Grayson Highlands 4K | Hiking and Camping with Wild Ponies in the Mountains of Virginia

Grayson Highlands 4K | Hiking and Camping with Wild Ponies in the Mountains of Virginia

[Andrew narrating] There’s no need for your gear to sit idly, waiting for an exotic trip across the seas [Andrew narrating] Sometimes, “exotic” is right in your backyard, and its wonders are yearning to be found [Adventure Archives theme song plays] [Andrew narrating] In the last weeks of winter, we headed south – driving through the evening and night until we arrived in Virginia [Bryan narrating] We crammed into a hotel room the night before a big adventure How’s it going?
[Robby] Haha good [Robby narrating] And tonight, we had the full crew, plus Nicole [Robby] So not only is Andrew sleeping on the cot, he GLADLY volunteered to sleep on the cot even before we told him that he had to sleep on the cot [Andrew] Yep [Robby] How is it? Good. This is what’s gonna happen if an intruder comes in [kung fu noises] [Robby] Alright, goodnight everybody [Thomas narrating] After a restful night’s sleep in the cozy hotel room, we packed up, had a quick breakfast, and hit the roads [Bryan narrating] We drove into the hills where fog rolled through the woods, and icicles clung to rocky cliffs [Andrew narrating] Soon, we arrived at our destination: Grayson Highlands State Park [Robby narrating] We grabbed our permits and paid our fees, then made our way to the trailhead [Thomas narrating] As we drove, the fog gave way to a splash of sunshine We were anxious to get out on the trail [Bryan narrating] We made the final preparations with our gear, then checked the map and reviewed our plan [Andrew narrating] From the trailhead, we would hike north on the Wilburn Ridge trail, then head west to camp before a detour to Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia, then we would continue on to the main loop, camping another night Finally, we would head south, sleep out one more night, and make our way back to the trailhead [Thomas narrating] Now, it was time to begin the adventure [Robby narrating] At its beginning, the trail wound through patches of shrubs and pine trees [Thomas narrating] The cold air sifted through the trees surrounding us, and green club mosses and golden grass sprouted from the frozen ground [Bryan narrating] We continued hiking and soon emerged into an open expanse covered in a mystic haze [Andrew narrating] It was clear: we were about to embark on an incredible journey [upbeat music plays, swells] [Robby narrating] We neared a gate leading to the main portion of the trail Along the way we spotted the droppings of the wild ponies that supposedly roamed these parts, and then continued onward along the foggy path [Andrew narrating] The landscape around us felt so new and different, but at the same time reminiscent of our past adventures This part actually reminds me a lot of Dolly Sods: a little more crowded with the shrubs, but very Dolly Sods-esque [Thomas narrating] We started to warm up as we hiked up the muddy trail Well first the hiking is warming us up obviously, but I just felt this warm gust of wind, like hit us Between that and the fact that the mud like, sinks your foot down several inches every time you take a step [Thomas] Warming up!
[Andrew] Which is a good thing. I mean, I’m actually very thankful for that [Thomas] Know what that means? Spring is coming [Bryan narrating] We hiked past some rocks and came to a junction, but it felt like we were entering another world [Robby] Well, I hope you guys are happy with going to the nether realms because it looks like that’s where we’re going [Andrew narrating] We approached a junction in the trail and continued towards Mount Rogers [Robby narrating] Imprinted in the muddy trails, we saw more signs of roaming animals [Nicole] I’m actually looking at it trying to tell if it’s somebody on horseback who had horseshoes placed [Bryan] They’re really small [Robby] Seems unlikely because it’s going from left to right But if you look here there’s a clear cut off point and it divots back in which is the typical shape of a horseshoe [Andrew narrating] Regardless of whether we found the tracks of a horseback rider or something else we continued on through the foggy fields and soggy trails [Bryan narrating] The trail would weave from open meadows into thicker sections surrounded by conifer trees [Thomas narrating] But all along the trail was consistently muddy In some parts the mud was mixed with brittle ice [ice crunching] [Robby narrating] As we hiked, we saw distant meadows through the fog, water seeping out from the rocks on the ground, and more signs of the local fauna Walking by here, this log sticking out, and saw some fur which means they must come in and scrape along this log [Andrew narrating] Something had been leaving fur on the branches by the trail, tracks in the muddy path, and lumpy brown droppings on the ground, but we hadn’t seen it yet. In the meantime, we stopped in an open expanse for a snack All right. So I’ve got a special treat for each person. I picked it up off the ground [all laughing quietly] But we’re all gonna eat them now, okay [all laughing] They’re actually chocolate-covered pecans [Nicole] Oh, OK [Nicole] These are good!
[Thomas] It’s horse poop! Why does mine taste like horse poop? [all laughing] [Bryan] Wow, these are really good [Nicole] So I picked up some freeze-dried grapes, they look kind of like, um, rose hips. [All agreeing] [Robby] Whoa!
[Nicole] Is it good? Weird? [Robby] It’s weird, but good [Bryan] Oh, that is really good
[Nicole] Oh! [Andrew] Oh, that’s awesome [Nicole] No, I like them!
[Robby] That’s so interesting [Andrew] These do legitimately taste like grapes, it’s really weird [all agreeing] [Thomas narrating] After our snack break, we hiked on into the misty void [low, somber music plays] [Bryan narrating] We came to another open area where we stopped to take a break and take in our surroundings [Robby narrating] We then moved on, passing through a narrow walk-in fence to another section of the Highlands [Andrew narrating] Here, we saw towering silhouettes of trees through the fog, and we came across a small campsite [Robby] Like, that’s a bench big enough for all of us, too
[Nicole] It is! [Thomas narrating] We continued through red shrubs surrounded on either side by tall tree trunks [Bryan narrating] The trail led us up a rocky staircase, taking us higher and higher on the foggy hills [low, somber music plays] [Andrew narrating] As we climbed higher, we finally saw the animals that had left all those signs along the trail Beyond the fog, two ponies grazed calmly on the stony hillside by the trail. Their thick, woolly covering flowed in the breeze [Robby narrating] The trail led us onward, taking us further into the depths of this mysterious world [Andrew narrating] While we hiked, we had run into other hikers who had information on upcoming campsites So we ran into a couple people who said the shelter we were going to camp at is like really crowded So we might go with one of our original plans, which is just continuing on the main trail and camping along the way We’ll see though [Andrew narrating] Now, large rocks replaced the muddy trails. Lichen-covered trees and the purple-hued stones that speckled the hillsides added a splash of color [Bryan narrating] We hiked further, coming to even larger rocks which were covered in colorful organisms So a lot of times on these sorts of big sandstone rocks you’ll see a sort of crusty fungus growing and that’s actually an edible fungus you can just like take it off and boil it just like wood ear, and I’ve actually seen it sold in stores before It’s kind of got this like black underside and brown top. And also on the rock you see all these lichens growing which is kind of what gives it a lot of its texture and color but lichen is actually made up of two different organisms: a fungus and an algae [Robby narrating] We soon climbed up to a rocky overlook. [Robby] What a view this would be if there were no fog What are you talking about? It IS a great view! [Thomas narrating] And then the trail led us into a rocky passageway Oh this is awesome, whoa! [Andrew narrating] We sidled through the narrow crevice Moisture dripped from the volcanic rock that towered above us, feeding the layers of slippery ice underneath our feet [Bryan narrating] Eventually, we emerged from the small cave, crept across more slippery ice-covered rock, and found our way back to open muddy trails [Thomas narrating] A rocky, icy hill loomed in the distance, adding to the strange and alien atmosphere of the landscape This place feels weird. The fog – I’m sure when it clears up, it’ll feel a lot different – but it feels almost claustrophobic in some ways [Robby narrating] Thomas, on the other hand, felt quite majestic You can call me King of Virginia! [Robby narrating] As we stood atop the rock, the weather seemed to be coming in a bit rougher [Robby] Wow, that fog is getting way thicker [Nicole] Wind’s picking up, too [Andrew] It’s much colder here than it was not that long ago
