The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu after completing the Salkantay Trek

Machu Picchu is one of those travel destinations that seems to be on everyone’s bucketlist. Its soaring peaks and ancient streets steeped in rich history draw thousands of visitors each day, making it one of the most visited sites in the world. While there are many ways to reach Machu Picchu, trekking is by far the best route. Walking up to this incredible place allows one to savour the mystical site’s rugged natural beauty and intriguing surrounding and makes finally reaching the ruins an even greater reward. 

There are many trekking options to get to to Machu Picchu, each with their own set of pros and cons. When we were in Peru we chose to do the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and will share more about this incredible 5 day, 4 night trek!

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Peru Mountain Zen: Huaraz Trekking

Zentravellers on the summit of Mt Matteo

Nestled in the impressive Cordillera Blanca range of the Andes, Huaraz is increasingly becoming a world-class destination for high altitude adventures as Huaraz trekking is considered some of the best in the world.  Huaraz is heralded by some as the the trekking capital of Peru and it offers a more budget-friendly and quieter alternative to crowded Cusco. By far the biggest draw of Huaraz is the trekking in the endlessly picturesque Cordillera Negra and Blanca ranges. Indeed, the Siula Grande from the Cordillera Blanca range is featured in the film about defying death in the mountains, “Touching the Void”, and Alpamayo is thought by some to be the “most beautiful mountain in the world.” The vast and scenic expanses, opportunities for alpine activities to suit every level and interest, and solitude that’s impossible to find in nearby Cusco, make it the perfect place to find some mountain Zen in Peru.

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The Best Hikes to See Golden Larches in the Fall

Another summer hiking season has come and gone in Alberta but fall offers up one last chance to experience the Canadian Rockies in their full golden splendour. The locals call this time “Larch Madness.”  We always make a point to end our hiking season on this exceptionally high note and have a few recommendations for the best hikes for a range of abilities to see the golden larch trees in the fall!

Over the next couple of weeks the larch trees that line the mountainsides in Kananaskis and Banff turn a beautiful golden colour. They stand out amidst the evergreens and shine against the bright blue sky and granite peaks lightly dusted with snow. This special time of year only lasts a couple of weeks and is certainly a rewarding way to end your hiking season. 

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Hiking (Responsibly) in Tonquin Valley

The Ramparts as you approach Amethyst Lakes

With so many stunning trails and views picking a highlight of Jasper National Park can be a challenge, but hiking in the Tonquin Valley must be a contender. The combination of sky high views of the rugged “Ramparts” range jutting up from serene alpine lakes, and the chance to see rare wild mountain caribou make it as worthy a destination as any. It is also an accessible backcountry trail that can cater to many ability levels and even be trekked on horseback. Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see why the Tonquin Valley is a popular area for locals and tourists alike. But it just may be getting a little too popular for its own good.

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Backcountry Zen: The Northover Ridge Hike

Few trails in the Alberta Rockies are as challenging but immensely rewarding as the  Northover Ridge hike. Deep in the heart of Kananaskis Country (a series of provincial parks that are closer to Calgary and less busy than Banff National Park), Northover Ridge is a 36km loop that takes the average hiker about 3 days. The trail straddles the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia and is a considered a very challenging trip due to a narrow ridgewalk and the need for advanced routefinding skills as we learned all too clearly (more on that later). Despite these challenges, it’s path through meandering wilderness, breathtaking views,  and exhilarating climax atop the ridge adds to its reputation as one of the best backpacking trips in Alberta. To that end, opinionated experts such as the Copelands who wrote Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, give it such a resounding recommendation that we knew that it had to be part of our Alberta Bucketlist. Continue reading “Backcountry Zen: The Northover Ridge Hike”

Hiking the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park

Great for beginners and experienced hikers alike, the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park is one of the premier hikes in Western Canada.  Few trails deliver multiple waterfalls, expansive mountain vistas, and up close views of majestic glaciers all along one incredible route.  The trail begins near the town of Field, in British Columbia and the extra hour of driving from Banff allows you to get away from the crowds. Yoho is generally more peaceful than its more famous neighbour and the scenery is equally stunning.  The hike follows remnants of the Emerald Glacier and with the majority of it is above treeline you’ll be treated to stupendous views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. For these reasons and its easy accessibility from Calgary we figured this gem was deserving of a place on our 2017 Alberta Bucketlist despite being in British Columbia.   Continue reading “Hiking the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park”

Trekking the Rwenzori Mountains in the Rain

Even the most Zen of travellers knows that keeping your spirits up in bad weather can be challenging. Especially if you are cold and wet, physically tired, mentally exhausted, or experiencing any other common travel-related ailment. Yet more often than not there are hard-won views, memorable experiences or at the very least, an important lesson to learn to make continuing on worthwhile.  This was the case when we went trekking Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains in the rain.  
 

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