Waterfalls and Vistas

Another perfect fall hiking day.  While it was a chilly start, the sun was abundant and it didn’t take long for the warm temps to settle into the forest.  My warriors were in for a treat today.

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We learned the merits of a selfie stick today, thanks to Hannah.

Starting with a popular hike that nearly everyone in the New River Valley has done – we hiked the Cascades.  With remnants from the last two hurricanes, I actually called the forest service to make sure the trails were open.  They were, and the river was gushing.

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The Cascades were at their absolute fullest and just as beautiful as always.

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But that was just the beginning.  My friends have never been beyond this point and that was something I had to remedy.  The next stop was the Upper Falls.

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The drop may not be as dramatic, but you can walk right out to the top of the falls and they are secluded enough that unless you know exactly where they are, you would not find them.  (Shhh, I’m not telling)

For me, the best was yet to come, as you know I’m all about the view.  So we had another mile and a half to get to the gem known as Barney’s Wall.

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The trail is steep at first and then levels off, so while it’s not a difficult climb, it is long (seems much longer than the mileage posted).  But, as always, worth it.

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We ate lunch, basked in the sun, and lounged long enough to appreciate the view and the fact that we were alone on this rock with only the buzzards aware of our presence.

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It wasn’t until we were almost back to the lower falls that we met another person heading up to Barney’s Wall.  Then the traffic picked up from the falls to the parking lot.  A very full day with a lot to explore, we all were happily tired on the return trip wondering where the next adventure will take us.

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Thanks for visiting today!

 

Norway

The second part of our trip was 6 nights in Norway.  Our host was a cousin of my husband.  She was not only an excellent host, but guided us through some fun outdoor adventures that we probably would not have discovered on our own.

The first stop was a sculpture park for women called Ekebergparken.

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This was called Anatomy of an Angel

 

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From a distance, it looks like an approaching hiker, but. . .

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This one was hanging in the trees. So cool!

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It was a beautiful park and there are many more sculptures, but these were my favorites.  The park is on a hill overlooking downtown Oslo.

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Of course we had to go on a hike.  Even though the trails are a little more like roads, we got in a full day’s hike and saw snow on the ground while it was in the upper 70’s.

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We toured Blaafarveværket a cobalt mine, which was a little traumatic for this claustrophobic hiker who is way more comfortable on TOP of a mountain than INSIDE a mountain.

But I survived it, and learned a lot about mining and came away wondering how people worked there on a daily basis.

Of course Norway has waterfalls too.

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Even downtown Oslo

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Finally, here are a few scenes from downtown. . .

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An absolutely beautiful place!  I have been there 3 times now, and each time I come away with new memories.  Summers here are wonderful, I highly recommend moving this up on your “must visit” list.

Iceland – Waterfalls, Geysers, Craters

After being away from home for a month, I finally feel like things are settling down. I finished unpacking, paying bills, reinstated the email that I got blocked out of on day 2 of the trip due to forgetting a digit on my PW, got my sunglasses fixed (they broke early on), and had a little dental work on a tooth that got chipped somewhere along the way.  You know, the usual.

Anyway, it is time for me to get back into the blogging world.  I’ve missed reading about your adventures and will hopefully get caught up with you soon.  In the meantime, let me share a little of my trip with you, one country at a time.

It seems like everyone you talk with these days has either been to Iceland or is planning a trip soon.  For us, it was a less expensive trip to Europe that allowed a stopover – we spent 4 nights and enjoyed every minute.  What a place!!!

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First of all, Iceland is a fairly new country (by European standards) started in 874 A.D. by Norwegian settlers.  Their language evolved from Norwegian, but today it is quite different.  We had a tour guide (on day 2) who was getting a Master’s in Icelandic history, he was a wealth of knowledge.

Even though it is touristy, we took the 8 hour bus tour of the “Golden Circle” and it was well worth it.   We were well layered, but it was very windy and cold – we even saw snow flurries as we stepped out of the bus on our first stop.  But as the day went on, the sun came out and even though the wind continued, it became more pleasant.

 

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Þingvellir National Park  This wall is the backdrop for Game of Thrones.

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Geysir This is the original that is no longer active.

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Gullfoss After Niagara Falls, this is the most impressive waterfall I’ve seen.DSCN5027

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Kerið  Note the steps leading into the crater.

The next day we rented a car and drove to the Middle Peninsula which was recommended by our tour guide.  Also, when we mentioned where we were going, the agents at the car rental said that was their favorite place.  I can see why.  These are pictures I took from the car with my cell phone while JG was driving.

 

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These two pictures made me fell like we were on the moon.

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 Snæfellsjökull the volcano that inspired Jules Verne to write “Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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Renting a car, even for a day, was well worth it.  We visited little villages, got away from the tour buses and enjoyed a relaxing day exploring the island on our own.

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The rest of the time was spent in Reykjavik.

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With it’s colorful buildings. . .

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and murals.

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It never got dark.  We had to catch a bus at 4 a.m. to go to the airport and this is how light it was.

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I can definitely understand why so many tourists are flocking to this amazing island.  It is well worth a few days stopover – or as a destination.