High Sierra – A Journey on the John Muir Trail || FULL DOCUMENTARY

High Sierra – A Journey on the John Muir Trail || FULL DOCUMENTARY

– [Narrator] Walk away quietly in any
direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians
of glacial meadow. In a craggy garden, nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the
mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as
sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness
into you and the storms their energy while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. – [Brian] When I was in college I took a
backpacking trip through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. A passing hiker
told me about the most spectacular and beautiful trail he’d ever hiked. That day,
I decided that I would do whatever I could to make a film about this place he
described. After years of planning and preparing, I finally connected with five
adventure-seeking high school students from near my home in North Carolina who
were setting off on this 220-mile journey. The teens were friends through
scouting and sports teams but these were not your typical extreme sports types.
They were just regular guys looking for a challenge and a change to their daily
routine. Their accomplishment along the trail and mine in actually capturing it is
proof to me that we are all much more powerful than we can even imagine. – Travel, travel, travel. You’re on the
plane, you’re on the bus, you’re on the train, you’re all over the
place. And then all of a sudden the bus drops you off in Yosemite Valley, and
you’re at the backpacker camp grounds. And you’re like, “Here we are. All this
has been leading up to is this time right here.” – [Adams] John Muir must have been badass. [music] – [Man] Don’t get lazy and leave one of
these unlocked. This one’s locked. This one here is not. If you do that, a
bear can get into these. – Well, every couple of years or so we
like to do something kind of fun and crazy. For the last few years we’ve done a
couple of cross country bike trips. A bunch of these guys have been on
cross country cycling trips and so now they’re kind of in the flow of, “What kind
of crazy thing are we going to do this summer?” – I’ve never done this before, ever.
Don’t tell Brian. – [Zach] I’ve never done anything this
physically strenuous. I feel like I’m going to be able to judge the entire trip
by how the first day goes. – Any concerns? – [Heath] Yeah, I hope my food doesn’t get
eaten by bears because only about a third of it fits in my bear canister. – [Sean] I hated to have it come around to
the other side of the park to begin, but I wanted to be legit and not have
any troubles with the law, so I did. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Ty] I’m a little nervous. I really
don’t know how hard it’s going to be. – So, John Muir trail has the reputation
of being the most famous and the most beautiful and round trail in the world. As
soon as we leave this sign, it’s pretty much just us until two and a
half weeks later when we reach the end. We start in Yosemite Valley, go through
Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, The Sequoia Redwood
Forests, and then finally into the highest point in the continental U.S., into Mount
Whitney. The scenery is just supposed to be monumental the entire time. Every day
is supposed to be just the best day of hiking possible. Backpacker rates it
number one trail in the world. Everybody else that’s done it says it’s
the most spectacular thing, so I figured might as well come
check this thing out. ♪ [music] ♪ – This is a gnarly trail. It’s sweet,
we’ve gone up like 2,000 feet already, and like haven’t even hiked that far but
I’m feeling good. It’s tough, it’s kind of tricky so we’re trying not to
stub our toes or any-thing, but it’s still a lot of fun and it’s
gorgeous. We’re getting ready to go swimming in this big pool. It’s like
looking out over a huge waterfall, so we’re kind of hoping that that’ll be
fun and cool us off. And we’re also hoping not to go off the waterfall. – Kind of starting to go numb now. – [Woman] We’ve had people die from
jumping in this thing. I know it looks really pretty benign but it’s closed for
good reasons. Were you on a dare or something? – So, we lost our first hiker, Patrick,
who’s not an official member of our group but we kind of feel responsible for him.
And after seven hours he hasn’t made four miles up moderate 7% grade. Granted, it
was a little steep, it was a little warm, but seven hours, [inaudible] boys hiked
700 miles at the AT. I mean, come on. Is he right behind me?
Oh, I thought he was right behind me. – So, do you have a crazy story to tell? – [Patrick] A little bit. Cramping up. – Did YSAR find you? – YSAR? – Yosemite Search And Rescue. We
registered you as preliminary lost. – I was like, “Yeah, it’s probably me.” – Member of our crew, Zach is throwing up
and can’t keep water down so that makes me a little nervous. We’re thinking he’s a
little heat exhausted and he’s going to take a little napper, so. – [Shelton] My name is Shelton Johnson,
I’m a park ranger here in Yosemite in the division of interpretation and education.
And I’ve been in Yosemite, I’ve been calling it home for about 18
years. People use words like spectacular, tends to be hyperbole except when you’re
in places like Yosemite Valley. Actually, I think that calling Yosemite
Valley spectacular is an understatement. Every day I come in I’m inspired because
every day I come in I see something new. I came in two days ago and I saw a
rockfall between Middle Brother and Yosemite Fall. Very exciting. It was a
John Muir moment. The Sierra Nevada comes from the Spanish, meaning snowy mountain
range. It’s the highest mountain range in the contiguous United States, and the
highest peak, of course, in the contiguous United States is Mount
Whitney. But that’s just basically getting into statistics, you know, and it doesn’t
measure up to the statistics. – I mean, it’s an amazing mountain range.
I love the Rocky’s, I love the Smoky’s, but from my point of view, there’s no
place like the Sierra Nevada, whether it be Yosemite or whether it be
Sequoia, there’s just a feeling here that you don’t have any place else. And I think
that it stems from the rock itself. As John Muir referred to, “The Sierra is
the range of light.” And so it’s basically, it’s granite, you know,
it’s a plutonic igneous rock, which is a very geological way of
describing how a rock responds to light, and also how it affects and inflects the
human imagination. The bedrock that’s here, you know, this granite is the stage
for all the wonder that people experience when they’re hiking on a trail. It all
starts with the granite itself. You can’t talk about any other story in
the Sierra without first talking about the granite, about the rock. – Today I woke up and Ty was just getting