[Robby] It’s so funny, I thought this was gonna be like kind of a spring trip like, “Oh yeah, spring’s comin’ ” [all laugh]
[Robby] Wrong! [Nicole] What’s the temp? 40, pretty much on the dot [Nicole] That’s not windchill Yeah, there’s a lot of chilly wind [Andrew narrating] We continued hiking through the cold, thick haze, eager to explore more of this unfamiliar world [music plays] [Bryan narrating] The open expanses again transitioned into craggy, rocky terrain that we scrambled over [Thomas narrating] As soon as we had scrambled over one set of rocks, we saw another in the distance To our left, there was an open expanse that seemed to disappear into the fog [music plays] [Robby narrating] Amid the rocks, trees and shrubs began appearing. Then, we came to a grassy open campsite. [Andrew] You guys thinking this is it? [Nicole] I dunno [Andrew narrating] The campsite had looked promising but we decided to keep moving on, and before long we came to a sign along the trail This is the Crest Trail going this way, Appalachian Trail, Grayson Highlands, and then this way is Virginia Highlands horse trail [Robby narrating] A bit up ahead, we found more signs So they pulled a sneaky on us and put a bunch of signs up there. But this is actually the real junction It looks like you can take this trail to Mount Rogers and this one will keep going along the Crest Trail and also an area called The Scales. So we are heading this way towards Mount Rogers, right? Cool. [Bryan narrating] This junction will lead us to our destination for the night We passed by more vast walls of stone before entering a forested section of the trail [Andrew narrating] We wandered through a tunnel of rhododendrons, keeping an eye out for any clearings we could camp in Okay, so Thomas went up ahead to scout for a campsite and we just heard him whoop So we’re actually gonna go see if he found something I got a really good campsite. It’s kind of hidden behind another campsite up ahead I might just run up ahead without my pack to see if they’re any good camping sites near the shelter that we can go to [Robby narrating] We hiked further into roomy pine forests and Thomas led us to the campsite he had found It was perfect [Andrew] Oh my God! [Robby] Dude! [Nicole] Windy, though [Robby] That is true, it’s a little windy [Thomas] We can set up our tents a little bit, into the woods a bit [Thomas] Oh yeah, you’re right! [Thomas narrating] After deciding to stay here, we explored the surrounding area and found our bear box Everything was covered in moisture So because we’re in a cloud right now, we’re not actually getting rain but the precipitation is getting caught in the little – what do you call these, Andrew? [Andrew] The pine needles? Spruce needles? Look at this. It’s not raining at all out here, but This is all wet, all covered in rain.
[Robby] Yeah, let’s get back to shelter [Bryan narrating] We decided to settle down in a wooded nook not far from the open meadows The trees and shrubs would provide some protection from the harsh wind [Robby narrating] After setting up our tents, we looked over to a nearby fire pit to begin cooking dinner for tonight [Andrew narrating] And as we waited for our water to boil, we shared a fancy snack As a little appetizer, I brought some . . . all these prosciutto [Andrew, laughing] We’re eating charcut-o Okay, take a little bit [Andrew] Oh!
[Thomas] Isn’t that great? [Andrew] Oh my God
[Bryan] That’s really good [Thomas] Prosciutto, when it’s done just right, melts in your mouth Holy cow [Andrew narrating] With all of us settled into the dining area, we prepared the main course for tonight [Thomas narrating] We opted for some simple dehydrated meals tonight, but they were great to eat in the cold weather [Thomas] It’s warm, which is nice
[Robby] Yeah, I think that’s the best part [Thomas] I can already feel myself getting . . .
[Andrew] It’s warm in flavor! [Robby] Eat that like a dog This actually looks kind of like a dog dish [Nicole] That’s good, I like it [Bryan] The mashed potato flavor makes up for the overall blandness of the mushrooms
[Nicole] No, I like it! [Robby] Cool
[Andrew] What did you say about mushrooms? [Bryan] The overall bouyantness of mushrooms [all laugh] [Andrew] It is really good, though. The ol’ country diner, you know?
[Nicole] I’m into it [Thomas] Could just use a little gravy
[Andrew] Some like, caramelized onions [Nicole] Carrots [Andrew] A big pot roast [all laugh] [Bryan narrating] After dinner, we trudged through the biting wind to put our food and scented items into the bear box [Robby] This is some unpleasant weather!
[Nicole] This is very unpleasant [Thomas] So much for Spring! I feel bad for those horses! [Robby narrating] Lucky for us, we had cozy tents to retreat to What are my general thoughts on the weather? It’s getting intense I cannot wait to get out of the wind I’m not expecting it to be too cold tonight in my sleeping bag so I think I’m just gonna leave my coat off and stash it. I’ve got my bag of dry clothes. I think I’m all good As treacherous as this weather is, one of the things I really like is being able to get into a tent and just like have all the things you need inside and just be really secure. So I’m actually feeling pretty good right now [Robby] There is nothing quite like the comfort and security of the inside of a tent Just blocking out that wind cuts down on about 10 degrees
[Robby] Yeah, It’s crazy It sounds like we’re in the middle of a hurricane right now, but it’s gonna be a rough night, that’s for sure tonight [Robby] Well, for you This is a sheet of plastic. There is actually no insulation in there No there is! It’s a good sleeping bag, it’s just for California weather [Robby] Good night! I guess good night then [Andrew narrating] In the morning, the remnants of last night’s fierce winds were pushing the clouds quickly across the sky [Thomas narrating] We woke up at dawn for an early hike [Robby] Okay, so the plan is, we’re gonna try to get to the top of Mount Rogers to see the sunrise We’re not gonna get there exactly in time for that, but . . .
[Andrew] But we’ll see something [Robby] Yeah, it looks amazing right now, so It’s 7:18 right now, but that’s because it’s Daylight Savings, so it’s actually like 6:18. It would have been 6:18.
[Robby] That’s true, yeah [Robby narrating] We set out from the campsite and hiked out onto the bald hillside. The exposed sky was bright with the emerging colors of the morning [music plays] [Thomas narrating] We passed by the Thomas Knob shelter, then headed on to Mount Rogers [upbeat music plays] We’re getting super close. You can see just behind me, the sun is starting to crest. Pretty short hike, and it’ll definitely be worth it [Andrew narrating] As the sun rose, the clouds illuminated with a bright orange color, contrasted against the vibrant blue sky [Robby narrating] We entered a thick mossy pine forest as we neared the top Almost there. Almost there. Just a little more [Robby narrating] But the top wasn’t quite what we expected Well crap, I think we reached the top Yeah, there’s the top right there and there’s no view of the sunrise! Okay, we better scamper back down ASAP. Try to catch the remaining sunrise [Robby] Yeah, it was just forest and there was a marker that said you were at the top [Thomas narrating] But we still managed to catch a spectacular sunrise at the forest’s edge [Andrew narrating] And in the distance, fog swirled and dissipated away, revealing distant blue hills stretching to the horizon [music plays] [Thomas narrating] After enjoying the view, we headed back toward camp [music plays] Welcome to Thomas Knob [Robby laughs] [music plays] [Robby narrating] Without the fog or dark of night, we finally saw the full majesty of the Grayson Highlands [music plays] [Andrew narrating] Finally we had made it back to camp where we all gathered around for breakfast We had the perfect spot to take in the lush vibrant nature all around us [music plays] [Bryan narrating] It was time for our favorite morning drink [Nicole] That is very dark coffee [Robby] As long as it’s not grainy [Andrew] So Nicole took some mud from the ground and squeezed it into this cup and now we’re gonna try it [Robby, coughing] Yeah, little grainy [Nicole] Little grainy? [Andrew] Not bad, though
