Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Colorado Gold Adventure 2015

One of my favorite hobbies is getting out and doing a bit of gold prospecting.  I have been to several locations around the United States hunting the beautiful stuff including North Carolina, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado last year.  The 2014 Colorado trip was only a couple of days on Cache Creek south of Leadville after a soccer tournament in Denver.  This year I planned a bit more adventurous gold hunt to go along with the soccer trip.

I was going into Denver a couple of days before the soccer tournament began to catch the MLS All Star Game that was being played at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.  It also gave me the opportunity to get a little gold prospecting in during the day.  I did some internet research and decided on trying my luck in the South Platte River just north of downtown Denver.  The location was only about twenty miles from my hotel so I picked up my rental car and off I went.

Westward on 70 and then northwest on 270.  A little jaunt onto York Street and I was there.  I had no idea what to expect and truthfully my expectations were pretty low.  Boy was I about to get a surprise. To my luck there was a guy already set up sluicing when I climbed down the bank so I went over to get some local knowledge on the lay of the South Platte River and such.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Wildlife of Iceland

Iceland awaits for the explorer inside all of us.  Channel your inner Lewis & Clark or your Hiram Bingham and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Over a hundred volcanos dot the landscape.  Monstrous glaciers.  Lava flows as far as the eye can see.  Bubbling hot springs.  Steam vents shooting forth sulphur based gases that remind you of the worst rotten eggs you have ever smelt in your life.  Geyser's launching high into the air.  Apocalyptic scenes beyond your wildest imagination.  That is Iceland my friends.

For thirteen days I circled the entire island.  I saw spectacular waterfalls around almost every bend.  Blasting geysers. Geothermal fields that looked like something from the end of times with hissing steam vents and bubbling hot pools of mineral water.  Glaciers that looked like tidal waves of ice careening down high valleys.

Oh and did I mention wildlife?  The island doesn't have a wide diversity of wildlife, but what it has will wow you.  The most beautiful horses on the planet. That is saying something coming from someone living in the heart of cutting horse country, but the Icelandic horses are something special.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A day in the Westfjords of Iceland with Puffins and Dynjandi waterfall

If you are a true adventure traveler than the Westfjords of Iceland are for you.  Simply spectacular would be an understatement.  See, most of the tourists to Iceland never get anywhere near the Westfjords and boy are they missing out.  The scenery is magnificent.  'Stop the car' picture moments seem never far away.

You'll need your own car to do the Westfjords of Iceland right, but as I said you are off the beaten path up here.  I must warn you though renting a car that will get you out here is not cheap!

The plan was to stay overnight in the town of Stykkisholmur in the Vesturland region of Iceland.  We had no trouble getting from Reykjavik to Stykkisholmur in a single day.  After the night in Stykkisholmur we caught the Ferry Baldur to take us across the bay to the Westfjords.  The ferry took about three hours and is quite fun in itself.  Here are a few pictures from onboard:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Surprises Await When Driving in Iceland

I will get it right out there. You will simply fall in love with Iceland. Rent a car and get out of Reykjavik. See the wonders this beautiful island has to offer. I guarantee you will be absolutely blown away. My first bit of advice is to rent the right car for what your plans are. If you are going to stay on the ring road the entire trip then an economy car fits the bill. Most cars in Iceland are of this type. However, if you really want to "get out there" you will need more. A high clearance vehicle is my recommendation. This will get you up over the mountain passes and allow you to see the sights most tourists completely miss.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Iceland Stories - Going Inside the Volcano

After nine days on the road we had completed the Ring Road and were back in Reykjavik.  What an epic journey full of amazing sights and wonders that it would take days to describe.  Iceland is pure brilliance.  For the final two days of the stay we checked into our hotel and planned on taking advantage of some of the great tours available out of Reykjavik.

For our first day we were going Inside the Volcano!  What could be a more true Iceland adventure than getting lowered 120 meters into a dormant volcano's magma chamber right?

A helicopter was rented and waiting at the local domestic airport, but we awoke to very strong winds that morning.  The helicopter trip was definitely in jeopardy.  Upon arrival at the airport we were assured with "the pilot thinks he can make it". I was good with that!  I was looking forward to a helicopter ride over Reykjavik and into the mountains.  The weather was just barely agreeable it seemed.

Into the Volcano also offers a hike in.  You do not have to take a helicopter to get up there.  They will pick you up in town and drive within range of the volcano and then you can make a 3k hike to Thrihnukagigur.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Iceland - Channel your inner Explorer

I've been lucky enough to visit many places over the last decade.  I've experienced many an extraordinary landscape in fabulous foreign destinations.
I've looked.
I've seen.
I've noticed.
Then gone.
We all carry different experiences inside us. We see things differently.


Exotic unspoiled paradise or a microcosm of an angry planet from thousands of years ago?  Either way you care to look at it Iceland will stay with you.  An impression that will not soon be forgotten.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Big Crazy Family Adventure on The Travel Channel

Of course one of my favorite channels is the Travel Channel.  While watching a program last week I saw a commercial for a new show.  Big Crazy Family Adventure.  A family of four ( mother father and two sons ages three and seven) depart on a 13,000 mile journey from central Canada to a remote monastery in northern India.  Quite an adventure right?  Well they ramp it up a notch and plan the whole trip with no air travel.

Last night was the debut episode and I was hooked right off.  Packing up.  Selling the idea to a three and seven year old.  Canoeing on the Columbia River for a few days to catch a train to Vancouver.  It was a great start in my opinion.  A little bit extreme with the canoe trip followed by a luxury train trip.

The interaction between the parents and kids is quite fascinating.  It is all an adventure and nobody is quite sure how each day will go.  But isn't that what an adventure is all about?  It sure is to me.  I don't always like to have everything planned.  I like to wing it a bit.  I prefer to find out what is over the next hill rather than know everything to a T.  My trips are about exploring.  Getting off the beaten path.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TexanTreks is off to Iceland

Get ready boys and girls it is time for another TexanTreks adventure.  We are heading to Iceland for a two week monster adventure!  Two weeks exploring the entire island.  Each night in a different little village.  And I do mean little.  The Capitol of Reykjavik is about the only legitimate city in Iceland.  The rest of the country is mostly small fishing villages around the coast.  The inner part of the island is almost void of people and full of wonderful adventures.  Iceland has 130 volcanos!

This Texan will be hiking inside lava tubes.  Descending into volcanos.  Exploring volcanic vents and mineral pools.  Visiting the most spectacular water falls in the world and seeing the original geysir.   Yes it is named geysir and is the one from which all the rest in the world get their name.