This Camera Bag is a Chameleon Adapting to All My Adventures

This shapeshifting camera backpack can adapt to almost every adventure, no matter what I’m shooting or where.

I’m not much of a gear head. Some people love talking about gear. That’s totally fine it’s just not usually a huge talking point for me. Here’s why.

If I’m fixated on the gear I’m using and the equipment I do or don’t have with me, I’m probably not as focussed as I should be on creating. Thats why, for me, the perfect piece of gear is something you don’t have to think about at all. Something that adapts to you, your adventures, and your environment.

I’ve had the F-Stop Ajna 40L Camera Bag for about 7 months now. In the Rockies, that’s all 4 seasons ha! I’ve used it as my primary camera bag in a variety of settings. From glaciers in the dead of winter, to valleys in the middle of summer. I’ve used the Ajna camera bag on photo commissions, and video commissions.

My loadout is always changing from shoot to shoot. Depending on the primary goal, the trip type, the weather, the season, etc. I can think of almost no scenario where the Ajna wouldn’t thrive.

What’s in the Bag?

Camera Equipment

On a typical photo/video shoot I usually have two full frame camera bodies, a 35mm 2.8 prime. A 24-70 f2.8, a wide angle f4. Mavic 2 Pro. Ten spare batteries. A spare mavic battery. Two GoPros. a Rode shotgun mic. A Rode LAV set, and miscellaneous camera accessories like tape, cleaning supplies, microfibre cloths.

Outdoor Equiptment

On any given shoot, I will always carry a lightweight Gore-tex rain shell, and a down puffy. Weather is unpredictable and a rain jacket and insulation might be the only thing keeping you alive in an emergency.

I also always have lightweight gloves, two buffs, and a light wool touque. This might vary depending on the location or season. However I always include this when I’m home in the Rockies. It can be 30 degrees in the valley and 0 degrees on the mountain.

10 Tips For Shooting Into The Sun For Dramatic Images

In addition to that, I also have a first aid kit with essentials. Emergency gear repair kit. A small foam seat-pad (luxury among mountain people). Snacks or meals depending on my expected time out. 2-4L of water. As well as a map, compass, and emergency communications device.


Variations to this, or add-ons might include helmets, rope, a tent, hiking poles etc. This all really depends on the specific kind of shoot, and what I’m shooting.

What’s great about the Ajna camera bag is that I don’t have to have one bag just for climbing, another bag for snowshoeing, another one for backpacking, I can just change the way I load the straps gear straps and the bag just adapts to whatever it is I’m doing.


The only limitations I can imagine for the Ajna – yet haven’t personally experienced – is the load capacity for multi-day winter objectives like ski-mountaineering, winter backpacking trips, or anything involving the need to carry winter camping equipment and winter layers.

In my experience, I wouldn’t ever be able to have all of my camera equipment and all of the extra insulation and camping gear fit into 40L. I would probably need something closer to 80L (mind you, I would only use about 70L of 80L – I prefer to have extra room for ease of access).

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Photos and words by Ryan Richardson.

What Adventure Can Teach Us About Beating Covid-19

It’s true, Covid-19 is not an adventure in the traditional sense of the word. Covid-19 is not recreational. It is not something we can opt out of. However, there are a lot of parallels to current circumstances. What can adventure teach us about beating Covid-19?

Adventure // Noun // Meaning // an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks. – Websters Dictionary

It’s true, Covid-19 is not an adventure in the traditional sense of the word. Covid-19 is not recreational. It is not something we can opt out of. However, there are a lot of parallels to current circumstances. What can adventure teach us about beating Covid-19?

Rock climber Yvon Chouinard – , has his own definition of the word. “Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”

When I think of the definition of adventure, I might imagine an arctic explorer canoeing down an unexplored tributary, or a mountain climber attempting to make the first ascent on a glaciated summit.

