1.61km… 2.4km

21 Jan

With the new year comes big news that MILE… MILE & A HALF will be released internationally on iTunes. In addition to English speaking countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, we’re excited to make the film available with subtitles in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese & Norwegian, but it begs the question: How will our title translate for users of the metric system (ie, the rest of the world).

Anyone who has seen the film (or the trailers) knows what the title references. It’s the catch-all answer to, “How much further to (insert destination/milestone here, be it trail junction, top of the pass, lunch, etc.). It is indeed an inside joke (even if it extends to the hiking community), and this was a concern for us from the beginning.

The title for our film is riddled with problems. For one, it doesn’t start with an early letter in the alphabet. Perhaps if we’d titled the film A Mile… Mile & a Half, it would be closer to the top of your search engine. The title includes punctuation that makes it difficult to maintain consistency, and then there’s the whole misinterpretation of our logo as MILF… MILF & A HALF (which I have to imagine is already in use).

Once we realized we were on the path toward a feature film, the title brainstorming began. We’re not the first hiking documentary (nor the first JMT hiking documentary), and many ideal titles were already in use. We temporarily settled with the words we so frequently uttered on the trail while brainstorming for a better option. Jason offered the following suggestions:

“Splendor In The Grass”
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Camp”
“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Marmots”
“Where In The World Is Zee?”
“Ginger 2: The Eclectic Boogaloo”
“Full Down Jacket”

Needless to say, the process proved difficult, and the longer we moved forward with our edit, the more we accepted that our temporary title captured the essence of our journey. Our story was as much about the human experience as it was about the beauty that surrounded us. After the film was released, we received a number of messages from fellow hikers expressing their own familiarity with the term, but none more validating than a Kickstarter backer who wrote:

Muir Project,

The first real “hiking trip” I took was with a friend on a section of the Appalachian Trail at a time when I was around 250 pounds. We decided to do the trip in November, and while we were on the trail in NC the weather was cold rain and fog. Halfway through the 4-day hike we ran out of water and quickly realized we had, for some odd reason, left our water filter at home. Being November, no one was on the trail, so we made a executive decision to find a side trail and hike out. As we were hiking out I started becoming dehydrated and every time I asked my friend who was looking at the map, “how much further, dude?,” his response was “Mile. . . mile and a half.” That was what kept me going. I know how to read a map, but he did everything to keep me motivated. That first real trip may have been a shitty rain time, but I became so close to my friend and was able to appreciate the beauty no one else could see that I fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve lost 70 lbs and have become more active. I backed your project because that simple statement “mile… mile and a half” is what pushed me forward from that experience and I thought your film could provide that same thing for other people.

It did. Thank you, sirs and madams!

Anthony hit the nail on the head. It’s not a distance that can be measured in US customary units nor the metric system. It’s an answer of encouragement that applies to us on and off the trail. You’re almost there, and it’s worth every step of the way.




iTunes Anguilla,   iTunes Antigua & Barbuda,   iTunes Argentina,   iTunes Australia,   iTunes Austria,   iTunes Bahamas,   iTunes Belgium,   iTunes Belize,    iTunes Bermuda,   iTunes Bolivia  iTunes Canada,   iTunes Cayman Islands,   iTunes Chile,    iTunes Costa Rica,    iTunes Dominican Republic,   iTunes Ecuador,   iTunes El Salvador,   iTunes FranceiTunes Germany,  iTunes Grenada,   iTunes Guatemala,   iTunes Honduras,  iTunes Ireland,   iTunes Italy,  iTunes Japan,   iTunes Luxembourg,   iTunes Mexico,  iTunes Nicaragua,   iTunes Norway,   iTunes Panama, iTunes Paraguay,   iTunes Peru,   iTunes St. Kitts and Nevis,   iTunes Switzerland,   iTunes Trinidad and Tobago,   iTunes United Kingdom,   iTunes United States,   iTunes Venezuela,   iTunes Virgin Islands, British

MMAAH Screening Success Story: Plainville CT

3 Dec

It’s true.We have THE MOST awesome fans ever. Dozens have signed up for Tugg screenings of Mile… Mile & A Half to share the film and the experience with their community. And the response has been tremendous! Big thanks to all of our promoters and feel free to set up a screening through Tugg yourself! We’ll support you and you’ll have a great time.


