Latest Posts

Ultimate Packing List for Iceland

Ultimate Packing List for Summer Travel in Iceland

 We visited Iceland for two weeks in August (summer season). We spent the first week backpacking the Laugavegur trek and hiking in the Thorsmork area.  The second week, we rented a car and drove around the island.  The packing list below was what we had for the two weeks in terms of clothing and camping gear. We packed food for the first week as we didn’t have access to any shops. Once we had a car in the second week, we were able to buy fresh food and vegetables. We spent 13 of the 15 days camping so the camping gear listed below was used extensively.

We knew that Iceland weather is notoriously unpredictable, and you really should assume that it will rain every day.  For that reason, keeping your gear and clothes dry will be a challenge, especially if you are camping and don’t have access to washers/dryers.  Below is our packing list. If you have any questions, please comment below!

Not sure how much a 15 day backpacking trip in Iceland would cost you? Read our budget report and top travel tips.
Here is our Iceland Packing List (For 1 week backpacking)

Clothing and Backpack

  • 42l-50l backpack with waterproof rain cover (very important!!)
    • Dan used his Gregory backpack Z40 which he used on our RTW trip
    • I used Osprey Ace (I am 5 feet and have a small frame so the kids Osprey Ace works perfect for me!)
    • You can carry a bigger backpack than what we had but we prefer to pack light. That makes a difference when you are hiking with your backpack for days.
  • Water resistant hiking jacket (similar to Alpen Plasmic Ion Jacket but older model)
  • 2 mid-layer pullover long-sleeve hiking shirts
  • 1 warm fleece to wear under jacket and over mid-layer on colder days
  • 4 under shirts (long-sleeve or short sleeve, but water wicking (nylon or other synthetics that are quick drying)
  • 5-6 underwears (quick drying if possible, Ex-officio brand is great!)
  • 4-5 warm socks (quarter-calf or higher for extra warmth, Smartwool works well)
  • 2 hiking pants (lightweight, quick drying with pockets), we did not bring jeans to reduce weight and never honestly needed them.
  • 1 lightweight wool skull cap or winter hat that covers ears
  • 1 pair of gloves or mittens (these don’t have to be heavyweight, water resistant is better)
  • 1 pair hiking boots (waterproof, not just water resistant if possible)
  • 1 pair of water shoes (aqua socks or sandals that have straps over foot, croc type shoes would work), you need these mainly if you intend on doing multi-day treks with river crossings or enjoying hot springs or while taking showers in hostels/campgrounds
  • 1 lightweight rain jacket
  • 1 lightweight rain pants
  • 1 large, quick-drying hiking towel (lots of options in stores and online, MSR is a popular brand)

Camping/Tenting Related Gear

  • Lightweight 2-person Tent (we went with a lightweight 2-person tent, Kelty Mesa).  Whatever brand you choose make sure reviewers give positive marks for it being waterproof and short assembly time.  Assume it will rain every day and sometimes hard.
  • Waterproof Tent Footprint (we didn’t have one of these, so I guess you can make it without it, but we were a little cold at some camp sites and sometimes finding soft ground was difficult)
  • Tent tie-downs – these come with most tents, but make sure they can stretch out 2-3 ft past your tent so you can tie them around large rocks. The ground is very rocky in places and it gets very windy, so the stakes don’t work well.
  • Sleeping Pads (highly recommend getting a good inflatable pad. There are a lot of good brands in the market. We used Therma-Rest Scout)
  • Sleeping bags (lightweight and rated for 30deg or lower…it drops easily into the low 40s upper 30s even in the summer…but everyone’s tolerance for cold is different )
  • Burner/stove and camping cookware set (we went with very compact sets with high reviews on Amazon)

Food and Drinks

  • Dry food and snacks –
    • Breakfast: 8 servings of oatmeal with dried nuts and dried banana chips
    • Lunch/Dinner: 14 servings of freeze dried vegetables, protein mixed with different grains such as couscous, par boiled brown rice.
    • Snacks: Ginger snaps, dark chocolate, granola bars
    • Tea bags, instant coffee and powdered milk
    • Salt and Pepper (very crucial!) and extra spices like curry and greek mix. The spices add variety so you are not getting bored of eating the same meals everyday. Oh, little joys in life!
  • Alcohol from the duty free shop at the airport!
  • Flask (highly important esp. for those nights you are freezing in your tent;) )
  • Water bottle (easy to fill water from campgrounds. We didn’t carry any water purification system)

