Why are we called the Umbrella Project?

Our family lost our father and husband unexpectedly in 2015. Our then 22-year-old daughter embarked on her own healing journey by thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail the following summer. Our dad was an artist who loved to engage people everywhere with his “umbrella project.” He would spread umbrellas across streets, float them on lakes, hang them from trees—and get the local community involved. When we thought about a name for our program, we realized we already had one that represents shelter, sanctuary and inclusion—and honors the genesis of this program.

“I believe that the healing properties of a long-distance hike are like no other. The peace that nature brings does not compare to anything else. I also developed a whole new level of strength and resilience while on the Trail that I had not known was within me. Without my hiking experience, my grief journey would have been much more challenging.”

–Eliane Coates
ATC Journeys, Fall 2020