[Robby] No, I mean it’s good, I’ll- I’ll eat the grains, I don’t mind [all laugh] [Robby] Ah, man [Andrew] Sunshine and coffee [Nicole] I’m happy [Robby narrating] After coffee, we headed along a path to collect some water from a nearby stream Between the golden meadows and the wild ponies, it felt like we were roaming through the Mongolian steppe [Andrew narrating] After collecting water, we headed back to camp where we saw even more ponies grazing calmly in the sunlight [Thomas narrating] Likely descendants of the ponies used by ranchers that once lived here, the ponies are now used to graze and maintain the meadowy balds on the highlands which were originally created as a result of logging and farming [Bryan narrating] We eventually broke camp, and after packing up, tossed Nichole’s frisbee around for a little while [Andrew] Over here, over here [Andrew narrating] Then we headed out [Robby narrating] We emerged from the corridor of rhododendrons and immediately came to a large rock [Bryan narrating] We all scrambled up the rock and were met with an incredible view [singing the Zulu song from ‘The Lion King’] [Robby] This is amazing! [Thomas narrating] After enjoying the view, we continued hiking and came to another section with rhododendrons and patches of ice [Andrew narrating] As we hiked past towering spires of volcanic rock, we reflected on the incredible views we had seen today [Robby] It’s really incredible how much we missed yesterday. We were aware of it, you just can’t see it Yeah, and it still looked really cool, but it’s just like entirely something different when you have that huge view to look over That is an incredible view [Bryan narrating] We kept hiking through a thicket of rhododendrons which was just about a neck height, and we could barely make out the other hills and rocks in the distance Getting a little claustrophobic Not anymore though! [Andrew narrating] Before long we came to another open bald along the trail and felt the warmth of the sun. This would be an incredible camping site If we didn’t have more to hike [Robby narrating] The trail soon brought us into a more wooded area where mosses and conifers added a pop of green to the land [Andrew narrating] Then we entered a more hardwood forest which was less colorful but more expansive and found some fungi growing A lot of times you’ll see huge Ganoderma mushrooms growing on old dead beech trees like this Beech trees are actually known for like dropping their branches a lot and kind of dying away once they get bigger So this is like a perfect environment for fungus to grow [Thomas narrating] Since the woods felt so welcoming, we stopped to have a snack [Andrew] I love big, open forests like this
[Robby] This is so cool, man [Thomas] I feel like as we go down the mountain we’re transitioning through seasons.
[Andrew] Mmm, yeah [Thomas] It’s very Fall right now [Bryan] It’s one of the first sunny and warm days we’ve had in a long time Weather makes such a huge difference [Nicole] I was thinking that where we are right now really looks like the forest I grew up playing around in [Andrew] Also, it’s funny you say it looks like fall, because these are all beech leaves and they actually like hang on to the trees until like, late winter, early spring That’s why they’re so fresh looking [Nicole] Only you would know that The whole time I was walking through all of this I was thinking this looks like ancient Britain or the Scottish Highlands or something like that But it’s funny because it’s just like, it’s Virginia
[Robby] Yeah It’s like we just forget a lot of times that places here, especially in the Midwest have incredible beauty [music plays] [Bryan narrating] We emerged from the woods, hiking again through open grasslands before once again entering the forest that was green with rhododendrons and conifers [music plays] [Robby narrating] In the distance, we thought we saw buildings through the trees, so we veered off the trail to investigate Oh, those aren’t buildings, those are . . . those are rocks, I think [Robby] I guess, I thought it was like a building or something [Andrew] I did too [Andrew] Wow, it’s weird how quickly the environment changes [Robby, incredulous] What? [Andrew] That’s a hitching post, er . . . yeah, that looks like a hitching post
[Nicole] Oh yeah, those are hitching posts That’s the horse trail so yeah, this is probably a hitching post they built for people if they want to, I guess, get off their horses [music plays] [Andrew narrating] We returned to the woods where tangled tree roots wrapped around boulders, before emerging again into the open fields [music plays] [Thomas narrating] It was all incredibly stunning Familiar, yet, new! This is very reminiscent of Dolly Sods But at the same time it’s funny how different it feels. Like just look at everything, the rocks here and the bushes It’s just super awesome [Robby narrating] With this fantastical landscape, this place really may have taken the cake for our new favorite place to backpack I dreamed of going to places like this as a kid I just didn’t realize they actually existed I was just thinking this feels like we are in like those 1980 style fantasy illustrations, you know? Like uh, Conan’s gonna be running across that field right there [Andrew] Yeah Castle on the horizon and then a Mongolian horde in the back [both laugh] [music plays] [Bryan narrating] Adding to the fantasy-like setting were the fuzzy ponies that we kept running into [music plays] [Andrew narrating] And while the ponies grazed, I also scrounged around for some resources Well now that it’s not incredibly wet, I’m gonna harvest some of this birch bark for a fire tonight [Thomas narrating] We now entered another ancient feeling forest with moss-covered stones, old gnarled trees, and tangled roots digging deep into the ground I think this is what I look for most when I go camping, is places that have just open-ness and it makes me feel really free [Robby] Yeah, this is like the most freeing forest It’s just that open feeling where you can go anywhere and explore So as I’m walking through this forest I’m noticing a bunch of these tiny little shoots poking out of the ground just everywhere, and it almost looked kind of unnatural but these are just shoots cloning off of the other trees And given enough time these might grow up into bigger trees and they would look like two different distinct trees, but they’re actually part of the same organism I think there’s a quaking aspen way out in Colorado and it’s possibly like one of the largest organisms on earth Just because it looks like a forest but it’s actually all one single organism [Robby narrating] We continued hiking into the forest, then came to another walk-in fence After so much hiking, we were starting to feel a bit tired Are you guys starting to feel the fatigue a little bit or is that just me? [Robby] Oh, you didn’t feel it because you didn’t hike to the mountain, Bryan [Nicole] Honestly my legs are much shorter than your guys’s so your pace was like me running
[Robby] Oh yeah [both laugh] [Robby] Et tu, Brutus? [Robby narrating] Luckily, we approached a junction, which meant we were making some decent progress [Robby] Is this the junction?
