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] ♪