Mile…Mile & A Half is an inspiring story about a team of artists who set out to hike the famous John Muir Trail and record their experience. They traveled 219 miles in 25 days with 50,000 feet of elevation change. The result is not only a documentary that beautifully reflects their transformation over those days, but a piece that will transform anyone who watches it. I don’t know how you can view this film and not be inspired to go out into the world and explore, meet new people, push your limits and embrace new experiences.
At the beginning of the film, before they set off on their adventure, one of the hiker’s fathers says, “He’s about to do something that I’ve dreamed about for many, many years. Hiking the John Muir has always been one of my desires that I never got around to. But he gets to do it.” He says this with pride, but you can also sense a tinge of regret. This was something I found most inspiring about the film. You don’t want to be that person that looks back in life wishing there were things you would’ve done. You want to be that person who is able to say I did it-or at least I tried it and failed, which some do in this film and that’s not a bad thing because there is just something so great about being able to say you weren’t afraid to try.
The film symbolizes life and many will relate to the experiences these hikers encounter. After climbing a huge mountain of snow, co-director Ric Serena states, “It’s amazing when you go up in the snow like that. All of a sudden your pack doesn’t weigh anything and your breathing is fine. It’s all about putting one foot very safely in front of the other…and that view behind us is unbelievable.” Nature offers some of the best metaphors for life and this is a great one. The packs they were wearing sometimes weighed up to 75 pounds. In life, the baggage that we carry can feel overwhelming at times. But if we just let go, focus on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping our eye on the goal, we’ll forget all about that baggage and when we get to where we’re going, that view behind us of all we’ve overcome and persevered will be unbelievable.
The film balances moments of humor, struggle, accomplishment and heartbreak. Watching still photographer Jen Serena reflect on moments about her daughter will rip your heart out. There’s also action as they are attacked by marmets, bees and two campers may or may not get killed over two coveted Snickers bars.
The film is brilliantly scored by local artists Opus Orange. The soundtrack gorgeously enhances the breathtaking videography and still photography. If this doesn’t motivate you to get off your ass and do some exploring this summer, I don’t know what will.
If you live in Los Angeles you can check this film out for free tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at the Adventure 16 store (11161 W. Pico Blvd.). If you don’t live in LA, or if you do and you just prefer to watch your movies from your couch at home, it is also available on Netflix.