adventure Tag

Enjoy the following few photos from a recent adventure, accompanied by a few random semi-cohesive thoughts from the road!

1. Fear of failure is the darkest of captivities. I think that failure is only failure when you let it win. Sometimes not achieving your goal on the first try is actually a really great thing – it teaches you to look at the problem differently, to persevere and try harder, and gives you something to work towards. Zion defeated us with its epic climbs, to say the least, but I don’t feel like I failed – I just feel like now I have a really epic goal to work towards. Take a risk, put yourself in situations you think you’ll ‘fail’ – you’ll learn a ton in process!

2. “An integral part of adventure is planning to change plans.” Wise words from Mr. Carmichael here. Don’t be afraid of spontaneity, but embrace the moment and adapt as you go! Figure out what it is you’re excited about, and do it. Don’t feel guilty for changing plans to accommodate that – be bold enough to follow your passions, even on a small-scale.

3.Patience is a pretty great thing. Kind of a random thought, I suppose. We spent the night camping in Oak Creek Canyon, just outside of Sedona, where we saw some of the most gorgeous stars ever. I’d always wanted to take star trail photos, but never had the patience. Always bailed before I got the full effect or got bored and tried something new. This time, I decided to be patient. I set up the shot and waited – I journalled by the fire, read in the hammock, made some tea… For 24 minutes. And it worked. Patience allowed me to see achieve something I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

  

3. Rest is important. Adventure is awesome, but sometimes it’s important to stop and reflect and think and just take in the beauty of what’s around you. Float down a twisty red-walled canyon in kayak and do nothing but stare up at the bright blue sky. Take a nap on the side of a cliff. Chill in a hammock in a beautiful tree and write something. Don’t miss the now, but don’t be afraid to take some time to dream and be excited about what is and is to come!

4. Food tastes better in epic locations. Pasta + chili looking at this view in Zion? Amazing. (Also, any time is a good time for tea!)

5. Adventure wins.
A bit of a mini-story for this one: After kicking off the trip with a couple of siesta and taco-filled days on the beach in Mexico, we decided to head back home early to get a head start on our Northwardly adventure plan. Desert roads tend to not be the smoothest at all times, so I didn’t think anything of the bumpyness during our nighttime trek, until out of nowhere the car drops and sparks are flying. Steven awakens just in time to see the wheel, atop the bank, racing us down the highway.

So there we were, on the side of the road before the tiny desert town of Ajo, standing beneath the brightest full moon you’ve ever seen, where our wheel became inexplicably unattached to the car, and this local Sheriff stops to help us. And somehow we end up watching climbing and adventure videos on the Sheriff’s iPhone while the tow-truck guy struggled to load our now three-wheeled vehicle onto the truck.

So bizarre.

Adventure wins because of moments like these. Because it comes in so many different and unexpected forms. It wins because it leads us to encounter the bizarre and unimaginable scenarios that make the greatest of stories. It wins because it puts us in the most beautiful of places to prove that the world is most definitely not lacking in beauty or diversity. It wins because it forces us to push ourselves to jump into the unknown and accomplish what we’d only previously imagined.

Adventure wins because it is a life inspired by seeking after experiences bigger and better than the norm. Who wouldn’t want that?

I’ve always loved the Scottish highlands. The hills are an incredible shade of green and the sky usually dons an impressive display, almost as if it is in a constant battle with itself over whether to shine brightly with sun or poor with rain, resulting in continuously dramatic cloudscapes.

So I was pretty excited to head off with a group of friends and fellow adventurers to climb the Isle of Skye’s notorious ‘In Pinn’ earlier this month.

The trek to reach the pinnacle was incredible, and the view seemed to get more spectacular with every turn, almost as if we were in the deep reaches of the Peruvian mountains or some otherworldly place. When we finally reached the peak, looking over the ridge revealed an incredible mountain-scape, where we could literally see clouds rolling over the peaks and into the valley below – easily one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!

And of course, the climb to the top of the pinnacle itself was pretty epic, and revealed the best view of all. Here are a few photos of some of the climbing action that went down!

The world looks a lot different not covered in several feet of snow!

Alas, the Yukon Quest adventure has officially ended. The first teams crossed the finish line bright and early on the 14th, just over 9 days after departing the chilly Fairbanks start line. Completing the 1000 mile endeavor first – though by a mere fraction of a minute – was Hugh Neff, with Allen Moore trailing behind a mere 26 seconds later. It has to be said that in a 1000 mile race, to be that close in the final stretch is quite unheard of and nothing short of impressive!

Allen Moore, Yukon Quest

I’ve never really been one to follow sports or races, but I must say I’ve developed a soft spot for the Quest over the past couple weeks. The race itself is an incredibly difficult thing to sum up in a blog post, but I will say that sled dogs are pretty hardcore (and adorable) and I have a huge amount of respect for mushers. To see the incredible sense of livelihood these folks maintain after what is most definitely a grueling adventure on the trail is inspiring, to say the least.

It’s also worth mentioning that there is some pretty breathtaking scenery up there – the highlight of which was definitely watching the northern lights dance over the beautifully clear Yukon sky while we awaiting the arrival of Brent Sass at the finish line. So stunning!

Lance Mackey, Yukon Quest

Yukon Quest Northern Lights

I’m sure in the coming weeks many will ask me what the best and worst part of the trip was, and while my answer may change depending on the day, the people were definitely a highlight. From cavemen to dogs with people personalities to people with dog personalities, there’s an incredibly vibrant face to the sport of dog mushing, of which I’m sure I’ve only just scratched the surface.

Needless to say, shooting the incredible event was an amazing experience – absolutely looking forward to next year!

Looking for more photos? I’ve added a collection of my favourites to a gallery here – enjoy!

The Yukon Quest is a sled dog race where mushers, with their teams of 9-14 dogs, embark on a 1000 mile journey from Fairbanks, Alaska (US) to Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada), and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last few days following these 24 incredible mushers run with their dogs through some impressive Alaskan and Yukon landscapes. Working with the Quest as part of their photography/media team, I’ve seen an impressive display of what the Quest is and means to the people who are involved, and thought I’d share a glimpse of my experience following the Yukon Quest so far!

Behind the scenes, to make the quest happen, volunteers give up hours of their time to help where needed, community members contribute baked goods and warm food for mushers and volunteers, dedicated handlers tend tirelessly to dog teams, and hardcore fans enduring the subarctic weather to cheer on their favourite mushers and dog teams, the list goes on and on.

So, over the past few days fully diving into the race and getting to know about the mushers and understanding the relationship between them and their dogs, it’s clear that it’s more than just a bunch of guys riding on sleds behind dogs, the race itself is almost like its own a culture – of enthusiasm and passion and perseverance. Love it!

  

  

We’re only 6 days in – looking forward to what’s next!

And if you haven’t seen the video, enjoy:

In the midst of finalizing the production of ‘A Lovely Tale’ and prepping for my upcoming Yukon Quest adventure, I seem to have neglected to post an update with a few photos from a recent adventure in the oh-so-beautiful Swiss Alps – enjoy the following few photos, featuring a bit of skiing at the lovely Villars-Gryon!

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