14’ers are starting to become routine for John and I. Almost every weekend, we pack up and head out to climb another one of Colorado’s mountains. The first weekend in September, we set out to hike the DeCaLiBron loop which summits Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln, Mount Cameron, and Mount Bross.
We left Denver around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and arrived at the Kit Lake Campground around 7. We had just enough time to set up our tent and get settled in for the night, before an evening thunderstorm rolled in. We sat in our tent and ate some snacks while the rain whipped our polyester shelter. When we were full and certain the rain wouldn’t let up, we called it an early night and got into our sleeping bags.
The rain continued into the night, and when our alarm went off at 4 a.m., it was still coming down. We decided to pack up our things inside the tent and prepare for the day with hopes that it would stop shortly. When it didn’t, we went back to sleep until 6:30.
We woke up to the sun rising over the horizon, so we knew it was clear enough for us to get started. Even though the sun was out, it didn’t crest over the mountains until after 7:45, and it made the beginning of our trek just a tad chillier. By that time we had left our tent where it was, grabbed our pack, and been on the trail for 30 minutes.
We decided to go clockwise and summit Mount Democrat first. We had heard that Mount Bross has a lot of loose scree that makes the hike more difficult, so we figured that, with our late start, we should go with the easier route. Plus, there were signs saying Bross’s peak was closed, and we didn’t have time to take any risks.
The Democrat trail starts on the east side of Kite Lake and heads north cutting a path through a lush valley. For the first mile or so, the trail makes a steady but subtle incline. The valley was full of blooming bluebells, but the mountainside grass was starting to show some of its orange, fall colors. Once we’d left the lake, we followed a small and swiftly flowing stream.
The valley quickly turned into a steep, rocky boulder field. Until we reached the saddle, the trail was intertwined with large rock scrambles and sharp switchbacks. Sometimes, we had to climb over feet-tall rocks, and other times, the trail was large enough for us to walk side by side. Either way, the trail was always easy to find thanks to rock cairns and other people climbing up.
When we made it up to the saddle, we were blown away by the view and nearly by the wind. The whole hour climb up, we had no idea what had been waiting for us on the other side of the mountains. The view opened up, and we looked down on The Pike National Forest’s Clinton, McNamee and Traver Peaks inside a vast mountain range. From here, we took a left and began out summit of Mount Democrat.
The trail goes back to the south side of the ridge line, where we could look over the terrain we had just traversed. It was around a mile and a half to the summit, and it took us roughly an hour to make it to the top.
Once at the summit of Mount Democrat, we were greeted by roughly a dozen hikers and some strong winds. We found a spot to sit and gazed out over the vast view of rolling hills and mountains. The sunshine felt great between gusts of wind, but we didn’t stay long after we thought about the other peaks we wanted to climb.
We took some pictures and videos before making our descent, then we headed down the same route we had come. Once back in the saddle, we started up Mount Cameron.
The climb toward Mount Cameron was very similar to the route up Mount Democrat. It was scattered with scree and made for rough climbing in places, but the trail was still well defined and easy to follow. The main difference between the two paths was what lay on the other side of the first hill. Democrats’s trail remained similar after reaching the false summit, while Cameron’s crested a ridge and opened up to a windy, open trail with 360 degree views of the mountains.
It was unbelievable how much more windy the trail became from here. We were warned by every passing hiker that it didn’t get easier, and they were right. Each also said the peaks were worth it, and again, they were right.
As windy as it was, this part of the trail was arguably some of our favorite. It felt unreal to be walking such a narrow path in the middle of a circle of mountains. Sadly, though, this trail led to a disappointing summit peak.
Mount Cameron was nothing more than a big, open rock field. There was no special view or anything special about it, but that couldn’t stop us from enjoying a spectacular hike. We didn’t stop and kept pushing toward Mount Lincoln as the wind blew at our backs.
Our very favorite part of the trail was ascending Mount Lincoln. The views didn’t change much, because we only went about a half mile, and we were already on the knife’s edge, but we were approaching an actual pin-point peak, and it gave us the jitters.
Of course, there were more than one of these peaks, because 14’ers almost always have false summits. Lincoln’s false summit has been our favorite. The trail wraps around the south edge of the peak before revealing Lincoln’s actual summit.
We had been alone on the trail, for the most part, since we reached the saddle between Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln. We had only seen a few others hiking out, and when we reached the summit, of Lincoln we had complete solitude. The views partnered with silence couldn’t have been more serene.
We found a bit of shelter from the wind in a rocky cove facing the south, where we sat and enjoyed lunch wraps, dehydrated apples, and beef jerky. It didn’t take long for company to arrive from a different side of the mountain than we had climbed.
Once we had gotten chilly from the wind, we packed up our picnic and were taking a few pictures when we noticed unwelcoming clouds rolling in from the north.
We started to discuss whether summiting Bross would be feasible, safe, and worth it. After some thought, we decided to opt out, because it was after noon and we had evening obligations in Denver.
We took our summit pictures and began down the same trail we had come up. Going down is always easier, but we still had to make a minor climb back up to Mount Cameron. In only about 20 minutes, we went from one 14’er to another.
After we left Cameron’s peak, the wind died down and our descent was steady for the next two miles down. We stopped a whole bunch to take pictures of Maria playing in the snow and the stunning wildflowers that we had missed during our dark hike earlier in the morning.
The flowers surrounded Kite Lake and the valley surrounding it. We were amazed by the colors we had missed while the sun was hiding. It took us two hours to go from the summit of Mount Lincoln to the trailhead, and sadly back to our car to make our return trip to Denver.
In just a little under seven hours we were able to summit three different 14,000 foot peaks. Even though we didn't finish the loop and make it to Mount Bross, we were still proud of the ground we had covered and the heights we had been able to climb.
Maybe next time we will start with Bross and get to add it to our list, but until then we are leaving these peaks in our rearview mirror while we check out some of the other 50 or so that are out there.
Mount Evans can be seen for miles along the Rocky Mountain foothills and is one of the most accessible 14’ers from Denver. This looming mass has had its sides eaten away by erosion leaving deep cirques—or valleys—that hold crystal lakes and creeks. It was the perfect candidate for Taylor and I’s third 14’er of the summer.
The morning of August 24th, we drove I-70 West from Denver just like we had done the weekend before for Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. We picked up a friend of ours at 4:15am and arrived at the Evans/Summit Lake Trailhead just over an hour later.
