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Hiking

Hiking Mt. Christoffel in Curaçao

Hiking Mt. Christoffel in Curaçao

A major reason why I chose to visit Curaçao is Mt. Christoffel. Curaçao is the only island in this part of the Caribbean that has a true mountain hiking experience.

Mt. Christoffel, also known as Christoffelberg, is a short but challenging hike with satisfying, 360-degree views from the top. I loved this hike and the views so much I spent a ton of time at the top taking it all in.

In this post, I give the complete breakdown of how to make this hike happen in the best way. From the best time to go to how long it'll take you, this is my hiking story and your guide to climbing the highest peak in Curaçao.

    Hiking Table Mountain Via Platteklip Gorge

Hiking Table Mountain Via Platteklip Gorge

Table Mountain is iconic to Cape Town, South Africa. Reaching the summit of Table Mountain is necessary to complete any visit to Cape Town.

I chose to hike Table Mountain on my second to last day in Cape Town. This hike challenged me with its constant upward incline. But the views were immediate, making it worth every ounce of sweat!

Below, I take you on my journey while answering some common questions about this iconic hike. Take it all in and consider it a must-do for when you visit Cape Town!

Hiking Brace Mountain in Upstate New York

Hiking Brace Mountain in Upstate New York

The last time I posted about a hike in upstate New York it was when I hiked Stissing Mountain. That was shortly after I returned form the trip around the world. Since then, I have been meaning to hike more around my hometown area.

The day after Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law, Kate, and I decided to digest our turkey and stuffing with a local hike! I searched for a hike with the following features: in the Dutchess County region, challenging enough to burn some significant calories, short enough to accomplish in a few hours, and able to deliver some spectacular views.

Brace Mountain (2,316 ft) matched all my criteria! And it was a beautiful, late autumn day for a hike.

Angel's Landing: Zion's Most Dangerous (and Crowded) Hike

Angel's Landing: Zion's Most Dangerous (and Crowded) Hike

I kept hearing about the "most dangerous" and "most popular" hike in Zion. Angel's Landing is beautiful, thrilling, and inevitably crowded.

I woke up at 4AM to hit the trail solo at 6AM. I drove into the park from my Airbnb in St. George, Utah, and managed to be one of the first to the top!

I am so happy I planned this way. So I want to tell you how to plan similarly! In this Q&A-style post, I describe my entire experience. I explain everything including when to go and how dangerous it is. Then you can decide if it's a hike you'd like to do, too!

Solo Hiking & Exploring Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

Solo Hiking & Exploring Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

I was traveling solo again. Erin had left for the West Coast early that morning. I was off to find a new Utah adventure to call my own. 

Most people don't realize how huge Zion National Park is outside its main gates. For no park fee, I found dozens of trails around the Kolob Canyons area of the park. One of these trails took me down a lesser-beaten path where I rarely met another hiker.

As a solo traveler, I appreciated bumping into the few travelers I did. But I also basked in every moment I had alone to reconnect with the wilderness.

The Difficult Narrows Hike in Zion National Park

The Difficult Narrows Hike in Zion National Park

There's nothing like a National Park introduction that challenges you. Erin and I were about to embark on our second National Park and second hike of the day. Little did we know, we were about to face many difficulties on top of our exhaustion.

In this post, I outline some of these difficulties. This shows that sometimes planning ahead is necessary. There are some stunning views and features to see on this hike. We got to admire much of it, but we missed other parts and could have enjoyed it even more.

Now we are better informed—and you can be, too!

Sunrise Track during winter in New Zealand

Sunrise Track during winter in New Zealand

At exactly this time last year, I was preparing to depart a rainy, wintery New Zealand to dive in the warm, northern waters of Australia.

Jono and I decided to make the most of my last weekend there. So we "tramped" (kiwi for hiked) Sunrise Track and stayed overnight at a mountain top hut during what turned into a violently windy rainstorm.

In this post, I finally tell the story of this trepid adventure and the ending that was so good, I couldn't resist returning to New Zealand some 3 weeks later.

Shine Falls at Boundary Stream in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Shine Falls at Boundary Stream in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Last week, I posted a throwback to my time in Iceland. This time, I'm giving you another throwback but to last year when I was living in New Zealand. Reminiscent of all of the waterfalls I saw in Iceland, this post is about a waterfall I visited in Hawke's Bay. Hawke's Bay is on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. There's tons to do there, including several easy hikes that make for great day trips.