up, and I was like, “There’s no way that I’m ever going to get up that early.
You’re our early riser, huh? – Yeah, I’m going to try it out today. I’m
going to try and just get up early, go fast, get about nine miles before
lunchtime and then meet the crew there, take a nap and everything. – [Pete] I’d say everyone is doing about
the same. We’re all a team here. Well, compared to Zach at least.
Poor Zach. – Why the long face? – I feel sick. I can’t even talk. I’m
definitely scared if this is day two, getting out there, dehydrated, can’t move.
What am I going to do? I’ve already thrown up three times on this
trip. I just want it to end. I’m not feeling physically tired as in
like muscles hurt or anything yet, it’s just my stomach, and if I can get
through that I think I’m going to be all right. – We started hiking it and Zach started
feeling not too good so we decided to help him out a little bit, split up his stuff. – What should I take out? – We want you as light as possible. – I think that was good because we added
all a little bit of weight, so I mean, it wasn’t too bad for any of us
but it really helped him a lot. – Let’s go. – Still keep it slow though, Zach. – I was thinking the entire time when I
was looking and I was like, “I think he’s going to get through these
days and be like, ‘Wow, the rest is really easy compared to this
because I was sick the entire time and still hiking. ‘” – It was pretty killer. Pretty much if you
take it slow it wasn’t ridiculously hard. – [Woman] Hello. – Hey. – The most beautiful spot I’ve ever camped
before I think. Day two we’re at mile 10. No, I think we’re at 13, but still. You
know, we’re keeping it slow on purpose though. Yeah, I find if we come out and
start hitting things real hard, first two days might go okay, people will
be tired. But like on day three or four, people are just going to be exhausted.
Knees are going to blow out, heels are going to get worse than they
are. So, if we kind of like slowly build it up we’ll do a lot better. Especially,
when it’s flat and there’s hamburgers involved. That always… – Don’t say that. – It is fun. There are hamburgers
tomorrow. – I’m definitely feeling better. I’m just
like going up and down and up and down. And then I tried to go down to see the
lake. I’m trying to jump over this little creek, I get my first foot in, completely
sinks in the mud like a half a foot down. Smash my face and everything right into
the mucky dirty water that’s disgusting. I’m freezing cold, I got shit all over me.
If this is all that they can throw at me, nothing’s going to stop me. – So, I was sitting on this rock out on
this like gorgeous meadow just kind of like thinking, just kind of thinking about
the trip, thinking about life in general. It’s such a mind-blowing experience. Like,
I just want to inspire people to get out there and do it, and also to kind of
conserve the environment. So, I mean I’m probably going to not drive
my SUV as much, which is a total lie. – Hey, Petey. What’s up buddy? – Well, the John Muir trail is
essentially, you’re literally following in the wake of John Muir. John Muir was known
for his nomadic wanderings around and through the Sierra Nevada. And I think
that’s a particularly kind of famous route between Yosemite and Sequoia National
Park. Of course, he fought and spent a great deal of his life trying to have
Yosemite set aside as a national park, but in his own mind, there should be a
Sierra Nevada National Park. You know, that the area that’s between
Sequoia and Yosemite, which is also very beautiful, not nearly as explored as
Yosemite and Sequoia, is also full of superlatives. And for him, the whole area
should have been set aside as a national park. And I think that anyone that
hikes that trail can bear witness to the imagination and the vision of John Muir
and why that area should also have been set aside. ♪ [music] ♪ – Like, he’s got both battles. He’s
throwing up and his feet are just hamburgered. But he’s a trooper, dude. ♪ [music] ♪ – He’s back. ♪ [music] ♪ – This is tough. I mean there’s probably
not a tougher 200 miles in the country that’s a real trail. ♪ [music] ♪ – I would say that the only trepidation we
should really have from here on is whether Zach gets better. – Foot-wise. – Well, he’s sickly and he’s not even
having to pee. That’s not normal, dude. Got to watch that. These guys,
they’re kind of dependent on better judgment. – Trying the bear bag here. Let’s see how
this goes. All right. – Pressure now with the camera on. – Watch for rocks hitting temples. Not
going too high here. – [Matt] I grew up in Yosemite, spent
eight years there. We’d have some problem bears giving all the campers trouble and
stuff. What they do is they would trap the bears and they’d ship them off up past
[inaudible] into backcountry in the Wild Canyon. And so, that place is just full of
bears and they tell you not to camp there but apparently, some people
didn’t get that info. – That’s heavy. Help me push
it up some more. – You know, that night it really kind of
got under my skin that he waited right before, you know, we were just
about to sleep. – Bang the poles together.
Heath, bang the poles together. – Get out of here, hey! – He couldn’t even wait and let us get
good and asleep. – This is going to be a long ass night. – And he jacked us. – He didn’t even mess around,
he just came up and boom. – Smashed. – Ten minutes in. – We were still all awake. – I kind of want to move my tent. – Yeah, me too. – That was awesome, though. – We loved it. No, that wasn’t awesome. – All right, so let me just tell you
what happened. – I looked out and I saw eyes looking at
me and I went, “Oh crap, we’ve got a big bear.” – It just came straight into this campsite
and stole all of our food. – But then he was like, “That’s a bear!”
And I was like, “Quit playing.” – That was ridiculous. – Let me tell you something,
B is a badass. – I got about, you know, three good
minutes of sleep before the bear came into my camp and took all my food. – So, we got out there, you were out
there in your underwear chasing him off. And that was cool. – I used to not respect B at all,
like not at all. But right now, I have so much respect for him because
he’s out there like chasing that bear. – Is it big? – He’s not a little baby, that’s for sure. – He’s not a baby, yeah. – What do you want to do
about the other one? – I don’t know what we’re going to do
about the other one. – But he will come back and get it as soon
as he thinks it’s quiet. – What a warrior. – Like a bear can’t do that. – Yay! – That was awesome. – Everything in here is a hodgepodge of
everything we found that we thought we could salvage. – The booty. – This is mostly mine, I think. – We had to recover a lot after the fun
experience of last night. So, that took a while, we got out of camp