The mountains and surrounding valleys were cloaked in darkness as we began our ascent. It was nearly dark enough to make our black, mountain-climbing dog, Maria, invisible. The trail started as a relatively wide dirt path, crossed through a grass pasture, and gradually climbed up the northeast side of Summit Lake. Even in the last few minutes of darkness, the trail was easy for us to follow without headlamps or flashlights.
Climbing around Summit Lake’s northern point was enough to make us winded only a mile into the trip. We stopped along the eastern ridgeline and looked down on the Chicago Lake Basin to watch the sun rise. We quickly realized it would be behind Mt. Warren for a while longer, so we decided to keep moving after having some water and snacks.
Through steep, stone littered fields, we continued our approached to Mount Spalding during the sunrise. This preliminary summit felt like a shrine. A natural slab encircled by rock walls and towers sits atop the 13,000 foot destination. A short break and a few photos of the early morning landscape later, we were descending into the short, flat saddle between Mt. Evans and Mt. Spalding.
Upon ascent from the saddle, the Mount Evans trail continues to the Southern slopes of the mountain. Blustering winds welcomed us, and from here on out, the winds were constant, cutting, and cold. Large boulders did not provide cover from the wind, but climbing up them was entertaining enough to temporarily take our minds off it.
For a little under two miles, we maneuvered through the boulder-crowded mountainside. We stopped, at times, for descending hikers attempting to scramble down as we scrambled up. Every time we stopped, the aforementioned winds motivated us to keep moving even. The terrain made it difficult to keep track of the trail, but the occasional cairn confirmed that we were on the right path.
Just west of the actual summit, our group was fooled by a false summit. We realized it almost immediately but decided to stop for snacks when we noticed how fantastic the view was. As we appreciated our food and our view, a mother mountain goat investigated our presence. A curious kid followed closely as the mother kept watch of us and our dogs. As they turned to leave, we turned to make a short descent from the West Ridge and on to our final ascent.
The majority of our last stretch to the top was on a well-defined path that connected to the Meyer-Womble Observatory’s parking lot. The much shorter trail, understandably, was more heavily trafficked. The short system of switchbacks induced excitement as we approached the payoff.
Mount Evans’s peak provides spectacular views from underfoot to the horizon. Broken boulders balance in seemingly impossible ways and large slabs of rock protrude into the air. Our best view of Summit Lake was from the peak, and Rocky Mountain National Park is even visible on a clear day. Most impressive, gazing westward grants a view of Mount Bierstadt and the vast mountain ranges beyond it.
As part of the Rocky Mountains, the Mount Evans Batholith is a single rock formation estimated to span an area of more than 75 square miles. It is thought to have been created beneath the Earth’s surface and forced upward as it solidified. Bronze plaques driven into Mount Evans’s peak announce the highest point of the massive batholith.
After taking in the views and exploring the peak, our group decided to seek shelter in the Crest House just below the summit and next to the parking lot. All that remains are stone walls and iron gates after a fire destroyed what used to be the world’s highest structure. More mountain goats meandered in and around the ruins as we learned about the site and prepared to hike down to our car.
We decided to descend Mount Evans Road after learning that it is the highest paved road in North America. We eventually left it to hike north on the slopes of Mount Evans toward Bear Creek and our car.
The gradual decline of the slopes was leisurely and filled with tiny flowers that dotted the vast field of grass and strewn stones. As we made our way around the mountainside we had the perfect opportunity to reflect on our morning journey.
We arrived at our car at noon, and our hike of Mount Evans was officially over. Throughout the hike, the landscape was continuously stunning, but we were all glad to have witnessed the view from Mount Evans’s peak. Having a parking lot less than 200 yards from the summit undercut our sense of accomplishment at times, but we all agreed that we wouldn’t trade the full hike for any comfortable ride to the top.
There are 58 mountain peaks in Colorado that reach further than 14,000 feet into the air. Most are concentrated in Colorado’s western slopes, but there are towering peaks scattered along the Rocky Mountain ranges. When Taylor moved to Colorado, she decided to tackle 10 before the end of the calendar year. To start the task, she and I took a day hike to the tops of Grays and Torreys Peaks.
An early start helps ensure favorable weather while hiking up and back down any 14’er, so Taylor and I left Denver with our dog Maria and headed for the Grays Peak Trailhead at 4:20AM. Roughly an hour later, we exited Interstate 70 and began to climb Stephen’s Gulch Road. The two mile road is steep, rocky, and narrow at times, but we parked at the trailhead after Taylor skillfully maneuvered the dark, bumpy road.
Sunrise colored the sky deep purple as we crossed the footbridge spanning Stephen’s Gulch and began our first journey to 14,000 feet. From the trailhead to the summit, Grays Peak Trail is 3.5 miles long with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Nearly every step we took after the footbridge was a step up, but every step was filled with beautiful sights.
As the sun erupted over the McClellan Mountain Ridgeline, wildflower colors burst from the grassy sides of Grays Trail. Reds, pinks, and lavenders lay among numerous white and yellow patches on a lush, green canvas for over two miles of the trail. Quayle creek cuts through the vegetation and its source marks the beginning of a different landscape.
The ascent routes to the summits were unmistakable as Taylor and I climbed into fields of broken and strewn rocks. The path was littered with hikers, but the traffic could not affect their majesty against the blue morning sky.
Thankfully, the traffic didn’t affect several snow white mountain goats either. A watchful mother, several fluffy little ones, and a few distant loners made appearances as we climbed higher looking for a suitable place to have ‘lunch’ at 8:30 AM.
After a short break, one half mile of switchbacks through the mountain’s shed rocks led us to the payoff we’d been anticipating. The top of Grays Peak is a platform where hikers were relaxing, chatting, taking photos, and gazing over the vast range of Earth.
After marveling for ourselves and determining that Keystone was the visible ski area, Taylor and I began descending to the saddle between Grays and Torreys to approach our second peak of the day. A 500 foot ascent from the saddle led to the more pointed Torreys Peak.
Our first experience taking the dog down steep slopes was a bit difficult, because she gets anxious around heights. A pulling dog does not mix well with a trail littered with large stones and loose gravel. We made the descent more quickly than we should have, but we made it safely.
It took us roughly an hour to go from Gray's peak to the top of Torrey's. The climb to the top of Torreys was a bit more crowded and much more steep. The switchbacks were shorter and more narrow. Everyone on the trail was moving at the slowest pace of the day.
