Thursday, August 11, 2016

These are a few of our favorite photos from Iceland



That's a wrap! Our Iceland hiking tour wrapped up yesterday. First impressions: Our trip leader Barbara 'Babsi' Glanznig says, "Wow! We had picture perfect weather, endless opportunities to see wildlife really close and happy guests!" 

Some of her favorite wildlife encounters were the puffins, whales and dinner next to an Arctic Fox!


We don't have a picture of the fox, but we do have a shot of Babsi snacking on some dried fish. 


Seriously. This trip had some great hiking. 


The crew went off the beaten path. 


But the reward was worth it. Natural hot springs abound in Iceland, so why not?


Of course the scenery was spectacular.  



A special thanks to our group for taking part in Ryder-Walker's first-ever guided hiking tour in Iceland. We're definitely going back! Next year's dates are July 21-28, 2017


For more photos of Iceland, check out our Facebook page. To get your name on the list for next year's Iceland trip, click here. 

Images of Iceland by Barbara 'Babsi' Glanznig

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Training for the Tour du Mont Blanc



This photo comes from our guests Alicia and Susan. They're currently training for a private guided Tour du Mont Blanc. Alicia writes:

I thought you would get a kick out of the attached photo. A group of us going on the TMB trip completed the West Maroon Bells trail from Aspen to Crested Butte and back! 23 miles in 2 days!! Good training!!

Some of us wore the RW hat and loved the quality and breathability. Thank you for the gift.  

Susan Kurtz and I are in the photo. 
Thanks again for all your help and we are all very excited for the trip!!
-- 
Alicia Guerra

Thank you Alicia! Click here for a fun thing to do on your last day. ;-) Bonne journée!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hiking Hacks: Replacement Trekking Pole Tips



New trekking poles usually come with protective tip covers. The covers are great for protecting your gear during travel and storage, but they're meant to be removed for hiking, so they usually end up lost or misplaced. Buying replacement tips can be next to impossible, or expensive for what you get, so here's a quick and easy hack for making your own

Cost
Less than $2.00

Time 
5-10 minutes, (not including the drive to the hardware store). 

Skill Level
Easy

Materials
6-8 inches of vinyl or polyethylene tubing (available at your local hardware store). 
Scissors, or a knife for cutting the tubing. 

Step 1. Take one of your trekking poles to the hardware store and locate the section that sells vinyl tubing. It's usually in the plumbing section and most stores carry large spools of it. 


Step 2. Find your diameter. Eyeball the tubing that will fit over the tip of your trekking pole. Stick the tip of your pole into the end of the tubing, and choose a diameter that fits snugly and won't fall off. Make sure to insert your pole all the way to the basket. For my poles, I used .5 inch diameter tubing. It goes on easy, but fits snugly against the pole basket. Note: Vinyl tubing is the clear, flexible stuff. Polyethylene is the cloudy, stiffer tubing (photo #1). Try them both and see what you like. I've found that the stiffer polyethylene does a better job of staying on, but it's harder to put on and take off. 

Step 3. Buy a six inch or foot-long section of tubing. Most hardware stores sell the tubing by the foot. It's not expensive. My local store sells vinyl tubing for $.79/ft and polyethylene for $1.29/ft.


Step 4. Slide the first pole into the end of the tubing. Mark an extra half inch or so from the end of your trekking pole, and make the cut. On my poles it works out to a tip cover that is 2.25 inches long. You can also cut right at the tip for a clean look. 


Step 5. Do the same with the second pole. You're done!


Note: These are NOT to be used as replacements for the rubber tips used by skate skiers or hikers on ecologically sensitive terrain. These are just protective tips for travel and storage. 

Do you have a hiking hack that you'd like to share? Please share it on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here's the Quietest Corner of the Alps



Phyl Newbeck and Bryan Harrington recently completed our self guided Matterhorn Trek and sent us these photos. Their trek began in the village of Cervinia, Italy, and finished one week later in the famous resort town of Zermatt, Switzerland. While Zermatt is certainly on the map, the path they chose took them through one of the quietest corners of Italy and Switzerland.


One of the coolest things about this trip is that Phyl and Bryan got to see the Matterhorn from both the north AND the south sides (1st and 2nd photos). It's a really special thing to do. 


The snow was deep this year, (even in late June/early July), which added a fun adventure component to their hiking tour.

You'll notice that there aren't a lot of people in these photos. The trails in this part of the Alps are remote and rarely traveled. The trails are so remote, in fact, that we don't offer this trip as a self-guided option unless we feel confident in our guests' hiking experience and ability. 


The Matterhorn Trek is a challenging hike, and luggage transfer isn't practical, so you have to be in good shape and comfortable traveling light. That said, the hotels are wonderful, and the solitude and abundance of wildlife are superb.  

