All posts filed under: Hiking

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 …

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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 Bring lightweight rain gear (obvious, but some think that just bringing their normal winter coat is enough) Bring a tent footprint (this is the waterproof tarp that you put …

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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 …

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.   

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Filling Our Toy Box

After having to strip down to backpacks for our round the world trip, we realized that we didn’t need a lot of stuff to survive or have fun. Decisions are a lot more simpler when you only have two pair of pants, three shirts and a pair of shoes to choose from. Even after we got back, we had no interest in shopping or accumulating random stuff. It seemed like such a waste. A year later, we still find ourselves wearing the same clothes we wore on the trip despite having a lot of other options. Weird!

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Bushwacking through Cinque Terre, Italy

No surprises. We were lost yet again.  This time on a trail in Italy.  It all started as it usually starts. We both mutually decide to climb to the highest point in the town in the hopes of getting the best views while burning calories from the food intake from the night before.  If only we could stop stuffing our faces or be less guilty about stuffing our faces, we could actually spend our time enjoying the town and not being lost in the wilderness.  

Hiking in Grindelwald

Grindelwald: Another day, Another Hike

If someone could just pay me to be a full-time hiker and wander around in the mountains, the deep valleys and the lush forests all day, I would be in heaven, literally.  I wonder if I would ever get bored or tired of a job like that. Will I wake up in the morning and say, “Oh damn, I have to go to work again and climb these annoying mountains and look at this beautiful scenery yet again” and “My life is so hard. I wish I had a desk job.”