When we got to the top, weary hikers crowded at the area soaking in their accomplishment and the warm sunshine. We sat and soaked in the views until the wind made Taylor chilly. We considered taking a class three trail back to Grays Peak Trail, but we quickly reconsidered while watching climbers traverse the spiny and icy path.
The hike down Torrey's Peak Trail leads across Grays and Torreys Saddle and across the eastern face of Grays before tying back into Grays Peak Trailhead. A small patch of slushy ice and the rocky descent into the Stephen’s Gulch were the last difficult segments of our day.
In the noon sun, the fields of flowers, grasses, and shrubs of the gulch were even more vivid than they had been that morning. Taylor and I bubbled with wonderment and pride as we discussed the beauty and difficulty of our first two 14’ers.
Road tripping out to Yellowstone National Park was a last minute decision. Thanks to crazy weather, our Fourth of July plans were changed several times just a week before we left. We decided on Yellowstone National Park and it’s Thorofare Trail for our first ever backpacking trip thanks to its fishing accessibility and it being free of snow. You can read all about it in this separate blog post here!
Since most of our trip was spent in the backcountry, we didn’t really plan for anything outside of that - and we did a lot of planning (you can read about it all here.) When our backpacking trip was shortened by two days, we decided to wing it and drive through as much of the park as we could.
We quickly discovered the National Park’s campsites were all booked up for the Fourth of July holiday, so we had to find a place to stay each night, and most nights we also wanted a hot meal. Other nights, we ate our Mary Jane’s dehydrated foods, but we only had a few leftover from the trail. It wasn't easy every night, but we managed to find some pretty awesome spots along our route.
This post will lay out how we found a place to lay our head every night and the awesome spots we stumbled upon to get some grub!
Our first night off the trail, we headed out the east entrance of the park to Cody, Wyoming. It was 53 miles from the park entrance to the town center. When we arrived in town, we learned that we had missed the 100th annual Cody Rodeo Fourth of July show. It was disappointing, but we were hungry anyways so we kept driving and found Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel and Restaurant.
This site, since remodeled, was put on the national historic registry of sites due to its influence on the town and early settlers. We had no idea about this until we were inside, so it was a wonderful find, and the burgers weren’t bad either!
After we got our fill, we tried to find a hotel in town, but there were no vacancies for almost 100 miles due to the rodeo and holiday. We were slightly prepared for this by having our car camping rig in the back of my car. We didn’t know, though, was that it would be difficult to find a campsite between Cody and the park or how spotty cell phone service would be.
Luckily, while we were driving down highway 14, we noticed the Four Bears Bureau of Land Management site. We quickly pulled over and parked the car for the night. When we woke up the next morning, we had stunning views of the surrounding mountains and were very happy to discover a restroom - a rare find at most sites like this!
Before entering the park and before losing cell service again, we looked at the park map and decided we could make it all the way through to the Mammoth Hot Spring area and stay in Bozeman, Montana. We went to Hotels.com and quickly found a cheap room for the night at the Lewis and Clark Motel in Three Forks.
After a full day inside the National Park that started with a close encounter with a bison and ended at Mammoth Hot Springs, we started the more than 85 mile drive to our hotel. We could not have made it without a stop for dinner at the Emigrant Outpost.
It turns out that small town restaurants in Montana either completely shut down or stop serving food close to dark. We pulled into several different parking lots, but nearly everything was closed. We finally found Emigrant Outpost, outside of a town called Pray, and they were only serving fried foods, but beggars can’t be choosers. We enjoyed our wings and beers, and for the first time in almost a week, we were able to shower and lie down in an actual bed.
There wasn’t much to The Lewis and Clark Motel , and it actually had nothing to do with Lewis and Clark, but it served all of our needs. Including a warm shower, with a nice little heat lamp if I might add, a clean bed, and some pastries and coffee in the lobby. We woke up refreshed and ready for another full day.
We got on the road hungry and decided to check out what Bozeman had to offer. We found Main Street and Stuffed Crepes and Waffles. We sat at a sidewalk table and enjoyed our crepes and coffee before continuing the drive back into the park. We were going the same way we had come the night before.
After a full day of geysers, hot springs, and mud pots we, again, found no open campsites inside the park. We did find out that the price of a room for the night at the Old Faithful Inn was $450!! After politely declining their offer, we cooked one of our dehydrated dinners and drove out the west entrance to West Yellowstone, Idaho.
We found a campsite on freecampsites.net at the Targhee Creek Trailhead. It was quick and easy to find, but there were lots of other cars parked for the night. When we found an open spot, we sat outside the car for a while to admire the incredible amount of stars we could see. We hopped back in the car camper for some sleep after marveling at our night lights.
We woke up ready for our last day in Yellowstone. All we had left to see was an Old Faithful eruption, so we were in no rush. We stopped right outside the park in the town of West Yellowstone for a hearty breakfast at Old Town Cafe.
After our meal, we drove through Yellowstone National Park one last time and saw the crown jewel erupt. It was the perfect ending to our trip, and even though we had found great places to eat and sleep, we were ready to be home and sleep in our own beds!
Having a complete first aid kit is critical in the backcountry. There is no way to predict what may happen in the wild, but it is possible to be prepared for common injuries. It is important to be familiar with the uses of each component of a first aid kit and know where they can be found in your kit, because quick treatment is effective treatment.
Taylor and I’s trip to Yellowstone National Park was our first multi-night backpacking trip. Before we hit the trail, we did a lot of research into the different scenarios we might find ourselves dealing with in the backcountry. You can read all about our Planning and Prepping Process in this post.
We compared several backcountry first aid kits such as Andrew Skurka’s, My Open Country’s, and The Washington Trail Association’s to other kits sold in stores like this one from REI. After taking inventory of what we already carried in our day packs, we looked at these lists and decided what was important to carry and what we needed to buy.
For the most part, we were able to restock and fill our kits at our local Safeway grocery store. Anything that we weren't able to get there, we picked up at the REI in Denver. We each carried our own kits in case we were ever separated. Here is the complete list of items in each first aid kit:
Taylor and I were well prepared with the supplies listed above. She suffered several cuts, scrapes, and bruises from being swept off her feet by a rushing creek and blisters from her new hiking boots, while I suffered a punctured palm after a careless stumble. On top of these, we were both attacked by mosquitoes leaving us covered in bites.
