The year is 2015. In Los Angeles County, traffic jams
have reached an all-time high. As a response,
President Sinard declares Directive 69. The Adventure Archives team must escape from LA
and restore balance to the world by going to Yosemite. A land where many go,
and they never come back. It was early in the morning, and we had stayed up
long into the night packing for our latest adventure. Getting to where we were
going was no minor feat. My flight was at seven in the morning,
so I was at the airport bright and early. Or dark and early rather. It looks like Thomas. After a couple hours of waiting,
it was time to board the plane.
Look at this lovely view. For a trip as big as this,
even the journey can feel fun and exciting. As Robby made his way in to LA,
we had landed at our layover site… …and made our way to what
we thought was our gate. But just as it was time to board, we realized
we were at the wrong gate and missed our flight. We're not getting in to LA
until rush hour hits at 5:05pm. So… That's not good. Now, we just had to wait. Thankfully, we were still
getting in on the same day. In the meantime, I hopped on a bus and
rode from the airport to Thomas's apartment. Adventure Archives was
finally coming to Hollywood. And after a couple of hours,
we had landed as well. Hey! – How's it going, my brother?
– It's going well. Thomas and I rushed out to catch
Andrew and Bryan at the airport. On the way, Thomas talked about how much
he loved Hollywood and the glamorous lifestyle. …and you see all these people who are richer
than you with stars, and you're like, I don't care.
The coolest thing, is this.
This is a mountain! – Yeah, that is…
– We don't have those in Ohio. We're in the ninth circle of hell right now. Rebel base, we found 'em.
I repeat, we found 'em. They're alive! Oh man, what a travesty. After a few or so hiccups,
we have arrived here in LAX. Also known as the ninth circle of hell. Well, this is good. We're going to Yosemite.
Thomas, how are you feeling about everything? Oh, I'm just peachy-keen. So what the heck happened? When we were landing, the pilot
was announcing the connection gates… …and we were like okay. So we went over
there and we sat down and we were waiting… …and then I was like, uh, Austin?… Andrew decided to take that time to go poop. …we gotta go! I napped for half an hour, woke up, and it was like
3:40 and we were just taking off, and I was like, well… We still have a lot of traffic to go through yet. So how hungry are you guys? Um, I'm fine actually. Could you guys wait like two hours? Oh yeah, I can wait.
It's gonna take us two
hours to get out of the city. It's like, "How hungry are you guys?"
Can you wait, four hours?! Now that the other three had a taste of my daily commute, it was
time to take them to the land that billions more stars than Hollywood. The California hills were
beautiful in the setting sun. On the way, we decided to stop for some burgers. The problem is my metabolism,
although still very high, is catching up with me.
It was time to ride off into the sunset. And it's not a road trip until you sing some songs. One evening as the sun went down
and the jungle fire was burning… …down the track came a hobo hikin',
and he said "Boys, I'm not turning." I'm headed to a land that's far away,
beyond the crystal fountains. So come with me, and we'll go and
see the Big Rock Candy Mountains. Oh, sequoia! In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
you'll never change your socks… Let's start that over. …and *mumble*… Night fell as strip malls and car dealerships
gave way to conifer trees and dark skies. We had arrived at our first destination;
Summerdale Campsite. We filled out the registration forms
and headed in to the campgrounds. I'm still kind of upset about that.
I blame everyone else for not helping me. We shivered, either from the excitement or
brisk night air, as we unpacked our sleeping gear. It felt great to be beneath these
trees with fresh air filling our lungs.
Bryan helped me set up my brand-new tent.
It was going to be nice to finally give it a try tonight. Of course, with new gear, things
don't always go so smoothly on the first try. – Are you sure it's not supposed to go this way?
– It's supposed to go the other way. They set the tent up wrong. With that out of the way,
we prepared to go to sleep. Bryan and I would both be taking the tent. And Andrew and I would sleep out in the open. Won't you be my neighbor? It's freezing, dude. What's going on? We have to wake up. – Huh?
– We have to wake up.
It seems like it's always Thomas waking us up
at the buttcrack of dawn on camping trips. Five in the morning. That's usually
when my nocturnal self goes to sleep. Now, to be fair, we did have to
drive a bit to our next campsite. And if we didn't get there on time,
we might not be able to get a site. It's a first-come, first-serve sort of deal. It was time to fight the cold
and get our things packed up. We can hear cars going by already. If these guys
are stealing our campsite, there will be blood. Well, say goodbye to Summerdale Campsite,
and say hello to Yosemite. Oh, my… Oh my god. Holy bajeezus. We soon saw the first glimpses
of the majestic Yosemite Valley. We headed through the Yosemite Tunnel,
and readied ourselves for an incredible view. This incredible land, with its granite cliffs
that dwarve most skyscrapers… …its massive pine forests,
and its vibrant meadows… …was once home to to the indigenous people
who called it Ahwahnee, or "The Wide Mouth". But to most people, it's known by another name.
So this is where we are here. It was time to go over the plan. After a dayhike to
Nevada Falls, we would try and get a spot at Camp 4 tonight… …and depart the following day
to the Yosemite Falls Trail. We would hike the steep three miles, gaining 2,000
feet in elevation to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls. There, we would need to try
and find a campsite for the night. The next day, we'd leave most of our
gear behind and hike to North Dome. Then, we would return to the campsite for one final night in Yosemite
before making our way down to the valley floor the next morning.
We arrived at Camp 4 about an hour and
a half before the ranger station opened. There was already a line of about 40 people, and we
were becoming worried that we might not get a spot. The 96 available spots quickly fill up,
so getting here early is crucial. We chatted and played some games while
we waited to see if we were going to be lucky. The ranger showed up and gave us our number.
But there was still more waiting. We watched some steller's jays
flying around to pass the time. Luckily, our early arrival paid off, and after getting our permit we
headed back to the car to get our things so we could set up camp. The campgrounds were already full of people
eating breakfast, doing yoga, and lying in hammocks. It was a lively little village. After setting up camp, we were headed on a dayhike.
