Friday, July 26, 2013

Guest Blog: Unexpected Austria–Straight From the Pan



Good morning from Santa Fe!

We never thought Austria could knock Switzerland off its pedestal as our favorite Ryder-Walker travel destination. But it may well be the case after the picture-perfect Heart of Austria trek. The weather was divine -- our rain jackets and fleeces never left our packs. The Austrian people had an unexpected joie de vivre. The food was stellar, especially the Kaiserschmarrn we wolfed down right from the pan.


But what really kicked the trip over the top was the brother-sister guide duo of Babsi and Willi Glanznig. They are justly proud of their native Austria and their enthusiasm was contagious. We have dubbed Babsi "The Hiking Yogi," after she led us in a Yoga class on hut night as a group of teenagers looked on in horror!  She and Willi also conducted a master class on schnapps and aperol. And as a postscript...since when do brothers and sisters get along so well?!

-Blythe Fortin

Do you have Ryder-Walker photos and/or stories that you'd like to share? Please send them our way. You can also post to our Facebook page. Just hit the like button (if you haven't already), and start sharing the hiking goodness online.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Foto: Pontresina + Hiking = Happiness!



We love seeing happy guests, so this image brings us a lot of joy. RW guests Lewis and Lisa Powell paused to mug for the camera high above Pontresina, Switzerland. RW trip leader Mike Thurk shot this photo while hiking with them during this week's Engadine Summit Series.

*Note the snowy peaks in the background. The upside of this year’s long winter is that it makes for great photos. Get to the Alps today!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hiking Is More Than Physical



This photo reminds me of an article that I read during the weekend. Jeff Alt, author of Get Your Kids Hiking: How to Start Them Young and Keep It Fun!, sees “a good walk outdoors as an elixir for much of what ails folks and a means to connect with nature while maximizing family time away from the distraction of modern life.”

We couldn’t agree more. 

Looking at this photo of RW trip leader Staffan Bj√∂rklund, I’m reminded that hiking means something different to different people. For some people, hiking is an antidote to modern day life. For others, it’s meditative. At the very least, hiking is healthy and restorative. It’s also a great way to discover something new, (about the outside world and within ourselves).

Do yourself a favor this summer. Lace up your boots, grab your walking stick(s) and go for a hike. Better yet, grab a young one and get them hooked on hiking too! There’s no better time to introduce the next generation to the beautiful world they stand to inherit. 

Photo: The historic village of Soglio.
Engadine Trek, Switzerland | by Daniel Sundqvist

Monday, July 08, 2013

Photo of the Day: Picnic in the Alps



Does your picnic include a certificate of authenticity? It does if you travel with RW trip leader Daniel Sundqvist. Not only does he carry a watermelon in his pack, but he also bears papers certifying the authenticity of his cheese. On this sunny day in the Alps, Daniel and his guests enjoyed cheese from a fromagerie in Saint Vrain, France. Note the pickle included with each sandwich. It's the little touches that make a good picnic great!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Two Ryder Walker Staff Members To Say, "I DO!"



Mike and Nicole are getting married! Mike popped the question to Nicole while hiking across the Alpe di Siusi, the largest ‘Alp’ in the Alps.  The setting couldn’t have been more idyllic—flower-filled meadows, cute little Tyrolean chalets and the vertical rock walls of the Italian Dolomites standing proudly in the background. Here’s a picture of the Alpe di Siusi, (Seiser Alm), snapped just a few moments before Mike went down on one knee:


Thankfully, Nicole said "yes," and the two of them continued their hike to the Tierser Alpl Refuge where they met up with 18 Ryder-Walker guests (2 groups total) and fellow trip leaders Ken Fuhrer, Babsi Glanznig and Chris Pranskatis. A big celebration ensued, and the champagne flowed all around.

For those that don’t know Mike and Nicole, Mike has been with Ryder-Walker for 6 years and is an accomplished tour leader. Nicole joined us a few years ago, working on and off in various capacities, and now works full time as our go-to travel consultant. You can read about them at our bios page.

Please give them big hugs the next time you see them. A HUGE congrats from all of us!

Top photo: Mike and Nicole in front of the Tierser Alpl Refuge.

Bottom photo: Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi) with the Schlern (Sciliar) mountain in the background.
Italian Dolomites Trek, Italy.