Now, off to Plainville, CT to hear the audiences responses, thanks to promoter Kathleen Miller.


We had great attendance at last night’s showing for a very enthusiastic crowd!  It was an exhilarating experience sharing the film with 143 of my hiker friends & their friends & family.  I loved listening to the audience as they laughed, groaned, oohed & awed along with the film.  There was spontaneous, sustained applause at the conclusion and everyone left the theater smiling & chatting animatedly.  Here are a few quotes from attendees:
Michael: (this from someone who just thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail) “Last nights viewing of the documentary was totally AMAZING!! It sure did make me miss being on The Appalachian Trail and brought back memories but it surly has me focused on the PCT or just the JMT. I actually ordered the DVD right when I got home! It was a very inspiring, emotional and adventurous journey. Thank You for putting this together and letting us all enjoy!!”
Hisaaki: “Thanks for setting that up! I didn’t stick around after, but my girlfriend and friend and I all enjoyed it tremendously. The John Muir Trail made it nearly to the top of my list of places to go :)  The three of us were talking after the movie and we all agreed that it’s the best movie we’ve seen in the theater in a long time. ….it was amazingly more entertaining and awe-inspiring than most of the movies played in the theater nowadays. Awesome!”
Kathy: “Totally upbeat, fun, feel-good film about hiking the John Muir Trail. It pulls you in as you share the trials, tribulations, challenges, jokes, joy and exhilaration of the hikers. Nice to share it with an appreciative audience. Now….who wants to do the JMT with me?”
Sue: “What a fun, inspiring movie set in an awesome location! My idea of roughing it is staying at a Marriot without a cocktail lounge, but after watching this movie even I could be convinced to spend a couple of nights on the trail :).”
Sara: “Great movie; so glad I got to see it on a HUGE screen around hundreds of happy hikers like myself, thanks to those who arranged it!”
Tom: “This movie was awesome! I can’t imagine in real time having views much more incredible than those we saw!”
John: “A very enjoyable movie, with great scenery and an entertaining group of hikers taking on the challenge of the John Muir Trail. It was obvious the whole audience enjoyed it, which made the theatre screening a good experience for all.”
Carol Ann: “Incredible. I want to pack the John Muir Trail too.”


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Thank You!

28 Nov


As we head into the holiday season, we want thank each and everyone of you.  The response we’ve received for MILE… MILE & A HALF has been overwhelming.  We’re grateful for all the personal messages we’ve received and for the written reviews on iTunes or IMDB like this one:
“Stunningly filmed, honestly told with relatable, funny and likable adventurers, this is so much more than a beautiful look at nature but a look at the nature of the human spirit unleashed and refreshed by stepping outside the comfort of modern life and into the bliss of being of the earth, on the trail and in the zone.”
Unlike big budgeted films, we rely on the word of mouth to help get the message out, so THANK YOU.
This Friday, November 29th – Sunday, December 1st, we’re running a special promotion on our website.  50% of all net profits from The Muir Project’s online store will be donated to the National Park Foundation and the Yosemite Conservancy (that includes Special Edition BluRays & DVDs, T-Shirts, Canvas Prints, and even digital downloads of the film made directly from our site.)*
If you’re considering purchasing MILE… MILE & A HALF as a holiday gift for your adventurous loved one, this is a great weekend to do so.  And thank you for continuing to spread the word about our film.
*Third-party VOD platforms including but not limited to iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, are not included in this promotion.

1933 Mt Whitney Trip

19 Nov

We've heard so many wonderful stories from fans of Mile… Mile & A Half, recalling their own epic adventures in the Sierras, Yosemite and all around the world. The next guest blog was given to us from Dale Berkihiser with a look back at his adventure on Mt Whitney in 1933.
Thanks to Dale for sharing his story, and to Deborah for encouraging him to tell it.