We both used antiseptic pads for cleaning our wounds and off-brand Band-Aids to cover them up. In addition, I used elastic wrap and medical tape for securing the adhesive bandage on my palm. Taylor used moleskin to cover her blisters and insect bite relief for some of her mosquito bites.
The only thing that Taylor felt we should have also carried was a cold compression pack to help relieve her bruising and swelling, but she got by just fine without it.
We discovered that Taylor’s first aid kit was not waterproof even though it was advertised to be. Luckily, we weren’t in a dire situation, but some of her moleskin and bandaids needed to be dried after her slip in the water.
Overall, we were well prepared for the situations we faced in the backcountry, and we hope this guide will help you prepare for any trips you might take.
As part of our preparation for our first multi-night backpacking trip, John and I spent a lot of time researching our food options. On other trips, we had been able to keep sausage for a night or two and could carry around cans of potatoes and beans without them weighing us down.
This trip to Yellowstone was much different though. We were planning for seven days in some of the most remote parts of our country, so calories, weight, and healthiness were all important factors in our choice. You can read about our entire planning and prepping process for our big trip in this post.
We started our research by going into some local outdoor stores to see our options. When walking around our local REI, the first thing we noticed about meals were the cost. Upwards of $5 per meal seemed very costly. At first, the prices made us panic about our decision to try them out, but we learned about variety and bulk boxes offered when we started looking online.
A quick Google search lead us to these sites that helped us start our search: Switchback Travel, Adventure Junkies, and My Open Country. Thanks to these articles, I was able to narrow our search to less than 10 brands.
The companies we checked out first were Alpine Aire, Backpacker’s Pantry, Good to Go, Mary Jane’s Farm, Mountain House, Wise Company, and Wild Zora Foods. The lack of variety instantly took Wild Zora off the list. Good to Go’s variety packs were all sold out, and even though Mountain House was highly recommended and the least expensive, the sodium content was too high for us. We felt that we’d rather spend more money on healthy ingredients than carry more meals.
I ended up making a spreadsheet that laid out each meal that was offered in each box I was researching. I broke down the cost, calories, and quantities of meals for Backpacker’s Pantry, Wise Company, and Mary Jane’s Farm.
Backpacker’s Pantry had two options I was considering: their seven day one person kit and their seven day two person kit. The main issue I had with this company was their website! It would allow me to create a variety pack with the meals they had, but for some reason, they would never appear in my cart or they were just not available. I had a hard time pricing out their items because of these troubles, but from what I could tell, they were a bit more expensive than the ones we ended up with.
Wise Company offered a very large survivor style box on Amazon that cost $70 and included 15 packets. The downside is that there were there were no breakfasts, and their nutritional facts weren’t very impressive. Also, some of the comments sold it as more of an emergency preparedness box instead of camping meals, but it still came in a close second.
After all of our research, Mary Jane’s Farm’s “Alone At Last” was the box we chose, and we could not have been happier. In fact, we don’t really know how any dehydrated meals could be any tastier or more filling than Mary Jane’s. Every night, we were amazed by the quality of product and the consistencies of the dishes. Nothing felt gummy or uncooked.
We were able to eat a meal and a soup every night, and for three nights, we had chocolate mousse for dessert! I will say that we never ate any of the meals for lunch - we each had snack bags and made tortilla roll ups with sandwich meat and cheese nearly every day for lunch. But still, at the end of the trip, we had one soup, two breakfasts, and one couscous meal left over.
Overall, we were thoroughly surprised and absolutely stuffed while on the trail. We were so glad that we chose Mary Jane’s Farm for our first backpacking trip, and honestly, I can’t wait to give the others a try to really compare the taste and quality!
Check out our other posts to see what other gear we carried and the things we packed in our first aid kits!
Between shows at The Ride Festival, John and I decided to take a Saturday morning hike up to Bridal Veil Falls with the intention of making it to Blue Lake. We chose this trail because of the proximity of its trailhead to Telluride and word of mouth recommendations.
When we got to the trailhead, we were psyched to see that the trail leads up to not only Colorado’s tallest waterfall but also to the stunning Ingram Falls. Ingram Falls is visible from most of Telluride and had captured our attention since our first drive into the town.
We arrived at the Valley View parking area around 9:30 am. If we had arrived any later, we might not have gotten parking spot. As we were eating breakfast and putting our boots on in the parking lot, the road filled with hikers’ and mountain bikers’ vehicles.
The road to the top of the falls is a steep dirt road. As the morning continued, more and more cars passed us by. They were fairly annoying, especially the ones that would shoot up dust and rocks, but we learned to face the valley and enjoy the view while they passed.
The views of Telluride and the surrounding Box Canyon were unbelievable. During the entire hike, I could not stop commenting on how stunning the layered rocks were and how much better the view got as we went higher.
Before we made it to Bridal Veil Falls, we stopped to check out Ingram Falls at the few points where the trail crosses over or approaches its waters. This waterfall falls over one thousand feet down into the valley. Some snow atop the fall was still frozen, and it created little ice bridges where the flowing water cut through.
John’s favorite part of the hike was the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls. You could feel the mist of the waterfall from a dozen yards away, and it was very refreshing after the sunny hike up. We stopped to take some pictures and helped other groups take theirs before we continued the climb to the top of the fall.
What we were not expecting to find on our way was a mine hidden inside the canyon wall. There were broken rail tracks that led straight to it. It lead our curiosity to questions like who owned it and what was the purpose of the rushing water behind the mine’s gate.
A few climbers were hiking along a nearby ledge, so we followed them to a great spot where we sat and took in the view for a while. We had a snack and grabbed some water before continuing up the hill to the top of the falls.
The top of the falls is home to the historic Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Powerplant. This plant was built in 1907 and was put on the national registry of historic sites after it went out of commission in the 1950’s. Since then, it has been restored and provides power to almost a quarter of Telluride!
It was so incredible to see the beauty and power of Colorado’s tallest waterfall up close, and the views surrounding it made for one incredible hike. The hike is just under 5 miles round trip, and I would highly suggest it if you ever find yourself in Telluride or in the surrounding San Juan Mountains.
During our weekend at The Ride Fest, we checked out Telluride’s Floradora Saloon. It offered the expected dimly lit atmosphere of a saloon but unexpectedly high prices. Taylor and I decided to give the saloon a try and were pleased with our meals.