Miscellaneous Items

  • Small baggage lock with wire tie to secure bags to immovable objects (hardly ever used this)
  • Ear plugs and eye mask (didn’t use these, but important if you are staying in hostels)
  • Head lamp/flashlight (bring 1 per person and bring extra batteries, you’ll need these everywhere)
  • Lighter, don’t bother with matches (purchase in Iceland)
  • Fuel for stove, purchase in Iceland or acquire some left behind at main Reykjavik camp grounds
  • Playing cards, lightweight e-book reader
  • Waterproof bag to store wallet/passport or electronics
  • Waterproof stuff sack to store food
  • Waterproof stuff sack to store clothes
  • Iceland maps, hiking maps stored in waterproof plastic bag
  • Extra plastic slider bags
  • Emergency kit
  • Toiletries including biodegradable camp soap (important!)
  • Camera, chargers (I had 2 extra batteries), memory card (depends how many photos you like to take. I had 2-16GB cards), camera case and rain cover for your camera. I had strapped my camera case to my backpack and the extra rain cover was very handy to cover the camera case when it was raining and we had nowhere to take shelter while hiking
cheap travel to Iceland

2 week clothes, food items(1 week only) and camping gear for both of us . Notice all the little spice blends. They always go everywhere with the Chef!

Ultimate Packing List for Iceland

Pin me!

If you liked what you read, share/like/tweet or leave a comment for us below. Thank you for reading! Happy travels.

Painter's palette - Landmannalaugar trail

Our 15 Favorite Photos from Iceland

These 15 photos reflect the varied landscape and raw natural beauty of Iceland.   Enjoy!

If you are planning a trip to Iceland, read our top travel tips and expense report from our 15 days of camping and hiking in this beautiful country.

Painter's palette - Landmannalaugar trail

Painter’s palette – Landmannalaugar trail

Between Landmannalaugar and Alftavatn

Between Landmannalaugar and Alftavatn

Landmannalaugar

Criss Crossing on the snow – Landmannalaugar Trek

IMG_9152

Sulphuric fumes and active geothermal activity – Landmannalaugar Trek

IMG_9157

Colors abound on Landmannalaugar Trek

Landmannalaugar trail

Between Hvangill and Emstrur – Landmannalaugar trail

Landmannalaugar trail - volcanic ash and green mountains

Landmannalaugar trail – volcanic ash and green mountains

Landmannalaugar trail - Cold human, volcanic ash and green mountains!

Landmannalaugar trail – Cold human, volcanic ash and green mountains!

IMG_9524

Waking up to a cold, foggy morning in Alftavatn – Landmannalaugar Trek

IMG_9913

Hiking next to a glacier in Skafatafell National Park

IMG_0015

Skafatafell National Park

IMG_9845

River meets the ocean in the distance — Skafatafell National Park

IMG_0127

Searching for Elves in East Iceland

cheap travel iceland

Hobbit land – East Iceland

IMG_9825

Svartifoss – Skafatafell National Park

Liked what you read? Don’t forget to sign up for travel tips straight into your inbox and/or share or leave us a comment!

Read more about Iceland:

 

Landmannalaugar trail - volcanic ash and green mountains

Iceland: 15-day expense report with tips on cheap travel

Iceland is not a cheap country to visit, but just like anything else in life it is about setting your priorities. If you want to travel Iceland for longer than 4-5 days and you are on a budget, I’d suggest stack ranking the things you want to do or places you want to visit.  Like most tourist destinations, once you are in country you will be overrun with tour offers and expensive travel packages.  You’ll find a lot of blogs online that will demystify travel from place to place and provide lower cost accommodations.  In our case, we didn’t care about doing excursions such as whale watching, glacier walks or helicopter rides; although I’m sure these things are fantastic.   We wanted to focus our trip on hiking as much as humanely possible given the allure of the wild, volcanic and raw landscape of Iceland.  We’d also purchased a lightweight tent, so we were anxious to try our hand at multi-day camping.  We generally do day hikes while traveling and/or we look for treks with huts along the route, so the multi-day backpacking in Iceland was quite the experience.