Recently, my idea of adventure has shifted. The spike of adrenaline usually reserved for climbing or mountain running, I now experience when shopping for groceries at the local Safeway.

Reflecting back on my own more fond memories of adventure – less daunting in reality than my imagined definitions above – I can underline specific ideas that have always guided me along my journeys.

The first, matter of perspective. Theologian Desmond Tutu said “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time. Or as Mark Twain said – In a metaphor where no elephants were harmed – “One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.”

When climbing a mountain, I will often give myself “mini goals”. First climbing to the boulder 100 meters ahead, then the spruce tree another 100 meters after that, then the ridge 100 meters beyond the spruce. Smaller goals keep you moving forwards. Fixating on the mountain top can sometimes be paralyzing.

Example Covid-19 Translation – Today my mountain is surviving lockdown. Instead of focusing on an unknown date where the lockdown might be lifted in the future though, I’m focusing on the present. Hyper focussed on the macro instead of the micro. How I make today the greatest possible day?

The second, overcoming adversity. Adversity is ever present – or at best recurring – during any adventure. Mountain climber Ed Viesturs wrote “The trick is to find a way of converting adversity into something positive, a challenge to look forward to.”

A detour adding miles to a lengthy trek doesn’t have to be discouraging. Many detours have facilitated brand new opportunities to enjoy the sight of a lush meadow full of wildflowers or wildlife sightings that I otherwise would have been certain to miss.

Example Covid-19 Translation – In search of new creative outlets I’ve reignited my passion for music and guitar playing. Intentionally diving into the outlets available to me instead of focusing on the creative outlets currently out of reach.

Thirdly, Stress management. Astronaut Chris Hadfield says the greatest coping mechanism for potential stressors is knowledge. “If you can pick out what exactly the danger is, you can focus on understanding that. It’s tremendously calming and reinforcing.”

Durning any adventure, safety is always the chief concern. Everyone involved assesses the hazards, and potential emergency scenarios – like which friend to sacrifice in a bear encounter. After investigating all possible hazards and scenarios, the team then implements safeguards to ensure that these scenarios never take place, and if they do anyways, everyone is prepared.

Example Covid-19 Translation – Being educated about the disease is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones. Once you’ve implement safeguards and devised plans. You can rest easy in knowing that you have massively improved the situation and it’s many possible outcomes.

Por cuartos, Resourcefulness not resources. During most adventures, you rely fully on everything you brought with you. Relying on your own ingenuity and resourcefulness might be the only way to adapt and progress.

You might not have the tools you wish you had for the circumstance you now find yourself in. Straps break, tires pop, weather changes, what now? When you don’t have the luxury of access or unlimited resources, you’re forced to find creative solutions.

Example Covid-19 Translation – If I want to leave this lockdown ready to tackle exciting new adventures, I need to stay fit. Being confined to a small apartment, I don’t have a lot of resources for pumping iron or working on my endurance. Yet, with only a few bands and two free weights, I’m managing to have some of the best workouts of my life.

Lastly, bringing it back to my favourite definition of adventure by Chouinard “Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”

“Certainly not as the same person” – This adventure will change you. There’s no going back to how things were. What does that look like? I’m sure nobody knows yet. Be intentional about the person you wish to be on the other side of this.

There’s two ways to look at this detour in our trek. We can either look at it discouraged by the added miles, or optimistically at the opportunities to discover our own wildflower meadows we otherwise would have been certain to miss.

Life Outside Podcast: Jonas Beyer Wildlife Photographer

Today we chatting with wildlife photographer Jonas Beyer. I first met Jonas in 2018 in Northern Norway where we went free diving with orca and humpback whales. His approach to guiding and sensitivity towards wildlife was really special. I really admired Jonas’ awareness of the animal’s well-being. His sensitivity towards animals make his stunning images that much more impressive. Today we’re going to talk about what it’s like living in Greenland and what it takes to get some of those images.