Do you think you'd like our self guided Matterhorn Trek? Give us a shout

Thanks to Phyl and Bryan for sending these images!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Our Guests Soar Above Chamonix


Our Tour du Mont Blanc wrapped up on a high note. The entire group finished the last day's hike with a parasailing descent into the town of Chamonix, France. What style! The whole team went for it," says trip leader Dave Gruss.

Those of you that have hiked the TMB or the Haute Route have most likely noticed the parasailors that launch from the top of Le Brevent lift. The parasailors literally run off the side of the mountain until the wind pulls them away. They go a little bit up, then down, down, down, (around 3,000 feet down) to the village of Chamonix, France. It looks like so much fun! 

Here's a shot of our team gearing up.


The last breaths before commitment.


And we're off!


I love the fact that the parasail has the word Patagonia emblazoned on it. Dave Gruss, the one who shot these photos, put together Ryder-Walker's first hiking tour in Patagonia. The trip ran this past spring, and everybody raved about it.

Would you like to go hiking in Patagonia, or trekking and parasailing in the French Alps? Get your name on the list. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How Will 'Brexit' Affect European Travel?



Here's a little tongue-in-cheek humor. I think it's a compliment, actually. We grabbed this photo in a cozy pub just off of the Rob Roy Way hiking trail. It was one of those perfect, movie-set pubs with stone walls, hand-hewn wooden beams overhead, a warming hearth, pewter mugs on the mantel, and pints of Real Ale flowing from a hand pump at the bar. Heaven!

Seriously though, how will last week's historic U.K. vote to leave the European Union, (known as 'Brexit'), affect foreign travel?

For the short term, only one thing has changed, and that's currency. The British Pound suffered a huge loss against other major currencies following the vote. This means that foreign travel just got significantly MORE expensive for U.K. travelers, and much LESS expensive for everyone else heading to the U.K. It's for this reason, that we recently discounted our U.K. hiking tours.

Wait! Shouldn't we leave the price the same, since the U.K. just became more affordable? We could have, but it now costs us less to run hiking tours there, so we're passing the savings on to our guests. It's a win win. Our guests get to travel to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland more affordably, and the bump in tourism gives our U.K. friends a much-needed infusion of cash. We're all doing our part. 

As for moving between countries, nothing has changed. British citizens can still live their lives and travel across borders as before, and the same rules still apply for everybody else. Americans, Canadians, Australians, French, Spanish…can all visit the U.K. like they've always done, only cheaper. Remember, last week's vote was just the first step in a lengthy process. In order to officially secede from the EU, the U.K. has to engage in a complicated process of negotiations with EU member countries before they are officially "divorced." During the negotiations, they'll have to sort out a whole host of details including trade and tariff agreements, rules on immigration, banking, the status of British citizens living abroad, etc. Technically, they have two years to hash this stuff out, but there is some debate right now as to when the clock should start ticking. Technically, the U.K. has to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in order to officially abandon the E.U. Some law experts say, however, that last week's vote triggered Article 50 and the clock is now ticking.

Regardless, it's going to take a while before we see what the long term travel effects will be. There is some speculation that airfare to and from the U.K. will become more expensive because airlines like British Airways will lose their airspace privileges in the EU. And what about rail travel between the U.K. and the rest of Europe? Like everything else, transportation contracts will have to be renegotiated. Of course, if the British Pound stays historically low, then it will hopefully offset any increases in transportation prices for visitors to the U.K. We anticipate that currency values will fluctuate quite a bit over the coming months as 'backdoor talks' and negotiations ensue. 

Outliers: There is a petition going around for an EU referendum re-run (a re-vote). Apparently, it already has 4 million signatures. Is there a chance that they can back out of this? The former British prime minister David Cameron stated repeatedly that last week's referendum would be binding. The world will just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, we're offering a discount on our Rob Roy Way and Costwolds Way hiking tours. Don't let this historic opportunity pass you by. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are still as beautiful as ever, and the Real Ale is equally delicious. If you've been on the fence because of expense, then don't delay. NOW is the time to visit the U.K!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Muggin' in Croatia



This group photo comes from our guest Paula Tymitz. Paula and the rest of the crew are currently hiking in Croatia with Ryder-Walker trip leader Ken Fuhrer (far right). Ken put the Croatia trip together a few years ago, and it's been a hit ever since. Of course, why wouldn't it be popular? Our Croatia trip has sandy beaches, palm-fringed promenades, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and satisfyingly rugged hiking trails. It's a #CrowdPleaser! 

You can read the full Croatia itinerary by clicking here.

Photo cred: Paula Tymitz