Glacier hiking & ice climbing in Iceland

Comments 16 Standard

I am not an athletic person and extremely scared of heights, so when my friends decided that they wanted to go ice climbing during our trip to Iceland, I was (to say the least) extremely hesitant! We found a tour through Arctic Adventures that was a slightly daunting combination of ice glacier hiking and ice climbing. It looked really fun, so I figured that I would suck it up, be daring and try something new.

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First was the glacier hike. Little did I know how hard it was going to be! It was an odd experience trying to walk in the special hiking shoes with giant spikes sticking out of the front of them. The shoes made walking extremely difficult, but I had a feeling those spikes would come in handy very soon. The guide took us in a single line all across the glacier, however my lack of athleticism showed, so I struggled along at the back of the group. We made a few stops along the hike, while our tour guide explained some fun facts to us about the glaciers and Iceland in general. Those breaks were a godsend, as they gave me a much needed opportunity to catch my breathe! During one of our stops, my friend Marissa said that she thought it was too easy of a hike. Hmmmm…. I did not agree!

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We started hiking downhill to the bottom of the glacier and that’s when I first spotted the giant wall of ice we were about to climb up. Truthfully it wasn’t anything too extreme, because this particular hike was for beginners, however for me it felt like I was about to attempt to climb Mount Everest! We only climbed up two at a time, so I sat back and watched others climb up first. I was definitely not going to be one of the first people to climb up. My friend Anna went before me and she handled most of the climb with ease, but she did have a hard time getting to the top towards the end, as that was definitely the trickiest part of the climb. My seemingly sporty friend Marissa went next and zoomed up the wall, as if she was climbing up a set of stairs. If you blinked you would have missed her.

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It was finally time for me to step up and go. I almost chickened out, but I knew I would regret it, plus of course my friends had managed to do it, so my mini ego left me with no choice. I got all strapped in and was ready to conquer the ice wall! Womp, womp… I could barley stick the spikes into the wall! I didn’t realize how hard you have to dig the shoe spikes and ice pick into the ice. I moved upwards, slowly making my way up the wall, but I did get stuck a few times to the point where I was literally unable to move up or down. All I was thinking of was the possibility of falling to what would be certain doom! Then I actually missed while trying to pull myself up and fell off the wall! I completely freaked out and was shall we say slightly dramatic about it, but I was of course fine as the tour guide had a strong grip on my safety rope. After that first initial slip, I fell off the wall so many times during my climb up, it almost became routine.

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I was so nervous that my legs were shaking, which didn’t help the climb at all. I still cannot believe how quickly Marissa managed to do it. I eventually made it to the top of the wall and was so proud of myself until I looked down and remembered where I was and how terrified I am of heights… now get me down! I tried to climb my way down the wall, but of course slipped and ended up sliding almost upside down, all the way to the bottom. It took me so long to get to the top, but that tumble sure did make going down a lot faster! My guide had a grip on me though, so I didn’t get hurt. It was quite an adventure and definitely the single most “daredevil” thing I have ever done. Even though I had a hard time, because I literally have the strength of a baby bird, I still really enjoyed myself! I am really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave this tour a try.

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Thank you to Arctic Adventures for providing our tour. All opinions are, as always, my own.

My Jungle Adventure in Thailand

Comments 13 Standard

On my trip I spent a day exploring the hills of Thailand. It really was a once in a lifetime experience to be in the middle of such awe inspiring landscape. First off on my journey I travelled down the river on a bamboo raft and attempted to paddle us there, but truthfully it was not an easy task! Once on land we were introduced to some extremely friendly elephants, one of which kept giving me what can only be described as trunk hugs, which was slightly weird, but also exceedingly cool. I then watched them have a quick bath, before hopping on top of one of the elephants to trek through the jungle, through rivers and then on up into the hills. It truly was an amazing experience!

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Iceland Road Trip!

Comments 40 Standard

Iceland has a road called The Ring Road that circles the perimeter of the country.  Since Iceland is so small (only 40,000 square miles) you can literally drive around the entire country on this road in a day! I travelled with a couple of friends on a two-week road trip adventure. We started our journey in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik and headed to the South first before making our loop around the country. Check out some of the incredible scenery and interesting stuff we found along the way!

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We saw many beautiful horses along the side of the road! Farmers use the horses to round up sheep in the Icelandic highlands, but most horses are used for competition and leisure riding. 

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Our amazing driver, Marissa!  She drove us around the entire ring road! 

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We got to see the Strokkur geyser in the Golden Circle! It erupts every 5-10 minutes.

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Since horses here have few diseases, Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.

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This truck wasn’t so lucky when it toppled off the road. Thankfully no one was hurt! We had to check the weather multiple times a day since it changes fast and is different throughout the country.

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Hot dogs for the road! Yum! 

IMG_0340We found some old houses that were partially built into the mountains. This was done to help withstand the bad weather that sometimes occurs. 

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Crater

Kerið is a popular volcanic crater that is approximately 3,000 years old.

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Overcoming my fear of heights via helicopter

Comments 10 Standard

My favorite part of our Iceland trip was going on a helicopter tour with Helo Iceland. It was an amazing experience! I am extremely afraid of heights so for me it was a fear that I had to overcome. At first when my friends approached me on the idea I wasn’t too thrilled. I have always had this fear, I can’t even stand too close to windows in buildings that are high. I get so nervous I start to shake! I really wanted to go to see the beautiful views from above but I was worried my fear would hold me back. After a lot of debating I went on Helo Iceland’s website and started looking at the photos that have been taken on their tours. It made me realize what a great opportunity I would be passing up. I know that I might not get a chance to come back to Iceland and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go.

The day of the trip I was nervous all morning. The closer we got to the Helo Iceland, the more afraid I got! While we waited in the lobby everyone was talking, enjoying beverages and relaxing but I just stood around letting my worrisome thoughts get the best of me. I started debating if it was too late to back out. What if I freak out while we are mid-air? As my shakes started up, our pilot came out to meet with us. I started to ramble about my fear of heights but he helped put me a bit at ease, reassuring me with his sense of humor and friendly personality. Then we started to walk out towards the helicopter. It’s time! Here we go! 

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Our captain!

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As I buckled up I started to think of other things. What if the ride is bumpy? What if I get motion sickness? What if we crash? What if I hate it? Ahh! What have I gotten myself into? As we took off the ride was incredibly smooth so I wasn’t worried about getting motion sickness anymore. Whew! One worry crossed off! Then I looked out the window and my heartbeat started to slow down as I saw the most amazing view I have ever seen! I got so caught up in the scenery that my fear started to subside. This was truly a once and a lifetime experience and I can’t believe I almost passed it up because of my fear of heights! That day taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t let your fears hold you back because you will never know if you are actually afraid of something until you try it. It might not be as bad as you think, you won’t know unless you try! Words cannot express how beautiful the scenery was on the trip so I will let you see for yourself! Hope you enjoy my photos!

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We landed on a glacier!

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Thank you to Helo Iceland for providing our tour. All opinions are, as always, my own.