To give you an idea how our expenses broke out, below is a 15 day expense report.  The first week we backpacked in the highlands area and the second week, we took a bus back to Reykjavik, rented a car and then, drove around the island. As you can tell, we stuck to a relatively cheap backpacker budget of $56 a day/person (not including airfare). We barely spent any money on lodging for 2 weeks as we camped most of the time (camped 13 out of the 15 days. In some cases, we did free wild camping).  Most of our money was spent on transportation – airfare, car rental for 7 days and bus (that shuttled us from the airport and to the trailheads). Our food budget was low as we cooked most of our meals on a camping stove. I am sure there are experienced backpackers/hikers who can do the same trip even cheaper by doing couch surfing and hitch-hiking.  Renting a car gave us the option of escaping the rain and  loading up on food and drinks.

Iceland Expenses

Our 15 day Iceland expense (including airfare from Denver). Scroll down for tips on cheap travel.

Iceland costs per day

Here are some tips to travel Iceland cheaply:

1.  Camp : Iceland is designed for campers and hikers. The entire country is dotted with campsites. In places where there are no campsites, people tend to do wild camping (make sure there are no signs posted to the contrary. Please read the latest rules on wild camping here).  The campsites are fairly cheap and cost between $10-$15 per person/day. Most of the campsites have toilets and and some have shared kitchen facilities.  The Reykjavik hostel also has a huge campground with laundry and storage facilities. Some campsites have showers and you enter coins to operate the shower (hot water) for 1-3 minutes depending upon the campsite. Learning how to get all the grime off of you in 1 minute while freezing your a$$ is a skill you learn pretty quickly!  Find a Campsite in Iceland

iceland on cheap

Campground in Skaftafell National Park — camping with the view of the glaciers with our rental car blocking the cold wind!

2. Food: We packed a lot of freeze dried food with us as we were hiking straight for 6 days and didn’t have access to any shops.  You can buy freeze dried food from REI or other outdoor stores. We ordered a 2lb container of freeze dried veggies and made our own zip lock bags filled with these veggies, couscous/par cooked brown rice and various spice blends.  For breakfast, we packed zip lock bags with oatmeal and various nuts and tea bags/coffee. This was not only cheaper than buying REI hiking food but the zip lock bags took a lot less space in our backpacks. During the second week when we had a rental car, we stocked up on food from grocery stores or grabbed a sandwich/hotdog from their fancy gas stations. I loved Skyr, icelandic yogurt which tastes less like yogurt and more like ice-cream! I totally recommend it for all 3-meals 🙂

Iceland on cheap - skyr

Breakfast oatmeal and Skyr (icelandic yogurt) before the hike in Skafatafell National Park

3. Drink: You don’t need to buy any bottled water in Iceland. Even when we were hiking, we were able to find campsites along the way where we could fill our water bottle. Remember to bring your water bottle! In regards to alcohol, I highly recommend stocking up from the duty free shop at the airport. The liquor stores in Iceland are about 30% more expensive than the airport liquor store depending upon what you are buying.

4. Camping Fuel: We bought a 16 oz propane canister from a gas station (N1) near Rekyjavik campsite thinking that we will need all that fuel for 2 weeks. We realized later that the campsite had a lot of half empty canisters left behind by people (since you can’t carry them in the plane).  I would recommend stocking up at the campsite, if you need to, instead of buying too much fuel from the store.

