Mummy Canyon (DV report) updated

A quick note that we recently updated our Mummy Canyon report.  Mummy Canyon is located in the Funeral Mountains and is currently listed as destination #136 on the Main Page.  The updates include 18 new photographs taken during an attempted hike into upper Mummy Canyon about one year ago.  I’m sure you will enjoy seeing the spectacular photos taken from the canyon rim high above the wash.

Ofu Beach & Lagoon (American Samoa) report released

This evening, we are releasing the 1st of 5 hiking reports from our trip to American Samoa.  This first report introduces everyone to the isolated and very beautiful island of Ofu.  It features a 2-mile beach walk with many outstanding views and an exclusive look underwater at the Ofu Lagoon with around 50 tropical fish and sea creatures identified and discussed.  I’m sure you will enjoy this report and the next two reports to come will share the two major hikes on Ofu-Olosega.  The new report can be found as report #12 under the South Pacific section of the Introduction Page.  Or you can just click on the link below.

Ofu Beach & Lagoon (American Samoa) report

Sonoma Wildfires Statement

Many long-time visitors to the site know that we live in Sonoma, California.  As you are likely aware, during the past week we experienced one of the worst wildfire disasters in state history.  During this time, my family was under advisory evacuation, with mandatory evacuations taking place just a few blocks away.  We wisely evacuated to stay with family members in nearby Terra Linda.  The smoke was so thick in and around our house that we had trouble breathing, and the fumes were very unhealthy.  Our house was at the highest risk on Wednesday evening, as a fire was burning nearby on the hills above where we lived.  High winds were forecast for the evening and we had a Red Flag warning.  Fortunately, the winds shifted direction during the night and the fire blew away from our house rather than towards it.  Thus, our home was spared.  But several of our friends lost their homes during these fires.  After one week, the advisory evacuation has now been lifted and we were able to return home.  So just letting everyone know we are home safe, grateful we have a home to return to.

I hope to see you all in Death Valley in November.

A picture I took of the wildfires burning on the hills not far from our house

Site Maintenance Updates

Just a brief note that all of the slideshows have been updated with the latest software updates.  It’s a bit of a tedious process that has to be done once every 1-2 years to make sure that the slideshows run smoothly on all operating systems and formats (computers, tablets, cell phones, etc.)  But that has now been completed and there should not be any major glitches when running slideshows.

Iceland – Fimmvorduhals Trail backpacking report

Today I am finally releasing the second and final report documenting our Iceland backpacking trip (link below). This covers days 4 and 5 while hiking the Fimmvorduhals Trail (which is an extension of the Laugavegur Trail). You will see a wide variety of scenery showcased within this report including a section of trail which is known as Waterfall Way because there are so many major waterfalls. It was a truly incredible experience that Josh and I hope to follow up on by backing the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland next summer.  To read the final Iceland report, click on the link below or go to the Introduction Page of the site and look for the link posted under the Europe section.

Fimmvorduhals Trail (Iceland) backpacking report

Pothole Canyon new DV report

The final new report from our February 2017 trip to Death Valley has now been published.  This one fully documents a hike into Upper Pothole Canyon.  I apologize for the long delay in publishing these reports.  It doesn’t usually take me 7 months to release all of them, but I did a bit of additional traveling this year.  Now that the final new DV report has been published, I can turn my attention to doing some site updates and also finishing up some reports from Non-DV destinations such as Iceland and American Samoa.  In addition, we will be returning to Death Valley in late November.  So trip planning is underway for that.  The new report on Pothole Canyon can be viewed as report #72 (currently) on the Main Page, or by clicking on the link below.  Pothole Canyon was an outstanding hike that surpassed expectations.

Pothole Canyon new DV report

Cottonwood Slot new DV report

After a lengthy delay of several months, I am finally publishing my new Death Valley hiking report which documents Cottonwood Slot.  Cottonwood Slot is an impressive slot canyon with white marble walls that very few hiking groups have seen due to the isolated location and challenging obstacles presented within.  Our group was able to fully see the entire canyon back in February of this year.  I’m sure you will enjoy the new report which features 109 photographs.  To read the new report on Cottonwood Slot, visit report #63 (currently) on the Main Page or click on the link below.

Cottonwood Slot new DV report

American Samoa (Sept 2017)

We recently returned from a 2-week trip to American Samoa.  As part of this, we visited the main island of Tutuila and a smaller island called Ofu (or Ofu-Olosega).  I must say that Ofu was perhaps the most beautiful place I have visited in the world.  At the very least, I found it equally as beautiful as Maupiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, which I visited one year ago.  Along with six days of snorkeling in the Ofu Lagoon, we also carried out several hikes.  Thus, I have five planned brand new reports that I am hoping to put together in the near future.  They will include:

  • Mount Alava Trail (Tutuila)
  • Tumu Mountain Trail (Ofu)
  • Oge Beach Trail (Ofu)
  • Mount Alava Adventure Trail (Tutuila)
  • Ofu Beach and Lagoon (National Park of American Samoa)

As for the standard teaser images, I will share two pictures from each of the upcoming reports below.

Fruit bat spotted on the way up to the summit of Mount Alava

View of Pago Pago harbor from the summit of Mount Alava

Stefan hiking up the beginning of the Tumu Mountain Trail on Ofu

One of the most spectacular views in the world comes at the end of the Tumu Mountain Trail

At the starting point of the Oge Beach Trail with island transportation

A Brown Booby flying overhead at the midpoint of the trail

Passing by a massive Banyan tree on the Mount Alava Adventure Trail

The early part of the hike features views of Pola Island and Vaiava Strait

Stefan playing in the incredibly beautiful Ofu Beach lagoon

Iceland – Laugavegur Trail backpacking report

Today I am publishing the first of two hiking reports from Iceland.  This first report covers the Laugavegur Trail from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork.  I put a lot of effort into sharing some of the trail highlights and outstanding scenery along the way.  This report contains three days of backpacking condensed into a single report and has 130 photographs.  The second report will be coming along in the near future.  To read the new Iceland report, click on the link below or visit the Introduction Page of the site and follow the link there under the Europe section.  I hope you enjoy checking out this beautiful area.

Laugavegur Trail (Iceland) backpacking report

Backpacking in Iceland

We just returned from a 5-day backpacking trip in Iceland covering almost 50 miles along the full length of the Laugavegur Trail (34.2 miles) and an extension on the Fimmvorduhals Trail (15.5 miles).  The hike was quite incredible with an amazing array of scenery including colorful rhyolite hills, thermal areas with steam vents and boiling mud, high mountain tops, black lava deserts, towering canyons with rivers below, a valley surrounded by massive glaciers, an area of newly formed cinder cones with 7-year-old lava flows, and several miles of continuous major waterfalls.  In the near future, I’m going to write up two brand new reports, one for each of the trails.  But first, I need to sort through 1,285 pictures and choose my favorite 200 for the reports.  Here are a few teaser images from the trip.

The Laugavegur Trail starts out in Landmannalaugar with an abundance of colorful rhyolite hills

Passing by the first of many steam vents and thermal areas

View from the mountains down toward Alftavatn Lake

Markarfljotsgljufur Canyon is passed just before reaching the camp at Emstrur

Sunset on Krossarjokull glacier as we reached Thorsmork valley

Passing by Tungnakvislarjokull glacier on the way to Fimmvorduhals

Standing on Modi with Magni in the background (the two new cinder cones formed in the 2010 volcanic eruption)

Passing by one of the 26 major waterfalls during the final route down to Skogar