Recommended Outdoor Documentary Films

 

Mile…Mile and a Half

 

MILE… MILE & A HALF (trailer 1) from The Muir Project.

There’s a reason that “Backpacker Magazine” ranked California’s John Muir Trail as the best Hike in the World in it’s November 2010 issue. Stretching 211 miles from Yosemite Valley to the summit of the contiguous United States’ highest peak, Mount Whitney, it rambles through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery that the heart and mind could conceive. Most of your days are spent above 10,000 feet, where you’ll experience the High Sierras in all of it’s grandeur and beauty.

The Muir Project crew departed from Yosemite Valley on July 10th, 2011 and completed the trail at the summit of Mount Whitney on August 3rd. Along the way, they were joined by musicians, painters, teachers, and other adventure-seekers, all who became part of the story.

 

Tell it on the Mountain – Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail

 

Tell It on the Mountain (trailer) from Lisa Diener and Shaun Carrigan.

It takes a special kind of person to drop everything and walk through the woods for five months. But in a way, these hikers are just like you and me. They have jobs and families, they love their creature comforts. Yet something pulls them to be in nature, to leave everything behind and embark on what’s called a thru-hike.

Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail involves walking 2,663 miles from Mexico to Canada. The journey lasts from April to October. That translates into about 20 miles a day, every day—on foot. These brave souls face bone-dry deserts, raging rivers, snow-covered mountain passes, mosquitoes, blisters, torrential rains… and the urge to quit.

Follow a half dozen of the 300 or so hikers who attempt a PCT thru-hike every year. Armed with cameras, they give us an insider’s view into what it takes to spend half a year living in the wild.

 

The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend

 

The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend (trailer) from Terry Abraham.

A celebration of the UK’s largest and highest National Park, The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend takes the viewer on a spectacular 96 minute journey through awe inspiring scenery in the heart of Scotland’s mountains.

Accompanied by an evocative musical score from Freddiehangoler, Terry Abraham’s feature-length debut reveals the grandeur and majesty of the Cairngorms through the eyes of local resident and internationally respected backpacker and author Chris Townsend (author of 17 books including the best-selling ‘The Backpacker’s Handbook’).

From the ancient Caledonian Pine forests of Glen Feshie to the bleak windswept plateau of the Moine Mhor and the monumentally precipitous flanks of Cairn Toul, The Cairngorms in Winter is a visual and audio feast that sets the benchmark for independently produced outdoor documentaries.

 

Chasing Ice

 

Chasing Ice Trailer from James Balog.

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

 

This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

 

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