Some people think John Muir was a hero. Others: not so much. The Adventure Brothers hike the famous John Muir Trail (a.k.a. Nüümü Poyo) to investigate the conservationist’s controversial legacy.
Every year, brothers Brian and Hank Leukart meet somewhere in the world to take on an epic adventure. When they set out — well past the end of the summer hiking season — to hike the 211-mile John Muir Trail (a.k.a. Nüümü Poyo), they find themselves up against a slew of unexpected physical and psychological challenges. As they make their way across the Sierra, they discover that conservationist John Muir’s legacy isn’t as straightforward as they once thought, prompting them to reevaluate their fundamental assumptions about environmentalism and mankind’s relationship to the natural world.
Hank Leukart, Director and Producer
Hank Leukart is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, TV producer, Google Product Manager, and adventure addict. He’s passionate about using technology to share compelling, immersive stories, and especially well-versed in launching film projects combining travel to unusual locales with socially conscious issues like environmental conservation, human rights, and education. He’s worked on many iconic documentary television shows, including World’s Toughest Race (Amazon Prime); The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and The American Baking Competition (CBS); and Expedition Impossible (ABC). His first feature documentary, “The Mars Academy” — about NASA scientists helping underserved kids explore Mars with a real spacecraft — recently premiered at the Borrego Springs Film Festival. In addition, his short films “Bears Ears” and “Rattlesnake to Westwater” won awards at the Lookout Wild, Maine Outdoor, and Waterwalker Film Festivals.
Hank Leukart’s Director Statement
After I directed my film Bears Ears — which tells the story of Native Americans in Utah fighting for federal protection of their ancestral lands — I felt inspired to continue telling stories of indigenous people native to the land that my brother and I hike through regularly. The fascinating, undertold story of California’s Native People in the Sierra inspired us to make this film about our John Muir Trail trip.
Brian Leukart, Director
Brian Leukart is a New York-based filmmaker, product development researcher, and climber. His creative talents include a keen cinematographic eye and the ability to send any conventional situation off the rails and turn it into a rollicking good time. An outdoor enthusiast, he has taken on numerous wilderness expeditions with Hank, including a south-north crossing of Iceland, the West Coast Trail, a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim snowshoe, the Torres del Paine O Circuit, a packraft-backpack from Arizona’s Salt River through the Superstition Wilderness, and a death-defying traverse across Denali over Muldrow Glacier. He’s currently tacking his most ambitious adventure to date: raising his 3-year-old son, Emmett.
A 18-day hike through the Sierra-Nevada Mountains on the John Muir Trail.
2 thoughts on “The John Muir: Two brothers. One controversial conservationist.”
I was hoping to learn the dates you hiked the JMT as I am prepping for a September hike and wanted to know if your timing was similar.
We started the last week of September and went to about mid-October. It was very cold and there was a high snow risk during that time, so I’d recommend earlier than that. Hope that helps. -Hank