The unusual Hraunfosser Falls just outside of Reykholt, Iceland, flow into the Hvítá river, a series of rivulets that flow across 900 metres of a lava field (hraun means “lava”). Attempting to get the whole width of the waterfall was a task only a wide-angle fish eye lens could succeed at. Just a little further down the Hvítá river is another waterfall, Barnafoss, which means the waterfall of the kids. The name comes from a legend wherein two children were playing on the bridge that crossed over the falls, and then fell to their deaths. In light of our guide telling us this story, I held a little tighter to the rails of that bridge as I crossed.
50 kilometres west of Barcelona lies the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, nestled high up on the Montserrat mountain. The mountain cuts into the skyline like a handsaw. In Catalan, Montserrat literally means “serrated mountain.” Funicular trains and hiking trails take you all around the imposing mountain, once said according to Arthurian legend to be the site of the Holy Grail. But for me, it is more of a holy grail of a view.
After enduring a particularly gruelling day hike the day before with tough winds and pelting rain, we decided to spend day two of our Banff hiking trip in Sunshine Meadows, known during the winter time as the Sunshine Ski Resort. You take a shuttle bus up what is the ski-out in winter (and a particularly painful ski-out, since it’s quite flat and boring), and arrive at a landing of inoperative chairlifts, swinging softly in the gentle autumn breeze. There’s not a cloud in the sky today, the sun is shining, and the larches are proudly wearing their new colours. We decided to hike up Rock Isle Trail and take the loop to Laryx lake. As we walked, we could see Mount Assiniboine far off in the distance. After a gentle uphill hike away from the unnatural ski equipment, we reached Rock Isle Lake, which is now one of my favourite lake spots in the Rockies. We cracked open a bottle of wine and sat on a perch overlooking the water. The group of us alternated …
I took this photo while I was sprinting between venues at Iceland Airwaves in 2014, from KEX Hostel to Slippbarinn, and an inebriated sprint at that. Following the coastal boardwalk takes you on a direct line from KEX to the Marina Hotel, and even though my mind was focused on getting to the venue in time to see Low Roar, I’m so thankful to have kept my gaze wandering to the ocean as often as was safely possible. For the view of Mount Esja from the shores of Reykjavik is one view I could never tire of. My heart is longing for Iceland again. Maybe because I’m in the midst of planning a trip to somewhere other than Iceland, maybe it’s because I’ve been dutifully checking for any lineup announcements for Airwaves to see if a bucket-list artist will be performing and will force me to book the trip. Either way, I haven’t forgotten you.
They said Day One would be the easy day, the warm-up day for the ascents into high altitude and the climbing of old-world stone steps. It was true, the six hour walk that first day was nothing harder than a simple stroll in the woods, one that would not give an adequate picture of the hard days to come, but what was easiest was the views, views certainly not hard on the eyes. For the first time in my life, as I took in the sights and sounds of the Andean jungle, of the clouds forming a blanket over the green mountains, this thought crossed my mind: “If this was the last thing I ever saw, I would be happy.” Check out my Flickr page for more photos from the Inca Trail.