When Spring had finally sprung in the Southern hemisphere, Jono and I immediately took to the outdoors to cure our cabin fever. After a hike to Cape Kidnappers, we planned another jaunt to the famous Shine Falls. The walk to Shine Falls goes through the Boundary Stream Reserve. It has some impressive views through farmland and native bush (forest) with plenty of birds to hear and observe along the way. The waterfall is deep in the reserve and its stunning—the perfect example of typical New Zealand beauty!

Climbing Stissing Mountain in New York: Hiking in My Hometown

Climbing Stissing Mountain in New York: Hiking in My Hometown

I went to school in the quaint little one-traffic light town of Pine Plains, New York. For years, I drove up Route 82 with a single mountain protruding out from behind farmland to the West and I never once climbed it. Stissing Mountain was an icon of my youth, the namesake of my high school, and I still never managed to get up there.

My motivation to finally climb Stissing came when I returned from my 15-month trip abroad. Discovering the wonders of the world in other people's backyards made me want to discover the wonders I have neglected in my own backyard! As it turns out, Stissing Mountain is quite the unique and unexpected natural wonder because of its significance in nature. It's importance has even been recognized with a display featured in the American Museum of Natural History!

Hiking Cape Kidnappers: Much More Than a New Zealand Golf Course

Hiking Cape Kidnappers: Much More Than a New Zealand Golf Course

Throw back! I never talked about the time I visited Cape Kidnappers, so here it is!Throw back time! Once upon a time, I did a review of all the great places to visit in Hawke's Bay New Zealand. I mentioned a golf course named Cape Kidnappers, but later learned Cape Kidnappers is so much more than a golf course.

After 7-months living in the area, I got increasingly curious about this place with its criminal name, rumors of mudstone protrusions, and an enormous gannet colony. I had to see what it was all about.

Jono and I took a day to stroll along its shore out to the headland and back. I ended up being enthralled by its geological features, I had a photo shoot with seabirds, and I was even almost caught in a landslide on the return trip!

Climbing Mission Peak, California: Celebrating My Travels Back on U.S. Soil

Climbing Mission Peak, California: Celebrating My Travels Back on U.S. Soil

Fremont, California's popular hike to Mission Peak boasts gorgeous views over Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The mostly exposed trail rises steadily through cattle farms before reaching the summit. There, a summit pole doubles as an art piece and artifact emphasizing environmental and social awareness.

I had never hiked to Mission Peak before, but my best friend has made it her yearly ritual ever since she moved to the area from New York. This time, we would hike to Mission Peak together. With me at the close of my travels and her at 6-months pregnant—we were both celebrating milestones in our lives and preparing for the next chapter to come.

5 Healthy Activities in Ubud, Bali: For Mind, Body, and Spirit

5 Healthy Activities in Ubud, Bali: For Mind, Body, and Spirit

Many travelers visit Ubud in Bali, Indonesia because of its well-known spiritual- and health-conscious atmosphere.

I focused my time on experiencing a handful of these mind-body-spirit activities. This post describes what to expect from these experiences, why I chose to focus on them, and how you can experience each on your own!

From yoga retreats to eco-green cafes, you will not be short of rejuvenating activities during your stay in Ubud.

5 stunning natural rock formations in Niue: Arches, caves, and pinnacles

5 stunning natural rock formations in Niue: Arches, caves, and pinnacles

Have you been following along with all of my Niue posts? If you have, then by now you know Niue has some seriously unique geography. Niue is a coral atoll in the middle of the South Pacific. It withstands the beating of ocean waves against its limestone shores resulting in some truly stunning coastal rock formations.

During my time in Niue, I had the chance to venture out and explore some of the island’s most famous natural geographical wonders. I also stumbled upon a few lesser known, but equally as beautiful locations. Whether hiking through the jungle, strolling down sea tracks, or biking across the entire island, I trekked my way across the bumpy “Rock of Polynesia” only to be wowed again and again.

Cathedral Cove, NZ: Where you re-enter Narnia and the ‘ceiling can’t hold us’

Cathedral Cove, NZ: Where you re-enter Narnia and the ‘ceiling can’t hold us’

One cold, wintery day on The Queen’s Birthday weekend, Jono and I drove 5 hours up North to the Coromandel Peninsula.

There, we met his sister and her family where they were staying in Whitianga. Whitianga is situated near two iconic Coromandel must-dos: Hot water beach and Cathedral Cove.