[Thomas] It is! This is the Appalachian Trail Question is, are we going to Scales or Old Orchard Shelter? [Nicole] I believe Scales Cool [Bryan narrating] We came to a latched gate, and the trail then led us into another, more familiar-feeling forest [Andrew narrating] As we hiked through the woods, we spotted a clearing with a fire pit just off the trail [Robby] You like this campsite? No, it’s not near a bathroom Where you going now? This isn’t the campsite I would be totally happy staying here, personally Because I also feel like that campsite might be crowded Although it’s Sunday night, but . . .
[Thomas] I say we keep going Well, it’s up to you three now From the bathroom we’re at 0.8 miles I would say we started looking for a campsite between now and like the next 0.5 miles [Robby] Let me investigate this one. What do you think Nicole? I think it’s a good site Andrew says yay, Thomas says nay, Nicole, you say . . .?
[Nicole] I say yay We got two yays, one nay. Bryan, what do you say? I was leaning towards yay as well, but . . . I think that’s a yay, Thomas So as per usual, Thomas is being the scout and he’s gonna leave his pack here and scout ahead See if there’s something better, closer to that shelter over there I also really like hiking and I didn’t really want to stop hiking just yet, so So here’s what I say: If you find a really good campsite, give us three whoops Umm, otherwise, you can just give two and come back Just uh, just don’t start setting up [Robby narrating] While Thomas looked ahead, we all sat down to rest our tired and weary feet [Andrew narrating] I took some time to write in my journal and look around for some more tinder [Bryan narrating] Eventually Thomas returned after finding another site that he insisted we moved to So I know you guys are comfortable here, but I’m gonna go claim that other one cause it’s really good It’s past the fallen tree and on the other side of the frozen creek and I’ll see you guys there. Okay? [Nicole] Alright If that campsite is not at least 35 percent better I’m going to give him the berating of a lifetime [all laughing quietly] [Robby] See ya, Thomas! [Robby] You guys better hope for Thomas’ sake – for Thomas’ life’s sake – that there’s some firewood Watch Thomas just be lying this whole time! And there’s no campsite “Gotcha! We’re going back to the car!” When he said .25 miles, I didn’t think he meant .25 miles of uphill [Robby narrating] As we hiked, we hoped the site he found was better than the ones we were passing by Thomas like This really better be better, dude. Every step . . . every step, my anger grows [Andrew laughs in the distance] [Andrew] Oh, I see the downed tree and the creek, I think Part of me . . . I obviously want the camp site to be better, but part of me wants it to not be, just so I hear the berating of a lifetime [Andrew narrating] We finally saw the signs Thomas had mentioned on the trail [Robby] Oh yep, frozen creek [Robby] I dunno, it looks a little muddy [all laugh] [Andrew] No, this is pretty good
[Nicole] No it is [Thomas] PRETTY good? Pretty good, they got a water source right there, got a tree to lie on, we got a tree to put a hammock in, we got plenty of space [Andrew] What’s the verdict?
[Robby] You will pass, this time [all laugh] This is WAY better, what are you talking about? [Robby] I would give this . . . this is 15 percent better. It’s close enough What!? [Robby] This is not 25 percent better
[Andrew] I give it a 20 [Robby] Okay, we’ll split the difference Did you guys have a built-up fireplace like this, that was this nice? [Robby] There are better sitting logs. Ok, yeah, no, it’s 25 percent better Got a spot for a tent here, spot for a tent here, spot for a tent there [Robby] OK, but I’m taking this stone [all laugh] [Thomas narrating] While we settled into the campsite, Nicole started collecting some firewood [Andrew narrating] And as we prepared the fire lay, we nearly lost our shelter [Andrew] Oh no! [Andrew narrating] Luckily, Thomas had a pretty good baseball slide [Nicole] Safe? [Bryan] Is that a blooper reel? [Nicole] I panicked and I didn’t know what to do [Robby narrating] Now, it was back to preparing the fire and setting up camp [Andrew narrating] A lot of the wood we had collected was damp, but . . . Worst case scenario though, I have . . . more than enough tinder There’s something so satisfying about this. Just beating the crap out of a piece of wood [Andrew] Yeah, having it split perfectly
[Nicole] Yeah You can just leave them with those for now, because I think we’re decent [Bryan narrating] With the fire prepped, we relaxed as the evening rolled in and then got ready to cook tonight’s supper So today we’re doing ramen with a bit of a twist It’s a Korean dish called budae jjigae, which I think roughly translates to army stew So we got our ramen So budae jjigae, army stew, gets its name because Koreans would be eating ramen but they would also mix in like American rations So typically you get like kimchi and rice cake in there. But you also have baked beans, hot dogs, spam, even sliced cheese So I’ve got some greens like spinach, mushrooms and peas, but I’ve also got some Vienna sausage and spam singles I’ve also got sardines: one is in water and one is actually in Louisiana Hot Sauce Ironically, I don’t have any kimchi but this will at least add a little bit of that traditional spiciness to it And finally, I’ve also got cheese which I might actually put a little bit in there and just see how that goes But yeah, we’re gonna cook this up and enjoy [Andrew narrating] Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my homemade kimchi which would have been a perfect addition to this dish It’s like spicy and just kind of salty it’s pretty much what you’d expect but it tastes good [Andrew narrating] And then, we added some vegetables which admittedly didn’t look all that appetizing yet [plop] [laughing] Just break some blocks off, see how that goes I think that should be good [Robby] Hope so [Robby] So, where did you discover this budae jjigae? [Andrew] You know, I actually think from Anthony Bourdain [Robby] It’s kind of like Stone Soup. Just like any type of random stew, if you keep adding stuff to it usually gets better
[Andrew] Mmm [Andrew] Yeah, all the flavors eventually meld into one good flavor [Bryan] So is the cheese your own thing? [Andrew] So I read that they sometimes put sliced, like American cheese in there, but that’s all I had [Bryan] To make like a cheesy broth or something? [Andrew] I dunno, just cause they had it Hopefully this stew is good enough [all laugh] [Nicole] I have high hopes Better lower those a little bit It reminds me of a lot of my childhood cuz we grew up kind of poor So like no matter what was in the pantry my mom could make something awesome [Andrew] What’s that saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? [Robby] The deliciousness of a meal is directly proportional to how far you are away from civilization by foot So like whatever is in there, it doesn’t really matter. Not to say it’s not a good job I’m sure you did great [Thomas] My old roommate used to do that. I’d like spend hours cooking, I was like “How is it? How is it? How it is?” He said “It’s fine” [all laugh] I was like . . . Nobody even compliments the meal [all laugh] [Thomas narrating] After cooking on the hot embers, the stew was ready [all exclaim] [Nicole] That looks sweet [Andrew] I’m gonna give it a quick bite
[Robby] Yeah, the cook is the taste tester Mmm . . . mmm! That is really good! [Thomas] Looks interesting [slurping noises] [Robby] Little Spam in there [Nicole] Mmm!
[Andrew] That tastes really good! [Nicole] It really does. Yeah, awesome. I’m gonna get a sardine [Thomas] There’s a sardine right here
[Nicole] Ooh actually, hold on, spam, spammin’ it up first I’m really okay with spam in this context The context here is that salty and hot? It’ll work, you know, when you’re in this setting [Andrew] The fish actually imparted a nice flavor into that broth [Nicole] I agree [slurping noises] [Thomas] That was good [Andrew] I feel like I could eat way more of that, though [Nicole] Yeah We devoured that so fast! [Nicole] On to the next meal?