But first, we needed a little bit of coffee to really get us going.
We would brew the coffee on
Thomas's new portable camping stove. Using these filters to make coffee while camping
is a little bit finicky, but it worked out well enough. After pouring the coffee out,
I added some nice, grassfed butter. This one is so yellow it
looks like a chicken broth. Who wants to start? I'll try the black coffee. Yeah, Andrew, you start that. Cheers, yeah. That is really good. It is kind of
like coffee broth or something. Yeah, I mean it tastes a little more watered
down than you would expect, but I mean…
– Well, try this one. Cause that one's
not watered down, it's buttered up.
– That has a good aftertaste. This is also really good coffee.
It's like unbelievably expensive. – That is really good.
– It's actually, the butter is a lot less noticeable
than I expected considering how yellow it was. Mhmm… When you tell people I put butter
in my coffee, they're like, what? It tastes just like cream.
I mean it's almost cream. Yeah, cream is essentially butter. That's great. Chris. Carolyn. We killed a bear. And we ate it. After talking with some of our neighbors,
we headed to the car and got ready for the dayhike. Let's make it last. But before that, we had to get our parking permit
at the visitor's center for the backpacking tomorrow. – What is this?
– I don't know.
And while we were there,
I picked up a little book. Tree identifier. We were finally on our way to the trailhead. We walked from our car to the trailhead
and spotted a weird growth on a tree. I wasn't sure if it was a mushroom or
just some sort of foam sprayed on the tree. I wasn't sure if there was a better way. Walking around with nothing is really nice. – It's good to have an extra person.
– Yeah. Why am I carrying anything? Huh? Right now, we're on the Happy Isles Trail.
Are we headed to the Happy Isles? – Cause I like the sound of that.
– Uh, no we're…
We're heading to the Misty Trail which
is going to take us up Vernal Falls. And then, if we choose to do so
we can make it up to Nevada Falls. Then we'll take the John Muir Trail back down. Sweet. It's a good smell out here. It was a bit of a long hike to the actual trailhead since the
area was packed full of cars, and we had to park a bit away. Nonetheless, there was a lot of beautiful
scenery before we even got to the trail. Rushing rivers below and
towering granite cliffs above. Are you not sure, or you just mean… I'm not sure if that's the… The first part of the trail was paved
so many people could access it. A bit different than what we're used to. We made it to the trail and from there we could
see Upper Yosemite Falls from across the valley.
That would be tomorrow's destination. Seeing the falls and all the other granite cliffs was a bit intimidating,
especially considering we had to hike to the top tomorrow. The scenery was fantastic, but this
first part of the trail was really crowded. You can't really blame anyone
for wanting to be out here though. To be honest, it felt sort of like being at an amusement park,
which in spite of the name, is not a very amusing feeling. We came to a river and enjoyed the cool, misty breeze
and spotted Vernal Falls, which is where we were headed today. And Andrew spotted a tree, as he is wont to do. Okay, I don't know exactly what this is, I'm thinking
it might be California Bay, but who the heck knows… But if you… Let me pick a small leaf here. It has like a really fragrant smell.
you give it a sniff and tell me what you think of it. Whoa, that is super strong! – Did you smell this yet? Did you smell this yet?
– Yeah, it's really good. Oh my gosh, that smells, like, delicious. I need to put this under my armpits. I wasn't sure at the time, but I can confidently
say now that this was a California Bay laurel tree. The bay leaves can be used for cooking, but
are much more potent than ordinary bay leaves. It might leave your meal
tasting like a cough drop.
We continued hiking, and were happy to see that the crowds were thinning out a bit. We arrived at a trail intersection. The famous John Muir Trail. One day we'll hike the whole thing. But for now we kept on the Mist Trail and headed to Vernal Falls. The trail started to narrow down and a set of steep stairs drew us closer to the top of the falls. With every gain in elevation, the view seemed to become even more incredible. With all of the huge boulders and the majestic waterfall it was easier to forget about the crowds around us and just enjoy the beauty of this place.
The air carried a cool summer breeze around us as we listened to the water crashing against the rocks below. We started to grasp just how big the landscape around us was. This was a place unlike anything we've seen in the east. As we climbed up the steep trail and took in the mountain air, we came to the realization. We were here. We had made it to Yosemite. As John Muir said, we were in the mountains. And the mountains were in us. This squirrel's just lookin' at me. It's like it's trying to sell me a watch or something.
You wanna sell me a watch? At the top of the falls, we took the opportunity to look at just how far below the trail we came from was. It was pretty astounding. Last time I was here, three people had literally just died… …after I hiked this trail because they hopped over the railing and swam into the pools that fed into the waterfall. Because these cliff sides are made of granite, it actually has like compressed oxygen in it. So when it hits the ground, like the rock, when it breaks, it almost explodes. – Wow.
– Really? It's funny because these cliffs, they're granite, you think they're just impermeable… …you think they're constant, immortal…
and they're constantly changing in reality. Yeah, it's like a time frame, right? What scale you're looking at. Well, you know, you look at the rocks, like these big boulders or even like these small little pebbles. And you ask, "How did they get there?" You know, and where are they going? And that's something John Muir asked he was out hiking in these woods.
– John Muir.
– John Muir. – Let's get some lunch.
– Alright. Isn't it funny how much of life is just not trying to bump into other things? Not getting hit by a rock. Not getting in the way of other hikers. You know, sometimes I have the sense that like am I not fully grasping the experience if I don't like walk out right to the edge and stare down? I also think part of respecting nature is just understanding that it can kill you. I don't think it makes anyone less of a man to acknowledge that and to be smart about it. Knowing your strengths and knowing your weaknesses, that's the surest sign of like a mature person. It's like that song… You've got to know when to fold. Well I don't know many plants out here, but I think between the two of us we can at least identify something. I think so… Oh! There it is. Yeah, up there. Yeah, it's got this red bark. Yeah, that's how you can tell.
