Most people's idea of roughing it ranges from a day without a cellphone to a strenuous hike. But for three guys in Animal Planet's new series "100 Miles From Nowhere," the response is much more creative.
Matt Galland, Blake Josephson and Danny Bryson are three friends from Utah whose idea of fun is to run, bike, ski, climb and raft through the most extreme locations on Earth, trekking 25 miles a day for four days. Aside from a "bear box" supply drop each day, they're completely on their own, filming everything themselves with GoPro cameras.
"We go out to the most miserable places, and that's why we do it because miserable is totally awesome and being uncomfortable is a challenge. And I think that's the best part about this show," says Galland. "There's so many bad things going on in the world. This is like a breath of fresh air, to go out with your best friends and do something totally awesome."
Galland, a photographer and geography teacher currently on sabbatical from Brigham Young University, started doing this kind of extreme adventuring with his buddies more than a decade ago. "What we've learned is it's always harder than we ever anticipate, and it's usually scarier and colder and hotter. We prepare as much as we can, but we do some really, really crazy stuff out there. And that's what I like. It's just it's just off the cuff, whatever we want to do."
That could include anything from scaling jagged cliffs to battling whitewater rapids and hacking their way through overgrown terrain in locations as diverse as the mountains of Utah, Oregon and Idaho and the jungles of Mexico and Belize. Aerial establishing shots captured from a helicopter aside, the trio films the entire journey (their digital cards and batteries are replaced as needed). And that presents some challenges.
"You can't determine beforehand what shots you're going to get because we don't know what we are going to encounter," says Bryson. "This is real," reminds Galland. "There's no producer saying, 'Cut. Do that again.' If Danny fell and I didn't have the camera out, there are no retakes."
In one episode, Galland recalls, "We were up to our chest in ice water, nine miles down this canyon, and we have 20 miles to go, and we kind of all look at each other. Blake's like, 'Put the camera away.' I'm like, 'But we are doing a TV show. We've got to do this.' We are constantly in this struggle between barely surviving and trying to film it so we can share it with everybody. That's why we do this, because we think it's so awesome. It's really scary for us, but we're really good at it."
Fortunately, their families do, too. Bryson, a former house-flipper and professional cyclist who now runs a ranch in Utah, is also married, and has three kids. Josephson, the father of four, is a busy general contractor who enjoys taking his two eldest sons on climbs, runs and hikes. "When we're done filming, I can't wait to take them back to some of the places that we've just been because I get to spend more time with them and it's something I share with them," he says.
Galland reports that his four kids, ranging in age form three to 11, "love what I do. My kids go camping with me. They go running with me. I love sharing that with them. I want to share with them and everyone how freaking awesome Mother Nature is. It's something a two-year-old loves and a 92-year-old loves. And the camera is such a wonderful tool to take it to everybody."
He hopes that the show will inspire others to get out and explore. "Anyone can go out, carry a camera, and have unique adventures," Galland says, "Whether it's one mile or 100 or 135."
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