Jonas Beyer is a wildlife photographer living in eastern Greenland. Regularly exploring his polar backyard where he photographs rarely seen arctic wildlife and shares his experiences online through social media. Jonas’ work has been featured in National Geographic and his respectful and gentle approach for photographing wildlife has earned him the opportunity to take clients on photography trips from around the world.

I first met Jonas in 2018 in Northern Norway where we experienced free diving with orca and humpback whales together. His approach to guiding and his sensitivity towards wildlife really made an impression on me. I really admired Jonas’ awareness of the animal’s well-being. They make his incredible photos that much more impressive!

How do you manage to work and explore during the polar night while living in the arctic over winter?

I wake up early, get to the gym for a workout. We work about 5 days a week, when the weekend comes around I try to get outside. During the polar nights, the stars and the moonlight, and snow is incredible. I still get out and go hiking a little bit, and just getting fresh air.

What’s it like exploring Greenland alone, aren’t you worried about the wildlife and Polar Bears?

Polar bears are definitely out there, and there is always a concern. However, it’s actually the musk ox I’m a little more worried about. The musk ox can actually be very territorial. I can usually tell if a polar bear will be a problem or not. If the bears are running away, that’s a good indicator they’re afraid of humans. If they’re too curios, if they haven’t run away, it’s probably too curious for me to be around them.

Tell me about Uganda, what’s special about Uganda?

The funny thing about me and planning those trips is, it’s never about the country, it’s about the animals. It’s the animals that make me want to go. I really wanted to see the silver back gorillas.

The gorillas are just so – I don’t know what it is about them. They’re so fascinating and so strong, and so… human-like. The way they sit down and use their fingers and peel back the sticks. They even roll their eyes the way people do.

What lights the fire in you and makes you light up when you’re shooting these animals, what is it about these particular animals?

I’m a total newbie in these environments, I’m an easy target for these animals. However, to have them accept me and let them take their photos and share those experiences, it’s definitely the biggest reason.

Even just the little hares in Greenland can just be so cute, and funny looking and fight with other rabbits. It seems so stupid, but when I get the photo I’m so excited.

When it comes to wildlife photography, not everyone puts the animals first. Some people can be really irresponsible. What is the best way to protect the animal’s interests?

Education and word of mouth is important. When I have my clients out on the water, I’ll teach them about the animals and why we approach the wildlife the way that we do.

Unfortunately not every tour operator does this. There are also some regulations and by-laws which help enforce these rules. I’m sure the government will continue to add more rules and regulations.

How do you find responsible tour guides or operators?

My first time out to Norway, I did a scouting trip to explore some of the operators and some of my touring options. A lot of them were great, but none of them were offering exactly what I was looking for.

Tourism is a big way to make money, but I would rather pay a little bit extra and have operators more focussed on the animals and respecting nature. I think it’s just a lot of research, what kind of photos they post on their webpage.

Word of mouth is also great. Having someone refer you to another friend when they know you’ll get along with the guide. You should definitely chat with operators and simply ask how they respect the approach of these animals.

What’s your setup like typically?

I normally buy a lot of extra luggage. Norway is really expensive because I have 5 luggages full of underwater gear, swimming gear, regular clothing, camera equipment.

I have three underwater housing units. I usually have a wide-angle on and ready to shoot. I have a zoom on a 1DX III on another camera in another house. I also use a Canon EOSR mirrorless for vloging and behind the scenes. I’ve been uploading to youtube for fun, it’s fun bring a few people on these journey’s with me.

I’ve also started using organizer bags with transparent lids for my camera bag. That’s helped me keep everything organized and easy to find when I’m searching for particular loose items in my camera bag like a GoPro clip or battery.

Peak Design just made a new travel tripod that’s also a game changer.

What’s one piece of advice you might share to an upcoming wildlife photographer?

Don’t be in a rush to take those great animal photos. Have a lot of patience, learn the in and outs of your camera and and the buttons. Go focus on one specific thing and get good at that. It’s easy to get distracted on Instagram.