Dale’s Mt. Whitney Experience

Mt. Whitney is the largest appearing peak toward the right of the picture. This is the east side of the Sierra Range and is almost vertical, compared the gentler slope of the west side, leading into Sequoia Nat’l Park.

You once seemed very interested when I showed you a snap- shot taken of me lying/resting at the top, by the little sign-in box. My buddy, Al, took my picture, and then I took his. This was on Labor Day week end, 1938. There were few people on the trail. This trailhead was at the end of the road above Lone Pine, CA.

We were just 21 years old and were not even hikers. We had very little knowledge of any equipment that might be required. We arrived at the end of the road in mid afternoon, set up a little camp, got comfortable lying on a blanket on the ground and looking up at cliffs soaring up thousands of feet above us on both sides. What a canyon! About 5:30 PM, a wise old Forest Ranger who had driven up to empty trash cans, asked us how we were and what our plans were. When he found out that we intended to hike up to Whitney the next day, he casually mentioned that most hikers who did that started their hike at a place called the “Meadows”, about 5 miles up the trail from we were.

By the time that we closed up our camp, tied sleeping bags and some boxes and junk to our backs, it was almost dark, so we carried along an old fashioned lantern too. At this point I want to remind you that we were in the middle of the Great Depression. Al was lucky to have a job at an automobile  parts counter, and I was just a year out of Los Angeles Junior College and was working at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica for 40 or 45 cents per hour and as I recall, gasoline was about 12 cents per gallon. I think that people find it hard to believe when I tell them that the population here then was only about 20 to 25 % of what it is now. We were not yet in the “Information Age”, it was much less, and it was more difficult to get. Also there wasn’t the plethora of goods/things that we now take for garneted. For example, there were hardly any stores catering to outdoor sports, amazing!

Back on the 5 mile section of the trail, the moon disappeared; we got lost off the trail once, but briefly, and finished the trek by lantern. We finally arrived at a more or less level area and began stumbling against people in their sleeping bags. I don’t remember what time of the night/morning it was but we found a clearing and crawled into our sleeping bags. We slept to about 8:00 AM, noticed that peoples were gone, except for their sleeping bags & other gear. We made our breakfast and hit the remaining 9 miles of trail with a minimum load on our backs. Probably it was cameras and a can of beans, I don’t remember about water. Above timberline we stopped at several little alpine ponds in solid rock. The portion of the trail below 12,000 feet is on the east side of the range and required about 1500 foot switchback climb.

Above that, at the 12,000 foot altitude, we came to a ridge where we looked down into Sequoia Nat’l Park and saw a beautiful view of several steep, & chocolate colored mountains, with snow in the chutes, and aqua colored lakes at the bottom.

I said to myself, “If I ever come up here again, this is as far as I want to go.”  I forget the name of this pretty spot.

The rest of the trail from this pretty spot, at about 12,000feet, to the top, “14,496.811 feet” was mostly along the ridge, the backbone of the range. We frequently had a view of Owens Valley to the east. This section of the trail was never steep but it was

very exhausting due to the altitude. We would walk a few yards, stop for breath and almost immediately be able to take on the next few yards.

We arrive at the top at 4:00PM and started back down at 4:15 PM. We had caught our breath saw the stone shelter shack, signed the book, and read the Forestry Service sign. I was impressed with surveyor’s ability to list the altitude carried out to 3 decimal places of the foot.


During our whole hike on the trail, we ran across very few people. It’s not like that today. I hear. We stayed thee only 15  minutes We had brought along water, a can of beans, and two cameras.

After the top we hiked down to the Meadows and stayed one more night there before hiking the remaining 5 miles back to our car, the next morning.

Young and unsophisticated amateurs we were, but we had a memorable trip.


Dale Berkihiser
















Top 11 Adventure Films

14 Nov

Mile… Mile & A Half was in the top 10 Documentaries on iTunes for a few weeks and even made it to #5. PLaying the numbers game, Jason thought he’d give a shot at picking his Top 11 Adventure Films (besides MMAAH of course.)