I had already visited hot water beach on a previous occasion but Cathedral Cove was not accessible at the time. Now I was finally able to visit this gorgeous beach and natural archway. Perhaps you’ll recognize it from a famous movie, music video, or both!

Solo travel with others: Ditching my companion to hike the Kepler track alone

Solo travel with others: Ditching my companion to hike the Kepler track alone

As a solo traveler and generally independent person, I really, really enjoy my alone time. Most of my time spent traveling has been spent with other people. My adventures around New Zealand involved spending almost 24 hours a day camping, hiking, and driving with at least one other traveler.

It’s nice to share travel experiences in the moment with a companion. But not every moment. So how did I, as a solo traveler in New Zealand, get alone time away from my travel companions? I took a hike.

5 highlights from New Zealand’s Great Alpine Highway drive

5 highlights from New Zealand’s Great Alpine Highway drive

Planning ahead has worked very little on my trip. Going with the flow, allowing each moment to take me in new directions has always proved to lead to the best experiences. So when Carolina told me she was going to have to fly into Christchurch instead of Queenstown, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said, “See you there!”

This change in plans took me and Birgit on another route deviation. We were at the perfect junction to turn inland from the West Coast and cross the center of the South Island back over to Christchurch. We ended up traveling along New Zealand’s Great Alpine Highway. This area of the Canterbury region was so spectacular and filled with adventures, it was worth retracing the route with Carolina a week later. From pie-eating and caving to camping and hiking, these are the highlights from my Great Alpine Highway drive.

New Zealand’s Best Beaches: Hiking the Abel Tasman to camp at Anapai Bay

New Zealand’s Best Beaches: Hiking the Abel Tasman to camp at Anapai Bay

The tent was packed and our bellies were full with a carb- and protein- packed breakfast by the time dawn broke. The 2-hour drive ahead would take us on the scenic Takaka Valley Highway to the car park for the Abel Tasman hike—one of 9 New Zealand “Great Walks.” Birgit and I decided to walk in part of the way from the end of the track to spend the night at one of its pristine beaches on Anapai Bay.

The two days we chose to do the hike were sunny and hot. Despite the sweaty conditions, the hike was enjoyable due to native bush shading the trail and sandy beaches with cool ocean water toeing at our boots. The paradise-like features of Anapai beach and the comfortable camping conditions made Anapai Bay the best beach I have been to in all of New Zealand.

Frogger visits Nelson: Flying sea animals and the geographical center of New Zealand

Frogger visits Nelson: Flying sea animals and the geographical center of New Zealand

Birgit and I were heading West. We were traveling in Frogger, our little green hatchback rental, along the Northern shore of New Zealand’s South Island. Four days into our journey, we would be passing through the town of Nelson before heading out to a beachside camp to rest up for our Abel Tasman hike.

It was a bright and sunny summer day. Our schedule was wide open—we were free to do whatever we so desired. Before long, we were gazing at sea creatures floating high above in the sky, hiking to the geographical center of New Zealand, and listening to the sound of waves dragging across a stone beach.

10 outdoor highlights doable in 10 days from Auckland to Wellington

10 outdoor highlights doable in 10 days from Auckland to Wellington

Thinking about flying into Auckland near the top of New Zealand’s North Island? Only have a short amount of time to spend traveling New Zealand? Maybe you’re flying out of Wellington or from somewhere on the South Island and need to plan out your itinerary to get you there from Auckland. You deserve to see awesome things no matter how much or how little time you have!

Luckily, my best friend and I did all of the following (and more!) on a road trip from Auckland to Wellington in just 10 days. It’s perfect for someone looking to get a good taste of New Zealand on a time budget. Included are some tourist favorites as well as some spots requiring a bit of deviation.

The talking toilet and visiting New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula

The talking toilet and visiting New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula

Tall peaks and steep valleys covered in native plants and trees with huge rocky outcrops sticking up out of forested mounds stretched from either side of the winding highway 25. I could see the Bay of Plenty on the Pacific Ocean running along the horizon ahead. We had made it from the West Coast Taranaki region to the Coromandel Peninsula. Famous for its beaches and ecotourism, the Coromandel is a popular vacation spot for kiwi locals and foreign tourists.

Today, we had driven all day to make it to Hot Water Beach where visitors dig holes in the sand which fill with thermal water from hot springs underneath. Tomorrow we would find an overnight hike to do in the steep inland tropical forest. With nowhere to camp for free on the Coromandel itself, we ended up pitching tents just south of the Coromandel on district land with one of the most unique and hilarious public toilets I’ve ever encountered.