Additional tips:

  • FlyBus from KEF airport to Reykjavik Hostel – $18/person
  • Store extra stuff in the hostel lockers – $26/week
  • Gas Companies: Orkan, AO, OB (cheap), Olis, Shell, N-1 (expensive)
  • Grocery Stores (Most expensive to least expensive): 10-11, Hagkaup, Nettó, Kronan, Bonus
  • If you don’t want to pay for Blue Lagoon and avoid crowds, you can easily find cheaper or in some cases, free hot springs. We hiked (about 3km) to Reykjadalur hot spring by the recommendation of our AirBnB host.
  • Hiking is the best and free activity (not including the cost of getting to trailheads!) in Iceland. If you are in good shape and love hiking, you can easily explore the beautiful and off the beaten path trails devoid of any tourists.  Most of the traditional tourists tend to stay on Ring Road or the Golden circle.  We avoided most of the touristy things and still felt that we got what we wanted out of our trip.
  • Check out our Top 18 camping and driving tips for Iceland
  • Best day hike in Iceland
  • Best photos from our Iceland trip
cheap travel to Iceland

Our 2 week clothes and food items – notice all the little spice blends. They always go everywhere with the Chef!

cheap travel to Iceland

Skaftafell National Park – Hike to Mt. Kristinartindar with glaciers all around

Landmannalaugar trail - volcanic ash and green mountains

Landmannalaugar trail – volcanic ash and green mountains

Camping at Alftavatn on 4-day Landmannalaugar trek

Camping at Alftavatn on 4-day Landmannalaugar trek

IMG_5613

cheap travel iceland

Hobbit land – East Iceland

cheap travel to Iceland

FREE hot spring in Iceland – Reykjadalur Hot Springs

Pinterest travel iceland cheaply and expense report

PIN this article!

IMG_5512

Top 18 Tips for Iceland Adventurers

These are some ‘off the top of my head’ tips for preparing a trip to Iceland and for traveling within Iceland.  There are number of good blogs on Iceland given its recent popularity.  In August (peak summer season), we spent 1 week backpacking in the Central/South Highlands and then took a weeklong trip in a rental car around the entire Island.  We stuck mainly to the Ring Road (Route 1) but ventured off to hike in East Fjords and to see the mammoth waterfalls in the North.  The Icelandic people were extremely friendly and helpful everywhere we went.  There are so many outstanding hikes/excursions available all over the country.  If you  are adventurous and you love the rugged, raw nature, you’ll will fall in love, despite the incessant rain and unpredictable weather! So, here are our top 18 tips for Iceland adventurers:

Iceland Camping and Hiking Tips

  1. Bring lightweight rain gear (obvious, but some think that just bringing their normal winter coat is enough)
  2. Bring a tent footprint (this is the waterproof tarp that you put under your tent, vital given how much it rains)
  3. Bring tent tie down cords (stakes aren’t very useful as it could be very windy, you’ll tie the cords around heavy rocks in most places)
  4. Don’t worry about bugs too much (too cold at night for those buggars)
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: If you intend on doing any hiking/trekking bring lightweight water shoes (ideally close toed that fit securely on your feet….not sandals unless they have straps). Aqua socks or Crocs type shoes also work.  You’ll need them for walking around campsites in rain, and you will hit water crossings on a lot of hikes….some shin or knee high depending on weather and if its late summer.  We didn’t realize how important the water shoes were until I lost my flip-flop twice(?) while crossing a stream. When I had to cross the real river with a decent current, it was hard to get a good footing barefoot due to the sharp rocks and frigid water temperature
  6. Bring water-wicking, breathable, lightweight base layers and at least one warm mid-layer fleece to wear under your all-weather hiking jacket (and pack a lightweight rain suit (pants and jacket). We picked up $50 ones from Amazon and they worked great…don’t worry if people say they don’t breath much because you won’t care when there is driving snow and ice or pouring rain with 40 mph winds and you are 4 miles from any shelter!
  7. Bring thick wool socks (they will probably get smelly by the end of the trip if you don’t hit up a laundromat but at least they’ll be worn even when damp)….if you have space-age water wicking socks those might also work
  8. Bring a wool cap or lightweight skull cap. It can get windy and rainy, and even when it is 50-60degrees your ears and face will get cold
  9. Bring a large quick-drying towel not a cotton towel….you will need these if you decide to hit up the free hot springs dotted around the countryside or at campsites that have showers (normally these cost $3-5 to use)
  10. Stock up on camping fuel at the Reykjavík Camp Grounds (campers leave tons of it)