kind of late, like 8:00. ♪ [music] ♪ – The first three miles were flat meadow. – Feel my rocket fuel. I’m ready for this
mountain. – And then we hit Donahue Pass which
kicked all of our butts. ♪ [music] ♪ – Day three and four were awful, they were
just miserable. We were so tired, we just hit the ground running going
straight up these mountain passes. We are pushing ourselves to the limit but
we were only getting in maybe 10, maybe 15 miles in a day. It’s so hard on
your body and it hurts so much. And we were all like, “We’re never coming
back out there. This is awful. We hate this.” It was terrible during
those four days. That’s just traveling in style there. I need some chaps. It’s just
a lot harder than I expected. ♪ [music] ♪ – Is that good poo? ♪ [music] ♪ – The group so far, we’re definitely
taking a beating like it’s not so much the group, the group’s still are friends and
all, but it’s like everyone is just beat up. I’m pretty physically active and
everything. I do three sports, I run a lot of the time. There’s no way
I could’ve been ready for this. This is just, it’s dense. Tomorrow’s going
to be a little easier. It’s going to be a long day but it’s not
as many uphill. So, hopefully, tomorrow we’ll kind of I mean get some
spirits back up. And then we got…maybe rest a little after that. We’re getting
there. I think it’s a lot mentally. If you just push through it,
you can do it. ♪ [music] ♪ – Each mountain range has its own
character, has its own personality. And I think to really get a sense of the
personality, the Sierra Nevada, which is a long mountain range and an
impressive mountain range, you have to walk the extent of it, the
length of it. You can focus on one particular area, but that’s only the
character or the personality of that one particular geographic area. So, to really
get the feel of it you have to do the whole thing. I mean I have a sense of the
Sierra Nevada but I haven’t hiked the John Muir trail. Knowing it only in
Sequoia is not the same thing as knowing it in Sequoia and Yosemite and all the
places that are in-between. Knowing it in all of its moods. What’s the
Sierra like in the spring? What’s it like in the summer? What’s it
like in the fall and the winter? What’s it like during a thunderstorm and a
bright sunny day in the summer? What about when the leaves start changing
in the higher elevations in late September? All of those things add up to a
fuller description and a fuller feeling of what it’s like to say, “I know the Sierra
Nevada.” And John Muir knew the Sierra Nevada in that way. ♪ [music] ♪ – I’d say probably day five is when,
especially the group but me too, really just kind of like, “We’re getting
stronger, we’re doing it now.” ♪ [music] ♪ – That’s foot one. That’s not the bad one.
This one is worse. – Take care of that thing. – I will, coup de grace. – This is the one. – Jesus. – Here, though you’re fine there. – I got one right there. – Especially with you guys because I love
all you guys, you’re all awesome. I think you’re all going to make it. I
know you’re all going to make it and I just wanted to say thanks. I’m glad I got
to know some of you a little bit more. So, thank you and I’m going
to miss you guys. ♪ [music] ♪ – Our visitation in 1996 was 4.1 million,
it probably will be over 4 million this year. Whenever you have a place that’s
popular in the way that Yosemite is popular, when you have that concentration
of people coming into any place, just walking through a meadow changes the
meadow because meadows are wetland areas and a footstep can create change or damage
that can last much longer than one’s presence in that meadow. ♪ [music] ♪ – The same holds true for a trail. You
know, trails are designed so that people can maneuver and move through a landscape
and see it at its best. I mean, it’s not like they’re just put
there. It’s not just that they’re following contour lines on a map. The
trail is there because we want you to walk here, walk this way, walk here. That’s one
thing that people can do, stay on the trails. And if there’s a sign
that says, “Don’t do this,” or, “Don’t do that,” don’t do it. It’s there
for a reason. I would say find your own route mentally, spiritually, but follow
the trail that’s actually there. ♪ [music] ♪ – We’ve been getting up at 6:00 every
morning. And this morning we’re actually at a campsite with toilets and showers
and running water. ♪ [music] ♪ – I think we got on a trail 7:00 maybe so
we were decently quick in the morning. – I want to say before this was like 15
miles I think and then today we went almost 18. ♪ [music] ♪ – This is spectacular. The cool thing is
like we’ll be hiking in the woods one moment and you can’t even see it, and then
we’ll pop out in a clearing like this where there aren’t any really trees, and
you see the whole High Sierra, and it’s just so huge and it’s so
magnificent. It’s almost just hard to take in. I, Adams Conrad do not hate hiking as
of right now. And I almost do not hate Brian Burnham. I might hate him
in a few minutes. – I felt a lot stronger today than any
other day, and I’m now still very tired of course, but I feel like I’m getting
stronger and the packs are getting lighter because we’re eating more food and stuff.
So, yeah, today definitely felt like we’re going in the right direction and we’re
definitely getting better at this. ♪ [music] ♪ – But overall, it’s not a bad day. We
stopped at a couple of lakes and we went swimming once. We just went at a much
faster pace, so we still like got to camp at about the same time as even when we’re
only going like 12 or 13 miles. So, we definitely picked up the pace
today. There’s no turning back. It would be really, really hard if I was
in like Zach’s position to be that sick, and so I mean I completely understand
why he had to turn back, but I mean as hard as it gets I still just
want to keep going on and keep pushing through it. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Aidan] I’m having fun. This is
definitely a challenge. Parts of it are not so fun but overall, it’s definitely
very rewarding and fun. ♪ [music] ♪ – There’s different kinds of nourishment.
You know, there’s nourishment that comes from food, there’s nourishment that comes
from friendship, companionship, but there’s also nourishment that comes
from the things that you see that are wild or on the wing that move by. I mean like
for John Muir going by right now, the waterfall that just flew by, those
ducks, that was nourishment of a sort. And the wind it’s blowing around us right
now, that warm kind of coolish warm breeze, that was nourishment for the soul,
for the spirit of John Muir. So, I think the reason why he didn’t have
much with him because he was being fed in other ways, he was receiving nourishment
in other ways. So, yeah, he didn’t have much with him, but why