We are lucky that there have been so many brave talented people who have documented either their own adventure or the adventures of others. It was really hard for me to choose only 11, and I initially wanted to make it only 10, but I couldn’t in my right name scratch off any of these. Here goes in no particular oder.


1) South (1920) 


This is the original film produced by the Shackleton expedition with Frank Hurly’s amazing photography. There is one really hard scene to watch where they harpoon an Orca to save a baby seal, but other than that it’s neat to watch an over 90 year old adventure film. There’s is also of course the great “The Endurance” based on the wonderful erudite book by Caroline Alexander which documents that unbelievable tale of survival. Makes for a good double feature when it’s over a hundred degrees outside.


2) Kon Tiki (1950)


I’m really excited for the narrative version of Thor Heyerdahl’s amazing journey across the pacific. The trailers look amazing! I remember my imagination running wild after seeing the original as a kid. If you’re planning on seeing the new one, it’s worth watching the original first.


3) Everest (Imax 1998)


Believe me it wasn’t easy lugging our camera an audio gear along the JMT, but to lug film and bulky Imax cameras up Everest is so much more impressive. It’s visually stunning! There’s also the really emotional and tragic story of the events that happened that year which were detailed in John Krakauer’s “Into This Air.”


4) The Long Way Round  (2004)


You might have missed this mini-series if you blinked even if it did have Ewan McGregor in it. It documents his and his best friend Charley Boormans’ motorcycle journey around the world. I’m not much for motorcycling, but the camaraderie and hijinks make you feel like you’re on a journey with them. Reminds me a lot of what it’s like to do a long backpacking trip with friends. They did a follow up called the Long Way Down which was a lot of fun too.


5) Michael Palin’s Around The World In 80 Days (1989)


I’m such a huge Monty Python fan, and this along with his other travel shows that he’s done along the way are so much fun to watch. This was his first and you’d be surprised at how hard it is to get around the world quickly without flying on an airplane these days.


6) 180 Degrees South


This is a really great film made by the Malloys. They manage to capture everything from sailing to surfing to climbing with some nice messages about protecting the earth in there as well. Pretty cool to hear about what Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins are doing down in Patagonia too.


7) anything by Jaques-Yves Cousteau


If I’m being honest I’m way overdue for a Cousteau Retrospective, especially now that I’m a certified diver!


8) Alone In The Wilderness (2004)


I caught this randomly on PBS years ago, and had to buy the DVD. It’s about Dick Proenneke, who decided to move up to Alaska and live off the land by himself. This guy is so Bad Ass! Watching him build his cabin and create different things out of wood is fascinating. Lucky for us he filmed a lot of his experiences.


9) The Endless Summer (1966)


This is another venerable classic of the adventure film genre. Bruce Brown’s celebration of the great people and places that you encounter when traveling has inspired generations of adventure filmmakers. One of them is my friend Jason Baffa who made a great surf film in that tradition titled “Single Fin Yellow” which is worth checking out along with his other films. (Sorry to sneak so many extra things into a top 11 list, but it’s really hard to make decisions.)


10) Alby Mangels World Safari (1977)


Watching Alby and the crazy cast of beautiful women and interesting characters travel around the world is so much fun. Really fuels the wanderlust fire. I first saw these when they ran on the Travel Chanel years ago.


Riding Giants (2004)


I had a couple of Powell Peralta skateboards when I was a kid. Stacy Peralta has managed to make the move from world class skateboarder to world class filmmaker, and he’s made several great ones including “Dogtown and Z Boys,” but this is my favorite of his. The history of big wave surfing is so fascinating, and he really put together a great film about it.


What adventure helps you best transcend the sofa in your living room? Most of these are either streaming or on DVD, so I hope you take the time to watch any of the ones you’ve missed. Don’t hate me for leaving out your favorite, because I probably did enjoy it as a big fan of the adventure film medium. Let us know what your favorites are.