Okay. You know, I think the flowers on these are edible. You know if the berries are edible? I don't know if they are. I guess that's a job for the narrator. I did hear that you can take the leaves from this and it could be made for medicinal use. Whatever those medicinal uses are, I don't know. But the cool thing is… …was how the bark is like red and white. It's super bright white from like the dead branches and then the red is just so firm and smooth. Feel that. Feel how smooth that is. – Oh wow.
– Yeah. Manzanita berries can be crushed into a dry, coarse meal. The leaves can treat rashes and be made into a tea for rheumatism and headaches. Yeah, there's a lot of rocks to break our fall.
After that bit of rest, we continued along the trail so we could take a different way back. Now that we'd gotten past the crowds, it was just the four of us and mother nature. One thing I've noticed is that it's getting quieter. When you're standing next to waterfalls for hours, you kinda start drowning out all the white noise. But actually the first thing we noticed when we got in last night was how quiet it was. During the hike, we frequently stopped to take in the astonishing view. It was incredible to see just how high above Vernal Falls we had already gotten.
The sun shone from behind a haze of clouds, creating a sort of ethereal atmosphere to accompany our newfound solitude. We talked and rested a bit before heading back down to the John Muir Trail. The sun was just starting to set casting the hard, rocky cliffs in a soft, hazy light. We hiked past a few delicate scartlet penstemon flowers as the sun slid behind the cliffs. Welp, Thomas, it's been a good trip with you. It's too bad we're flying out tomorrow. I have nothing to say. Don't step on any rattlesnakes.
I have nothing to say. Don't step on any rattlesnakes. Oh yeah, by the way we'll leave the cameras here. You'll have to film the rest of it yourself. Go ahead and ship them back to us when you're done. What should I do with the food? Just dangle it off your bag with some strings.
Make sure you put it in your sleeping bag to keep it warm. Okay, I'm packing out these poopy towels. I don't know what bear wiped his butt with them like in those toilet paper Cottonelle commercials. But, I'm altruistic enough to pack these out, but not enough to not catch it on film and get credit for it. He's using the asian way. He's using chopsticks to get them out. Folks, it's not so hard to use jagged rocks as toilet paper. I don't understand. Wow… Oh my god… What doth I witness with mine eyes? We arrived at the trailhead just as dusk fell, and headed back to the camp in the night.
Tonight, I was looking forward to cooking some showy milkweed pods that we had collected before we entered the park. Okay, look how sticky this latex is. Kind of reminds me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The most common milkweed here is called showy milkweed, which is a different species. But it looks very similar to common milkweed and both are edible. So I think we're going to boil these up. Have a good little appetizer. A big misconception is that you have to boil these a lot to eat them. Just boiling it once is fine, and some people can actually eat it raw.
But not everyone, some people get sick. To cook our food, we'd be using the gas stove and Bryan's wood stove. There wasn't a whole lot of wood around the area, but look hard enough and you'll find some small twigs perfect for this stove. After that, I decided to garnish Thomas's pasta with some spices that I had brought. Alright, we've got some black pepper, dried garlic, and various other seasonings. Give it a little extra Emeril Lagasse bam. And then it was time for the taste test. That's really good. I can smell it from here. What are your thoughts? I'm glad I know how to cook pasta. It was time for the main course. Andrew's alien pods were just about done. Okay, so milkweed is a wild plant that is edible. You can eat the shoots in the spring, the leaves later on, the flowers… And now is the season for these pods, these seed pods.
But you have to boil it first? Yeah and you want them before they split open and they're already hard inside. But inside they've got this thing called pre silk. Cause the seeds will be like fluffy so they can fly away. But in this stage, the pre silk sort of has like this cheesy texture, you can actually see it, like it almost looks like cheese. Oh yeah, it's almost like a mozzarella stick. Yeah. It's good. It is a lot like okra but not slimy like in terms of flavor.
Bottoms up. Tastes like a really chewy green bean. You can tell that it absorbs the water, so when you bite into it, it just bursts out. I could definitely eat this again if it was cooked with something. Mm, yeah it has a more fibrousy texture than okra. It's not slimy at all and it has kind of like that juicy green flavor that vegetables have. You know, green things, they all kind of taste the same. It has that same green flavor. If I die tomorrow because this isn't milkweed, I'm gonna kill you. How is it? Very watery. Not bad though. Texture is like it's a pod… …and then flavor is kind of greeney. You are… You are an absolute poet. – Would you buy it in a store?
– Um… Stop. Yes. I'm not sure I'd necessarily buy it in the store… I don't know the texture is pretty good though. The flavor's not the best, so I guess if you could supplement the flavor with something else…
…get that nice texture. I totally change my mind. Maybe I would buy it in the store. Last week when I was on top of Mt. Baldy to kind of motivate everyone I was going with I said… …if we can make it to the top of Baldy, I will cook some mash potatoes.
Last week when I was on top of Mt. Baldy to kind of motivate everyone I was going with I said… …if we can make it to the top of Baldy, I will cook some mash potatoes. And so I made it to the top, I pulled that stove out and I added water…
…started boiling it and then I added the mash potato spuds, and they were some of the most delicious mashed potatoes I've ever had. On top of the tallest mountain in Los Angeles county. Just an explosion of flavor. The aroma! The onions, give it a nice texture… The seasoning… Oh yeah. Well done, Thomas, well done. Now, as good as this is… It doesn't match the time Andrew and I went hiking in Hocking Hills. Oh man. Because Andrew's an idiot… I don't think you need to preface…
What?! You only brought one bottle of water, remember? Yeah, I don't remember you bringing any. – That was my bottle!
