As It Happens: Notes from the Premier

Last month was the premier of the Dusty Camel's first feature-length documentary, As It Happens. It follows Dusty Camel founders, best friends, and wildmen, Andy & Ian, on their 2600 mile trek from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you haven't seen the trailer, check it out here

I was at the premier (part of the Outdoor Rise Festival - they did a cool composite picture taken from the film for their website) and wanted to offer my thoughts. I saw the dudes off at their farewell party, helped them cut the film when they got back, and I've probably seen it 10 times back to front. 

But I was still blown away by how it looked on the big screen and how the incredible audience response.


Camel somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Directors talk about going to see their own movie and sitting in the back of the theater to see if the audience laughs, gasps, and cries at all the right times. And that's what happened. Moments that I was so used to they had lost their punch came alive again, and some of my favorite, profound moments landed just as I imagined they would. 


As brutal as the hike is depicted in the film, it actually under-represents how difficult it was. It was a record snow year. Both Andy and Ian got badly sick (at one point, hiking 25 miles a day with the flu - you try it). They ran out of water. They ran in to TOO MUCH water. In one scene, Camel (Andy) is just starting the day's hike surrounded by burned out (or blighted) trees. He tells the camera he woke up with a headache, tried to eat a Snicker's for breakfast, but felt too sick. It looks like hell. HE looks like hell. Definitely not your typical upbeat, acrobatic Go Pro techno music adventure entertainment. It's a real story about hiking an insane distance.


Afterwards, people had a ton of good questions - everything from "what boots should I wear on a thru-hike?" to "did you see a bear?" Ian's response: we saw plenty of bear ass, running away from us!

My crap cell photo from the 3rd row during the Q&A

If I have one criticism of As It Happens it's that these guys are walking encyclopedias of backcountry know-how. I learn from them all the time, and I would have liked to see more tips & tricks. How to improvise a windbreak, how to keep your gear dry, how to clean up for the ladies in town (vital information). 

So - that's my recap. Stay tuned for much more regular updates, gear reviews, and the next adventure from the DC. 

Peace. Get it.