We sat at a booth and ordered a couple of cocktails off the top. Soon after, we placed an order for the unique combination of edamame, burgers, and fries. Taylor had the ABBB burger with avocado, bacon, blackening seasoning, blue cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and spicy pickles on a potato bun. I had the Matty’s Popper Burger with bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomatoes, and spicy pickles on a potato bun. The burgers were filling and had a good taste, and it was our very first time to have edamame at a "saloon".
Taylor and I should have expected to find high prices all around Telluride, but we were caught off guard by the prices at the Saloon. Aside from the taste of spending $18 on a burger, everything at the Saloon was very appetizing. Taylor and I questioned the authenticity of a saloon that sells edamame, but our time at the saloon was delightful.
The Butcher and The Baker is a bakery and cafe on bustling Colorado avenue in Telluride. Taylor and I had a delicious breakfast while recovering from the day-before of exploring Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls and dancing at The Ride Fest.
The small shop’s doors were propped open and most of its outdoor seating faced a lush, public lawn. A glass case next to the register displays several of the bakery’s creations, but nothing looked as good as the brunch menu’s descriptions.
Taylor had gluten-free blueberry pancakes and a cappuccino, and she added whipped cream to both. I ordered the Day Maker sandwich full of two eggs, white cheddar, breakfast sausage, house-made pepper jam, and arugula on an English muffin. It paired perfectly with a hot drip coffee. Both orders were enjoyed al fresca in Telluride’s beautiful July weather.
Our best meal in Telluride was compliments of the Butcher and Baker. The atmosphere was welcoming, and the food was mouthwatering. It’ll be tempting to revisit the next time we’re in Telluride.
When Taylor and I determined that we’d spend 2019’s Fourth of July backpacking in Yellowstone National Park, we knew that several pieces of critical gear would ensure a successful trip.
Before we started packing though, we had to find a trail and determine its safety. We spent a great deal of time researching and preparing for our trip, you can read all about it here!
Once we were ready to pack, we took even more time determining what gear was important and getting it all packed in our two packs. This post lays out the gear that Taylor and I felt was the most important, why we picked it, and whether or not it performed as well as we had hoped.
The packs that so trustily carried our remaining gear were the Ascend MS 4400 and Kelty Coyote 80. This was Taylor's first time carrying her pack and my Ascend has seen pretty good use over the three years I have had it.
My bag has been stuffed to the brink of its capacity more than a few times. All of that use has lead to two non-major faults: The sternum strap detached from the shoulder straps and a five inch rip has opened up along the pack’s primary compartment seam. It's nothing too major, but I need to find some way to patch it soon.
Taylor’s Coyote 80 is a bit big for her, she again purchased this from REI’s sale section and she picked up a men’s pack. This causes it to sit about 2-3 inches too low on her hips, but it does carry more gear than my Ascend.
The weight of Taylor's bag almost caused a costly mistake later on in our trip. We learned a lot about carrying the correct weight and packing our bags properly. We wrote a "10 Things We Learned In the Backcountry" post, you can read it here to see what other useful knowledge we gained on our first trip.
The most important piece of gear inside our packs, aside from first aid - which we listed out in this separate blog post, was our tent. Taylor and I have had our Eureka Apex 2XT (2015 version) tent for almost 3 years now and it has been the most impressive piece of gear we’ve used on the trail..
We’ve used this hardy tent more than 30 times and have never had to deal with a tear, leak, or broken tent pole. The rain cover did a perfect job protecting us in Yellowstone’s backcountry and helps keep the heat in when the temperature drops.
Long days of hiking require plenty of drinking water, and water filtration is critical for mitigating the risks of drinking from flowing streams. Taylor and I purchased the LifeStraw Flex with gravity bag system before our trip into the backcountry, and we could not have been happier with its performance. The system filters up to one gallon at a time at a rate of roughly one liter per minute. We were nearly able to fill our respective 32 ounce Nalgene and RTIC water bottles and each of our two liter water bladders with one gravity bag full of water. The LifeStraw water filtration system is effective and leaves spring water tasting as delicious as it should.
When we didn’t want to stop to filter water, Taylor and I treated collected water with Potable Aqua iodine germicidal tablets. These tablets take 35 minutes to cleanse water of harmful agents and require careful proportioning. Taylor often passed her treated water off to me due to the unpleasant taste, and we have since decided that iodine tablets are best kept for emergency use.
Along with our filtered or treated water, Taylor and I carried and cooked dehydrated meals for the first time. We compared several different options and were very deliberate in our choosing Mary Jane’s Farm thanks to their low sodium content and variety options offered. Were thoroughly happy with our choice and were full every night. You can read about our decision process in this post!
There were some days where we would not have been able to boil water for these meals if it hadn’t been for our MSR PocketRocket and our Jetboil Jetpower 8.11 ounce fuel canisters. They have been lifesavers over the years when campfires are banned or weather conditions prevent them.
We also used it when we were driving around the park and car camping outside the park every night. It really helped make the dehydrated meals even more convenient.
Carrying food into Yellowstone’s backcountry requires careful storage to keep from attracting bears. Taylor and I purchased four Loksac Opsac scent locking 12” by 20” bags to keep our food and other scented items. We placed those filled bags in a 20 liter Earth Pak dry bag before using 100 feet of rope and carribbeaners to hang the bags out of reach.
Bears can also be encountered by chance on the trail. Taylor and I each carried large knives and 8.1 ounce cans of Counter Assault Bear Deterrent. The powerful pepper spray can reach a distance of 32 feet, and it gave us peace of mind as we ventured into bear country.
Though these were the critical pieces of gear that made our time in the backcountry safe and reasonably comfortable, we had much more on our backs each day. Here is a complete list of the rest of the gear we carried on our journey.
Just outside of Yellowstone National Park, restaurants and gift shops define West Yellowstone, Montana. Old Town Cafe is among those serving breakfast, and their plates of morning grub stuffed Taylor and I after we’d camped nearby in Idaho. You can read and see about where we slept outside of the park in this post here!
Old Town Cafe features a diner, a barroom, and a video lottery room. The diner is a brightly lit, beautiful wooden room with a bar and visible kitchen. Sitting underneath one of several paintings of cowboys, trains, and bears, Taylor and I ordered a delicious breakfast.