– Oh, okay. You didn't bring any. You were like, oh, I'm fine, I'm fine. Yeah, we were sharing that bottle of water between the two of us. And before we had left, Mrs. Lin… She gave us a whole thermos of ice water. We begrudgingly took it. I was like, okay, thanks, Andrew's mom. By the time we got back to the car… Like I was literally having stomach pains cause of the dehydration. And I opened that thing up, and I… …sucked on it like a sowing pig or whatever. Immediately after that, my stomach pain went away completely. Man, that was good. You should not be that thirsty ever. See, my motto is always be unprepared. With full bellies, we drifted off to sleep. It was a glorious new day in Yosemite Valley and Robby was sure to get the coffee flowing as soon as possible. Sorry. Hey, it's working. Really good idea.
What do you got there, Andrew? Just some pancakes that our campsite neighbors shared with us very graciously. What are you guys' names anyway? Sheridan, Owen, and I'm Chris. This is the Yosemite Trail… After breakfast, Thomas went over the backpacking plan with us. This whole trail right here up to the top of the falls is 3.2 miles. So last night, we're lying on the ground in our sleeping bags and I feel like a few drops on my face and I'm like hmm… But it's not bad, and I'm like, Robby's not waking up, so… So I literally woke up as soon as Andrew goes uh-oh…
And then I feel a splash of water on my face and I'm like, oh god… We were like, okay, we gotta set the tarp up. But we were like, we gotta film it! Bryan was asleep, so eventually I just busted open the thing. I was like, "Film this!" And then we're all yelling and Thomas is like shooshing me, he's like shoosh. I'm like, "Thomas, if you shoosh me one more time, I'm killing you!" Now we are in a camp full of like a hundred other people. – No, it was justified, but nonetheless I was gonna kill you.
But we set up the tarp in a diamond pattern. We tied it to the tripod and then we just draped the rest of it over us. I slept well. – Me too.
– Cheers to that! On the way out, we bumped into some campground neighbors that had been talking to us before. They introduced us to their adventurous aunt who had climbed half dome just the other day. Then, Thomas and Andrew headed off to park the car in the designated spot…
…while Robby and I waited at the trailhead near the campsite. We also spotted a lurking coyote, which Thomas and Andrew had also seen later. No, he's look at like something. He's not looking at us. While they made their way back, we tested the radios to see if we could contact them. Repeat. – Someone else is talking.
– Yeah, there's another person. I don't think we're in this conversation. Yeah, that was somebody with an Indian accent. What are you guys eating? Apparently they're talking about taco sauce. Oh yeah, that's like a ghost story almost. Like you turn your radio on at night and it's like "Help me…" God yeah, what if we had our radio on and we just heard… Need help… Help me… You're just like… Chuck it over there. We watched as shuttle after shuttle passed by. And finally we saw the one Andrew and Thomas were on.
With the group reunited, it was time to head out on our adventure. Three miles of nonstop, steep uphill. This was gonna be one hell of a hike. And a hike as big as this is bound to have a lot of sitting and resting. These mountaintops… They're brutal, but every time you rest it really does rejuvenate you. Brutal but beautiful. – Hi.
– Hello. How you doing? Hi. But that's kind of like the definition of when you're outdoors. Like, sometimes we get lucky on our trips and we get like super good weather… Along the trail we talked to a few passerby. Including someone who worked for a creature shop media company… …which peaked our interests a bit. The hiked just seemed to go on and on. And our destination no closer. But damned if it didn't have some amazing views. Thomas just said we gotta hike more than 3.2 miles. You know what I said to that? I said too easy, son. And he actually is my son so that was literal, it wasn't metaphorical.
What? I'm your son? The trail was flattening out, but yup, the top of that waterfall is where we still had to go. Alright, down on the ground here is some sort of indian paint brush plant. I don't know the exact species, but you can eat these red parts that are sticking up. You don't want to eat the green ones. I think they have mild toxins or something. It's kinda sandy, but other than that it's kind of like lettuce in terms of how it tastes and terms of the texture. Not bad. The roots and green part of the plant can absorb a toxin called selenium.
There's some elderberries over here. These are both a medicinal and edible plant. I'm just gonna try not to die. And there's actually some of these coming into ripeness. Usually they should be black though. Oh… Squirted some juice on myself. Kinda tart and sweet. I don't think they're fully ripe yet, so I'm not gonna eat many of them. When they're still flowers you can fry those and a lot of people like to eat that. You can use the leaves and flowers as a medicinal tea for like fever and things like that. Good stuff. Mmm, what are those one… Oh, nerds. They taste like nerds. Those candies with the little… They look like nerds, taste like nerds too. Okay, let's try these. – Tastes like burning.
– They're sour and they're actually a little crunchy too. It's like you're eating nerds. Mmm, nature's candy! Elderberry tea is often used to treat the flu. It's just one of the many wonders found in this fair and bright land.
In the big rock candy mountain,
there's a land that's fair and bright. Where the handouts grow on bushes,
and you sleep out every night. Where the box cars all are empty,
and the sun shines every day. All the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees, where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings, on the big rock candy mountain. Is it mountain or mountains? With how tiring this hike was, our campsite was starting to look even more unattainable than the big rock candy mountains.
While the rivers might not flow with whiskey and lemonade, we're pretty sure the scenery measures up. We gotta be halfway there, right? Uh, he said… yeah. Switchback after switchback, we continued gaining elevation. And the incredible view helped to restore our energy whenever we stopped to rest. Like it doesn't matter where the sun is, it looks beautiful because there's always something like casting shadows. We climbed quite a bit now, and our goal of making it to the top of the falls actually seemed attainable. …and you could just crawl up the mountain. Not when you're carrying that tripod though. The path keeps going and going, and we keep getting higher and higher. And don't think I've ever actually been up this high anywhere before. Thomas is up there somewhere, he's like a pack mule. Bryan and Andrew are down there. They're like a sled dog. And I'm like a coyote… I don't know what that means.
This… is a helluva hike. We put this on a platter just for you. You can watch it from your bed side, which I will be doing. Dude, altitude really… Something about altitude definitely just… Like I can't finish my sentences right now. – Brain damage…
– Wow, these rocks are like some sort of mythical castle or something. – Wow.