Just do it, go out and shoot and get comfortable with your camera. If something really crazy happens in front of you and you’re not hitting the right buttons and miss the shot, it’s so frustrating. Know your buttons.

You can see Jonas Beyer’s work on Instagram, and his behind the scenes videos on his youtube.

Getting The Shot: Episode 1 Alberta Ice Caves With Stevin Tuchiwsky

You probably haven’t seen this side of Alberta before. Stevin Tuchiwsky takes us on a journey into Ice Caves, behind frozen waterfalls, and on frozen lakes.

Stevin snowshoes his way towards the toe of the glacier in Jasper National Park where we hope to find hidden ice caves.
Ryan asking Stevin some questions about the glacier and what he hoped to find as we were getting closer to the toe of the glacier (seen in the background).
Stevin spotted an ice bridge that must have formed as the glacier receded during the summer months. This ice bridge was a sort of entrance to where we would later find some cracks in the glacier. As I walked under the bridge, Stevin snapped this frame as we went deeper into the glacier.
The shapes of the ice bridge from the other side were otherworldly. Stevin gained a little bit of elevation by climbing up the glacier to get a higher perspective. He then asked me to walk back and forth along the ice for his composition, giving a sense of scale.
Stevin spent a few minutes assessing the scene, looking for different angle and perspectives before we move deep into the glacier.
After shooting the ice bridge we began looking for ways to get inside the glacier. Stevin found little cracks in the ice then followed them down below the surface. This small crack in particular opened up into a massive ice cathedral.
Stevin climbed down to the bottom of the glacier where he set up his tripod, preparing for a long exposure photo. The light was so limited in the caves, he relied on slower shutter speeds to allow enough light onto his camera’s sensor.
The entire scene was backlit by a sliver of light that came in from the surface. Stevin used the sliver of light to light up the entire scene. Many of his frames were 20-30 second exposures. Asking me to stand in the frame for scale, I stood as still as possible as Stevin took multiple exposures.
Before leaving the ice cave, I snapped this photo of Stevin just as he was exiting the small crack towards the surface and towards the light.
On our way to Nordegg AB, we made a stop at Panther Falls in Banff National Park. Stevin had never been to the frozen waterfall in the middle of the night before. He had a vision for photographing the frozen waterfall. Stevin wanted me to stand in the middle of the frame with a headlamp. As I lit the backside of the frozen waterfall, he snapped a long exposure. The long exposure allowed the headlamp to light the entire frame.
As Stevin says in Getting The Shot Episode 1, “Sleep takes a backseat to everything when you’re a photographer”. We had a few hours of sleep before heading to Abraham Lake where we hoped to find interesting methane bubbles frozen in the Ice.
As the sun began lighting the sky, we realized there were more interesting subjects to photograph than the famous methane bubbles. Watch the episode below to learn what we found.

12 Binge Worthy Adventure Series You Should Be Watching Right Now

Take your mind off the craziness for a while and treat yourself to these rad series.

Photo by Cody Townsend.

The Fifty Project – Cody Townsend is a pro free-skier attempting to ski the 50 classic descents across North America. Each episode takes you inside the process of not only skiing down these epic couloirs, but the process of getting there safely.

Watch on Youtube.

Photo by Netflix.

The Horn – Zermatt is one of the busiest mountain communities in the world. Access to the alpine is ridiculously easy. That means there’s a lot of accidents and a lot of rescues. This series is raw and uncensored. It’s a great reminder of what can happen in the mountains if you’re not careful.

Watch on Netflix.

Photo by RedBull Media House.

The Fourth Phase – The biggest snowboard production in history. Traveling along the Pacific weather cycle from Japan, Kamchatka, Alaska, and finally the Tetons. The making of this production is nothing short of extraordinary. This series is an eye opener of what it takes to film in remote locations.

Watch on RedBull TV.

