Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hike With Us In Norway | Just Four Spots Left



We just have four spots left on our 2014 Norway hiking tour.

Join us this June as we hike across the Lofoten archipelago, a rugged island chain lying 122 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Traveling by foot and by sea kayak, (no experience necessary), we’ll hike across mountains, paddle to secluded beaches, and ramble through tiny hamlets with colorful wooden fishing cottages perched at the water’s edge.

Accommodations range from superior inns to historic rorbuer, cozy wooden fishing cottages that have been updated with modern conveniences. With their red painted siding, weathered stilts and clean, white trim, robuer have become the official symbol of Lofoten, not to mention their popularity among photographers. Rorbuer are warm, inviting, and they beckon to be photographed!

Visit our Facebook page to view more than 80 photographs from last year’s Norway hiking tour. Staffan Björklund, Ryder-Walker’s Norway specialist, shot the photos. He also developed the trip, which, we must admit, has been a resounding success. Staffan will lead the tour again this year.

Note: We can only accommodate 10 people on this hike, and we already have six people registered. Please contact us if you’d like to join our group.

You can read the entire hiking tour itinerary by clicking here.

Image by Staffan Björklund; staffanbjorklund.com

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Trail Photos From Asia | "Roughing It" with Ryder-Walker



Last week’s e-newsletter spotlighted our hiking tours in Asia. The Asia hikes stand apart from our European hiking tours because they feature high elevation camping in addition to first class hotels and mountain lodges. Though we didn't mention it in the newsletter, we also offer private tours with camping nights in the United States as well. Last fall, for example, we ran a private trip through the Paria Canyon of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona.

All totaled, camping accounts for barely one percent of our hiking tour overnights. That said, the nights that our guests spend on the trail are some of the most exciting and rewarding of their lives.

For today’s blog, we thought it’d be fun to share a few more photos from our campsites in Asia.

The very top photo shows our camp beneath the Chomolhari, (7,326 meters/24,035 feet) in Bhutan. We use state-of-the-art sleeping tents during the camping portions of our tours. The tents are strong, lightweight, and specifically engineered for high elevation mountaineering. Interestingly, our local guides prefer teepee style and canvas wall tents for cooking and sleeping. They're locals, however, so they can show off.


The second photo captures the view from our campsite at Nimaling, India, more than 15,000 feet above sea level. The mountain peak is called Kang Yatze, 6,400 meters/20,997 feet. Kang Yatze is the highest mountain in the Ladakh region of northern India (Markha Valley Trek), and it's the first thing that you see when you roll out of your sleeping bag at first light.


This begs the question; do we have to carry our stuff? Thankfully, no. Local guides handle the ponies that carry our gear. It's a very historic way of traveling through this part of Asia. In this photo, our guest hugs his new pony friend. Look closely, the pony appears to be smiling. This particular pony has a saddle so he can offer rides to anyone that needs a break.  


It must be said that our local guides do a marvelous job of ensuring guest comfort throughout their trip. They set up the tents. They prepare the food, and of course, they impart a local knowledge of the mountains that no guidebook could ever convey. In this image, our local host brings hot tea to every tent. He also brings hot wash water so that guests can freshen up before hitting the trail. 


Speaking of the trail; the hiking is phenomenal! Regardless of your tour, whether you hike in Bhutan, Nepal, or India, you'll feel like you've reached the roof of the world. 


The ponies have your back as you head into the sky. 


We'll part with this image and a thought:

There is a magic that unfolds when a traveler unzips their tent and beholds the majesty of the Great Himalayan Mountains and beyond.

Please click this link to sign up for our e-newsletter. You'll receive news and updates about hiking, trekking, inn-to-inn adventure travel tours and more.

And of course, jump on our Facebook page for more photos and good hiking-related stuff.

All photos by Daniel Sundqvist
Copyright Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Record Snowfall in Switzerland—Go Winter Hiking Now!



There’s a still time to book a winter hiking/nordic ski tour in Switzerland, and the conditions are perfect this year. In fact, the conditions are so perfect that we're tempted to call them "epic." Martin Oester, sales manager for Engadine/ St. Moritz Tourism, sent us the following note just before Christmas:

“What a Christmas gift! Sixty centimeters (two feet) of fresh powder fell in the town of St. Moritz and up to 120 centimeters (four feet) up on the mountain. Since Christmas Eve the Southern Alps of Switzerland have seen massive snowfall. In several measuring stations south and west of St. Moritz the recorded amounts of snowfall over a 24 hour period nearly hit their all time record levels.”

Last night he sent us another message:

“Imagine, we got nearly the same amount of snow again just this past weekend. I haven't seen this much of snow in St. Moritz for years!”

Check out his van:


This bodes well for our Winter Engadine Holiday. Our guests follow a network of expertly maintained winter trails while hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and even sleddding, (yes, sleddding), between cozy snow-covered villages in the Engadine region of eastern Switzerland.  

Here’s a shot of the cog railway above St. Moritz (upper Engadine). 


The tram against a snowy backdrop:



The possibilities are endless. Fresh tracks. Glühwein (hot spiced wine). Swiss chalets. Drooling! 



Please contact us if you’d like to hike, ski or snowshoe in the Swiss Alps. This is the best year to do it!
Click here for more info concerning our self-guided Winter Engadine Holiday

All photos by Martin Oester and used with permission by Ryder-Walker.