In our upcoming series of blog posts featuring Craghoppers ambassadors, you’ll get to know the people that we’re proud to work with on their adventures and pursuits. Whether they venture abroad to snap that elusive award-winning travel photo, or work with scientists to learn more about our outdoor environment and how to preserve it, we will be sharing their lives with you regularly on our blog. This month, our focus is shifting to photographer and adventurer, Brandon Eckroth.
“It didn’t take a week in Iceland or a month traveling through Europe to capture beautiful moments. All it took was 36 hours of adventuring through my own backyard.”
Being a landscape and adventure photographer, it’s hard not to constantly desire traveling to the next remote location or climbing the next mountain in search of more beautiful, expansive, pristine views. Often times I have found those expansive views to be exactly that – expansive, empty. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to calm those desires a bit and have come to the realisation that it isn’t always necessarily the location or the view, but rather the moments shared while at that location that make a photo memorable and meaningful.
It’s the moments shared that make the views full.
Because of this realization, I make it a point in my weeks to find the beauty in my own backyard (or pretty close to my backyard) and share it with some incredible people. Living in Minneapolis, Minnesota there is an infinite amount of concrete and quite a lack of nature – but what’s so great about living in this city is you can pack up your car and be in a completely different world in a matter of two short hours heading north on I-35.
Heading to Minnesota Mountain
My girlfriend, Nikita, and I decided to pack up our car one weekend for a little escape from the city. We woke up early and headed north. As she held my hand and slept most of the way, I enjoyed watching the rising sun to my right glistening on the snow-covered trees. We stopped at the iconic Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, Minnesota – just north of Duluth. After having our fill of breakfast food and a piece of blueberry pie, we headed to our first hike of the day.
We arrived at a parking lot at the bottom of a Minnesota mountain (also known as a large hill) and started to hike up the trail that lead to the where the icy cliffs of the North Shore met Lake Superior. Peering out into the expanse of the lake you can’t help but feel like you’re standing at the edge of the ocean. We held hands and looked down. Nearly 300 feet below us the icy waves crashed against the rocks. We could almost feel the chill of the water hitting our faces.
Stopping in at Lake Superior
Our next stop was Shovel Point – a short hike through the trees to another lookout over the great inland sea of Lake Superior. The sun was beginning to set so we stood there and watched it for a while, letting the winter sun warm our bodies a little bit.
Grand Marais was our final destination for the night, but we made one more stop in Lutsen to watch the sun finish fading the sky from blue to purple and pink. We walked up to the coast and put our boots in the icy shores of Lake Superior, trying to pretend we were at a beach and it was 80 degrees instead of 8. It kind of worked. Once we finally reached Grand Marais, we checked into our motel, went to grab some food, and called it a night.
The next morning we woke up to the sun shining bright and the ice of Lake Superior floating with the waves just outside our window. We took it slow, grabbed brunch and some coffee and began our travels home. We made a slight detour and headed to Finland, Minnesota to explore a bit of the inland forests this state has. It was a beautiful drive filled with countless photo stops and endless snow-dusted pines. Our drive along those icy roads will be one I remember forever.
Like I said, it’s not necessarily the expansiveness or the pristine-ness of a location that makes it beautiful, it’s the moments you share and the people you share them with.
Head over to Instagram to keep up with Brandon’s adventures