I had hot cakes, sausage, hash browns, OJ, and coffee. I couldn’t have asked for a better tasting or more filling meal. Taylor nearly finished all of her six ounce sirloin, eggs, sourdough toast, and OJ. We both agreed, then and there, that the breakfast was just what we needed before a long day of exploring Yellowstone's wonders.
Three Forks, Montana, is 31 miles from Bozeman and home to The Lewis and Clark Motel. Originally the Milwaukee Railroad and Puget Sound Railroad Clubhouse, this quaint hotel is where Taylor and I stayed between days in Yellowstone National Park.
Most other nights we camped, or slept in my car camper, but after several days backpacking through the backcountry we decided to splurge on good rest and showers. Since it was the Fourth of July, available rooms were few and far between near the national park, but a second floor room with a single queen bed was available
The cozy lobby and welcoming receptionist were the first signs that we’d made a good choice for the night, but the balcony and bathroom heat lamp amenities sealed the deal. We both slept comfortably and woke rested.
Complimentary coffee and banana bread was icing on the proverbial cake. Though it was a long way from Yellowstone, the Lewis and Clark Motel of Three Forks was a luxury that Taylor and I couldn’t have been more thankful for.
Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel and Restaurant in Cody, Wyoming, is a city staple and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its "contribution to the cultural foundations of America". Taylor and I stopped in for a burger after five days of backpacking through Yellowstone National Park’s Backcountry.
Taylor and I arrived in Cody looking for a hot meal, and the Irma’s kitchen was still open late on the Fourth of July, plus the building’s rooftop railing and large sign distinguish it among its Sheridan avenue neighbors, so we walked in.
We had no idea that we were walking into a historic building. Taxidermied big game filled the walls of the downstairs restaurant and bar, and a gorgeous cherry bar gifted by Queen Victoria of England sat as a greeter when you walked in the front door. Since its opening in 1902, the establishment has since been foreclosed, sold, expanded, and reopened, but it still holds it old western sentiments.
The dining area was full of patron’s and the prime rib buffet seemed to be a popular choice. Taylor enjoyed a Buffalo Burger while I had the Irma Philly. Both of our plates were cleaned, and we were both satisfied.
The decorations and artwork inspired conversation, and the staff was busy but effective. If Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel is on par with the restaurant, this landmark will be around for a long time to come.
Stuffed Crepes and Waffles served Taylor and I a delicious breakfast before we continues our driving exploration of Yellowstone National Park. Located on Main Street in Bozeman, Montana, near the corner of South Willson Street, this counter-service restaurant serves many savory and sweet creations.
I fawned over my ‘Georgia’ waffle with caramelized peaches, cinnamon, sugar, walnuts, bequet caramel sauce, and homemade whipped cream. Taylor substituted ham to her ‘Vermont’ crepe before devouring it. It usually consists of bacon, cracked egg, diced tomatoes, and sharp white cheddar. We both enjoyed a cup of Coldsmoke coffee and warm rays of sunshine while sitting at a streetside table.
From time to time, Taylor and I discover delicious and hearty breakfasts while on the road. Bozeman’s Stuffed Crepes and Waffles is one of those fantastic locations. Tasty would be a tragic understatement, and I would go back for breakfast without hesitation.
After an extremely incredible and eventful backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park’s Backcountry, John and I took three days to drive around the park and see all the highlights. You can read and see all about it here!
After our first day in the car, we drove through Pray, Montana, on the way to the Lewis and Clark Motel in Three Forks, Montana. The Emigrant Outpost was the only place serving food at 9pm and we couldn’t have been more thankful.
Though they were only serving fried food, we were able to order two dozen buffalo wings and fries. A cold beer each complemented our meal while a crowd of locals laughed and drank at the bar.
Emigrant Outpost was a life-saver for John and I. We were starving and couldn’t have been more happy sitting in front of a hot meal. It is one of the only places serving food in Pray late night, and it seemed to be the home base for a certain group of Montana natives. We weren’t in on the party, but we did get enough food to fill our bellies for the night.
After a wonderful weekend at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, I made a pit-stop at The Paint Mines Interpretive Park just east of Colorado Springs. I had been seeing pictures of these stunning rocks for months, so I was very excited when some of my friends and a few ladies from the Women Who Hike Colorado group wanted to make the trip with me!
We met early in the morning, and it was a good thing we did. When we left, the parking lot was full and muddy. In fact, the entire trail and hike was very muddy. The trail starts with a quick, half-mile walk to the first formations.
These first formations were just a tease of what was to come. They were great to see first, because they were near the trail and built up our anticipation for all the beautiful and colorful rocks to come, since these were mainly white sandstone. We took pictures, kept walking, and tried to not get held up at what we knew was a lesser stop.
Down the muddy and snowy trail a little further was the epic valley of red and orange striped spires poking out of the ground. When we came over the ridge and saw the entire layout from above, we were in awe, giddy, and stunned all at the same time.
Once we saw other people down in the canyon, we knew we had to go in and see what was hiding below.
By the end of the day, we were all worn out from all of the trudging through slick conditions and climbing beautiful formations. We hiked back out and sat in the parking lot to share our pictures with one another and talk about how much fun the day had been together. We all agreed that the park was much more magical than any of the pictures or reviews had made it out to be!
After an earlier morning drive from Columbus, Ohio, to Niagara Falls and a long afternoon of riding The Maid of the Mist, we capped the night off sampling beers at The Niagara Brewing Company
We ordered The Big Bang flight to try all eight beers on tap: Honeymoon Peach Raddler, Niagara Premium Lager, Amber Eh! Ale, Dare Devil IPA, Hennepin Stout, Niagara Brewing's seasonal cream, wheat, and red Irish ale.
Our favorite was the Peach Raddler. It wasn’t too sweet and was light enough to enjoy without feeling too full.
We ordered some chips and guacamole to go with the beers and enjoyed the view from the patio before catching fireworks over the falls. It was a great way to end our short day in Niagara Falls!
Niagara Falls is on many peoples’ bucket list. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America after all. These falls weren’t on my immediate list of places to visit, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend my 2018 Labor Day holiday on a road trip from Nashville to Niagara Falls.
We got to Niagara Falls late Saturday afternoon and hopped in line for The Maid of The Mist. We took turns going to see the falls from Prospect Point as we waited in line. As soon as I saw how fast the water was flowing, I was in shock. The volume of water that gushes down the steep cliff side is mind boggling.
After a quick wait in line, we took the elevator down to our boat ride to see the rushing waters of The American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. We had the best time admiring the rainbows from the top deck of The Maid of the Mist while being showered with the falls’ mist.
