Founded in 2016 by Jon Yazzie and Nadine Johnson, DziłTa’ah Adventures runs bike and packraft tours from their home base in the town of Kayenta inside the Navajo Nation. While we’ve documented multiple experiences with the nascent outfitter – including Hunt’s Mesa, John’s Canyon, Yellow Dirt routes, and others – getting the business off the ground hasn’t been easy for John and Nadine. Last winter, Josh Weinberg reconnected with Jon, along with a group of photographers including Chris Burkard, Jeremy Bishop, and Murray Smith for an unforgettable tour along one of DziłTa’ah Adventures’ most popular routes to learn about what’s next for their guiding operation…
For the final installment of our coverage documenting the Forgotten Coast Route – a bikerafting trip connecting all of Iceland’s southern coast – expedition photographer Ryan Hill writes a series of short stories recounting some memorable moments from the media team’s point of view. Follow along with Ryan and the rest of the team which includes videographers Bryan “Bobcat” Davis, Jeremy Bishop, and Icelander Sigurdur “Sigi’ Petur.
The Forgotten Coast Route starts in the small eastern Iceland town of Djúpivogur and traverses 300 miles over mostly continuous beaches, spits, ocean islands, and sandbars, to the town of Thorlakshofn. Using a combination of fatbikes and packrafts Chris Burkard, Steve “Doom” Fassbender, and Cameron Lawson navigated a portion of Iceland’s coast seldom seen. With over 40 river crossings and covering some of the windiest and weather-riddled parts of Iceland’s coastlines, the route presented serious challenges for the team.
Below are a series of daily, first-hand accounts of the expedition. These daily journals are based on interviews with Chris Burkard and written by trip photographer Ryan Hill.
Iceland’s South Coast is one of the island’s most visited zones, but its beaches are seldom seen. It sounds like an audacious claim, but with 49 rivers strewn across the island’s southern beaches, this famous stretch boasts hundreds of miles of rarely explored coastline, with access being its biggest challenge. The goal of Chris Burkard’s “Forgotten Coast” trip is to link them all in one route, using a combination of fatbikes, to travel across its black sands and pack-rafts, to cross the rivers that break up these stretches of sand.
Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
Below are a series of stories from a trip Gus Morton took across Iceland during winter on a fat bike with his friends Chris Burkard and Rebecca Rusch. They are reflections of what he was thinking and feeling in a particular moment and by no means an accurate account of the reality of any situation. Reflections which, as those present will likely attest, were probably far less dramatic.
The table has a basket of homemade hot rolls; some with dried fruit, some with seeds, all with a bit of salt. There are two loaves of hot fresh bread, wrapped in towels and a plate of cheese– local paprika and pepper sheep’s cheese, brie, gorgonzola, sliced Havarti with labels for different percentages of fat. There’s sliced ham and salami, hot scrambled eggs with herbs, bacon, and butter. There are sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, red bell pepper and pickled fish, a plate of fresh fruit– slices of melon, pineapple, grapes, apples, and oranges, all perfectly ripe. There’s thick Icelandic yogurt, a carafe of coffee, and containers of juice. There’s cereal and milk and homemade jam.
Wind in your face, wind at your back, pockets of light, sideways rain, hot springs, wild blueberries, glaciers, Arctic fox, sheep laying on the thermally heated roads, waffles and whip cream– this is the Iceland I’ve seen from the bike and we’ve only been here for three days. I’ve heard about a volcano erupting in the past year, polar bears floating on ice from Greenland to the north coast of the Island in the past ten years and a pregnant cow that swam 2km across a fjord to escape the slaughterhouse. The substance of legends, these stories are actually true. This place is dynamic. Volcanoes and lava create new land. The wind and rain create new lakes. This place is constantly changing and you feel it while you ride through it.
As a supplement to the Reportage we hosted from Chris Burkard, Emily Batty, Eric Batty, and Adam Morka’s trans-Icelandic route is this beautiful video, dubbed “A Line in the Sand”. Enjoy!
Do you remember the crazy trans-Icelandic voyage featuring our friend Chris Burkard from last month? Well, we’d like to give his video UNNUR a shout out here. Enjoy this somber piece on your Friday afternoon!
“Elli Thor is an Icelandic photographer, surfer, and former kayaker. A decade ago Elli nearly drowned under a waterfall while kayaking a challenging Icelandic river. The near death experience became a catalyst for personal growth and his professional career. After walking away from kayaking, a newfound passion for surfing and the birth of his daughter Unnur gave him a new perspective worth living for.”
Editor’s intro: I’ve long been inspired by the work of Chris Burkard, particularly his work in Iceland, so when I saw he had taken up bikepacking and was about to embark on a crazy tour across Iceland’s interior, I reached out to see if he’d be willing to share his story. Read on below for an intro by Chris and an interview…