Having just passed his 50th birthday, my friend Kerry Winston Ward is planning on writing a book about how to live a full life. He is the perfect person to do that as there are very few people who live lives fuller than his. Since my retirement in 2015 my life has been pretty adventurous by most standards, but when I look back at what I have done over the past couple of years a very sizable portion of my adventures have involved Kerry. On the other side of that coin, Kerry’s adventures that I have partaken in are only a very tiny fraction of what he has been up to in that time.
If one has access to Kerry’s Facebook photos, then one can see the incredible scope of what Kerry is up to on a regular basis. I counted 132 albums, each filled with photos from another major escapade and representing travel all around the world.
When I retired in July, 2015, Kerry had a problem. One of his running buddies had invited a group of other ultra runners to help him celebrate his 40th birthday in Iceland where they would all run an ultramarathon. Kerry’s plan was to get there early, rent a camper van, spend 10 days driving around Iceland, and then run the race. He was going to share costs with another friend, but that friend had to back out at the last minute. I, however, was finally free from servitude and was able to step in and replace him.
During our first few days of traveling I quickly became acquainted with one of the most salient features of Kerry’s personality. That is the irrepressible desire he has to climb on top of anything he can. He quickly found out that Iceland was the perfect location for him as there usually was no one around who could tell him “No”. Statues, sculptures, boats, obelisks, etc. were some of the features that we encountered and he mounted. Rare indeed was the perfect perch that Kerry passed by without at least some consideration!
On our fifth day there we were driving through the Fjordlands, and in the Fjordlands the coast road (aka, the only road) encounters many a fjord. We would drive down one side of the fjord until we go to a crossing at the narrow end, and then back up the other side. Most of the crossings were at these dinky little one-lane bridges (Einbreið brú in Icelandic), but that day we came upon a more substantial span. It was kinda long, kinda high, and supported by arches of tubular steel about a meter in diameter. Kerry’s eyes lit up as we approached, and we pulled over and parked as he said “I can climb that!”
Now Kerry’s travel companions have certain responsibilities. Kerry is really good a self-documenting his exploits (see fulltiltward on YouTube), but sometimes he needs another perspective. Once he scoped out the situation from closer up he positioned me an appropriate distance from the bridge so I could get some shots for him. He then ran up to the bridge, climbed the arch (I think feet and hands at the very beginning and then just casually walking up), spent a few minutes on top, posed a bit, made his way down and came back to me.
“Let me see the pictures,” he said. I handed the camera to him, he took a look, and said “these won’t do. There’s way too much sky.” He explained to me that in this kind of a shot sky is just wasted space, and he showed me the correct proportions. He then handed the camera back and said “I’ll do it again.” He did, I got some acceptable shots, and we were back on the road. That was the first of many lessons for me in the Kerry Winston Ward School of Adventure Photography.
Later that day we came along a microwave relay tower on a deserted headland, and of course Kerry couldn’t pass it up. This time I was prepared to get the right shot the first time since I really didn’t want him to climb this one again! I breathed a sigh of relief when on our last driving day we passed the Hellissandur Loran Mast–at 412 meters the tallest antenna in Europe–and found it closely attended and not a viable target!
Hellessander Photo Credit
By MachaChiana – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11337711