After a 30 minute ride, our feet were soaked, so we went to the car to change shoes and drive to the Canadian side. We had a long wait on The Rainbow Bridge, but we finally made it into Canada!
The Canadian side was so much prettier. There were beautiful, grassy areas with people, lawn chairs, and blankets strewn all around . It was a lovely place to park the car and stroll around.
We walked upstream toward the falls through Victoria Park and watched the sunset over the water. The view of the rushing water was spectacular even though the sun was behind us. When the sun had set, lights were projected onto all three falls. We saw them light up with deep red and bright blue colors before we left to grab a beer at The Niagara Brewery.
We almost didn’t make it back to the waterfalls to see the fireworks. The show only went on for six minutes, so there was barely anything to see. When they finished, we made the walk back to our car and stopped to grab a few souvenirs for home!
We may have only spent a few short hours in this wondrous place, but we saw the glory of the waterfalls up close, and that was worth every minute of the two-day-long drive!
The Maid of the Mist is an iconic boat (in a series of boats going back nearly 180 years) that takes people close to Niagara Falls, and the ride was the number one thing we wanted to do on our trip.
We thought we were being smart by ordering tickets online, but we still had to wait in the line to get to the ticket counter. Tickets are single-use and aren’t for a specific day, but they are good for the entire season. If something had come up and we needed to go another day, we could have!
The line was pretty long, but the boat leaves every 15 minutes.We moved across the platform and down the elevator quickly. Just before we got on the boat, we were handed the famous, bright blue ponchos.
Somehow, we claimed a corner spot on the American Falls side of the boat that fit the three of us perfectly. We put on our ponchos and got our cameras ready just in time for anchor up.
The boat ride starts next to The American Falls, so we were immediately up close and personal with the crashing water. The boat moved very slowly, so everyone could enjoy the view. It gave us time to look back and see the observation deck and the rainbow that the mist was creating.
We slowly continued past the rocky bottom toward Bridal Veil Falls, and we waved to all the people getting soaked while walking to The Cave of the Winds. We slowly continued around Goat Island to get to the main attraction.
Horseshoe Falls is the giant waterfall that most picture when thinking of Niagara Falls, and the Maid of the Mist took us into the heart of it. The water is so powerful, as it gushes down a 174 foot drop, that it constantly spews a heavy cloud of mist into the air.
The mist absolutely soaked us, and it was difficult to see anything around us. For a while, we couldn’t even see that there was water flowing behind us! When the boat circled around, we got to see the other side of Horseshoe Falls before heading back to the dock.
After the boat ride, I walked up to the staircase to get a closer view of The American Falls. Amazingly, I got even wetter here, but feeling the water on my face was well worth it. This view alone made up for the unfortunate fact that we didn’t make it to The Cave of the Winds on Goat Island.
Iceland does a very good job of maintaining the natural beauty of the country by not allowing the tourism industry to drastically change its landscape. There are few large hotels or resorts in Iceland, and we only saw those few closer to the more touristy locations.
Since there were so few places to stay, we rented a three person camper van from Kuku Campers. We were able to pull up to a campsite at night and hop in the back to cook or go straight to bed. It was also really nice to not have set reservations, because most nights of our eight-day trip across the country we got a lot farther than I had originally planned.
Because the population on the island is so sparse, available hotels are expensive and book up fast. Airbnbs are no exception. We would have to find a campsite each night, but we were always successful.
We got lucky our first night outside of Reykjavik and got a very nice and inexpensive Airbnb in Hafnarfjörður. We had the whole downstairs apartment to ourselves with a queen and twin size bed.
Our second night in Iceland really spilled over into the morning of our third day, because we didn't arrive at The Hellissandur Campsite until almost 2 am. The bathroom was nice and the accompanying hostel seemed popular. We woke up pretty early to do things on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, so I didn't get a picture.
Varmahíld Campsite Across the River was our home the third night in the northern region. The sweet woman who owned the property had a wonderful setup. Her backyard was turned into a giant campground suitable to park a van or pitch a tent on. She also had a full kitchen, basketball hoop, hot tub, and clean facilities.
Egilsstadastofa Campsite was where we stayed on the fourth night after our furthest day of travel. We had a full day in the Lake Myvatn area and pushed through into the night so that we could wake up closer to the puffins at Borgarfardarhöfn. We all showered and washed the dishes in the nice, public facilities. We had good coffee from the neighboring coffeehouse before another long drive.
Haukafell Campground was a little difficult to find after a late-night dinner at Hafnarbúdin. We finally found this campsite tucked away behind someone's farm. Waking up at the mouth of Vatnajökull glacier was a great way to excite us for our Glacier Hike later that day.
Vik Camping was a great place to recharge our camera gear and ourselves. We were then fully prepared for a busy day on the beaches of Vik. After showers and a good breakfast, we went climbing on the basalt column and the Sólheimasandur plane wreck.
Selfoss Camping was unexpectedly nice to pull up to at 11 pm. We cooked a quick meal and charged our things before crawling into our camper to try to rest after a long day of driving and Geysir watching.
Hafnarfjödur Camping was our last campsite in Iceland. We pulled up to a fairly empty campsite and watched some other campers practice their fly fishing while we packed up our gear to fly home the next morning.
Overall, we seem to have made the right decision in choosing a camper van over expensive hotels or planned Airbnbs. It might not have been the best quality of sleep every night, but our campsites had amazing facilities and were affordable for the three of us.
The Blue Lagoon is designated as “the spot you have to go your first time in Iceland,” and I can only somewhat agree with that. It is a very interesting geothermal pool that has been made into a high-end spa just south of Reykjavik. As with the black sand beaches of Vik, Kendall and I had both seen hundreds of pictures of the Blue Lagoon on Pinterest and Instagram, so we had high expectations.
We saved this turquoise blue hot spring for the very last activity on our eight day trip across the country, and we were glad we did. We were nice and relaxed before our flight home the next morning. We made a late afternoon reservation for the spa, because the prices went down after 6 PM. It was also nice, because there seemed to be less people in the lagoon. We had no problem getting lockers or showers of which there weren't many stalls for.
When we checked in with the front desk, we were given our towels, wristbands, and guidelines. The basic package we booked included a free drink of our choice! We knew beforehand that we would have to shower off before entering the lagoon, but there are private shower stalls and changing rooms for more modest people. After we showered and got our things packed away, we were ready to enter the lagoon.