– Some like Indonesian temple. Yeah, it looks like a painting. I mean that's such a like cliche thing to say, but it like literally looks like somebody did brush strokes on there. Not long now. Thomas had gunned it to the top quicker than all of us somehow. Probably because he was more acclimated to living in those LA mountains. I think I made it to kind of the top, not really the top before the rest of the party came.
And so I'm just kind of chilling here. Ran into a few people. They seemed pretty cool and they got another heck of a trip down cause we just had a heck of a trip up. The last stretch of trail was surrounded by gargantuan, lichen covered trees that looked like something out of prehistory. Wow, look at these trees! They're glowing like this neon, mossy green.
Bryan's dead. He got eaten by a bear. Well, we'll wait for him up here. Oh, I think we've earned a nice, long rest. – There's point two miles after this.
– Oh my god. I'm loving this moment right now. – Are there people still up there?
– Yeah, there's a part of like six coming down. Wow, this feels good man. We haven't really eaten dinner yet, have we? – No, we haven't.
– We should eat it. Bryan had made it to the top while we rested. Not long now. It's always hard to convey through video, but this was by far the hardest hiking we had ever done. Thank god for this ability to be flatfooted now. My feet don't know what it's like to walk straight this fast without a little angle like that. I think we're about to see something amazing. Are my eyes seeing what my eyes are seeing right now? Oh my god. Yo, words are failing me right now. – Are you guys seeing this?
– I'm seeing it. It's amazing. Oh my god. Oh my god.
Oh god. Oh god. Holy jesus. Holy crap. Oh my god. Oh my god. Unbelievable. Woo! Before heading to our campsite we wanted to check out the Yosemite Falls overlook. There is a fat squirrel sitting on the edge enjoying the view. Wow, that's so cool. Wow, even squirrels have good taste. Hey, Mr. Squirrel. There was a precarious footpath leading down to a ledge that overlooked the falls. This is not for the faint of heart. Holy cow. How's it down there, Thomas? Dude, I can't stop laughing. This is crazy. We looked out at the valley below us and at the granite cliffs across the valley floor… …which we were now level with. It felt like we had just tamed a wild beast. We were ready to get to our campsite and relax. We hiked across the river that fed into the falls. It seemed deceivingly placid from up here. – We hiked off trail in search of a campsite.
– This is perfect! Robby and Andrew searched from above while I looked around a flat, rocky area below.
– Take… ten more steps, ten more steps.
– You see all those benches? Right there. We had spotted a perfect campsite, so we climbed down to get tonight's camp set up. And on the way, Thomas pointed something out. I'm not familiar at all with western mushrooms. I'm pretty sure this is some sort of bolete. Thomas actually pointed it out. Look how huge this is though. Oh my god, look at that. It smells great.
I don't think it's a king bolete cause it seems a little too yellow to be a porcini. You can see there's a lot of maggots in here. And actually that's the case with boletes, especially king bolete is… …we're not the only ones who find it delicious, you know. Even if it's fresh by morning, by evening it could be filled with maggots. You can see where some maggots have crawled through here. You know what I'm thinking though. Maggots are protein… You know, on second thought though, if maggots are eating a poisonous mushroom… …maybe it's not the best idea. I'm actually… I have zero fear of eating the maggots themselves, but now that I think about it I don't want to risk this.
This very well could have been an edible species, but it was rotting and it's always good to err on the side of caution. After all, there are two types of mushroom hunters; bold ones and ones that are still alive. I started setting up my hammock using flat pieces of wood to distribute the pressure evenly and protect the tree. The beautiful evening was accompanied by cooling temperatures. So Andrew and I collected firewood for the night. Up here, there were plenty of dried out dead shrubs that would make for perfect kindling. And for tinder, some dead grass would work fine. We all sat around getting everything ready to make dinner.
You remember how you asked me what I wanted to eat most? And I said I wanted a southwestern mayonnaise panini. Well, it's not a panini, but it is a southwestern style mesa with beef. Oh man! Not as cool as Andrew's, you know, bushcraft meals. But I don't have Andrew's bushcraft ability. And I do have a full time job, so I can pay for this. Zing! We may have had fancy stoves to cook with, but we still needed a fire to keep warm. I believe in you. I believe in you. – Is that it?
– Yup. You know I may not have a full time job, but at least I don't need to flick a switch for fire. Oh my god, this is beautiful. Dude, look at this! Zero to sixty in like five seconds. There aren't many things that can surpass an evening spent with friends in Yosemite. This is great, man. Like in the Truman Show… That's the shot. Guys, we've made it. Each camping trip we take, and we get to a campsite, I'm like…
You can't top this. There's no way this could be better! And then we go on another trip, and it's just like… …what were we thinking on that last one! The memories you have from each place are like incomparable. Like, you can't compare them. They're just… They're their own thing, and you're like I like cause of this and I like this cause of that. It's like trying to choose your favorite cereal. It's so awesome to finally be, like all four of us, back again… The original conception of the show, it was all four of us. But Thomas moved to LA and it's way too hard to do. This is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. God, how long have… You were just telling us how long we've been planning this… Yeah, we planned it like immediately after.
– We went to the Tetons, right?
– Yellowstone. That was back in 2009. Now I want to give a shoutout to my uncle cause he is the one that's kind of gotten me hooked on the national parks to begin with. We went back in 2011 right after I graduated high school. That's funny my brother is the one who initially got us into camping. He took me, Andrew, and Bryan to Hocking Hills the year I graduated from college. And that was like the start of our like desire to go outside. This is great though, like… I'm pretty sure this is the definition of heaven right here.
Like I said before, I got this Alpine Air food from REI. Ten minutes have passed, so I'm gonna get ready to eat this. It's looking real good. If you're cooking last night was any indication, it's gonna taste really good. Well, thank you! Most of the credit goes to the company that packaged the food. Smell that, smell that. – Those mashed potatoes were delicious but they had about 150 ingredients in them.
– Oh wow, that's great.
