needed to – hear more. So I reached out to the news reporter, Shannon Smith, who graciously put me in touch with Theresa, Garan’s mom, to setup an in-person meeting. That meeting turned into a hike, because Theresa apparently doesn’t do sit-down meetings. I guess you don’t hike all 900-miles in the Smokies by sitting down for meetings.

So, we hiked. It was just a little one she said…”just a couple miles.”

30-minutes later I’m dripping in sweat, attempting to have some gasping-for-air heartfelt interview with her, and eventually realize it’s best if I just hush up and let nature do the talking until we reach the summit. Meanwhile, Garan is gracefully bounding up the trail with ease, while Theresa holds her pace for me. I soon realize how in-shape Theresa and Garan have become…and how desperately I need the exercise.

We reach the summit, and I finally get a chance to talk with Theresa about the amazing accomplishment she and Garan have achieved: by hiking all 900 miles of trails, Garan became the first person with autism to hike every trail in the Smokies. And they’re not stopping anytime soon. No, by the end of the year they’ll have hiked nearly double that – 1,800 miles of trails – which beckons the question: Why?

For that, you’ll have to check out the film below…meet Garan and Theresa in Love, Trails, & Dinosaurs.


Alex Oliver, Director/DP