would he when he’s walking through an environment that’s sustaining him? – Morning. How’d you guys sleep in there? – Okay. – You’re still in the woods in case you
were wondering. – Ty? – What time is it? – It’s like 6:30. Morning, buddy. – We really splurged today, buddy. – Oh, we did. – Man. – The morning was so easy. We’re loose,
it’s cool, mosquitoes aren’t out yet. We’re climbing 1,000-and-something feet in
the morning. Past few days we’ve camped at the bottom of passes and just kind of
killed it up those passes, and then just cruised downhill for the
rest of the day and I really like that. It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts.
We’ve gotten so much stronger, you can feel it too in the morale. The
first couple of days, it was a little like low, shaky, kind of like, “I don’t know if
I like this yet.” But as we got stronger, we started getting faster and faster, the
whole group sort of picked up and now we’re going through these
18-mile days fine. – We’re crushing it. ♪ [music] ♪ – At 4:00 we’re going to catch the ferry
to Vermilion Ranch and we’ll have a night there, we have running water and showers
and we’ll get a day off. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to that. ♪ [music] ♪ – You got any supplies? – Yeah. – We got to resupply, right? – Hey, I liked that. – So, any time you guys are ready for
resupply, just pop on in here and we’ll walk out and get it. – Okay. – Restaurant’s open till 8:00.
It’s protein night tonight. – And it’s barbecue. – How you can pay me is pay as you go. – All right, so we’ve got to resupply for
nine days and we cleared this side of the store out. Like, all of these types we
didn’t want we’re taking them. And we have like 15 mountain houses over
there all for dinner because that’s all we could fit. And then we have pop tarts but
I don’t know if we’re going to have enough… – Oh well, we’re out of pop tarts already. – …because nine days is a lot of food. – Yep, we probably should have just mailed
in our resupply, mail drop in. – Yeah, I think it would’ve been a very,
very good idea. – You guys are looking kind of hungry. – Yeah, it’ll be fun. – Vermilion’s awesome. I love this place.
It’s pretty expensive. They had a moderate resupply, but
everybody’s just been so helpful in getting everything that we need. The food
here is so good and they like pile your plate full of food like until you’re
stuffed. You cannot eat anymore, and that’s really been helping the moral.
Coming at it six days we were hungry, we hadn’t really had too much real food,
especially breakfast food. So, we came in here and we were just like,
“Oh my gosh, this is so good.” So, today I’ve been thinking, “All right. I’ve
just got to eat as much as I can so I can just fill my body up with as many calories
as possible because I know these nine days are going to be hard and we’re not going
to have as much food as we would like. – There’s no resupply anywhere in the next
nine days. Next 120 miles, no resupply. So, that means we’ve got to carry all nine
days worth of food, and the terrain’s getting tougher. Our
metabolism is going to be going up as well. It’s just going to be insane pretty
much. It’s going to be tough getting nine days of food into the bear box,
then also just nine days of food so that you’ve got enough to eat but aren’t
carrying too much. – We’re going to be out like pretty much I
mean in the middle of nowhere, so we’re going to have to be really
careful. – Morning is the best time to just kind of
get out there and get the hardest part of the day over with. So, I anticipate that
we’ll be up and moving early and we won’t take many breaks. – There’s no quiting, I would never,
unless something like broke a leg or whatever. It doesn’t matter how rundown I
get I’m just going to finish this at this point. Especially now I’ve made it this
far I’m going to finish this thing if it kills me. – I’m guessing this is the pass. – I couldn’t get them to stop. – Unbelievable. – Why? – Because it went on for like… – Forever. – Yeah, you can’t blame it later. – Wow. – Keep going up and up and up and up. – Man, we were still cooking. – Yeah we were. Felt good. – I believe that’s Selden Pass. – Ow. ♪ [music] ♪ – The Beef Stroganoff is legit. – Yeah, I took a bite. – So, you guys are in the food mood? – Yeah, I’m so hungry and it’s only day
one and I might die because I’m hungry. But you know, it’s all mental.
I’m not really hungry, but my stomach’s just saying I’m hungry,
I’m not really hungry, so like I can go without food. Gandhi did. ♪ [music] ♪ – That’s right, that’s right. ♪ [music] ♪ – I think the best way to travel these
place is with a sense of reverence, that it’s an honor to be in this kind of
environment and this is a sacred place, and to treat it as a sacred place. You
know, when people walk into a church their voices before they walk in maybe load and
they maybe just kind of blustery and all of that. As soon as they walk in, there’s
this hush and there’s this calm, there’s this stillness that takes over
you. Even if it’s a church that’s not of your faith. So, I think it’s the same
thing when you enter a trail into the wilderness, there should be a sense of
reverence, of spiritual connection. It’s just a place where the divine is
manifest on earth. – Get to hacking it. – It was made. – Mrs. Patt, right? – [Patt] Yeah, P-A-T-T, two T’s. – Patt with two T’s, and? – [Richard] And Richard. – Richard, from? – Richarde. – Richarde. – From Poland. – That’s my biggest… – What’s the message
of the Muir Trail Ranch to the other hikers out there? – Hey, we do everything
we can that’ll have you leave here with everything that you need
in a good spirit. And we’ve got fresh spring water, we’ve got the email, we’ve
got the hiker boxes. – I wish they were the barbecue. – Yeah. – That’s right. – These guys are going to have
like a weeks worth of food left at the end. – I’m just packing a lot of food. – Everybody is stocked up on like nine
days worth of food is is probably too much at the
beginning and we just added like five more
days two days in. – I’m going to eat so much tonight. – I guarantee it’s going
to be gone by then. – But my stomach hurts right now
because I’d ate so much. I ate one huge sausage. – The run from Muir Trail Ranch
to Whitney is longer than anything on the AT,
so you have to have a weeks worth unless
you can walk mad miles. – Get in! – Working on it. Working on it. – Just go for it. If you can’t do it we
won’t make fun of you. – God, you black out for a second. – You do, you do. Just swim around. – Will he? – What? – We’ve got to get in now. – We’re hiking it. – Hey, man. Nice and easy. – You got it. – You’re there. – I wonder if they’ll send
out a search party? – Guys just kicking it just like
a mile an hour. – See the sun coming down a little
bit through the clouds? – What do you reckon,
Ty, ever been in a place like this? – This is amazing right here. This sunset, beautiful. Never been in a
place like this in my life. – This sucks. I hate my life. – Adams, they can’t get their picture
unless you come in. – Yo, do I look like Ansel Adams to you? – Peter, you getting up for the
sunrise? – [Peter] No. – When you’re outside of park
you see it’s defined by this little blue line or line, there’s
Yosemite National Park. But as you can see right now where we are
in the valley the only limitation is the edge of the cliffs around us. We’re in
this seven square mile area. Emotionally and imaginatively it just
seems like it goes on forever. That does something to the imagination,
and you realize that when you’re within wilderness that it’s much bigger on the
inside than it is on the outside. And I would say that anyplace that’s
bigger on the inside than it is on the outside is a wonderland. – Up and at ’em. – Is it that time of day again that
we’re hiking it? – I reckon. It’s about that time. – [Rachel] My name is Rachel Luger
and I’m from Northern California, I’m from Chico. And I called
up my cousin and asked him if he wanted to go hiking with me. I
like the ability to travel from one place to another and look back and say, you
know, “I was 30 miles away a couple of days ago and I’m seeing something totally
different today.” And also there’s a nice routine to it too. You get up, you hike,
you do your thing all day long and you’re in a totally different place that night.
So, just moving yourself with your own feet is kind of really cool. You
definitely have to be able to go with the flow. If things don’t go your way, make an
alterior plan. And definitely a lot of dedication and self-motivation, you can’t
expect the group to get you moving. You kind of have to take care of yourself. ♪ [music] ♪ – Muir pass. That’s the part they say you’re
going to remember. ♪ [music] ♪ – This is the Ty documentary. – [inaudible] Ty and other
hikers. ♪ [music] ♪ – I would say that the trail
doesn’t change people at all. What changes people
is that that the trail is the means by which transformation takes
place, okay. The trail itself doesn’t draw attention to itself, it’s what happens to
you along the trail. So, along the trail is where you encounter
early in the morning just as the sun is coming up a mule deer that walks in front
of you just 10 feet away and looks at you as if like, “You’re late,” or, “Why are
you here?” Or, “What are we going to talk about now?” The trail is what leads you to
that point right around the bend where you see that last light of the sun, that
Alpenglow on some far off peak. And you’re scrambling looking at your map
trying to find out, “What’s the name of that peak? It’s so beautiful.” And of
course, at that point, that peak doesn’t have a name because the sun itself has
made it nameless. – You guys hungry? – Snacky. – See you guys on the pass. – Yeah, will see you guys. – We just have to keep on going. There’s
no choice. We don’t have the option to like take a day off or get extra food
somewhere. We just have to tough it out with what we have. – So, we’re about to climb
Mather Pass which is supposed to be one of the hardest passes in the entire
trail. And this is the start of it right here. South of this hill.
Looking forward to it. – Hiking with Ty. – Currently, when I hike I’m sweating
so I smell like Ammonia. I’m starving and it’s eat-ing all my
muscle. So, I’m probably going to die. – You hungry? – I could definitely go for
some food right now, but I have to ration my supplies. – Yes, the trail goes up there. We’re going to be gaining a lot of
elevation and we’re going to be going over a couple of huge passes. So, that’ll
be a challenge. I like our routine that we have of just usually looking for like one
pass a day to do just because you kind of know what to expect and you get up early
and do like the climb early in the morning when it’s still cool. And then you get to
the top and from there you can just kind of cruise down. – Try the water. – It was challenging. – Still working on Mather Pass. – I’m pumping some water for the
pass so I can drink. – We got a long way to go here. We already hit lunch. We’re only
at the lake. We’ve got about four miles up to 12,100. – We’re just going to be going
way up and way down and we’re going to be hitting higher elevation than
we have so far, so the oxygen is going to be low. And getting up especially just
that last 100 feet going up that pass I know is just going to be brutal. – I love him, he’s a great guy. He just eats my biscuits. – Real world. Sierra HD.
Talking junk about everybody. – So, looking south from Mather.
We just walked 150 miles. – I think we’re killing this. – Getting it done. – Like down, up, down.
– One hundred and fifty yards. – Yeah, we’ll get right there… – I’m stoked to do it because I see it as
a big challenge. And it’s real wilderness which I’ve never actually been in before. – Mather’s Pass is going to be easy but we need to make sure that tomorrow we’re
camping right there. Because then Glen is easy. And then we get lower
for the meadows. – Tell me about your food,
how hungry you are during the day. – All we ever talk about
in the trail is just food, what food we want to…what place we
want to go to, what we want to eat when we get back. It’s pretty ridiculous really. – I get so hungry during the day. I just have to force myself not to eat
more than what I have for that day just because if I do I’ll starve at the end. – When we get back to San Fran
we have every single hour planned out of eating. – The other day I laid out all my food, put it all in like a nice little neat line
and everything. It’s not that bad really. I’ve got a quick bar for breakfast, three
granola bars throughout the day. One of them being a power bar, and then
a good old dinner. Basically, like I’ve just got to stick to that. If I
go over my ration at all things could get bad. – What is your order at Wendy’s the
minute you get out of here? – A Baconator combo with a large
Pepsi with large fries. – Three Baconators, medium sized drink,
small frosty and a small fry. – All I could think about on the way down
was a sesame chicken. I was thinking about just like a fork and
just like eating it. – We’ll see. Maybe I might
go biggie, but… – If someone’s coming from the East Coast and say they’re used to hiking in
the Smoky’s, I would say, “That’s good that you know the Smoky’s but
now you’ll have to learn the Sierra.” I mean, there’s still some similarities.
If you can take water from a water source that’s a stream, creek, or river, or lake,
assume that it was Giardia. It’s better to assume that it has and
prepare for that than to assume, “Oh, this looks perfectly clean.” Unless
you can see at that level and you have eyes to see that, you’re in for a bad day.
And if you’re in for a bad day in the middle of a backcountry hike and suddenly
you come down with Giardia, that’s a bad scenario right there. Every
place has its own unique character and its own risk. I’m a ranger, when I go for a
hike in another park, in another state, I go to the visitors center and I ask,
“What do I need to watch out for?” Imagine the scenario of someone not doing that and
they decide, “I’m going to hike this trail in Zion called The Narrows of the Virgin
River.” And they never hear about flash flood danger. And they just walking around
they say, “Oh boy, look at how those clouds… Did you hear thunder?”
They’re about to die. – We’re ready to get a cheeseburger. – I could hike more but I’m ready
for a zero and a bunch of food and a bath. Hunger’s the main thing. To be
honest, I didn’t plan much at all. I stuffed our boxes to begin with and we
just suffered through having extra. And then when we got to Vermilion we added
some and then when we got to the next, to Muir Trail we added some more and, “Eh,
that’ll get us there.” Most of us seem to spend too much time on, “How many
calories?” And, “How many meals we got?” I’m like, “Just keep walking. I’m older
than everybody here. You guys will fall over and die before I do.” I like the
effort of it. It crushes you from beginning to end and I kind of like that
because my typical life is too easy. This, you’ve got to earn every step of it
and I like that. – Done. – Everybody wants to go out for a weekend,
but if you want to come out for weeks at a time, there can be no better way than to
get broken in on the JMT. – That’ll hurt a little bit,
metal fatigue. – Yeah, I bet. – Oh, man. It’s nice to get to be here. – I’ve had very few doubts on
the whole trip. One of them though was yesterday.
Mather Pass was tough. That’s a crusher. Imagine it’ll be more
of the same, really tough, earn it, earn it, earn it. And then when
we’re in Whitney Portal we’ll be, “Woohoo.” I could hit that chili burger
right now. – Just everyday pulling into camp
is so nice just to know that you’re done
for the day and you just have a couple of hours or 30 minutes or
whatever time you get there you just have some time to relax and not have to go
through all the physical stuff and mental stuff. – That’s a cool bridge. – So, we find some triple berry, Betty Crocker muffin mix in that bear box
over there. So, we’re trying to get all the calories we can so we’re just mixing
it with some water and now we’re cooking it like scrambled eggs. – We’re going to start eating it. – Let’s see how it turns out, Con. – You want to just eat it like this?
I mean we can. – God, I found a fork. – That is good. – That is so good.
– That is so good. – Let me take… – What’s the verdict? How is it? – It’s really not that good. – It’s good, he’s lying. – I would eat this for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. – This isn’t biscuits. – No, these are pancakes. – It’s good, it’s good like that. – It’s going to burn.
Turn it down just a bit. – Oh yes! – Taking shape. – Woohoo. – Look at it, it’s solidifying. – They’re not done yet. – I got to test it, though. – Yeah, you tested them. – Is it gross? Is it gross? – It’s edible. – It’s good. Look, it’s great. – That’s a little bit raw right now. – It’s like pancakes. – It goes down kind of funny. – We got a whole other bag, that
was just training. We’re about to be stuffed. This is like gourmet. – It tastes like slightly undercooked
biscuits where it’s like undercooked in the middle. Do
you know what I’m saying? – Make some more. – Yeah, exactly. – Aidan, let’s go. More. – California, most of California you can’t even build fires anymore.
I’m actually shocked they let you do them up here. – I wonder if you actually can. – You can. This is one of the weird places where you
still can. Down in San Marino Mountains though, don’t even think about it. – [inaudible]. – Mount Ansel Adams was
named for Ansel Adams while Ansel Adams was still alive.
So, he could literally walk around and say, “Yeah, that’s my
mountain over there.” Most people never had that experience. When there’s a peak
or a valley or some sort of typographic or landscape feature that’s named after them
they’ve moved onto that next plane of existence and they’re not there to witness
that. It makes sense that John Muir has a trail named after him because his
perambulations, his walking and maneuvering and movement through the
Sierra, and the movement of the Sierra through him because he influenced this
place but the place also influenced him. I always ask myself, “What would John Muir
be, who would John Muir be if it had not been for that intimate contact between him
and these mountains?” He familiarized himself with the flora, with the fauna,
with every aspect of the natural history of this environment probably more so than
anyone else of the time except for, of course, the native peoples who have
been here for thousands and thousands of years. – I got to go back to school. I can’t drop out. ♪ [music] ♪ – Is it a little weird trying to find
each other like, “I don’t really know what
you look like.”? – [Kim] It worked really well. We
had chat screen and I was like, “I’m wearing hiking boots and a dress.
[inaudible].” ♪ [music] ♪ – Hey. – That’s Justin. – [Justin] What’s going on, man? – Justin, Adams. – Adams, nice to meet you. ♪ [music] ♪ – All right, we’re almost there. ♪ [music] ♪ – It looks like a cool place. ♪ [music] ♪ – I can’t wait. – We’re going to catch a few,
I’ve got a feeling. – Here’s number one, baby. – Not too bad, a good eight, nine-incher. – It’s definitely edible. ♪ [music] ♪ – Oh I know, I’m sorry. – All right, I’m getting ready
to go fishing in a lake and we’ve already caught like seven
fish for dinner, this is going to be real good. – That’s a nice one. Throw it on the
ground. – Oh yeah, that’s… – That’s nice. – Six, 8, 10, 12. – Who’s hungry? – They’re huge, too. We scored. ♪ [music] ♪ – Is that the one you caught? – Yeah, this is the fish I caught.
And it is so good. – Look how clean your hands are. – Prepared excellently, it peels right off
the bone. Put some spices and salt right in there. It’s just awesome. Nothing like
catching a fish and eating it a few hours later. – So, I got like just this left, it’s so
good. What I needed too because I had a small dinner. – People all scored some
food off Justin and Kim. – What did he get? – He tried not to say anything
but he’s definitely hungry. – He’s out of food. ♪ [music] ♪ – The dangers can be mitigated
by education, through education. I mean you could be
lighthearted and just filled with an exaltation but you need to sit down with
books and make notes and really think carefully about where you’re going, how
you’re going to get there, and think about, “What’s going on on day
one, what’s going to happen day two, where do I get supplies?” Preparation
makes the difference between excitement and horror. Excitement is, “Boy, it’s good
we prepared for this. Wasn’t that amazing that storm?” Horror
is, “Yeah, we didn’t bring this and that and I thought I was going to die.”
No one wants this feeling of, “I thought I was going to die,” on any
kind of hike, but they do want this feeling of, “I’ve never felt so close to
God.” Positive. “I’ve never felt so close to God.” Negative. – I got these things on my hands. – Yum. – When we’re out here in the
mountains hiking like you just have to keep going. Every day there are some
parts when it’s just so hard. – Doesn’t look like there’s much
of a way over. – And the motivation to keep going
is just to have that accomplishment, just to finish this.
I mean, this is not just some easy little trail out in the woods.
It’s 220 miles up and down mountains with 35 lbs on our backs,
so I mean it’s just for the accomplishment that’s the main reason. To make
it through the physical challenges I guess I kind of just rely like on everyone
else out here a little bit just because, I mean I know like if they can do it I can
do it too and I know they’re hurting just as much as I am and they’re still pushing
through it so I know I can too. – Still got a little ways to go. – This little spot right here. – I’m glad that it’s kind of over, but
this is our last pass, it’s kind of sad. It’s kind of fun like kicking my own
butt every day. – That was our last big pass
before Whitney, so now… – Woo-hoo. – Just kind of cruising. – Woo-hoo. – Cruising to Whitney in a couple of
speed bumps tomorrow, nothing big though. – Three, two, one. – We’re in such a remote
area and it’s just going to be tough to like just be out here and have no
other option besides going on. So, I was kind of worried but now that I’m
out here I’m not as worried and I… I mean now I can definitely see that we’re
going to be able to do this. It’s just going to be hard, food supplies
are probably will be running low but I mean there’s no way we won’t make it. – So, the story for tonight’s dinner. Aidan and I are doing a little combo. He’s
made a cheddar and broccoli mashed potatoes and I’m making a penne with pesto
sauce with fresh cheddar sprinkled over the top and mixed up and then we’re
going to split it half and half and I’ve got an ice cold lemonade on the side. – Do you know, it takes three degrees of
freedom to stir a viscous liquid. – I was killing whatever you
left in the pan or pot. – How is it? – It’s pretty good. – Still eating pretty good. – Trips, pass. – Yep, nothing. – Unless you push like
a coin into the button. – I tried that, I ended up like almost
breaking my fingers. – Oh, okay, I guess I’ll let you pee
on this clay with me. – I had to use a coin. – Oh, yeah. ♪ [music] ♪ – When I’ve been hiking earlier
like especially with day four I was like, “Oh my gosh, I hate this.
This is awful.” I was like, “When I get home my pack is going in the
garbage. This is terrible. But then on five or six, I was like, “It
doesn’t matter how hard this is. I’m so lucky to be out here. I anticipate
our finish on Whitney to be just like the final blow. It’s going to be hard I know
just because it’s at 14,000 feet. – We can’t see it from here. I think it’s
going to be that way. – Are you still not convinced? – I don’t know yet. I think it
could be Whitney. – But it’s so big and it’s going to be so
beautiful and the view is going to just be amazing. And knowing that we’re on the
tallest peak in the continental U.S. I just can’t even get over that. There
aren’t many places like this in the world and we’re going to be finishing on one
of the tallest peaks. ♪ [music] ♪ – Position waste bag for use. One hiker’s toilet is another
hikers camp. That’s why we use the wag bag. Let’s go, everybody. ♪ [music] ♪ – We’re at Guitar Lake right now,
the bace of Mount Whitney. We have five miles left
on the JMT which we could probably finish today if we wanted to but
we’re going to kind of hang out and soak the feet for a little bit. – It’s still cold. – But this is pretty much our end
of JMT. I know it’s sort of odd we survived
but this thing is definitely hard, it’s the real deal. God, the last five
days all big passes have been tough for sure. – They were tough. – But do them, kind of getting our rhythm, camp in the basin every night, climb up
the valley, do switchbacks, get to the top by lunch or maybe a little
after. Cruise three or four miles back down the tree line, camp, do it again the
next day, do it again the next day, do it again the next day. You get in the
rhythm but it definitely wears in the body, the feet are feeling it, feeling a
little [inaudible]. – Definitely. – Deficited. – I’m so hungry. – I think that the John Muir Trail
is probably one of the most majestic trails in the entire
world. I don’t think I’ll be able to top it ever. – It’s pretty amazing. Very majestic. – Yes, very majestic. ♪ [music] ♪ – To understand the American
character, you have to understand wilderness, period. For so much of our
existence as a country, there’s been wilderness, and our character
was shaped by the encounter with wilderness. We didn’t arrive on these
shores as Americans. We arrived as either we were British, we were Spanish, we were
Italian, we were whatever. But it was through that intimate contact
with the land, working the land, building towns, building communities,
going into the forest and getting a log cabin out of that forest. That work, that
sweat, that toil, those experiences with the continent itself that shaped us as
people. So, if we lose parks we lose these windows into wilderness and so we lose
these windows into the very crucible that help define us as a people. That’s what
makes America, America, is this encounter with wilderness. ♪ [music] ♪ – We’re in alpine, started at 5:00
or 6:00. Finish this puppy up and then
head on down to Whitney Portal for some food. – Burgers. – Very big burgers. ♪ [music] ♪ – Trail crest, here we are. – Mount Whitney, here we come. ♪ [music] ♪ – The resupply. ♪ [music] ♪ – By far one of the coolest
things I’ve ever done. – California’s an amazing place. – On top of the world. ♪ [music] ♪ – We made it. ♪ [music] ♪ – Fourteen thousand four
hundred and ninety-five feet. Sure did. – Highest point continental U.S., baby. – Cool. – You can see all these
amazing jagged peaks, but to really be in here
in the moment climbing up that Tallacy [SP] rock pile, it’s a totally
different experience, makes you all feel alive. – I think they’ll probably appreciate
how good they got it because I think we got it good at home, we really
do. There’s nobody here that’s scratching to make it or they won’t even be here.
No, we’re all pretty wealthy, we’re lucky. – Portal store. – Hurry up. – All the way down to you guys. – Tagging it. ♪ [music] ♪


