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  • 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. Why don't 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