Thor Jensen (and a few people in the comments section) have some thoughts on the latest Beau Miles film, Run the Rock, and what it says about our relationship with nature.

We Are Explorers recently recommended a short film by Beau Miles. The post could be found under ‘Inspiration’ and although there were some inspirational points, I’m worried that Run the Rock also highlights some attitude problems I’ve noticed in the outdoor scene. 

The backstory to the film involves Beau trail running with his mate, who rolls his ankle on a rock on a gravel road, prompting Beau to seek justice. 

The film starts with Beau back at home, packing his wheelbarrow and crowbar for the adventure. He runs to the perpetrating rock, digs it up, chucks it in the wheelbarrow and runs it 14 kilometres to the house of his busted-ankle mate, while philosophising over his adventure and picking up discarded tools from the roadside. 

We reach the finale as he drops the rock off at the doorstep of his mate, rings the doorbell and films his friend’s surprise. 

It all sounds pretty innocent and fun, but considering Beau has a PhD in Outdoor Education, I think that it’s unfortunate that this film sends many wrong messages on how (I believe) you should engage with and behave in the outdoors – with the exception of pranking your mates. That’s a sentiment we can all get behind. 

As much as I admire his early kayak expeditions and enjoy his laid-back microadventures, I think Beau Miles missed the mark with this one. 


An illustration by the author, Thor Jensen

Isn’t Adventure About Embracing The Obstacles?

While guiding tours in remote parts of Venezuela, I often had inexperienced customers complain ‘there’s no rope to hold onto when wading across the river or ‘why are there no stone steps built into this muddy trail?’

Working as a volunteer on the Larapinta Trail near Mparntwe (Alice Springs), I know that NT Parks receive complaints every season and threats of lawsuits from hikers who’ve stumbled over rocks or fallen branches on the trail (although many parts are paved with natural rock). 

The point is (and here I’m sure Beau will agree) overcoming natural obstacles is part of being in the outdoors, it makes you sharp and observant, and you have to engage with the land. It’s the reward of being outdoors. As the saying goes – you can’t have your rocky road and eat it too. 

Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints

We also have to consider the leave no trace philosophy. This means you don’t litter, (which I think we all agree on), but it also means limiting campfire impacts, not breaking off branches, and not digging up rocks.

You can, of course, decide if you agree with this philosophy or not, but the ‘leave no trace’ approach is especially important on public trails and parks where the human pressure on flora and fauna is often extremely high. Sure, a rock from a gravel road in the woods doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I think it still sends the wrong message.

Read more: The #rockstacking Trend is Disturbing Native Habitats

beau miles, run the rock

Is it our land to change?

For First Nations people, Country connects to ancestors, Dreaming tracks, sacred sites and many natural features have significance, and harming them can have serious consequences.

You’ve probably heard stories of tourists sending stolen rocks back to Uluru after taking them from the site and experiencing bad luck. The rule of thumb, if you’re a visitor on someone else’s Country, leave things where they belong.

Although this rock was in a dirt road, and Beau does fill in the hole, it’s not so much about the individual impact of one action but the cumulative impact of how settlers behave in nature. With 444k YouTube followers, many of whom undeniably look up to Beau, this is sending the wrong message.

Read more: 8 Ways to Better Support First Nations People

But It’s Not All Bad

That’s just my two cents. Beau Miles also has some good points in the film: pick up litter, embrace local adventures, and cheer your friends up when they have a busted ankle. 

But on reflection, tagging this film under ‘inspiration’ doesn’t sit right with me, nor on We Are Explorers, who have many articles on conscious ways of enjoying the outdoors. 

Exploring nature comes with responsibilities, and hopefully this prompt will ‘inspire’ people to enjoy the outdoors in a thoughtful way. As with social media, the content and actions we post can have far reaching impacts, and I wouldn’t have written this piece if I didn’t feel strongly that it needed to be said.

Maybe Beau can make a film about returning the rock next? Let’s stay tuned.