Norway Trip – Day 2

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Our second day was mostly more travel to the Lofoten archipelago in Northern Norway. Our day started with breakfast at Hotel Oleana. The breakfast at Norwegian hotels definitely outclasses the standard breakfast at US hotels. The breakfast buffet had a wide array of options like eggs, bacon, sausage, yogurt, oatmeal and granola, bread, cheese, ham, and croissants. With about an hour to burn before going to the airport, we explored downtown Bergen. The city was quiet and calm for this sunny Sunday morning.

Our flight to Lofoten took us through Bodo to a small airport in Leknes, Norway. The Bodo airport was surprising large and we got a nice lunch there. I had a tomato and mozzarella sandwich. After arriving at Leknes, we purchased a few snacks from a grocery store before driving southwest for about an hour and half to the town of Å. Our lodging for the next two nights was a rorbuer – something like a fishing hut or cabin. The rorbuer was located right above the water – this might have been my favorite stay of the trip due to the unique environment and experience.

View From Rorbuer
The view from my bedroom window in the Å rorbuer.
A Rorbuer bedroom
My bedroom in the rorbuer.

After dropping off our luggage at the rubeur, we headed out to the first hike of our trip – Reinebringen. After driving north for about 15 minutes, we stopped at a nondescript parking lot off the side of the road. After hiking about 10 minutes along the road, we started the hike up towards Reinebringen peak. This was a really steep trail but fortunately somebody put a lot of effort of laying rock-based steps to the top. A 3D topographic map of our GPS track is included below.

Map of Reinebringen Hike
GPS Track for the Reinebringen Hike.

After about 45 minutes of climbing 1600 ft, we arrived at the ridge that provides a bird’s eye view of Reine. A few photos from this hike are included below.

Reinebringen Hike 3
Example of the all the steps used to climb Reinebringen.
Reinebringen Hike 5
View of Reine (the town) and Reinevatnet (the lake) from the Reinebringen ridge.
Reinebringen Hike 1
A view of nearby mountain Gylltinden from the ledge of Reinebringen Trail.
Reinebringen Hike 2
Another view from the Reinebringen ridge showing the town of Reine.

After reaching an elevation of 1575 ft (Reinebringen peak is at 2185 ft), we followed the trail back to our car. For the last photo of the day, I captured a quick photo of the Djupfjorden near the parking lot.

Reinebringen Hike 4
The Djupfjorden taken from the main road.

Norway Trip Day 1

Saturday, September 17, 2022

For the first time in a couple years, Russ and I went on another hiking trip to Norway. We left on Friday evening from the US and arrived in Bergen, Norway on Saturday afternoon after connecting through Reykjavik, Iceland and Amsterdam, Netherlands. The only thing of note from the flight there was the awesome sandwich I had in the Amsterdam airport – a cheese sandwich with hummus, cheese, and arugula. So simple but so good.

After a long wait in the rental car line, we received our car (a Peugeot 5008 SUV) and drove into downtown Bergen to Hotel Oleana. I didn’t realize the connection to local history at the time but Hotel Oleana is located on a street named for Ole Bull, who was a famous Norwegian violinist in the 1800s. At one point in his life, Ole Bull attempted to set up a community of Norwegian immigrants in Pennsylvania. He named this town Oleana, PA. Unfortunately, the immigrants found it too difficult to live off the soil in this part of PA so the Oleana concept basically failed.

After walking around the nearby streets, we had dinner at the MM Cafe og Bar. I had a club sandwich with chicken and bacon with a side salad and steak fries with a garlic aioli dip. For a drink, I simply had my drink-of-choice while traveling in Europe – sparkling water. Really enjoyed the food. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and, after being awake for about 40 hours, fell quickly asleep.


AT Day Hike – May 29, 2021

Completed a 16.1 mile day hike during a rainy and cold Saturday. The temperatures were in the low 40s. Fortunately, the rain mostly stopped after the first hour. If I do more of these hikes, I definitely need to upgrade my rain gear. The wet eventually soaked through my jacket after about an hour.

The highlight of this hike was seeing an Eastern Newt on the trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these guys – probably because I never hike in the rain.

Eastern Newt
The Eastern Newt

Only about 8 more miles until New Jersey!


Hiking the AT – October 10, 2020

Made a little more progress on the AT today. The hike was mostly uneventful. Rather than rattlesnakes, the animal of the day was spiders. I don’t know if the spiders are more active or whether I was hiking a less populated area of the trail but I was walking through spider webs all day, often with spiders hitching a ride on me. The major culprit was the Spined Micrathena. I found several of these spiders on me after passing through their webs.

I also saw this gnarly looking spider on the trail. I believe this is a Fierce Orbweaver. Despite its fierce appearance, apparently it is harmless.

Hiking - October 10, 2020

It feels like I’m maybe a week before the peak color in the area. You can start to see some color though.


Hiking the AT – October 2, 2020

This 14.5 mi hike from Eckville, PA to Port Clinton, PA took me about 5 hours and 20 minutes. This is a pretty popular part of the trail with The Pinnacle and The Pulpit Rock overlooks on the trail. Even on a Friday morning, I passed several dozen people on the trail. For reference, previous hikes to the west I would occasionally see maybe 5-10 people.

October 2 2020 Hike

Hiking the AT – August 22, 2020

I completed my longest hike of 2020 – 22.6 mi near Pine Grove, PA. I definitely struggled towards the end of this 8.5 hour hike. Although it was a large distance, the trail has really become rocky in this section, which slowed me down considerably as I was consciously trying to find a good rock for each and every step. The jagged rocks really wore out my feet too – I ended up with two big blisters on the side of my heels, which I think are likely caused by these rocks rather than the distance. Here’s a picture of some of the more rocky areas of the trail.

Hiking the AT - August 22, 2020

There were a few overlooks but the most scenic area was a small watering hole off the side of the trail. Seemed like a nice area to camp with some rope swings over the watering hole. