epic on the big screen
INTERVIEW WITH PAM BALES FROM THE MOVIE INFINITE STORM
Infinite Storm; The Hike of a Lifetime
Plenty of people have hiked Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire but few have a story as riveting and suspenseful as Pam Bales’.
What began as a routine hike turns into a rescue mission when Pam Bales, played by Naomi Watts, accidentally stumbles upon a lost hiker during a blizzard. The two of them then have to battle their way back to the base of the mountain in order to survive the perilous storm.
Although this experience was one of the most difficult events that Pam Bales has had to endure, it pales in comparison to the environmental devastation that Pam has seen unfold in her lifetime.
While the movie Infinite Storm starring Naomi Watts has been gaining some serious traction in the media, we wanted to have a Q&A with Pam to ask her some serious questions regarding the plastic pollution crisis, the importance of water, and some tips to reduce the impact that your hike may have on the environment.
Here's what Pam had to say:
Q: What is one thing you want people to know about you?
A: My friends do know and understand me that I really walk what I talk, I care about protecting our lands from the people and protecting the people from the lands…both sides can have harsh qualities.
Q: How has hiking changed since you’ve started?
A: Most noticeable difference is the volume of hikers now. Earlier you could easily get a parking spot, enjoy a full day of hiking and see a handful of people. Gear has been going through an explosion of giving hikers what they want. In many ways this is an improvement for safety, less weight/bulk (like EPIC having one bottle instead of 6-7 single use ones), durability and longevity.
Q: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome while hiking?
A: Besides not bringing enough chocolate, is facing the reality that our lands are being quite abused by irresponsible visitors and sights and sounds I’ve known in the past are dwindling or gone. This is so hard for me to swallow since I try my best to help educate/inform/be an example of how to take care of and protect our precious lands.
Pam Bales nears the summit of Mount Washington. Her hike and rescue of a man are the subject of a new Bleeker Street film, “Infinite Storm.” Courtesy of MGPRGroup
Selfie taken by Pam Bales on the Jewell Trail
Q: How often do you see trash on hikes?
A: Of course any is too often but it does depend on some variables such as location, low/high profile area, time of year (off season or vacation, holiday time), and the type of visitors. Unfortunately I have seen a big increase where I volunteer in NPs the last couple years because people are stressed/frustrated from the results of the pandemic and they tend to be less aware of their actions. Not an excuse for sure but with more people getting ‘away’ from it all, litter/human waste with its paper has gotten out of control.
Q: Is reducing single use plastic important to you? Why?
A: Absolutely it’s vital to reduce single use plastic containers. History has been showing the damage to our lands and water sources from discarded plastic containers and how wildlife is maimed and killed in tragic and cruel ways for too long, yet people choose the easy route of single use plastic.
Q: What is the best way for hikers to reduce their carbon footprint?
A: If hikers, and especially the newer casual day hikers, would just be more aware of what they are discarding, this action would help the carbon footprint so much. Really, is this how you would treat your or others’ backyard, cause this is our country’s yard, take care of it. Stay on trail to minimize impact for regrowth and the wildlife, especially when backcountry camping.
Q: What are a few things that you do to help the environment?
A: Again, with the theme of outdoor activities I think ahead of my hike or backpacking trip where I can minimize any environmental impact. I peel oranges and hard boiled eggs at home (reusable bags) so there’s less to carry, less mess and I can enjoy small bites at a time. I find way too many banana peelings, citrus rinds, egg shells and pistachio shells and they generally do not compost and animals do not touch them. So basically I discard as much natural and commercial packaging at home that’s feasible.
Q: Have you ever been severely dehydrated?
A: I have been twice. 1st time was on purpose under the guidance of friends. I wanted to see how far I could push myself ‘to the limit’, what were signs and symptoms of trouble, in case it happened for real. That happened years later, relying on a water source that I’d heard was ok but had not heard how difficult it was to find….never did. I had 5 miles of desert back to my campsite with a cup of water, where thankfully I still had a liter. Went into survival mode of rationing especially mindful of having only one kidney after donating one a few years back. That 1 liter was it for that evening, night and 4 mile hike out. Not pretty but didn’t panic, wasted energy.
Epic Water Filters supported the cast and crew of the movie Infinite Storm with custom water bottles so they could stay safely hydrated on set.
Another photo of the Epic Nalgene OG Filtered Water Bottle on set of the movie Infinite Storm starring Naomi Watts. Screenplay by Josh Rollins
Q: What are your thoughts on access to clean water?
A: Access to clean water is a high priority for a healthy existence. For humans, tainted water from whatever source generally means ill health, which means doctor visits, which can mean treatments/medications which rely on clean water to be effective. Very much a revolving door which can be slowed down or even stopped by a clean environment of which water is the original building block.
Q: What does water mean to you?
A: Water = LIFE! For anything alive, you/it has to have water (moisture) to survive. Again, today’s receding water supplies are pointing this out quite vividly.
So as you watch Infinite Storm starring Naomi Watts in theaters, keep in mind that while you guzzle down a soda or munch on some candy, our environment is battling to get back to the base of the mountain where it can seek shelter from the infinite storm of plastic. If Pam Bales can save a hiker while enduring the elements, you can fight the storm by escaping the grip of single use plastic. Epic Water Filters was lucky enough to be asked to support the cast and crew of Infinite Storm with custom filtered water bottles. We were proud to keep everyone working on Infinite Storm well hydrated with clean, safe and great tasting water with both our bottles and filters made right here in the United States.