Photo by Netflix.

Night On Earth – Until recently, no one could have imagined camera technology being so advanced that we can literally film scenes in the dark. Because the animal kingdom is so active after dark, this is an amazing way to see how animals truly behave.

Photo by Netflix.

Night On Earth Shot In The Dark – Behind the scenes of how these filmmakers managed to capture some of the most stunning wildlife shots ever recorded.

Photo by National Geographic.

The Big Freeze – Northern Canada really gets its’ moment in the limelight with National Geographic’s The Big Freeze. Recorded at the edge of the Canadian Arctic where the ocean freezes.

Watch on Youtube.

Photo by National Geographic.

The Making Of The Big Freeze – Wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory films this series in one of the most remote regions on the planet. The making of this mini series is almost more incredible than the series itself!

Watch on Youtube.

Photo by Salmon.

Salomon Freeski Tv – This series is like the perfect background series to have on all day long. It’s kind of like having Friends playing in the background while you clean, cook and chill. The visuals just get better and better after every season and episode. Once you’re finished this series you’ll feel like you’ve traveled the world twice over.

Watch on Youtube.

Photo by National Geographic.

America’s National Parks – We can’t all be at these National Parks all the time. This series is a great escape.

Watch on Disney+.

Photo by Joonas Mattila.

Endless Winter – The problem with chasing snow around the world is that your carbon footprint contributes to the melting of it. If we plan to ski powder forever, there must be a way to do it without the negative side-effects of travel.

Watch on Youtube.

Photo by National Geographic.

Life Below Zero – Granted, this series is a little unimpressive if you live in Canada like we do. As I write this, it’s 30 degrees below zero in Alberta. It’s mid March. For those of us not fortunate enough to live so far north of the equator, this is a great series shining a light on how remote communities and people live off the grid and brave the cold.

Watch On Netflix.

Photo by Getting The Shot – Stevin Tuchiwsky

Getting The Shot – We’ve only just produced the first episode, however we will be filming new episode monthly. If you haven’t watched the premiere, check it out! If you have, subscribe to our youtube channel and make sure you have the bell turned on so you get a notification as the next episodes get released.

Watch on Youtube.

Let us know some series we might have missed on this list. What are you watching?

Comment below.

8 Gift Ideas for the Photographer In Your Life From $18 to $366

A lot of pro and amateur photographers alike have tons photography equipment and gear. Finding gifts for photographers can be overwhelming, we’re here to help!

A lot of pro and amateur photographers alike have tons photography equipment and gear. Finding gifts for photographers can be overwhelming, we’re here to help!

Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap $67

I actually have three of these straps. So even if the photographer in your already has one, I can personally vouch that they can use one more.

Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis $18

Everybody should read this book, especially a photographer though! Chase Jarvis as adventure photographer – entrepreneur and his stories are guaranteed to light a fire of inspiration!

F-Stop Gear Ajna Backpack $340

Even if the photographer in your life already has a camera bag, it isn’t this one. The Ajna backpack is the Cadillac of outdoor photography packs. It climbs, hikes, overnights, travels, you name it.

Paul Nicklen’s Born to Ice $78

Photographers are usually pretty focused on their own work. However, there are legendary photographers out there who have the power to inspire almost everybody. Paul Nicklen is such a photographer. Born to Ice is his life’s work, and it’s an incredible one.

Jimmy Chin’s Master Class $120

The camera wielding legend behind the Free Solo documentary has an in depth and incredibly valuable course on Learning from a living legend has never been so easy.

DJI Osmo Action $366

The first action camera with a forward facing screen. This action cam takes selfies to an entirely new level.

Hydro-Flask Thermos $57

First rule of photography – coffee first.

Micro SD Cards $50

If there were anything a photographer couldn’t have enough of, micro SD cards is it.

10 Tips for Shooting Into the Sun for Dramatic Images

They won’t teach you this in photography school. Here’s 9 tips for shooting into the sun for dramatic images and how to do it right.

