Routeburn Track, Day 2: Lake Mackenzie Hut to Routeburn Falls Hut

Routeburn Track, Day 2

So it turns out that sleeping in a room with two dozen or so other people doesn’t necessarily produce the best night of sleep. Go figure! Matt says that a man a few beds down from us started screaming in his sleep in the middle of the night. His wife settled him down. Somehow, I manage to sleep through that, but, as soon as the first hiker in the room starts to stir, I am wide awake. I play possum for a while hoping to will myself back to sleep, but there’s no hope. (more…)

Cruising Milford Sound

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It’s practically unheard of to visit the South Island of New Zealand and not go on a cruise in Fjordland’s magnificent Milford Sound. With sheer cliffs rising dramatically out of the deep blue waters, frolicking seals and dolphins and more breathtaking waterfalls than you can keep track of, Milford Sound is a must-see destination on practically every visitor’s list. (more…)

New Zealand or Bust!!!

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After more than a year of planning we finally set off for New Zealand on December 16, a Friday. This is actually a day earlier than planned, but, with a nasty winter storm forecasted for Saturday in Chicago, United has encouraged us to fly to San Francisco a day early to avoid it. We jump on the opportunity and pack up in a rush, but we don’t mind. There’s no way we are going to miss out on our dream trip to Middle Earth for anything. No way. New Zealand or bust!!! (more…)

New Zealand Dreamin’

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For as long as we can remember, New Zealand has been at the very, very top of our travel wishlist. This rugged island nation tucked far away in the southern Pacific has long captured our imagination, and, after seeing Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, we knew we would have to visit the land of Middle Earth at least once in our lifetimes. With its majestic snow-capped mountains, lush-green forests, ice-blue rivers and fiery volcanoes all on full display in the movies, our desire to photograph and hike in these stunning landscapes only grew more intense with the release of each subsequent film. Yet, for one reason or another, we never pulled the trigger. (more…)

We’re Back!

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Hello, friends.

We know, we know…long time, no write. Our bad. Is anyone still out there?

We don’t want to make excuses for our poor blogging etiquette, but we thought that the very least we could do is to let you know what we have been up to lately to help explain the long absence. So here goes... (more…)

Backpacking Olympic National Park’s Seven Lakes Basin Loop

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Day 1: Sol duc Falls Trailhead to Deer Lake, 4 miles

By the time we get our backpacks reloaded for this trip, it’s already 4:30 pm before we lock the car at the trailhead and start making our way towards Sol duc Falls, one of Olympic’s prettiest waterfalls. I hiked this trail up to the waterfall two years ago with my mother, but Matt hasn’t done it since we were last here together in 2004 or so. Right away, he is blown away by how beautiful the forest trail is. Ferns, mosses, and evergreens blend together to create a kaleidoscope of green that is utterly enchanting. Matt says it’s even greener than the Hoh, and he stops to take pictures every 10 feet of all the pretty little scenes we find. (more…)

Exploring Olympic National Park

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For our last backpacking trip of the summer, we head west to Washington’s enchanting Olympic peninsula to spend a few days exploring the rain forests, beaches and high alpine scenery of Olympic National Park. We’re probably crazy for wanting to do any more hiking after all the miles we’ve put in already this summer, but this time we really have no choice in the matter. (more…)

Day 6: Northside Figure 8, Mt. Rainier

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Mystic Lake to Sunrise Trailhead, ~10 miles

We are hiking out to our car today. It is a Saturday, and we have 10+ miles to go until we get back to Sunrise. Then we need to find a place to stay on a busy, summer weekend night. Given all that, we decide to get up at 5 and hit the trail as early as possible. We are very efficient in breaking camp, and, as we are brushing our teeth, we even get the bonus of seeing a doe with her small fawn walk right across our front porch meadow (the exact spot where we saw Mama Bear with her two cubs in 2014!)—sometimes it really pays to get up early! (more…)