[Andrew] Yeah! I’m down [Nicole] On to the next meal. Alright [Andrew narrating] With our bellies full, we enjoyed the fire’s warmth as the evening set in [low, relaxed music plays] [music swells] [Bryan narrating] Around the glow of the fire, we reminisced about some of our past favorite camping moments I gotta say mine is my first. I’ve said this 100 times before: when Andrew and I were in a tent at Hocking Hills without a rain fly It started to rain, ran to the car and tried to stay warm there It was a terrible time, but I kept with it So my favorite camping memory is being out in a cabin with my family in Yosemite There’s this boardwalk and we just all laid on it and started picking out the constellations because it was a completely clear night. And then my brother-in-law and I proceeded to make wookie sounds back and forth to each other [laughing] to try and scare campers [Robby] Can we get a demonstration? [Wookie growls] [music resumes] [Robby narrating] The next morning Nicole and I brewed some coffee and began starting a fire to ward off the cold [Andrew narrating] Once the rest of us were up, we all gathered around the warm fire [Bryan narrating] And Nicole cooked a scrambled egg meal That’s not bad. It’s actually pretty good, it’s only missing cheese. That’s my only complaint [Thomas narrating] Eventually the sun came out and began warming everything up [music continues] One advantage to tenting with Thomas is he cleans up for you [Bryan laughs] What’d you say? What’s going on? Last night the screw popped out of my glasses and the lens came out so we had to improvise just a little bit This is the green twisty tie from my my bag of tortillas [both laugh] [Robby narrating] After filling up on water, we packed up and headed out [upbeat music plays] [Thomas narrating] The trail soon led out of the woods and revealed distant bald hillsides [upbeat music continues] We made our way toward the hills, and behind us, blue hills stretched across the sky [upbeat music continues, swells] [Andrew narrating] And soon, we entered an area known as The Scales It was called that because ranchers used to weigh their cattle up here before they traversed down the mountains and lost too much weight [Bryan narrating] Here we saw fire pits supplied with wood and, of course, wild ponies [music continues] [Robby] It’s amazing how little they react to us [Andrew] It’s funny because you can just camp out here with the horses in the same pen But I guess it really wouldn’t matter [Thomas] Ponies! They’re ponies [Andrew] YOU’RE a pony [all laugh] [Nicole] I just wanna pet its velvety nose [Robby] You look infinitely pet-able [Andrew] So fuzzy [Robby narrating] Of course, as tempting as it was, it’s best to leave these animals alone. So we tossed around the frisbee instead [Bryan narrating] And some other hikers even joined in on the fun [Thomas narrating] Then, it was time to move on. We left The Scales and headed up the adjacent hillside [music plays] [Andrew narrating] The more we climbed, the more amazing the views became. But the uphills were quite steep [Robby] How about you Nicole, are you used to this uphill? Oh yeah, I do it every day No, my legs are burning, and my lungs are dying What about you Thomas? [Robby narrating] We ascended the hill and saw the sunrays shining majestically through the clouds [Thomas narrating] We hiked across the grasslands, peering at the distant blue mountains as the wind blew across the earth [music continues] [Andrew narrating] The trail now leveled out. We saw more large rocks scattered across the fields as we made our way across the open hilltop Yeah, definitely my favorite features of hikes are these big open balds and meadows [Thomas] Totally
[Nicole] Yeah It’s nice, I like mainly when you’re uphill and then it gets flat in a plane [Nicole] That’s my favorite
[Robby] Yeah, the relief [Bryan narrating] We stopped along the way to take in the views and rest for a moment [Robby] Dude, the US is amazing and we take it for granted a lot of times, but this is a six-hour drive from home [Nicole] It’s funny, when you think about other people traveling to the US, they go to all the like, the major cities and they have no idea what we actually have to offer, just the quaint places that you find beauty in that are just unheard of [Andrew] This might be the most amazing place I’ve been – including out west – in part because it hasn’t been like, turned into a theme park, you know? [Bryan] It actually feels like we’ve been on a journey like, across some land, like we’re settlers or something, because it feels like we’ve traversed so many different sceneries [Robby] Thomas is gonna get dysentery [all laugh] [Thomas] I died [Nicole laughs] [Robby narrating] Then we hiked on, and another walk-in fence led us to a forest full of bare trees [Robby] I’m gonna have to say this forest is almost 100% haunted [Bryan narrating] Further into the woods was a large fallen tree splayed across the trail [Robby] Wow! Think is fresh? [Thomas] Doesn’t look that fresh [Robby] I mean this, this split looks super fresh, right there [Thomas narrating] We decided to stop again and to have a quick, fancy snack: Spicy bean dip Like the inside of cheddar combos or pizza combos, I don’t really know I think it’ll be good, especially on pretzels There are two things that I have guilty pleasures for and one is the artificial cheese flavor [all laugh] So while we’re waiting for the bean dip I was looking at these blue stains on this oak tree I’m pretty sure that this fell recently so I think the reason it fell over is cause it’s been infected with some sort of fungus that kind of like started rotting it from the inside Because the rest of the tree looks really fresh and not at all rotten [Andrew narrating] The log had signs of both brown rot and white rot, but it still made a great log to sit on while we ate our dip [Nicole] And we have some pretzels and tortillas to try it with That’s good I’m into it though [Robby] That’s good
[Nicole] It is good [Andrew] It does have a nice little spicy kick though. That’s really nice [Bryan] Mmm! That’s really good [Bryan] You can taste the cheese in it
[Andrew] And the jalapeños, I think Usually with Nicole we skinny dip, this time we’re bean dipping [Nicole] Accurate [Bryan narrating] After eating and tidying up, we continued onward This section of the woods felt familiar, like many of the forests we had hiked through in the past [Robby narrating] We came to a particularly soggy section of the woods, which again felt different from the rest of the trail [Robby] Is it just me or did this suddenly turn into an entirely different biome again? [all agreeing] Walking through here, you would never ever guess that there were all those meadows way up on the hills [Robby] Yeah you really wouldn’t, would you? [Andrew narrating] It was pretty amazing, witnessing all the changes in the environments as we traversed across this beautiful land [Thomas narrating] And to think that all of these exotic seeming landscapes exists right here in the eastern US is amazing [Andrew narrating] Soon enough, after hiking further through the woods, we came to another walk-in fence and emerged in an entirely different environment [Robby narrating] Once again in the open, we spotted some droppings on a rock and we came across another trail junction [Bryan narrating] Here, we check the map and made sure we were headed the right way [Thomas] We wanna head toward the State Park, right?
[Bryan] Actually we’re gonna be taking a right now [Thomas] Oh, along the AT?
[Bryan] Yeah [Andrew] Oh, we’re close!
[Bryan] We’re about half a mile [Nicole] That’s not bad at all . . . what time is it? [music plays] [Thomas narrating] Up ahead was another soggy area which led us to another entirely different landscape We’ve gone through a portal and ended up in the Smoky Mountains This is way cool. If I had some extra time, I’d kinda roam around in here [Robby] You can just camp under here
[Nicole] I know [Nicole] I bet it would be really soft ground, too