People are often surprised when they ask me, “where did you go to school to learn photo and film?” – then I respond by explaining I’m 100% self taught. Trial by fire. Here’s the thing though, there’s a reason I didn’t go to school to learn tricks of the trade. Shooting into the sun was the biggest reason. Let me explain.

When I began entertaining the idea of a career in photo and film I started looking into school. I spoke to some profs. I looked at some course outlines. Something caught my eye. “Using natural light and avoid shooting into the sun”. This made no sense to me.

I hadn’t been shooting long at the time but I knew that the images I loved most were almost always backlit (the key light is directly behind the subject). It was one factor among many, but I just knew school wouldn’t be for me after I learned more about it. I’ve never looked back, and some of my favourite photos are still shot right into the sun. Here’s how to do it right. (Not according to traditional schools).

1. Make Blue Bird Days More Interesting.

Shooting into the sun is a great way to make an otherwise high contrast and harshly lit photo into a more interesting and dynamic photo.

Queen Mary Basecamp in Kluane National Park, Yukon. by Ryan Richardson

2. Create Silhouettes by Exposing to the Sky in Low Light.

Silhouettes are dramatic and timeless. Exposing to the brightest part of your composition will under expose your subject when backlit by the sun.

Shot in the remote Highlands of Iceland during Crossing Iceland Expedition. By Ryan Richardson

3. Create a “Sun Burst” Effect by Closing Your Aperture.

Closing your aperture to F/11 – F/16 will create a sun burst effect giving the sun in your photo more shape and definition. Don’t forget to position the sun against something like a rock, tree, horizon, person, etc. The sun burst will look more dramatic if you have it “breaking” against an object or subject in your image.

Taken by Ryan Richardson in remote Utah during a recreational trail run.

4. Try Under Exposing and Pulling Shadows Out in Post.

Even if you’re not creating a silhouette, try under exposing a little and then pulling out your shadows in post. There’s more information in lowlight than highlights. That means you can still have a lot of detail in your shot even after pulling your shadows and the sky looks totally natural just as you shot it.

Cross-country skiing in Milton, ON shot by Ryan Richardson

5. Using Shallow Depth of Field for Real Lens Flares.

Tasteful sometimes in Hollywood, but almost never done well in photography is lens flares. Make sure your lens is spotless, and your aperture is wide open. For best results you want a fast lens like a 2.8 or 1.8.

Product shoot for Wuxly Movement shot by Ryan Richardson

6. Applying Other Rules to Your Composition.

Don’t forget to still consider rules like “leading lines”, or “rule of thirds”. Including traditional rules while intentionally breaking other traditional rules is a recipe for interesting photos.

ACMG Yamnuska Mountain Guide demonstrates ice climbing during the Southern Ontario Ice Festival on assignment for Arc’teryx in Northern Ontario. Photo by Ryan Richardson.

7. Shoot Into the Sun After the Sun Sets.

Using leftover available light it a great way to create dramatic photos. Try exposing to subject and blowing out the highlights a little bit. This technique looks great in the winter when you can see a person’s breath, or ice particles in the air.

Athlete portrait shoot in Milton ON.

8. Celebrate Over Exposing Subjects.

This is of course the exact opposite of under exposing your subject like previously mentioned. Obviously variety is the key. Try a little bit of everything.

Shot on assignment by Ryan Richardson during Trans Namibia Expedition. Namibia, Africa.

9. Pay Attention to the Way the Sun-Light Wraps Around Other Elements in Your Photo.

Watching the sun interact with other elements like people, and foreground is the coolest thing for me. I just love watching the way the sun makes interest shapes and colours around the environment as it sets behind the horizon.

Shot on assignment in remote Africa. Photo by Ryan Richardson.

10. “Paint” Your Subjects in Post.