Oh my god. I see corn… and other stuff barely. It's awful. Just trust me, it's awful. You don't want any. – You don't want any. You don't want any!
– I gotta see how bad it is. I gotta see how bad it is! Now he's saying it's so bad I gotta try it. Holy crap, that is really good. – It's just such a burst…
– Oh my god. Mmm… Mmm… Oh! Yo, it's got that spicy kick in it. Oh man! Thomas, you lucky duck. As delicious as that was, Thomas forgot to take out the desiccation packet.
So we decided to just set that aside. So I've got here some dried chanterelle mushrooms that my dad actually picked. Shoutout to him. So I'm gonna put some of these in here for my ramen I'm gonna eat tonight. So I've also got some spinach here that I cooked and dehydrated. This small bag is actually two big bunches of cooked spinach. And the water should boil up. I'll put the ramen in there. It's gonna be delicious. We spent the rest of the night around the fire waiting for the stars to come out. It's times like these that you realize life is really meant to be more than what we've been made to believe. There's so much more to it than just school and work and careers. There's more to it than just looking out for our own selves. When we see the milky way, we realize just how small some of the things we worry about on a day to day basis are. We as a species are meant to do more than just obsess over our own prestige and money.
You can pay a couple hundred bucks to stay in a five star resort, but you can't put a price tag on a 5,000 star resort. We arose at dawn. It was a chilly morning, so we decided to get the day started with a warm fire and some hot coffee. Last night's embers were more than enough to get a good blaze going. While Robby tended to the fire, Andrew and I went to retrieve our food from the bear canisters. This rock looked way bigger at night. Bears have learned that they can roll these around and make 'em drop off cliffs and break 'em open. So you just want them somewhere where they won't be able to do that. And that is wear our bear bag was. Tied to the top of that. Warmth. This is the best. You know what's funny is that this is literally energy that came from the sun originally. What a roundabout way to get the energy.
The sun was up and the coffee was brewed. Time to drink up. – To a beautiful morning.
– Ting. Just down there near bridal veil falls, John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt went sleeping below the stars. I don't know, Herbert Hoover, I'm not a fan of him personally, but… …he did have a good quote about how all men are equal before fish. When you're fishing and out in nature, everyone's equal. Although it was kind of strange because during the depression he kind of like cut off any support to people who needed it.
You know, I'm so on board with self-reliance, but it's not implemented in the right way. Because you can't just have self-reliance. Somebody has to teach you self-reliance. If you have no money, no social status, and no skills, how are you supposed to do that? It's never been about being my own man and to hell with everyone else. It's been more about being so self-reliant that I can give help to others. That to a tee.
I'm gonna take a bite because Andrew just told me to. After coffee, I wanted Thomas to try a surprise asian treat; sweet sesame powder. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm! It's like, you can definitely taste the sesame in there. It's sweet… I don't want to say chocolaty. It's like chocolate and caramel mixed together. Almost evaporates as soon as it hits your tongue.
Oh, that's good though. It's kind of a nice asian alternative to oatmeal. Thomas, you up to trying this again? Oh, absolutely. The powder I had before looked a lot more appealing than this. It's just this kind of brown goo. Let's try it out. It's not as sweet as the powder. I prefer the powder. I think I prefer the powder too, but I feel like this needs to be mixed with something. Trying to figure out if there's coffee in here or not. – There is a little bit.
– Okay. Mmm… Tis a good morning. It's a beautiful view. All that coffee and sesame has got the movement going. And it wouldn't be an episode of Adventure Archives if we didn't talk about toilet paper. And on today's toilet paper arsenal, emphasis on the arse, we got sticks.
I know what you're thinking, "Why would I ever use sticks as toilet paper?" But they actually work really well. At least they work well enough to make you think they work well. And you can choose the barkless or the barked. This one's got a nice rougher texture to get all the things out, but this one's more comfortable. How's it going over there? And while I did my business, Robby decided to waste some of our battery life to film himself. As I went down in the river to pray, studying about that good ole way.
And who should come? Duh duh duh duh… We filtered some water from a pristine pool nearby. And after that was done, Robby and I went for a quick swim. These are slick. Yeah. It's slick. There's nothing better than swimming outdoors on a sunny day. Ain't no Dolly Sods, but it's pretty dang cold. Let's do it! How was it? What a view, what a view. We headed out on the trail leading to North Dome.
On the way there, we decided to stop by the Yosemite Point overlook… …which was really just a small bit of railing on the precarious cliff face. And we decided to dangle the tripod over the edge to show just how sheer an edge there was. No, no, no, no, no. What are you doing? What do you mean what am I doing? Okay… Please spread the word because we just got that shot. And it was really terrifying. Today's hike was relatively easy. But I think we were still a little exhausted from yesterday's climb. So we frequently stopped and rested just to enjoy the morning. The trail shortly leveled out and led into a beautiful forest with massive trees. Something about these forests is so magical and beautiful. You feel dwarfed by the towering canopy above. But the forest floor itself is open and expansive, so there's no feeling of claustrophobia. Something else about the forest floor are the wonderful plants growing out from the pine needles. One more familiar plant that I see is this yarrow. And it's got these beautiful white flowers and super lacy, soft leaves. Which is the main way to identify it.
If you're afraid of bugs, I've heard that you can use this to sort of make sure bugs don't crawl into your shelter. It sort of deters them. I don't know how effective that actually is, but it's worth knowing. I have no idea what this is. It looks really alien and bizarre. But it kind of reminds me of monotropa uniflora, also known as indian pipe or ghost plant. So I'm guessing this is some sort of parasitic plant. I guess we'll let the narrator clue us in. These parasitic pine drops are in the same family as the aforementioned flower. The cool thing is that parasitic plants like this use fungal mycelium to leach nutrients and energy from nearby trees. Everything in nature really is connected to everything else. Along the way I also spotted some sort of russela and a clump of some sort of pholiota mushrooms. Bryan and I lagged behind. We were pretty tired. We soon reached a junction, and we were relieved to find we weren't too far from North Dome.
