Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Desert Photos: Anasazi X Games

If you think the Winter X Games are a relatively new phenomenon, then think again. Peter Walker captured this photo of an inverted ski boot (and ski) while wandering the canyon country in advance of our upcoming Arches & Canyonlands hiking tour. Considering the age of this particular petroglyph, it appears that the ancient pueblo people of the Colorado Plateau were hucking themselves upside down long before any of the Freeskiing champions of recent fame.

The inverted ski boot kind of makes you wonder, too, about the circular image on the right. Are those spectacle-shaped circles really just ski goggles?

You can find this ancient image of an inverted air on the Wolfman Panel of Butler Wash. The location is southeast Utah, home to our Arches & Canyonlands hiking tour. Gus Kenworthy, eat your heart out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Best of the Alps! | T&L Magazine Features our Engadine Tours

We have a nice mention in the May edition of Travel & Leisure Magazine. You can read about our Swiss Engadine hikes on page 154 of the paper edition, or just click this link.

Incidentally, the guided versions of our Engadine Trek and Engadine Summit Series are already sold out. (The downside of popularity!) That said, we can still set up private tours if you get to us soon, and next season's guided hiking tours are wide open. Here are the new dates for 2014.

Engadine Trek
June 21-28, 2014
September 6-13, 2014

Engadine Summit Series
July 19-26, 2014

*Remember, you'll get this year's price if you sign up before September 30, 2013.

Travel & Leisure also mentioned three other destinations that we've been sending hikers to for 30 years.

The Matterhorn
Both the Hiker's Haute Route and the Matterhorn Trek finish beneath this pyramidal icon of the Alps. We still have space available on both of this year's tours, and next year's Matterhorn Trek runs August 16-23, 2014.

The Dolomites
T&L is correct when they say that gastronomy rules in the Dolomites.
Our Italian Dolomites Trek combines the best food, hiking and accommodation of the range. Act fast, however, this summer's tours are almost sold out.

The Tyrolean Alps
The Dolomites actually fall under this category, since they belonged to the Austrian Tyrol until quite recently. For a journey into the heart of this fairy tale range, check out our Alpino Wunderbar hiking tour. You'll traverse the German, Austrian and Italian Alps during our 10 day hike.

Top Photo: The historic village of Soglio
Engadine Valley, Switzerland | By Ken Fuhrer

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here's one hungry hiker!

"Wow! Look at all that food!"

Ryder-Walker’s newest, (and youngest), trip leader, Tilly Glanznig, has a voracious appetite. Even so, it appears that Tilly's first meal at the Dolores River Brewery caught her by surprise.

Tip: If you find yourself in Dolores, Colorado, then be sure to stop by the DRB. It's a Ryder-Walker favorite. The DRB brews their beer on site, and it’s delicious. The pizzas are wood-fired and equally delectable.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Tilly ate everything you see in the photo (minus the beer).
She's one hungry hiker!  ;-)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Five Fitness Tips for an Effortless Hiking Tour

I am sitting at my desk feeling a bit uninspired. The cursor just winks at me, waiting for me to put the words on the page. I take to the trail. Fresh air and endorphins always do the trick. I lace up my runners and set out on the dirt path heading towards the sky. I let my mind wander and almost immediately begin to wonder why we as human beings must seek out companies like Ryder Walker Alpine Adventures for the simple pleasure of hiking.

Perhaps the invention of the computer, or the desk or the chair, is the reason why the need for adventure travel has grown so exponentially over the years. Whatever the reason, we can now scientifically prove that hiking, or movement of any kind, is really good for your heart, mind, body and spirit. As a nutrition, health, fitness and travel guru for Ryder Walker Alpine Adventures, the major questions I receive when booking hikers revolve around the effort and fitness necessary to complete the itineraries we offer.

Admittedly, the “effort” rating that Ryder Walker gives for each one of our treks can be hard to gauge, as each person is physically different in fitness and objective. I am here to offer simple tips to ensure that no matter what your abilities you are prepared to put one foot in front of the other effortlessly, leaving more energy for photos ops and fun.

1. Interval Training (pre trek)

1-2 times per week.
Do interval training 1-2 times per week at a pace you can only maintain for less than an hour. Example; hike fast, even run, for 1 minute then walk for 1 minute, breathing hard at end of each interval.

Benefit: Strong heart, strong muscles.
Intervals train your heart to pump strongly and allow your muscles to store more energy to sustain longer distances.