When you expose to the sky you’ll be under exposing your subjects. Know your camera and it’s capabilities in post. The more megapixels the better in this case. Make local shadow adjustments by painting your subjects to your desired exposure. In this photo I pulled the shadows on Hailey and I and lifted the exposure.

Couple hiking on coast Georgian Bay on the Bruce Trail.
Shot on a multi-day hike on the Bruce Peninsula in northern Ontario.

Thru Hiking the East Coast Trail

A photo essay of my thru hike along the (ECT) East Coast Trail (220km) in Newfoundland.

A photo essay of my thru hike along the (ECT) East Coast Trail (220km) in Newfoundland. I hope these photos transport you to the east coast where myself, my partner, my Mom, and my mom’s best friend Anna attempted to thru hike the length of the ECT.

Three hikers walking past iceberg.

We began our thru hike from the south, starting in Cappahayden. As soon as we arrived to the trailhead we almost immediately spotted Icebergs off in the distance.

Hiker setting up tents near ocean.

We pitched our tents near Cappahayden where we would get a full night’s rest before beginning the our thru hike the next day.

Hiker traveling on trail.

We lucked out on weather the first day. It was reported to be the warmest day of the season so far. We had heard horror stories of how wet and technical this section of trail was. We were happy to be travelling this section with favourable conditions.

Three hikers walk alongside ocean.

The next day a thick fog rolled in off the Atlantic. The fog acted as air conditioning, the temperatures dropped considerably. Most of the views along the coast were left to our imagination. The fog was so thick we could rarely see the ocean.

Two hikers walk through fog.

The following day the cold fog had turned into a cold rain. Much of the trail was exposed to the open ocean making the wind another challenging element.

Three hikers walking in rain.

It was never the wind that slowed us down though, just the trail itself. The trail was a small single track hardly wide enough to fit our packs through in places. The trail was almost always slightly slanted towards to ocean, and it was never straight or level. It was some of the most challenging terrain I had ever walked on.

We were never given any trail names. I suppose because we never saw any hikers on the trails.

Hikers in cabin eating food.

A local introduced himself as we walked through his town and invited us to stay at his cabin along the trail. East coast hospitality is unlike anywhere else. You can expect most locals to invite you into their home for tea, water, and even dinner. As if that isn’t kind enough, we had locals offer up their home, and even buy us a case of beer.

Hiker next to dirty trail shoes.

Our gear finally had the opportunity to dry out before we hit the trail again.

Hikers walking up muddy trail.

I wish I could say the sun made an appearance again so soon. However, the rain continued and the trails became more and more difficult to navigate.

Hikers walking through bushes.

Finally, the fog burnt up in the sun’s rays. It was never as beautiful as our first day on the trail again. However, after almost four days of rain we felt as if we were on a beach in Mexico.

Hikers alongside ocean.

The ECT traveled out into the ocean along capes that would poke out into the ocean. We would walk along these capes until they eventually led back into little inlets where towns and villages were located. Nearly 75% of the trail was entirely wilderness.

Hiker walking near small village.

The villages were home to as few as a dozen people. I couldn’t help but wonder how beautiful these little inlets would look under a fresh dusting of snow in the winter.

Two hikers walking away from small village.

Hailey and I were leaving directly to Iceland from Newfoundland. Our legs began giving out, our back and shoulders were in agony. The anticipation of hopping on a plane to thru hike across the entire country of Iceland was beginning to worry us.

Hiker walking at sunset near ocean.

After thru hiking 170 km, all four of us decided to end our hike. With 50 km to go before reach St. Johns. We felt as though we could physically finish the ECT thru hike. However, we knew the cost be too high, there’s no way we could begin our thru hike in Iceland in such rough shape only a few days later.

Hiker walks alongside ocean and island.

Thru hiking the ECT is truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. Like so many places, it’s the adventure that draws us, but it’s the people and the culture that brings as back again and again. I can’t wait until I’m back in Newfoundland.