Monday, October 7, 2013

Movie Review - Tell It on the Mountain

Movie Review - Tell It on the Mountain

Tell It on the Mountain is a recently released documentary film about the Pacific Crest Trail.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the PCT, it's a 2663 mile trail that runs from Mexico to Canada along the mountain crests of California, Oregon and Washington.  Along the way hikers pass through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.  Yes, 2663 miles - on foot!  Let me help you visualize that....

The journey generally takes several months and roughly equates to 20 miles per day.  Each year an estimated 300 people commit to thru hike the entire trail.  A thru hike means to walk the entire trail from end to end in a single trip.  Check out the load you have to carry on your back...

The film's running time is approximately 122 minutes and was shot in 17 different locations.  I'd like to give you a small window into some of the things you'll see.
  • Breathtaking sunrises over the mountains

  • Desert terrain that includes flowers, cactus, snakes and oppressive heat
  • The high Sierras with their snow, ice, swollen streams and treacherous river crossings

  • Extreme weather conditions that include rain, hail, thunder, snow, and fires
  • Bear, elk, mountain goats, annoying mosquitoes and deadly scorpions
  • Stunning scenery and beautiful mountains
Tell It on the Mountain is the ground breaking story of 7 hikers and one trail angel who agreed to take along camera's and document their journeys.  They share their personal stories and give us a fascinating up-close-and-personal glimpse of their life on the trail.  You will get a rare opportunity to hear first hand what draws them to the trail from points around the globe.  Each has their own individual way of approaching the trip, but they are all bound by a common thread - to hike the trail, test their mettle, and experience the beauty and majesty that is offered in this remote area of the Western United States. 

Meet the hikers and learn what equipment they need for months in the wild.  Find out how, when and what they eat, and how they find water sources and filter their water.  Get a glimpse into what drives them to keep going, sometimes covering up to 42 miles in a day, with bad feet, blisters, lost toenails, wet clothes, and lack of sleep.



You will also meet Donna - hiker and special trail angel.  Donna and her husband Jeff are the most loved and famous trail angels on the PCT.  They have opened their home, affectionately known as Hiker Heaven, to almost 3000 hikers since 1997.   Donna hiked a section of the trail for the film and shared the reasons why she and Jeff host hikers from around the world each year.

This is not a fictional movie - this is real life!  This really happened.  So, you may ask - who made it?  Who didn't?  Who was forced to quit?  Who made it all the way to Canada and immediately turned around and began the trek back, thus yo-yoing the trail and setting a record?   Take another look at the faces of the hikers.  Can you determine who accomplished what? 

I hope you're intrigued because I sure was.  The scenery is stunning, the hikers and their stories are compelling.  My daughter and I had sat down with plans to watch one hour of the film the first night and one hour the second night.  We ended up glued to our seats because we couldn't wait to see what happened next and before we knew it we had watched the entire movie.  I can assure you that it's the type of film that you will watch more than once.  I know I will.

Tell It on the Mountain is available in digital or dvd format.  You can purchase it directly from their website as well as Amazon.  The documentary is the directorial debut of Lisa Diener, who also wrote and edited the film.  Five time National Emmy Award winner Shaun Carrigan shouldered dual roles as Producer and Director of Photography.  This is their first film together and they have a gift for film making.  We were so drawn in and the film constantly kept our attention.  We never felt bored or impatient with the pacing.  It was interesting to hear from the hikers themselves and get to know them and their backgrounds a little.  Yet, even more than the hikers, the scenery and the trail itself steals the show.  The photography is beautiful and they do a splendid job of capturing the majesty of the mountains, lush valleys, exquisite landscapes, and star studded night skies.  What you see will practically make you want to lace up your hiking boots.  I am excited to see what the future will bring and what Lisa and Shaun's next project will be. 

For more information on the documentary, please visit Tell It on the Mountain  and be sure to visit their FB page as well. 

For more information on the PCT you can go here.

Sharing over at Sunny Simple Life.


  1. Hi Kim. Great book review and I'm sure it holds lots of adventures to read about. Thank you so much for your sweetness.
    You are the sweetie,
    Shelia ;0

    1. Hi Shelia - thanks for stopping by. My prayers are with your mom.

  2. I'll have to check this movie out. I've hiked portions of the PCT in Oregon and Washington. I'd love to hike the entire Oregon portion of the PCT. Someday.....

    1. Linda, Since you spend so much time on the trails out there, I think you'd be very interested in this film and could easily relate to it.

  3. Wow, that sounds amazing! I'll have to check that out for sure! Thanks for sharing this!

  4. How interesting! I would love to see this movie. You did a really good review...makes us ALL want to see it AND hike! Hugs!

    1. I think you'd enjoy it. Don't you just love a movie that makes you want to get out and hike??

  5. Sounds fascinating, I'll have to watch it!!!

    What's a trail angel?

    And I get a feeling that Inaki's name should be Iñaki with an Ñ! (Very common Basque name in Spain) ;o)

  6. Cris, you are probably correct about Inaki's name because I believe he is from Spain!

    Trails angels are people who do good things for the hikers like leave a cooler of snacks or drinks alongside the trail as a gift. Hikers will come across it suddenly and often at a time when they are out of something to eat or drink.


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