I found the film Figure it Out on the Hayduke Trail at like 3 in the morning, Darned if I didn’t stay up to watch the whole thing. I really like these kind of stories – tales of people doing hard things – tales of folks facing off against the wilderness – tales of learning that you can do hard things. This one had it all.

It is the story of a little-known thru-hike (812 miles from Arches National Park to Zion National Park. It is barely a trail in that there are large sections (hundreds of mile) where it is simply cross country trekking – no signs, no guideposts and definitely no trail.

What I find most impressive about this film is that hero of the story, Alex Maier did all the film work as well. That means his hike took a lot longer than it normally would. Whether it was sitting in a set area for a long enough time to record great time-lapse shots or hiking ahead, setting up a camera, hiking back and then taking the same route a third time to record himself, he must have actually hiked well over 1,000 miles. If that weren’t enough, a lot of the really treacherous drop-ins to canyons were segments he recorded. That meant the video wasn’t a ton of boring shots of him walking along a trail. 

These interesting shots combined with breathtaking visuals of nature and wildlife kept me watching from start to finish. I could also totally relate to the fact that escaping the media and having some alone time with your brain has always been a happy place for me. When I used to compete in long-distance (100+ miles) cycling events, that was the best part. You can forget about the stress of the activity and learn a lot about yourself with all that time away from a screen. (He says while writing a review of something on a screen – yes, I see the irony.)

by Chris Doelle

Rating 8 of 10