Thought it might be worth a few words here to give you all some feedback, especially since I can’t do it in other ways like narratively in my videos.

Saturday June 5th was National Trails Day and while not a particularly trail filled day for me, it looks to have been mostly successful generally. Here on the island had a convergence zone move over the Puget Sound which produced some gutsy winds, which in turn, knocked down some big trees, which took out power and internet to the whole island. I spent the majority of the day keeping the lights on and my family (wife in grad school) gainfully educated.

In other news, as of this writing I have published nine immersive hiking videos. Most of the pre-season videos are “okay,” but my later work gets arguably better with the addition of an improved camera and my growth as an editor. Also, I’m meeting my goal of producing at least two per month and as weather and access to the high country improves there will be potential to exceed that personal goal.

From within the confines of YouTube, reach and watch time are increasing too. That’s super news. The channel has about 70 subscribers right now which puts it in range of that custom channel URL for the first time in it’s five month life. I’ve been seeking other outlets a means to get the word out with each video release despite my timidity when it comes to crossing social boundaries. While this is a challenge for me, I feel I’ve had some success.

Where I’m falling behind? Well, funny you should ask. There are several areas that could use some improvement and honestly I’m not certain what exactly I should do in each of these instances. Your advice, comment below, is MORE THAN WELCOME.

  • Getting people to like the video, not the social media post: Maybe I shouldn’t be picky. Sure, I appreciate the attention, but it’s not me that I’m hoping you pay attention to. In fact, this exercise isn’t about me. It’s about you.

    I’ve been involved in Wilderness conservation work directly or indirectly since I was 15 and that’s capitalized for a reason. I’m not talking about the green space behind your suburb where nobody goes when I say “wilderness,” rather I’m using the term to describe Wilderness as in “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

    Trails, as in footpaths, created by hand with the power of muscle, bone and sinew are another component of this advocacy because these are the ways in which we access Wilderness. Even when I worked as a Backcountry Wilderness Guard on the Flat Tops Wilderness I understood the ancillary nature trails played in protecting and conserving Wilderness areas designated under the 1964 Act. So there’s a big reason I focus so much on those two ideas when it comes to making experiential point-of-view documentaries of my hiking and trekking. A person cannot value one without maintaining the other.

    How do your “likes” help me value these ideas? When you focus them on the video they excite YouTube’s search/recommendation algorithms. My videos then reach more people who, like you, open to the idea of valuing trails and Wilderness.

    So, if there’s one thing I could ask of everyone and anyone it’s just to leave a like on YouTube.
  • Subscriptions, subscriptions, subscriptions: The rules are dumb. I don’t make the rules, but I have to follow them. I’d really like to have a food bag or even a small flag made with the channel address printed on it AFTER we get it to 100 subscribers. Why? We’ll because this address “https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOYHrsS2eDI5nGWv0kyFMQ” isn’t terribly memorable and the flag space it would occupy would weigh a freaking ton. But, can you imagine having “youtu.be/ffb” custom printed on a couple of outwardly visible trekking items? It’s possible we might actually reach a few more people, right? Even if they’re only interested in asking me what the thing on the end of the stick happens to be.

    If you haven’t subscribed or you haven’t recommended the cannel to a friend or hiker buddy maybe think about sending them over or clicking through and hitting that button. We don’t generate a whole lot of traffic or notifications. We’re not selling your information (like we even have any of it) and we’re literally giving away everything we make for free because we want you to see it.
  • Music or No: This is an editorial decision I still can’t figure out. I just got a one year subscription to SoundStripe because I feel like I’ve exhausted YouTube’s collection. Granite Mountain has two tracks (or a track and a supporting intro depending how you look at it) from this service and I think it works, doesn’t distract from my primary goal, adds a bit of polish to the final publication I can’t give it with narration.

    What say you? Am I headed in the right direction here? Would you rather I invest time, money and effort in capturing better quality audio from my surroundings (including all my sounds unfortunately)?

I realize that this is probably a big a lot of questions and a big ask for many of you. I may get absolutely zero feedback too. That said, it’s always worth a try. I’m going to continue to make these immersive point-of-view videos if only so I have them when I can no longer get out on the trail as I am able to now.

That and I really believe in this process. I think it’s a cool way to bring something I cherish deeply to someone who may have never even known places like this existed before they saw them here. I mean imagine that. Imagine seeing someone’s face light up when a video opens up on a grand desert vista or as the trail snakes its way through sunlit conifer poles and wild ginger.

Next week I’ve got a permit to climb Mount Saint Helens and while it’s going to be a long day, I’m pretty excited about it. The video is going to be a departure from the usual because there’s just not a whole lot of tree coverage on the climb, but also big volcano with a crater the size of a city in its top. Also, if I time it correctly and the weather holds I should be able to see the sun setting near the summit as I look over the crater. I’m pretty excited about this one.

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