Our three day trek in the Sierra Juarez mountains was great, but we needed something a little higher, a little more challenging to help us prepare for trekking the great Himalayas. Toluca de Nevado offered us just that challenge. Towering at 4600 metres, this long dead volcano is now home to two beautiful caldera lakes and absolutely stunning views.
We paired up with Julius and Sandro again and decided to rent a car. We grabbed snacks and fluids and hit the road around 1030am. Major props to Juluis for being the hero and doing the driving to get us out of Mexico city! It took a while, as traffic in this beast of a city is horrific! But finally we made it out, paid a couple of tolls and eventually took the turn off Mexico highway 10, drove past the little town of Raices, past the National Park area (where all the vendors are set up) and began to gruellingly slow switchback ride up the mountain. The reason so many people trek this mountain’s peak is because you can drive almost all the way up! In fact, you used to be able to drive right to the caldera, however the road now stops 2km before and you must hike in. Continue reading
With our upcoming plans of trekking the Himalaya’s in Nepal, we needed to get a trek or two under our belts. There were plenty of hikes online with pricey tour companies, but we didn’t want to have to pay someone hundreds of dollars to walk with us, we were quite capable of that, thanks! After digging around some more we found there was a company in town that helped coordinate treks through the Sierra Juarez mountains and the Pueblos Mancomunados (united villages) for a fair price. The best part was the money went directly to the guides who lived in each of the villages so your money was actually making it to the villages. What made these villages united was that they pooled resources to help each other out, and 6 of the 8 communities came together and created the ecotourism programs that helps sustain the villages today.
And so, on the first day of the new year, I awoke at 6am after not really sleeping at all (thanks anxiety!), caught a cab to the second class bus station and hopped in a collectivo van headed for the village of Cuajimaloyas, resting at a mighty 3100 meters above sea level. Continue reading
Iceland was never originally on my radar- mostly because I thought it would be far too expensive. But it kept coming up again and again, and I couldn’t ignore the universe trying to send me a message. I was already in Europe, who knew when I would be back next… so why not? I looked at flights and while it was still an expensive flight, I had started dreaming about Iceland and knew I had to visit this place. I knew I made the right decision when my dear friend Emilee from back home in Canada messaged me to tell me her and another friend were heading to Iceland at the same time as me! That settled it. I booked my flights and made plans to meet the girls for an epic week long road trip through Iceland’s Ring Road. Emilee and Caitlyn had two weeks in Iceland, so we were going to start with the most exciting stuff in the South and work our way East then North, and then I would catch a bus from wherever we ended up after a week back to Reykjavik. Continue reading
I was awoken to the sun glinting through our bus window in the wee hours of the morning. It had been a rather fitful sleep, huddling together on the freezing cold bus, drifting in and out of the elusive world of slumber. The road was suddenly a mess of jarring bumps and as I looked out the window I noticed that we were no longer even on a real road; we were on a path through the desert floor. The bumps were from the sand having frozen and hardened in place. The Bolivian desert is a cold and cruel place come sunset, as we would soon find out on our three day tour through this incredible place. We bumped along, savouring the slight warmth the sun was passing through our windows as our breath misted in front of our faces. Continue reading
Whenever I tell someone where I’m from (Yellowknife!) when traveling in Canada, for some reason, they think I’m from the Yukon. Later in our conversation I correct them as I hear them telling others that I’m from Whitehorse. Ask anyone from Yellowknife- we all encounter this problem when we tell people where we are from. I’m sure it has something to do with the colours in both names of the cities- and perhaps that the Yukon and Whitehorse are a little more well known than Yellowknife. The funny thing is, while everyone else thinks I am from the Yukon, until last month, I’d never even been there! Continue reading