Iceland Driving Tips

  1. Get a fuel card right away (it will give you discounts and free coffee all the way around Ring Road
  2. Hit up the DutyFree at the airport (it is easily 50% in some cases less than the country run liquor store, These are pretty much everywhere though in case you need a refuel.  I recommend Icelandic vodkas and gins (great stuff).  Their beer is pretty awesome also and Viking and Einstok is available most places.
  3. Do not drive on the F roads without a 4-wheel drive SUV with good clearance. That is just an accident waiting to happen given road quality and the number of water crossings
  4. Make sure your rental has a flat kit (and ideally includes an air compressor). It is hard to avoid rough roads with sharp rocks off of Route 1 and around campsites
  5. There are great campsites all around Route 1 and in coastal cities/towns. Most have clean bathrooms and covered eating areas.  Some have shared kitchens, so do your research ahead of time if that is important.
  6. If you need to do a little last minute shopping in Reykjavik or want to hit up a quality food court, the Kringlan mall is very nice, http://www.planiceland.com/kringlan/
  7. Most of grocery stores are pretty good in Iceland, the Bonus chain is everywhere and is the least expensive.
  8. You’ll probably read this on many other blogs, but hit up the gas stations for snacks. The gas stations in Iceland are like food courts.  Tons of great, relatively low-cost options like bacon wrapped hot-dogs (AWESOME) and deli sandwiches.  Their bathrooms are also normally large and spotless if you feel the need to wash up a bit and/or change

Curious how much we spent in our 2 weeks there? Check out our two week expense report!

IMG_5853

F Roads in Iceland usually have water crossings and are pretty treacherous. Four wheel drives are recommended!

IMG_5842

Bus on the F-road — Picking up hikers from the campsites. This is Langidalur campsite in Thorsmork

IMG_0088

Jokulsaron on Ring Road. Easily accessed by regular cars. Beach with icebergs.

IMG_9913

Hiking to the top of Mt. Kristínartindar with the views of glaciers all around. FREE!

IMG_6864

We found this random geo-thermal pool in the middle of nowhere. FREE with amazing views!

IMG_5605

On Landmannalugar trail. Rain, wind, fog with many water/river crossings. Water shoes, rain cover for backpack, rain jacket and pants, gloves are a must even in SUMMER!

IMG_9496

Beautiful camping grounds everywhere in Iceland. Troup tent.

IMG_5360

Many bakeries on Ring Road.

IMG_5359

Vin Budin – government run liquor stores – expensive. Stock up on alcohol (duty free) from airport!!

IMG_5865

Reykjavik campsite – they have lockers if you want to stash extra stuff away while you are backpacking.

IMG_6874

Bus option from airport. Taxis are expensive.

IMG_5546

Stream where I lost my flip flop TWICE! The first time I lost it, a girl downstream caught it. 5 mins later, I lost it again!! Bring water shoes!!

IMG_5479

lots of walking in the snow even in peak summer

IMG_0063

Iceberg watching! Access from Ring Road.

IMG_5595

Flask filled with honey bourbon. Always comes handy when you are cold and your shoes and socks are persistently soaked.

IMG_9443

Another crossing!

IMG_9635

Awesome viking beer

IMG_5512

From snow to green mountains!

IMG_5868

Sausages – National food of Iceland 🙂 You can find great hot dogs wrapped in bacon just about anywhere.

Top 18 tips for Iceland adventurers

IMG_5752

Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail – Iceland

We had heard and read several times that Iceland’s weather is highly unpredictable but we live in Colorado where you can start a hike in sunny 80 degree weather and be met with snow and ice or torrential rain 2hrs later, but soon enough the sun will be back in full force to pick you back up. We joke that in Colorado one can ski, hike and golf in the same day! Let me just say, Iceland is a different beast. Unpredictable Icelandic weather brings heavy winds, sudden fog, rain, and sleet in the middle of summer and this weather can hang around for days not hours.  We ran into this first hand in Þórsmörk.  We were a little over halfway through the 75km trail from Landmannalaugar to Skogar, and had already traversed mountains and battled wind and ice through majestic lava fields.   However with a 24km climb over steep mountains and volcanos left to go, heavy rail and high winds moved in to derail our journey.  We’d already bunkered down in a tent for a day and the park rangers were not optimistic that the weather was going to clear any time soon.  They warned us that the trails are steep and slippery in places and high winds and sleet make the top virtually impassable.  Not the best of news!  We waited for another few hours before deciding that we’d just go for it.  The plan was to take all our gear just in case we made it over the top and could continue onward.   So with full rain gear and full packs we set off up across the river crossing to the Fimmvörðuháls trail.