[Robby] Oh my goodness, yeah [music plays] [Andrew narrating] We hiked through the rhododendrons and across a stream, and then hiked up a hill where there were more plants growing So another plant you often see in the Appalachians is mountain laurel, and they look kind of similar to the rhododendrons they have like a similar dark, waxy, green leaf but the leaves are actually a lot smaller and in the spring and summer time the flowers come out and they’re really beautiful and intricate looking [music plays] Some of these rocks are a little shaky [Robby narrating] We then headed back into an area covered in rhododendrons and pooled with stream water. And eventually we came to another beautiful stream [Andrew narrating] Something about the rushing flow of the water and the intricate pattern of the rocks around it made this area feel like a decorative fountain that had been carved to resemble a distant paradise [Bryan narrating] After crossing the stream, we saw a promising landmark in the distance I think we’re getting close [Robby] How close? Bear box is right there [Robby] Oh-ho boy! (Shouts) Bear box is right around the corner! [Thomas narrating] We hiked through an open grassy area with plenty of campgrounds, but further up ahead was something even better [Nicole] Oh, neat! [Andrew] Oh, this is going to be so nice! Sweet
[Nicole] Yeah! [Robby] Oh my GOD, yes! [Andrew] We’ve even got a picnic table! [Robby] Oh my God, dude
[Nicole] And Thomas has a bathroom [Robby] You don’t know how good that feels [laughing] [Thomas] We have it to ourselves!
[Andrew] Wow [Nicole] Aw, and check out the fire ring! This is like a stage, we could have a performance tonight [Nicole] Karaoke [Robby] Oh, baby
[Nicole] Campfire karaoke [Robby narrating] We relieved our backs of our gear, took in our surroundings, and sat down to rest our legs [Thomas narrating] Then, we sat down to enjoy a cheesy snack [Thomas] To a successful hike! [all mimicking glasses clinking together] [Robby] Notes of fruit in it. Was that just me? [Andrew] That’s that whiskey [Bryan] Whiskey is strong in that
[Nicole] Is that whiskey cheddar? [Thomas] Mm-hm That is like the best cheese texture [Robby] Get that garbage out of here [Andrew] I will distribute the pretzels [Nicole] Getting down to the crunchies [Bryan] Now that there is how you eat a pretzel [all laughing] [Robby] Every campsite needs a picnic table [all laugh] [Robby] Should just build one every time [all chatting] [Andrew] Next, while Thomas gathered firewood, the rest of us played some euchre with a deck of cards that Nicole had brought And even though it was my first time playing, the theme of the deck gave me a bit of an unfair advantage The Jacks are always the trump cards So I was memorizing the plant species that were on each Jack [Robby] These cards have wild edibles on them! Like, what . . . [Andrew] Each one is unique, too
[Robby] This is like Andrew’s perfect game to cheat So it’s like, it’s pine, wild lettuce, goldenrod, and bulrush. I’m just looking for those in peoples’ hands [Nicole] Oh my Gosh! You actually learned them! [all laughing] [Andrew] Yeah see, this one would be a Jack of, I think clubs or spades, flip it over [Nicole] Oh my God!
[all laughing] [all laughing] [Robby] You cheater!
[all laughing] [all laughing] As you can see, I’ve categorized the wood by shape, color, and wood type down there So I would rather do this than play euchre [Bryan narrating] We also, of course, broke out the frisbee once again [Nicole] That frisbee is honestly [inaudible] [Robby] This is a great frisbee [Thomas] I can totally see the appeal of doing the AT [Andrew] Yeah
[Thomas] Just pause on my life and be like “Alright I’m gonna go do the AT” [Andrew] Oh! [Robby] I could feel it shaking up here [Thomas narrating] Finally, after goofing around camp for a while, we started setting up some sleeping arrangements in the shelter [Andrew narrating] And after that, we headed to the nearby campsites to cook up dinner [Robby] Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s pretty nice [Andrew] Big, open sky [Robby narrating] We collected just enough wood for a small fire to cook over [Nicole] You got a spark [Andrew] There we go, there we go, hold on [Andrew] I don’t know if that’s enough tinder, but . . . [Nicole] It’s totally enough tinder [Andrew] It’s not quite secure yet, but it’s definitely pretty solid [Nicole] No, but a lot of these smaller sticks are catching pretty quick. Watch your hand, the flames are coming toward you [Nicole] The thing is that finally we have dry wood to work with [Nicole] Whoo, baby!
[Andrew] Even with that small amount of tinder [Bryan narrating] With the fire burning we filled up the pot with some soup to heat over it So because we’re planning on having a fire by our shelter later tonight we’re gonna keep this small and that’s actually good for cooking too because a lot of times what you want is like some embers that give off a nice consistent heat. We’re just gonna cook this big pot of soup right on that [Thomas] To an excellent hike! Thank you Nicole, thank you Bryan [Nicole] Hey, no problem
[Bryan] Thank you everyone else [Robby] Cannot ask for more than that
[Bryan] Oh, yeah [Robby] You could, but you’d be a greedy person [all laugh] [Bryan] Robby was right, that is a hearty soup [Andrew] Look at the view we have too, that is just incredible [Robby] That is like heaven
[Nicole] I know, that is really hitting the spot [Bryan] That is really good [Robby] My God, dude Last trip we had a generous fan donate a PackitGourmet We weren’t able to eat it at Red River. But this time we’re hoping to eat some skillet biscuits and sausage gravy [Thomas] This is gonna be complicated
[Robby] We gotta make the dough first [Thomas narrating] With the process almost as complicated as some of Andrew’s camp cooking, we were curious how it would turn out [Robby narrating] We boiled up some water for the gravy, and greased the pan with the included oil [Thomas narrating] Next, we formed biscuits from dough and placed them in the pan [Robby narrating] Afterwards, we added the hot water to the gravy mix [Robby] These are not the cleanest
[Thomas] No, the other one we did was fantastic, even though you added those things separately. This one’s complex [Robby narrating] We put the biscuits on the fire and after a bit, added more oil and flipped them [Bryan narrating] And while they worked, the rest of us relaxed patiently by the fire [Andrew narrating] Beautiful, paint-like clouds rolled in as the second course cooked over the fire [music plays] [Thomas narrating] Evening rolled in. The biscuits had finished. We poured the gravy on top, and then dug in Look at that, now that one’s cooked all the way through We’re not allowed to bring these anymore because this is a post hike meal level Oh my God Andrew, you gotta try this, or Robbie. Someone, everyone, everyone It’s like a cheddar bay biscuit with gravy [Thomas laughs] Oh my God, dude That was worth the effort [all laugh] [Robby] The aftertaste is still lingering [Thomas] I know
[Nicole] It smells awesome I did not believe you guys [all laugh] That is like just pretty legit [Bryan] Wow, I mean that’s legit biscuits and gravy
[Nicole] You guys are really building this up [Nicole] It tastes like it was just made in a kitchen. Like, that’s awesome
[Robby] It kinda was [Robby] The kitchen of Thomas
[Nicole] Well, yeah [Thomas] And Robby!
[Nicole] The outdoor kitchen [Andrew narrating] We finished off the last bits before heading back to camp for the night [music plays] [Robby narrating] Back at camp, Nicole had gotten a proper fire started [Andrew narrating] We all gathered around to enjoy its warmth [Bryan narrating] As we sat by the fire, we reflected on our journey so far [Thomas narrating] We had seen so many different environments: from mysterious forests to towering volcanic rock and vast grasslands [Robby narrating] It was pretty incredible knowing that all of this was a relatively short drive from home [Andrew narrating] What felt exciting and wondrous was, in fact, right under our noses [Bryan narrating] Eventually, we settled into our cozy shelter for the night [Robby] Right here we got Tommy Appleseed and he’s wrapped up in an entire tent Like literally, you can see the logo Got Andrew over here, he’s looking comfortable And then we got all our supplies right there [Nicole] And Bryan’s like, in a coccoon