Alright, we have here a balsam for… or at least some sort of analogous species with all these blisters full of balsam oil. This oil can be used to start a fire, but it can also be put on wounds and things like that as a medicinal sort of ointment. As it turns out, this was a young white fir tree, but it has oily blisters all the same. Oh, and it's actually pronounced balsam. Looks like we're coming up on the dome. Oh! I was wondering what you guys were screaming about. Finally, we had made it. Well, actually North Dome was still a half mile away. We are way tired, but you're hiking to North Dome? Hiking to North Dome. I said I'd do it and I'm gonna do it. When I planned this trip, I said that this is the place that I wanted to go, and by god, I'm gonna do it. Okay, go. Bon voyage! Whatever rock face we were standing on, it was northy and domey enough for us.
We were gonna nap under this lone pine tree. So I'm hiking North Dome right now… And over there… …is where Robby, Bryan, and Andrew should be. And then over here is Half Dome. And above me you can see quite a ways that I gotta go up. But I'm gonna do it cause I can. So let's see what I can do. So up there you can see Andrew, Robby, and Bryan. They probably want me to change the lens right now, but I don't know if I'm gonna do that or not. Thomas had said he was gonna signal us with a mirror, and I tried signaling him with my cell phone, but it wasn't quite reflective enough. Yes.
Yup, he's signaling. He's moving out. Thomas had made it to the top of the dome. Hey, as long as one of us four did it. Apparently it was even windier on top of North Dome. We enjoyed the scenery some more while we waited for Thomas to get back, and decided to cook some lunch. First I'm gonna put these chanterelles in the water to let them soak a bit. And then we're gonna have some nice mashed potatoey type of stuff. While we wait for those chanterelles to soak, we're gonna partake in some dried squid. It's a good asian alternative to beef jerky, and the other one being asian beef jerky which I think tastes better.
I think they both taste good. – Oh, I meant better than American jerky.
– Oh. I think the best way to describe it is it's like fishy jerky. It's got a great like, sweet and spicy taste to it. – You want some?
– No. It's kind of the flavor of like General Tso's. And I know you like that. To this I'm gonna add some of this dehydrated spinach, some of this dried onion, and this garlic seasoning. Notably missing… salt. Once that gets cooking, we'll add the mashed potatoes and thicken that up. And we'll have some sort of uh… We'll have a thing. Just as we finished cooking, Thomas had made his way back. I finished what we started. Made it to North Dome. Stir that in some more. Mashed potatoes with chanterelles and spinach and seasoning. Let's give it a go. Maybe could use more salt, but I like it.
There's so many smells I smell right now. Not as flavorful as you'd hope. Put more onions. Yup. Not as flavorful as you'd hope. It smells good, but does it taste good? It's pretty good. I think I got a mouth full of the fresh spice, so my mouth is burning. Speaking of burning, we saw a helicopter rushing to stop a wildfire in the distance. Smoky Bear would be proud. And with that, we made our way back to the campsite. You can hear the helicopter right in the distance there. It's really ominous sounding because you usually don't hear anything like that in the forest. It's like someone's trying to come and get you. Yeah, it sounds like we're prison escapees or something. Looking for us… Somewhere up there. We keep hearing it… oh. Along the way we collected some dry firewood to take back for the evening's fire. Tonight, I wanted Robby to try making a fire using some cedar bark and lichen that we gathered from a fallen branch.
We are really close right now, and it feels so good to be back. What a relief. We're just kinda hoping that nobody's taken our campsite. Yeah, or anything at our campsite. If you're out here and you're stealing something… …you're only robbing yourself. Ooh, that was really clever. I thought of that on the fly. Because you should be paying attention to the views, not some stupid… – …whatever. Yeah.
– Material possession. I don't even have any good crap in my bag, but if I did, even still… Unless you're starving and you need food, then I understand it. Yeah, then please, feel free to have my food. We'll eat it together. I actually didn't realize we were this close. No, we are here. And that fire pit is waiting for you. Oh yeah. Good thing you didn't kill yourself just now. As we are wont to do. First order of business is to fluff this birch bark up. Is this birch bark? Cedar bark.
– Any particular technique to this?
– Yup. I'm giving it a go and it's mostly just ending up on my pants. So like when you've got a bundle like this, you can go through and peel them apart and then do that again, and then go back and peel some more apart. We went to a bachelor party once… And it was at a cabin, and in the off time… …we found Andrew with a pile of tulip poplar just going like this. There was one time where I picked one out of the fire pit while it was still burning, and uh… I was a bit tipsy. But you know, it's a very therapeutic act actually. For me at least. Oh god… Five minutes till my nipples! Oh god! I think I'm gonna start with the cedar bark just because it looks like it's more fluffed up. I tried to fluff this up, but it seems like it mostly just got on my hands, so…
I don't know, what do you think, Thomas? I want to see the green thing light up. Well, we're gonna try the bark first. What you should do is just go at it. Constantly. Oh, really hard? Longer strokes, longer strokes. It's as if you're peeling a carrot. Tell you what, why don't you fluff that some more. I think it needs more fluffing. I've actually had a hard time with cedar bark in the past, so I can't fault Robby for having trouble with it. Try tilting the scraper a little forward. Oh, there it goes. Ch-ch-choo. Just really fast.
Yeah, let me fluff this some more. – Want me to give it a go?
– Yeah. It's possible the tinder is just not that great. Have you used this before? You know, I've used some sort of cedar bark before and I've always heard it's good, but… I mean it looks really good, but I don't know. Let me try this one more time. There you go. Okay. – Sorry you didn't get to do it.
– That's alright. I think that's part of what expertise is. Is knowing when something's going wrong and when something just you need to keep going, you know? Just now, you're like, "Hmm, it probably should be working." so you just keep going, but like for me I'm like… …oh yeah, it must not be good tinder or whatever. – This is what it's all about.
– You better believe it.