[Planning a trip to Iceland? Read our cheap travel tips and 15-day expense report!]

Thorsmork Valley

Between Langidular and Basar Huts

Landmannalaugar to Fimmvörðuháls Trail:

Fimmvörðuháls trail connects with the Landmannalaugar trail in Þórsmörk (Langidular hut: end point for Landmannalaugar). From Þórsmörk, you can walk about 24 kms (15 miles) to Skógar on the Fimmvörðuháls trail. The trail takes you over the pass between two ice caps that consists of volcanos,  Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Fun Fact: Eyjafjallajökull erupted in April 2010 which halted all the air traffic over Europe. So, yes, you get very close to that bad boy. The diverse terrain from insane number of waterfalls to volcanic fields and glaciers to canyons and green valleys is what makes this trail challenging and breathtaking at the same time.

Time: If you are a hiking beast, you can finish the hike in 7-9 hours. Or you can split your hike in 2 days by staying overnight at the top of the pass in one of the two mountain huts. I recommend booking the huts well in advance.  None were available when we were there.  The other options is to do a day trip to the top of the pass and come back the same way to Þórsmörk. We had to take this option unintentionally as you will find out soon below….

Fimmvörðuháls Trail: Trip Summary

If you are in Þórsmörk, the trail starts from Básar campground. Básar campground is on the other side of the river bed from Langidalur campsite.  The trail starts in a beautiful green valley carved out by glaciers for millions of years. The first few kms of the hike includes a lot of steep elevation gain. You continue climbing up with the beautiful views of Thorsmork valley behind you and the view of glaciers ahead of you.

Thorsmork valley

Thorsmork valley behind

Thorsmork valley

Looking over the green Thorsmork valley

Thorsmork Valley

Glaciers and Green Mountains

IMG_5821IMG_9610

IMG_5755

The hike quickly climbs up to a flat, moon like surface with a lot of rocks and small gravel. From here, you could see the steep climb over the snowy fields.  I was a little scared as I could see some weather coming in but we wanted to push a little further to see if we could make it to one of the huts on the pass.  Someone told us they don’t really deny hikers shelter, so we were sort of banking on that given no beds were available.

IMG_9616

Walking over that steep hill covered in snow was the hardest part of the entire hike, as I felt that if I lost my footing over the snow, I would literally slip and slide down the mountain for easily 40-50 meters. We managed to push through amid my fear-stricken senses, and came face to face with the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Even at the peak of summer, the ground was covered in a few inches of fresh powder and we could barely see footprints or the trail markers. We continued walking in the direction we thought the trail was leading us in but we soon lost our way.

Fimmvorduhls hike

The crazy steep icy hill

Eyjafjallajökull

First view of the volcanoes

Dan decided to climb on top of one of the volcanoes to see if he could see any sign of the trail.  A few minutes later he came down and said the trail wasn’t visible anywhere. We decided to turn around as the wind and snow started to come in and we didn’t want to be caught in white-out conditions going back down the snowy, icy hill.  Note to other hikers:  bring a detailed, waterproof trial map anywhere you are in Iceland.  We made the mistake of bringing a less than useful one, obviously not drawn to scale.

Mýrdalsjökull

Dan looking for trail markers!

Although, our mission of making it to the mountain hut or all the way to Skogar was unsuccessful, we still had a full day of hiking and we got to explore the incredible landscape of Iceland in the beautiful valley of Thorsmork. So, if you want a challenging but shorter trek, I highly recommend hiking this trail to the pass and back, you won’t regret it!

Fimmvörðuháls

Coming back down the same trail

Fimmvörðuháls

Although, we didn’t hike all the way to Skogar, we did end up driving there and hiking parts of this trail from the other side. If you love waterfalls, you won’t be disappointed by the insane number of waterfalls  in Skogar!