[all laughing] Butterfly about to emerge [Robby] Nicole, you look like you’re a snowman, come to life [all laughing] [Robby] You look like Olaf or something We’re all gonna be in the same shelter, the roof is gonna amplify our conversation so we can just talk all night [Robby] We still got a little bit of a fire going, you know what I’m saying? I got the water, like look at this, direct nozzle access I can [glugging, drinking noises] It’s long enough I could store stuff at the top so when I need to reach, I don’t have to go down I go up, in it, up in it [laughing] I got Thomas’ shoes right here. I can just kick him off and be like, “Thomas! Go stoke the fire!” Good times right here [Robby narrating] But as we were about to sleep, something odd happened So just now somebody came around the corner and Andrew started flipping out [Andrew] I was like, “Why is there a sixth person suddenly?” And it was a dude He came from the parking lot where we started at, and he was just trying to get back around to go back to the car So we found the way back for him eventually But anyways, we were telling me should he could clearly just stay here in camp he was prepared for it But he said something came up. So hopefully he’s gonna survive. I mean he will survive he’ll be fine, but we do not envy him [laughs] [Robby narrating] A little bit later, the hiker we had met returned to the campsite Mike is back, which is good news He’s next to fire. We got a nice little shanty town going here
[laughs] It’s good to have him back! I’m glad he’s alive [Andrew laughs] [Mike] I got to the uh, the crossroads. Admittedly, I had packed enough food and water, but not enough clothing because I was cold [Andrew] Ah, yeah
[Robby] You need a jacket? Here, take my jacket man [Mike] Oh, no, that’s alright, I got the fire here [Robby] No, no, no, you should definitely take this, dude
[Mike] Aw, thanks man [Andrew] We thought it was gonna be warmer too, actually
[Mike] Yeah [Robby] Yeah, throw some logs on there for him too
[Andrew] Oh, yeah, no, I will [Robby] Get that fire going [Robby] Mike, you still good?
[Mike] I’m still good [Robby] You need me to have Andrew get you anything? [all laughing] [Robby] I can have Thomas get you something too [Bryan narrating] The next day was frigid cold. Fortunately, Mike had some quick and easy fire starter, so we got the fire going without a hitch [Robby] On a scale of 1 to cold, how cold was it last night? [Andrew] It got really cold
[Bryan] I was actually fine just up until like the last moments I could definitely feel like, the heat kind of seeping out of my bag [Robby] You’re a better man than me I was like in a fetal position most of the night [Bryan] That’s the hard thing is when it’s cold, like you can never really keep track of how much you’re sleeping Because I’ll just I’ll just like wake up suddenly. I’ll be like, “okay, how long has it been?” “I don’t know probably like 30 minutes.” It’s like, okay Another 10 more of these [Andrew] Two grubs over here We should bump tails or something “Who is that?? Get out of here, get out of here!!”
[all laughing] “You go back, evil spirit!”
[all laughing] [Andrew narrating] Now a crew of six hikers, we packed up our gear for one last hike through the highlands [Thomas narrating] It was gonna be nice to get moving considering how cold it was this morning [music plays] [Andrew narrating] You don’t have to travel far to explore the exotic. There’s no need to travel across oceans to have a life-changing experience [Bryan narrating] For us, the Grayson Highlands conjured up images of Mongolia, the Pacific Northwest, Scotland But it was right here in the Virginian wilderness [music continues] [Robby narrating] In wild areas, there is an opportunity for us to see the world through a different lens, to experience life through a new perspective [music continues] [Thomas narrating] And they also help us cherish our local landscape and the different communities and people that surround them [Robby narrating] But these places will only last if we protect them from encroaching development and industry It’s not just the rain forests and glaciers that need to be preserved. It’s the wilderness in our own backyard [music continues, swells] [Andrew narrating] More and more, our planet – and our species – face the threat of mass extinctions, melting ice caps violent storms and raging fires And we don’t have to travel abroad to stop this. We can fight for a healthy planet and a thriving wilderness right here at home right now in our very own communities Because the wonders that lie in the forests and hills, places like the Grayson Highlands are too valuable to be lost forever [music continues, swells] We kind of blasted down the mountain just me and Thomas right now but The parking lot is just up ahead Good times good meals ahead High-five the blue blaze! [Robby] We made it, Thomas! Good work This feels good Happy site doesn’t feel like ages ago. We were last year. Yeah Hi, I love being out in the woods, but I quite welcome the idea of taking my boots off Thomas is the only person I know if he changes immediately Gets the car immediately changes. I’m ready for a business meeting Feel like I’m a new person now except for my hair you guys Do that a little bit Country roads take me to the Slayer Just Virginia you gotta suggest Virginia could he use this baggie of utensils? That’s liquid happiness right there They’re going for the prize try to squash fried okra orange fluffy salad Like I’ve always seen this stuff, but I’ve never actually had it It lives up to what it looks like Robbie you’re gonna drive halfway through because I’m gonna be asleep at the wheel 1 pound not a quarter pounder Not two quarter pounders, but four quarter pounder you got the chuck wagon and Good I don’t think I’ve had a corndog in a long time Take your time in gravy Angry Corn dog in gravy this ready for this This is unholy, I’m gonna become a vegetarian just watching Home and dipper and rants just because You know I got how’s that I got the meat sweats So Thomas bashed and repent I’m still working right who’s his main entree But don’t think I won’t eat this Don’t think that’s nice Understand Is pretty nice it’s good to have land S11 n you better stay out here Hot hmm good food good How far away is inter scripta? Mmm spark up. Not far. Not far from here Soon you will be ringing ooh Why you wish to become dye pattern hmm mostly because of my father Jim Potts, I guess mmm Jim Potts Powerful backpacker. Hmm powerful. Oh, come on. How could you know my father? You don’t even know me? I don’t even know what we’re doing here. We’re wasting our time Hmm, I can’t teach him The boy has no patience. Jason bourgeois will learn patience much anger in him like his father He is not ready skorca, I Am ready Charlie Joe I can be a backpacker Charlie. Tell him I’m ready ready Are you what you know one Freddie for 33 episodes I have trained backpackers Backpackers like Aaron Jones and his friends Paul and Caitlin Ally Benna and Jared Kirk trained Melissa poo and her daughter Sofia pool. I did hmm. This one a long time. I have watched all his life He has looked away – Erik bruvold Tim Anderson never on where he was What he was doing. Hmm adventure ha archives no a Backpacker grace not these things you are reckless So was Jasper Kappa rota if you remember? Well, he finished what he begins I won’t fail you I’m not afraid you Will be you will be Now don’t take this the wrong way but you are a terminator right? Yes Expedition resets Alesi model 101. You’re like a machine underneath, right? But alive outside I’m a cybernetic talking cupule in living tissue over metal endoskeleton. You’re not here to kill me So what’s the deal my mission is to protect you and your mother cell Chartwell. So, let’s see good to Gorn Johnson Did it 35 years into the future? They sent me to thank you here on this time Shout-out to Becca keep on adventuring. You never know when you might see a wild unicorn At last Welcome Hong Leung. It’s not honor to meet you. No, the honor is all mine I imagine right now you’re feeling a bit like an McBride Tumbling down the rabbit hole. Mm-hmm. You can say that I can see it in your eyes Let me tell you why you’re here You’re here because you sense there’s something wrong in the world that there must be something else out there Do you know what I’m talking about the wilderness? Unfortunately, nobody can be told what the wilderness is. You have to see it for yourself This is your last chance take the blue pill and you’ll wake up in the middle of the city like none of this has happened take the red pill and you’ll stay in Wunderland with Bruce and Elise Phillips and I’ll take you on your first backpacking trip just like Elliott did Remember I’m here offering you the truth. Nothing more

