Advice for newbie?

"Also, does 27.5" or 29" make a significant difference? The bike in the video is a 27.5" I rented."

26, 27.5 or 29 wheel roll just fine. But do they make a difference? Unfortunately yes. 26 are more nimble in the corners, 29ers are better in rolling over terrain because of the big wheels and 27.5 is a good compromise between the two.

26, because of the smaller wheels will be a be a bit rough compared with a 29er on rugged, technical trails but a 29er will be more difficult to maneouver in trails that are twisty and turny. 27.5 is the middle ground and is said to be a good compromise.

at least that's what my friend who rides for a living said. I ride a 26er enduro bike right now and it does just fine. Imo... get what you can lay your hands on, proper fit, and just enjoy!

Thanks for the input. For this particular trail, I'm thinking a 29er would really help with rolling over the rock gardens. Clearance height would help too, every run my pedals will hit the rocks at least a few times. Is clearance height an issue for you on your 26"?
I'm not saying never... but for now at least I won't be getting one soon. Maybe if I get a pay raise haha.

Did you look into getting a second hand one? I mean all you need is a good frame. The wearable parts are relatively cheap for decent quality and can be easily added or replaced in case they are missing or in bad condition. 20-30 times $20 is already $400-600 which will get you about half way for a decent second hand one.

I have a hybrid as well. It's great for winter time here when everything is either a little wet or very hard from frost. But in the spring and summer when the mud and sand is often dry it'll sink in and gets really unstable.
That trail is absolutely gorgeous! I wish we had something like that around here. We don't have any kind of a bike park around here. There's some local parks that people bike in, but it isn't necessarily meant for that.
These type of rides are risky but they are very interesting. Riding the bike in a risky region is much more interesting than riding on a plain road. We can improve our skills by the riding sessions like this. I have never gone to any interesting mountain ride but I am planning to go there next week.