2. Go The Distance

1 day per week.
Hit the trail or area you love in the shoes you intend to wear on the trek. Hike 2/3 the distance of your longest day with Ryder Walker. Example; if 10 miles is the longest day, then hike 7.5 miles.

Benefit: Strong body, strong mind.
Training your mind and body will help prepare you for the trek. Not to mention, wearing the same shoes for the trek will alleviate the need to worry about the discomfort a blister will surely cause.

3. Hydrate 

Every 10-15 minutes. 
Keep thirst at bay by hydrating at the time of thirst. Taking small sips every 10-15 minutes or so will help keep your thirst quenched. A Camelback and the Alps are the two easiest ways to stay hydrated as the trailside fresh water springs are nearly always there when you need them. Electrolyte mixes with sodium and other minerals are also good to have especially if hot. Supplementing hydration with mixes like my favorite from Skratch Labs gets absorbed more quickly than water itself. Be careful of sports drinks with too much sugar since, in my opinion, the calories from sugar taste better in a delicious European pastry.

Benefit: Happy muscles, more energy.
Hydration prevents muscle cramps and fatigue helping to maintain homeostasis (the body’s perfect chemical composition). Not to mention, it may be necessary after indulging in each evening’s food and drink.

4. Eat

Lots of complex carbs, fruits, veggies and protein. 
Although the best energy for long distance sport is best replenished in the form of carbohydrates, make sure that you are not just using the delicious pastries offered as fuel (easier said than done, I know!). Make sure to supplement with fruits and vegetables and even protein to sustain fullness. If your goal is to indulge on vacation, then this advice may go in one ear and out the other, but for those of you who are interested in coming home from vacation a more fit version of yourself, then limit refined sugar and carb intake and you will be on your way.

Benefit: Sustained energy, increased fat burning potential.
The obvious result will be the ability to sustain energy throughout every mile of the trek and avoiding a potential sugar crash on the trail. Most Ryder Walker hikes pass by a local market that offers more choices for packing good calories for the trail. *It is worth noting that what you eat for breakfast and dinner will have an impact on energy throughout the trek as well.

5. Sleep

Get plenty of it. 
Catching shut eye on vacation can be hard for many reasons, but taking note of the controllable variables that inhibit sleep can make a world of difference. Some things to avoid if you have trouble sleeping are, afternoon caffeine, too much alcohol and/or overeating at dinner, sugar intake, and bright lights/electronics before bed.

Benefit: More alert, more vivid memories.
Getting enough sleep can sometimes be more important than the preparations for the hike itself. Getting enough sleep prior to the trek is also important to having an even more wonderful time hiking with Ryder Walker.

Nicole Nugent is a travel consultant for Ryder Walker Alpine Adventures. She has a degree in Integrative Physiology from University of Colorado, Boulder and also works as wellness chef and NASM certified personal trainer. You can follow her health and nutrition blog at huntgathernourish.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Fly to Europe—Visit Iceland for Free

There’s still time to join our hiking tour in Norway.  Why not make a stop in Iceland part of the journey?

Iceland Air has its hub in Reykjavik, Iceland, and they’ll let you stopover for free when flying between the U.S. and Canada and more than 20 destinations in Scandinavia, Great Britain and Continental Europe.

We just checked Iceland Air’s booking engine and we found connections from the U.S. to Oslo and Stavanger, Norway. Oslo and Stavanger are preferred gateways for our Norway hiking tour. We also found connections to Munich and Milan, great entry points for our Italian Dolomites hikes.

Are you considering a self-guided walking tour of the Cotswolds? There’s a connection for that too. Iceland Air offers flights to London with free stopovers in Reykjavik. From Reykjavik, you’re free to explore the rest of Iceland at your leisure. You could even spend a couple of days in Greenland. Greenland is only an hour flight from Reykjavik.

To paraphrase Iceland Air (just a little):

Imagine relaxing in the Blue Lagoon on your way back from your Italian Dolomites hiking tour with Ryder-Walker. Or taking in natural wonders like glaciers and geysers before exploring storybook villages in the Cotswolds. Or just stopping for a quick rest and some fresh air before continuing on to Norway and your hiking tour with Staffan and the rest of the Ryder-Walker gang. You're truly getting 2 destinations for the price of 1!

Check out Iceland Air’s website for more info.