100 thoughts on “Grayson Highlands 4K | Hiking and Camping with Wild Ponies in the Mountains of Virginia

  1. Love the post hike meal and that was a good one. Put some motor vehicle thread lock on your spectacles screws and never have that problem again

  2. What an awesome adventure, great music, great scenery, great people… and Loved the ending epic meal time !!!!!

  3. Hey, nobody understands your humor stupid nerds! also I think you should ditch the long nose jagged chinned white guy, he's a drag and if he was a TV character he'd be Toby from the office.

  4. That timelapse field walk at 22:55 is amazing! I mean, I love your whole production, but that was rwally really good!

  5. Your best episode yet adventure crew!! Y'all have inspired me to visit the Grayson Highlands as soon as I can!! Great stuff!!

  6. Excellent, as always. Great message. I appreciate the respect you show to the land, the animals, and fellow hikers. Had a good chuckle at the movie parodies at the end. You guys are a hoot!

  7. Y’all are the G.O.A.T.s ? my favorite channel on YouTube right now, and I never thought I’d watch videos about hiking, but I’ve seen like ten of your videos the past couple days ? Recently got into hiking though so y’all are litty. Let’s link family ?

  8. If you guys ever get the chance, go to new Zealand. You guys could probably spend months in the fjordlands. I would love to see a video of you guys there.

  9. Awesome ?? been there many times and it’s one of our favorite spots too. Glad you fell in love with it as much as we did ???

  10. Great job … i start my yearly hikes at that place and finish the season on the Roan highlands in NC. I just wanna know how heavy those packs were.. I kept expecting someone to whip out a grill or maybe a SINK ..??

  11. Omg bro thx so much for always making these great detailed and good voice over vids and the way u guys stop to give us little biology facts and stuff…i wish I could go on adventures like that but I'm only 14 so…just got to wait till I can get my own car …..btw great vid…..AKA botany class

  12. Your videos are great. I'm sorry I discovered it so late. I watched most of them. I'm still watching. I want to ask you this. Clothes, camping gear, they are all okay. But it looked to me like you were carrying too much food. Besides, canned food, glass jars … products with a heavier container than food. What is the average weight of your backpacks for a 3-4-day hike and how much of this weight is food?

  13. I finally got the chance to watch the rest of your Grayson Highlands video. Great job with this video!? One of your best AA episodes! ?

  14. First time watcher here. I love the camera work and fun facts drops. Wasn't big on the narration at first but I warmed up to it. I really like the shots without music or narrative though. The sounds of nature speaks more than pretty words in my experience.

  15. ? This is the first video I have watched from you team (thanks to SBO for the recommendation), this is amazing!! I cannot wait to get to know you from past and future videos. Thank you for the work and time you put in, keep it up!!

  16. I missed this because I am now busy working as I recently became employed in June now I have time to finally watch this and re-watch all your old episodes YAY!

  17. Just started watching your videos. I am subscribing because of how you just picked up some random dude and made him part of your group. I didn't expect to see that but the shot of you all walking through the fence area and there is a new member sold me. Good on you all!

  18. Awesome video guys! I usually can't finish videos that are half an hour long, but when I'm watching your videos time slows down like when I'm in the outdoors. Thanks for giving me an escape from the hustle and bustle of my daily routine!

    Loved the location and the plant facts, maybe you'll come to Kansas someday.

    Keep up the great content/editing!

  19. Yo guys what's up just curious as to if you ever gave missouri a thought would love to go with you guys if you ever do end up here.

  20. awesome footage guys! I love how you guys are so calm and enjoying nature around you.
    Sounds weird coming from a very uncalm person i guess but hey! Love it!

  21. Loves Andrew's commentary about plants, trees, mushrooms, flowers, herbs, etc. Very much enjoyed. Thanks for the adventures, camping and equipment advice from your group.

  22. This is one of my favorite of yours so far. The dynamic of the 5 of you, in such a misty mystical land is candy for my senses.

    1 puzzlement though: Why is the AA logo and park title absent from the preview thumbnail?

  23. thank you guys, this is just awesome, really really great content 🙂

    i absolutely adore heavy mist and any type of highland scenery (Yorkshire <3) but those far reaching views afterwards were spectacular too and the rosey/blonde/lavender colours everywhere were really special! and the starry skies and fluffy ponies and your respect for nature and each other and the fun/epic music and …well, all of it. so very worthwhile to watch <3 nevermind some rough sound recordings – that's just more immersion for us 😉 also the clear environmental message at the end brought a little tear to my eyes, and those cute skits are really cute and still quite meaningful, like the matrix bit: hits the nail right on the head. never give up, never surrender <3

  24. First Nicole <3! And then!!!! No spoilers haha but yeah great episode. That area is one of my favorite places ever to backpack! Been out there for about 50 miles and even though I live in Norway now, that place still honestly holds up. A true American wonder.

  25. I haven’t watched any of your videos in a while, so I haven’t really seen your recent stuff. But… Robbie’s hair… why? Where’s the Ponytail go? ?

  26. great video… being Korean… at 40:30 mark Boo-dae jjigae….. works best with spicy ramen (Shin Ramen). 1. boil water with potatoes, til about 50% done 2. put in ramen packet to flavor 3. spam, sausages, kim-chee, onions, then cook the freezed dried noodles for about 3min. That way, the noodles don't get overcooked… bon appetite

  27. Close to home you say? Where are you based? I'd love to get a group together! Grayson Highlands is a personal favorite.

  28. how is this channel still less than 100k subscribers? many other useless/ brainless youtuber could easily go up to 100k+++ or even million. damn!

  29. I've been watching AA for a looooong time now and… man you guys blow my mind with every single video. Think it's about time I hit up that Patreon, you produce TV-level (or better) content for free and that's no mean feat.

  30. Not to be an elitist but that wasn't a frisbee, it was an aerobie. Nonetheless, another great video. You guys do great work and deserve a larger following!

  31. Just hiked the exact same path of the first leg toward Mt. Rogers on Memorial Day weekend. Great hike!!! Stayed at base of Mt. Rogers in awesome camping spot just shy of the wooden AT shelter. Premium location since it was 300 yards to the natural spring head and about 100 yards from the permanent metal bear box. On that note-found out that the trail was closed a few days after we had left because of a very smart bear helping itself to hikers food along main thoroughfare. The ponies came in droves and even invaded our camp one evening to try for any scraps that were left behind from dinner. Overall this is an amazing adventure and you guys did a great job of capturing the majestic feel of the area.

  32. What I like the most, is to see someone just enjoying backpacking, completely careless of what every single items weighs and all of that nonsense.
    Exploration is all about the struggles – not cutting your toothbrush in half to save a few grams.
    Way more true content in this video than most other videos on the same subject here on youtube.

  33. Although My eyelids were heavy, I fought to watch to the end… ahhh the post hike meal! Always a perfect way to end the video. The comedy at the end of the videos is the the post hike meal dessert ? Raw breathtaking Nature, Good friendships, laughter around a fire, coffee on a crisp morning while watching the sun rise with the smell of the fire in the air, it doesn’t get much better folks… ASMAR doesn’t compare to this satisfaction. Thanks for another great experience guys ?❤️??

  34. Great video! Do you have any trail notes or anything? Seems about the distance I'd like to do on an upcoming (first) trip to the area but don't want to make a wrong turn.

  35. I just found your channel….Love the videos!!! I do have a question. I wanted to see if you could share with me how do you do the map showing the route animation. Love your format. I'm going to use some of your ideas on my motorcycle adventures that I put on my channel.

  36. What are some of the weights of your backpack? I just did my first backpacking overnighter at the Maroon Bells. I think my pack was around 50 pounds with the bear canister with food and the water. I was just wondering what were the weights of your packs. I had a really hard time, but I do think also was the altitude. LOVE YOUR VIDEOS!!!!!!

  37. The quaking aspen colony that Andrew mentions around the 32:00 mark is actually in Utah and it's called Pando! Lays claim to being the biggest organism as well as one of the the oldest. The trees are genetically identical and have a shared root system…overall they cover like a hundred acres, really fascinating bit of ecology!

    EDIT: Love the episode btw. Great stuff as usual. Grayson Highlands is the first place you've been to that I've also visited 🙂

  38. Man i think thomas is very cool. I l9ve his dry poker face of since of humour but u know he would be loyal and honest and fun

  39. I’ve been there but when I went there was no fog in the air, but I have to go back when it looks like that. Also this is a great video ?

  40. Enjoy see your friendships & hiking adventures. I see most of your hikes are in rainy weather & short hikes. What the average miles?

  41. This was fantastic! So good to see Nicole back being a bad ass with her huge pack. Those ponies were majestic! Loved that you guys play some cards too, cards and chess is a must for me camping 🙂

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