The water is about 100°F and felt incredible against the cold wind whipping around us. We walked and swam the perimeter of the lagoon starting at the cocktail bar. John had a Gull beer, my sister had a non-alcoholic smoothie, and I sipped sparkling strawberry wine.
We kept meandering around until we finally came to the silica face-masks. John refused to put one on, unless it was applied as if it were war paint. He wasn’t the biggest fan of being drug to a spa, but he seemed to warm up to it.
After our face masks dried, we washed them off and kept wading around the rest of the perimeter. Before we got out of the lagoon, we checked out the last few things that the spa had to offer. There was a little wading area with a piping hot waterfall and separate steam room that was way too hot for my comfort.We had spent almost two hours enjoying one others' company and literally soaking in our last Iceland attraction.
Our recommendation is to either visit the lagoon at the beginning or end of your trip. It is a perfect way to prepare for a flight or decompress after one. There were truly natural sights we'd seen that were more impressive than the Blue Lagoon, but it didn't take away from the fun we had while floating around the steamy water.
After an eventful morning changing a flat tire outside of our Lava Tunnel Tour, we were looking for a good place to warm up and fill our bellies in the town of Selfoss. We chose Kaffikraus, because it was fairly priced and seemed to have good coffee.
We ordered the Verona pizza which came with mushrooms, pepperoni, cream cheese, and bacon. We ordered the deep fried brie as an appetizer, but it came out with our pizza. The cheese board came with fresh bruschetta and several jellies, and it was the best part of the meal.
Overall it did the trick of warming us up and filling our bellies with good food and good coffee.
It was cold and raining as we walked up to the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara. Up to that moment, my little sister had asked me every day on our road trip when we were going to the black sand beach. She and I had both seen hundreds of pictures of the geologic creations on this magnificent beach, and we were both really excited.
We made sure to wake up early that morning so that we could beat the crowds, but the rain started to come down as soon as we stepped onto the sand. We took shelter under the Hálsanefshellir sea cave and waited for the cold, sideways rain to die down. When it subsided, we had the cave and columns to ourselves for nearly thirty minutes. We climbed all over the hexagonal steps and the sea cave on the other side. It was really nice to have it to ourselves for a short while.
When the groups finally started to arrive, we started back to the car to see the nearby Dryhólaey Cliff. We got to the top of the road, and there wasn't really a good view of the cliff. Although we were a bit disappointed in the vantage point, the view of the beach and farmland on the opposite side were beautiful. We then stopped by a multi-level, shallow cave and explored it for a few minutes, but its coolness was no match for the US Navy plane crash we would see next at the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck .
Back in 1973. the pilot of a US Navy DC-3 super bus plane had to make an emergency landing on the black sands of Sólheimasandur Beach after switching to the wrong fuel tank and thinking the plane had run out of fuel. Luckily, no one was injured, and they didn't crash into anything. The only downside is that it is a very long walk to the plane, because it crashed in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived at the crash scene after a desolate, hour-long walk. The plane has held up surprisingly well over the 40 years that it has been taking a beating from the wind and rain of Iceland's shore. There was a small group of people taking pictures alongside us, but we patiently waited for them to scoot out of our frame. Again, our timing was lucky, because we passed herds of people going toward the plane on our walk back to the van.
We continued along the eastern coast, stopping along at Skogafoss and Gullfoss before wrapping up our day in Vik. We had planned our day perfectly and managed to see all of the things we had planned. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day on the East Coast of Iceland near the city of Vik.
When Taylor asked me to select an activity in Iceland that I would like to do, I did not hesitate in choosing a lava tunnel tour. The Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel is located in the southern region of Iceland and fell perfectly along our route.
The lava tunnel itself was formed about five thousand years ago but was formally discovered in 1971. Our tour began right on time at 8:30 AM. The cave’s cover was a welcome escape from the brutal surface weather that morning.
The first segment of the cave is defined by two large surface openings. A result of ceiling collapse, the two portals allow natural light into a place that had undoubtedly been bathed in darkness for most of its existence.
The next segment features smooth walls with melted red streaks of oxidized iron. We were lucky to also be able to see ice spires rising from the cave floor in June. These spires are created by water dripping from the cave ceiling and freezing in the crevices of the floor.
As the darkness enveloped the tunnel, life began to show in the final segment of our tour. A shining white bacteria lives in the recesses of the lava tunnel away from harmful sunlight. Our very knowledgeable guide mentioned that scientists had begun studying the bacteria to gain insight into what type of life might have—or might—live among the rocks of Mars. Another interesting tidbit she added is that the bacteria is hydrorepulsive meaning it repels water.
Soon we’d reached the end of our metal catwalk and the beginning of the ‘Extreme Lava Tunnel Tour' which takes three hours and features much more of the tunnel. Our tour only went 350 meters into the 1,360-meter-long tunnel, which is Iceland’s fourth largest.
The cave extends less than 50 meters into the Earth, but even such a shallow escape from the Earth’s topography can seem an alien landscape. If Taylor were to ask me again what attraction I would like to sign up for, I would still book the tour at Raufarhólshellir.
After a great morning exploring all that Vatnajökulspjódgardur National Park has to offer, we met up with our Tröll Expedition tour guide at the National Park's information center. We were fitted for our helmets and crampons before a quick bus ride to the base of Svínafellsjökull. This 'tongue' of Vatnajökull, is part of Europe’s largest glacier.
Our tour started with a safety lesson at the bottom of the glacier where the ice was covered in a thick layer of soot. We didn't need our crampons yet, but we were soon taught how to put them on. We were also shown how to use the ice pick for balanced walking, but we never used them for anything other than cute pictures). Once we were strapped up and properly trained, we began our ascent to the top of the exposed ice.
John called it, “a stroll around the glacier,” because there was nothing difficult or scary about the hike. It's roughly an hour of stomping around different parts of the glacier, looking at crevasses, and drinking fresh glacial water if you're lucky. Since the tours are on a time restraint, we could only go a short distance onto the glacial outlet. We were informed that it would take roughly three days to get to the looming mountain Hrutfjallstindar.
The experience of walking on a glacier is one few people can say they have had, and it was very very cool. But when we passed a group doing glacier climbing, John and I wished we had chosen a more “extreme” tour to get a different perspective of Europe's largest glacier.
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!