Skogar waterfalls

Waterfalls in Skogar

Skogar waterfalls - Fimmvorduhls hike

More waterfalls in Skogar

Note: There is a shop at the Langidular campsite in Thorsmork that sells beer and potato chips. It is a little pricey but when you eat camping food and your shoes and socks are soaked for multiple days, you will kill to eat anything that does not resemble mush.  It is also a great place to meet fellow travelers and engage in interesting conversations while you are waiting for the weather to subside.

Trail Map: Hiking Map from Nordic Travel

IMG_5845

IMG_9632

Beer makes everything better

Best day hike in Iceland: Fimmvörðuháls Trail in Thorsmork

Best day hike in Iceland: Fimmvörðuháls Trail in Thorsmork

 

 

Blue Lakes Trail in Mt Sneffel wilderness

Blue Lakes, Mt Sneffels Wilderness: Best Wildflower Hike

It always feels so easy to get on a plane and go to a new destination and forget all about the amazing places in your own backyard.  I daydream about climbing Aconcagua and walking miles on the desolate terrain in Iceland but the reality is that the state of Colorado has a very diverse geography, ranging from majestic mountains, deep canyons, deserts with enormous sand dunes to lush forests.  So last summer, instead of trying to get away to far flung places we decided to spend some time discovering our state.

For Dan’s birthday in July, we drove down to Telluride (about 6 hrs from Denver), a ski town nestled in San Juan mountains in south west Colorado.  We did an overnight stop in Montrose and mastered the art of car camping. Read More

IMG_5420

Hike to Sandbeach Lake

I love hiking and being outdoors but I admit, I am also a total wuss when I am too exposed to elements in the wild.  My heart starts throbbing if I am hiking through deep woods and don’t see a hiker for miles. I get startled when I hear leaves rustling and start to imagine bears and mountain lions coming out of the woodwork. The moment I see a dark cloud above us, I imagine lightning bolts coming down to strike us. My mind runs through the steps recommended by wilderness experts if one encounters bears. Safety steps such as making yourself look big or making loud noises.  Although, in reality I know that I am more likely to execute perfect Darwin Award winning moves like trying to outrun the bear or taking shelter under the biggest tree in case of a lightning strike.  Read More

_MG_7945

Jack of Few Trades

When we decided to travel around the world, we had a lot of ideas on how we wanted to travel. Though we were successful in certain areas like traveling ultra-light, avoiding big hotels, visiting local farmer markets, hiking where ever possible, effectively communicating with each other under life-threatening situations (well, almost!) , we weren’t very successful when it came to our desire to work and live on farms or pick up new skills (like learning new language). The desire to pick up new skills stemmed after reading 4 hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss and from the realization that apart from doing “office work”, we didn’t really have a lot of “life skills”. Read More

IMG_5047.CR2

The new summer

I know I have been away for a while. It was hard to focus on words and writing. I was lost in my own head a lot of the days. Life took a strange and unexpected turn early this year. It beat us down. And every time we tried to get up and move again, it dragged and crushed us further until we couldn’t breathe anymore.   Long dreary winters added to the misery.  I always wanted my blog to be about happy things in life – travel, food, hiking, fun experiences – so I felt that I really couldn’t say or express much except for talking about the lingering and never ending sadness.  I was naive enough to think that life is a bed of roses at all times and that nothing can ever go wrong with you and your family. And then IT does. Maybe in future I would be courageous enough to talk about the bad stuff. Read More

IMG_2426.CR2

Nymph and Emerald Lake Hikes: Rocky Mountain National Park

After spending our holidays gorging on cookies and chips and a *few* drinks here and there, it was time to leave home and brave the cold in order to shun some of the love around our waists.  We did the first hike of 2014 in the beautiful but very windy Rocky Mountain National Park (35 miles NW of Boulder) this past weekend.   The 40 mph gusts made for some interesting hiking conditions in the drifting snow.   I had done the same trail 2 months ago and the deep snow made it feel like a different trail altogether. The lakes were completely frozen over.  The trail and the signs was buried under snow so it was hard to follow the actual trail.    Read More