With the fire started, we enjoyed the night and reflected on life. You know, it's really a shame that not everybody can do this. I think that's one thing that appeals to me about going to national forests is a lot of them you can just go there. – Yeah.
– But even then, so many people don't have the time to do it. Some people, they work all the time because they have no choice. A lot of times we think of work and we think, wow, what a productive member of society.
You're contributing a lot. But if you think about it, like, is all of this labor that we're doing necessary, you know? Could our human creativity and labor be put to something more useful and more beautiful, you know? I think we romanticize work a little too much. The classic example is computers. Computers have been supposed to free up our lives and make our lives easier. But instead, it makes our lives even busier and we have more to do all the time. Because people expect things quicker now. I don't feel like enough of us ask what is the ultimate goal of like, us humans, right? If the ultimate goal is money, right, everybody's doing the right thing. But if the ultimate goal is to like work together towards something great or to fulfill each person's like, need to contribute and to have a purpose… …then we're failing at that really hard. Cause when you're in the wilderness, you start realizing that there's so much more to life than just work and money.
There's beauty and there's companionship and camaraderie and these things you can't put a price on. Right now, I have totally forgotten all the other things that I do every day in my life… …but as soon as I get back, it's just gonna be right back into that groove. At least nature shows you that it's a possibility to not be chained to those things… …and that they aren't the end all, be all of your life. That's the thing. It's in the wilderness where I feel truly free cause that's where you're free of all your bonds and all your chains. It was another brisk and early morning. I don't think anyone wanted to wake up, but we made ourselves take down the camp and pack up. And with that, we hiked out of our campsite to start our descent back to the valley floor. This was a trip that we've been wanting to make for six years. Ever since the last time all four of us went out west.
And a trip like this can take a lot of effort to plan. You have to make sure you can get enough time off of work, make reservations far in advance… …buy all of your tickets, pack everything up, and make sure you don't miss your flight. But sometimes, it becomes necessary to ask where one's priorities lie. Sometimes we have to take a step back, think about what really matters, and make sure we put it first. Sometimes you need a break away from the rat race and remember that you're a human being. It was really nice to get out of the office and go back into nature… …where bird chirps, not car horns, fill the morning air. And it was great to have the four of us reunited again reliving memories and making ones anew. But beyond our own personal lives, Yosemite reminds us to think about what we as a species need to prioritize. Whenever we feel pessimistic or cynical… …climbing a mountain or even just walking through the woods helps to remind us that beauty exist naturally in the universe.
How on earth did we climb up there? So often, we endlessly chase after prestige and success. But look up at the stars, watch the sun rise or observe a squirrel scampering about… …and you remember that those things ultimately don't matter that much. Almost there. Those two weasels are still up there. There's probably more switchbacks than we remember. – But this is the last section I think.
– Yup. Alright, I think we're really coming up on the end now. Bryan and Andrew are still up there. Thomas is probably already on his way to get the car. I'm hungry and tired. Oh, I love seeing those mountains so high. I made it! Bryan and Andrew are still struggling I think. This is the campsite. Oh my goodness. Psychologically this is very good. I just saw Thomas, he hasn't seen me yet. I'm gonna sneak up on him. Gotta go slow. He'll see me otherwise. Sneak up behind him on the trees. – There you are! Oh my god…
– How's it going? Three hours.
A little more. Three hours to get down the mountain. Good job. Maybe instead of trying to better things for ourselves, we need to better things for humanity as a whole. Imagine a world where everybody could achieve their fullest potential. Where people could create beautiful things, work together, and ensure everybody felt fulfilled. Yosemite could have become a theme park. The valley could have been a place full of casinos and restaurants. Billboards might have been hoisted up onto the cliffs.
But instead, we remembered what mattered. Sure, some mistakes were made. Indigenous people were forced out. Hetch Hetchy Valley was dammed. There will always be external forces that try to convince us that money, work, and deadlines… …are more important than friends, family, and community. But then, there's us; people. We can create a better world. One where families and communities spend time with each other. One where everybody; indigenous or immigrant, young and old, and everything in between… …can enjoy, respect, and protect places like Yosemite. Let's come together and think about what's important in our lives and in our world. If you've forgotten what those things are, take a step outdoors, look up at the sky, and take a deep breath of fresh air.
Nature will help you remember. So thank you so, so much for watching. Huge thank you to all of our Patreon supporters, but in particular… Hong Long and Sun-jan Huang. Each of them donated fifty dollars for this episode to come out. And one of the rewards for that is you get a shoutout in the episode. And Hong Long wanted to give a shoutout to Jacob in pack 168. Which I assume is a boyscout or something. Thanks, Jacob. Thanks, Hong.
You guys are the best. And also thank you to Sun-jan, that's actually my brother. He just had a baby, so congratulations on your expanding family. Once again, thank you so much. You all are awesome. Let's watch it again. Click, click. Click. No, it's click, click. Or if you're watching on your phone, click, click. Or watch it like four more times, share it with your grandmother. Thank you very much. We're at Alice's barbecue. Got water here. Food's still cooking… Ooh, there's peanuts. This is my first food in fourten, fifteen…
Twenty hours? I don't know how long. Hungry eyes. Or, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Oh wow, that's… Sorry? So, the rule of thumb is it takes 20 minutes before your body realizes how full you are. So I have to eat all of this in 20 minutes. This potato salad is for everyone, by the way. Do you realize how… …culminating this experience is right now? This is like the exact opposite of what we've been doing the past five days. Two thumbs up. I'm so full. What a fool I am. I'm gonna wear my shorts when we backpack because A. It'll be a lot easier to move my legs up and down. B… I got some super hero calves. In Yosemite… Yosemite Valley… 2015… Adventure Archives… Bit dot ly slash adventure archives… Adventure Archives! There's actually supposed to be dialogue here, but it got cut out on accident when we rendered. Basically they were re-enacting the scene from Mortal Kombat where someone challenges someone to Mortal Kombat.