This is a photo of the Kjalvegur Road / Kjölur Route in Iceland which I shot using my Nikon D7000 a few weeks ago while my buddy Chris (@chrislovesadventure) and I were exploring the interior of the country. This route, sometimes referred to as the "Ghost Road," used to be the main road used by vikings to travel between the north and south of Iceland. Some legends say the Knights Templar hid the holy grail somewhere along the route . . . Before embarking on this journey it was highly recommend that we rent a vehicle with 4 wheel drive so we opted for a Toyota Land Cruiser which we picked up from Hertz Iceland. With a trusty map and compass in hand, we set out to circle the island. Once we made it back to Reykjavik we still had a bit of time left on the rental so we decided to check out this highland road through the interior. The route starts just after the massive Gullfoss waterfall and continues on to the Ringroad near Varmahliöand and passes between the Hofsjökull and Langjökull Glaciers (Temple Glacier and Long Glacier).
Recollections, reviews, discoveries, and future plans.
This is a short documentary that I first saw last year and happened to stumble upon it again a few minutes ago.
The photo below was taken about 15 minutes before the sun sank below the rim of the canyon walls. We started running in order to make as much progress as we could before it got dark. The backpacker running in the green shirt is Ryan, he grew up near Zion and was showing me around. Further in the distance you can barely see my friend Christine, she lives near Zion and we had been trying to coordinate this trip for about 3 years.
Last summer I decided to take a trip to Utah to explore Zion National Park. Over the years I had seen a lot of photos of Zion and decided that I needed to check it out in person. My original plan was to head out there in 2011 during a 4,000 mile solo road trip I was doing around the southwestern part of the U.S. Unfortunately I didn't have quite enough time to make it there and had to postpone. Finally at the end of May 2014 I had a bit of free time so I packed up my Saab wagon and drove from San Diego, CA to Saint George, UT. After about 6 and half hours I arrived, grabbed dinner, and met with a few locals I had befriended. The first day there I went on a solo hike to Three Ponds in Snow Canyon State Park. It was the beginning of June in the Utah desert so there definitely wasn't any snow in Snow Canyon and the 3 ponds turned out to be one small pool of stagnant water which was covered in dead flies. This was not the most pleasant thing to discover after trekking a few miles through really fine sand in 113°F/45°C heat.
A few days later I met with my new local friends and went to Zion. We did about a 5 mile hike in the morning that took us around one of the other parts of the park and then we headed to the Narrows after. I have to say The Narrows was definitely one of the most enjoyable hikes I've done. Not only is the terrain amazing, but hiking through the cool water in the shade while it's 100+ degrees out makes things much more pleasant. We probably hiked in about 3 miles and didn't start heading back until the sun was setting. Being in a canyon after dark was an interesting experience because it was pitch black, luckily I came prepared with my Petzl Headlamp. The downside to the headlamp was that it attracted a ton of Mayflies that started to circle my head so I eventually just used the headlamp like a regular flashlight.
The Heroes Project Feature Documentary, directed by Academy Award winner Freida Mock, is an inspiring story about strength, resilience, the human spirit and the ability to triumph over the impossible. It weaves together the story of seven men, all single or double amputees, who served their country with honor. Faced with catastrophic injuries these ordinary young men attempt the extraordinary – to climb the highest mountains of every continent in the world.
Isaac, a double amputee from Michigan, who goes down under to Australia to tackle Mt. Kosciuszco in the middle of a severe winter storm.
Brad, a double amputee from Phoenix, who just 8 months after his injuries climbs Mt. Aconcagua in South America, the 6th tallest of the 7 Summits.
Kionte, a single amputee from Stockton, CA who climbs the highest peak in frigid Antarctica.
Mark, a double amputee from Michigan, climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Matt, a single amputee from the flats of N. Carolina, climbs the highest mountain in North America, Mt. Denali.
Keith, an above the knee amputee from Colorado who climbs Mt. Elbrus in Russia, the highest mountain in all of Europe.
And Charlie, a single amputee from Boise, ID who sets his sights on the top of the world, Mt. Everest.
For these seven, facing a challenge that demands something deeply human in themselves, what motivates and inspires them on this heroic journey of recovery?
I think this project is worth getting behind and I'm pretty shocked and disappointed that it hasn't reached or surpassed its fundraising goal yet. The guys involved with this project are all real American Heroes that made huge sacrifices beyond what most of us can comprehend. They fought the good fight during the war and are bringing that fight home to take on each of their individual challenges head on. Tim Medvetz is a former Hell's Angel and founder of the Heroes Project, he seems like a pretty solid guy and he's really doing a great thing by honoring and helping all the troops that were wounded during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately our nation has a short attention span and we tend to quickly forget all of those that put their lives on the line for our country, which is why I respect guys like Tim that make sure we don't forget. Regardless of your political beliefs or your opinion of the wars, you can't deny that this is a worthy cause. It should be viewed as something inspiring, because that's exactly what it is. Each of these guys has overcome serious injuries and gone way beyond the typical recovery, they've conquered their challenges by climbing the highest peaks on each of the 7 continents. Most healthy individuals with all 4 functioning limbs can't even do that.
We all go through struggles in life, most of them petty and occasionally some that are serious, but we should look at guys like my friend Mark Zambon and realize that those problems shouldn't stop us from living our lives and challenging ourselves everyday. Mark is the retired Marine that climbed Kilimanjaro after losing both of his legs in Afghanistan AND he's now training for the 2016 Paralympics! He's a truly inspirational individual and one of the most upbeat people I know. I did an ocean swim with him one night awhile back and it was a challenge for me to keep up with him. It's hearing stories like his and those of the other guys featured in the documentary that helped me get through my injuries and recovery process after a terrible car accident a few years ago. I broke a bunch of bones and partially tore both of my carotid arteries. The bones have since healed, but after 4 and half years the arteries still haven't. The injuries were pretty serious, but there wasn't a single moment when I felt down about my situation because I knew it wasn't anything compared to what others have been through. I realized if guys like the ones involved with this project can climb that tallest peaks in the world, I should have no right to complain or even take a moment to dwell.
If you have a moment, I'd really appreciate it if you would take the time to watch their Kickstarter video, donate something if you can, and please help spread the word because there are only a few days left of the campaign and if they don't reach their funding goal they won't get any of the money.