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    gene West

    I really enjoyed your doc! The interviews with the ranger added another dimension. I have hiked the Muir trail twice as well as the PCT…congratulations to you and the youth on a job well done!

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    gene West

    to Kim Inman, best wishes to you, I know you will thrive, hoping for all good things for you, see you on the trail!

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    Great and inspiring documentary!
    I love being out in nature myself. At one point I started recording the sounds that surrounded me on my trips so I can also enjoy them when I am in a city.

    My latest recording shows the lapping waves of a close by lake:

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    I did the JMT in 1980 when I was 18 with my Dad (243% snowpack year!). You guys did great, even with your lack of prep/knowledge (the food drop at Edison, or lack thereof, made me chuckle).

    Thanks much for sharing your experiences/videos. They bring back many memories of the greatest trail on Earth.

    I have to also say the interviews with the Ranger are a fantastic addition. He did an exceptional job instilling what the spirit of the Sierras are all about.

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    Nick Biss

    Wow. Great doc. Even better music. Wish I could find that Mandolin Orange song. Reminded me of Bonnie Prince Billy's music.

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    John Neff

    Hey Guys loved your spirit and fun you show in your film doc. Have you done other great hikes since then? I contemplating doing Muir trail.

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    Nathan Buttry

    Great Documentary, looking forward to a High Sierra trip with my son. Probably next summer but may have to make it the JMT. Time to start planning.

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    Top notch job and really captures the essence of hiking the Sierra. I made my first trip and summit in 2013 and have been back every year since. It is the magic that your documentary captures so well that brings us back each year. And now, I'm even more excited for our July 2016 return visit! Thanks for sharing this…just beautiful work.

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    We must have been crazy back in 82' hiking on the trail with 85 to 90lb packs with guitars,bongos,tamborines lol homade dried meals,mountain house,dried weird food from the asian store

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    if i got the chance to stay in this beautiful land. i will take the chance to walk this trail even if it takes me half a year. i love your documentary it challenged my ego hehe…

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    C De

    i like that song it doesn't hurt a bit it's only in your head…you ever hear the one about takin it in yur head to make a buck?

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    Im not lost.

    Really cool documentary!! Keep at it 🙂 I'll actually be thru-hiking the PCT in 2017, and I'm going to be daily vlogging the entire journey! Check it out here: goo.gl/0hKldf . HAPPY TRAILS THRU-HIKERS!

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    Conley Lowrance

    Awesome, man! Eagle Scout here going to school at JMU (not far from Shenandoah National Park). Just found out about the JMT on Monday and I'm already planning.

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    John Ganshow

    Excellent!! The guy that was throwing up in the beginning, needed some powdered gatorade mixed in with his water. Very well done video!!!

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    Darren Russinger

    Would have been better if the hikers were older or could have refrained from constantly using the word "like" every other sentence.

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    Fred Level

    A brilliantly made film, I loved it!
    I 've been thinking doing the JMT for a couple of weeks now and decided earlier today (before I found this video) to start planning for it in summer 2018.
    I also love the interview of the ranger, thinking that guy has been living there for so many years is awsome and I like the way he sees things and his sense of reality

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    I can't walk the trail in it's entirely since I only got a permit for it the last part of my US trip so I don't have the time, but I am going from Devils Postpile to Muir Trail Ranch this summer and I am SO excited!

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    The Park Ranger was very informative but the rest of the people are stupid and immature. They should not have been included in the documentary.

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    vesa vartiainen

    Could I have spent 1:13:38 watching something more important? No. This was like I was with these guys. Thank you so much for this experience!

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    Luen Warneke

    I love the part when the ranger says "They never hear about flash flood danger and they are just walking around and they say 'oh boy, look at all the clouds, do you hear thunder?' Laughs and they about to die Laughs" – 52:38

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    High schoolers and they couldn't hack the first day? – What a bunch of pussies.! – Now, once you get above 9,000 you need some acclamation, at 6,000… Wimps.

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    John Steitz

    Heads up: No, you can't have fires wherever you want on that trail. Only below 10,000ft in Kings Canyon and Sequoia, if I'm remembering correctly. For those inspired by this to go, please familiarize yourself with the all the rules beforehand, including the rule on fires/elevation.

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    Micaela Celaya

    This is an amazing work, I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed it! I hope I can meet this place someday!! Is there any spanish subtitled version of this? I would like to share it with my family and friends. Congratulations and hugs from Argentina! 🙂

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    Thomas Reilly

    the best documentary ive seen on this trail ….. awesome … and the park ranger is excellent … i hope hes seen this video .

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    I have watched this at least five times! It reminds me of the trips to Philmont Scout Ranch with the Boy Scouts. At that age, they keep it funny and ALWAYS talk about food! Thank you for a great documentary!

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    Titanium Quarrion

    This may have turned out ok but I couldn't watch after the first 25 minutes of listening to unprepared, unskilled, unfit and at times plain retarded (swimming in the closed pool above the falls) Millennials whine…..
    Hey I have no doubt they got ti together and got through but if they had prepared properly before starting the beginning of this video wouldn't be so annoying.
    There are people in their 50s and 60 doing thru hikes of the AT, PCT etc who don't carry on like these guys. Pass.

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    Theresa Haley

    Excellent video – and thanks for including Ranger Shelton Johnson, one of my favorite people after watching his Ted Talk. (I secretly stalked him while hiking Yosemite haha)

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    Nate Jones

    When asked why he does not seek a promotion and thus higher pay, Johnson was quoted as saying, "I facilitate astonishment. I didn't join the Park Service for money; I get paid in gasps."

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    Harold Dodds

    they make it look all cool hahaha (good job guys) but come on…who's paying all this…whose filming when they are miles off in the vista distance. Average Joe's are the real John Muir not sponsored Documentaries

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    Outside TV

    This is amazing footage High Sierra crew! The John Muir Trail seems like a beautiful journey! Your camera skills are fantastic and we think you can showcase them on an even bigger stage! OutsideTV is working with the Adventure Film Festival and started our own Adventure Filmmakers challenge! To compete, create a Campfire channel and post your film here: http://campfire.outsidetv.com/campaignleaders/affchallenge
    Once you have created an account, more likes=MORE POINTS! If you win, you will be flown out to the festival and featured on OTV!

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    Robert Morales

    Why would you show such an irresponsible act as swimming right above a huge waterfall?! People have died swimming above the falls!! Just a few years ago three people were pulled over the falls and their bodies weren't found for months! If you are going to show a hiking video, please be responsible with what you show people.

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    Jim Kanzelmeyer

    super well done documentary. It captured the life-changing trail well! Mr. Cameraman your eye and story telling ability is awesome.

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    This is fantastic film. Can you tell me the starting time of the trail? For I am supposed to do the trail this mid Aug. I am wondering what season clothes I should bring. If you tell the time,I will figure it out. Many thanks from Korea.

  96. Post
    Brit Hansgen

    I know this is a long time ago, but your friend Zack probably had altitude sickness. It usually happens around 7-8000 ft… You may have figured this out – still watching. Also, I love the park ranger too. 🙂

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  98. Post

    Outstanding documentary, great footage, beautiful narrated! I like the personal snippets of the different people. Thx for the effort of producing this beautiful movie. Thumbs up!

    Happy hiking

  99. Post
    Mark Viereck

    To get blisters that bad, that quick, it’s your boots. They didn’t fit well. Could of als been his socks. You need wool hiking socks. They are very expensive.. I went in a hike and one member had worn work boots and had blisters the first day. Need good equipment

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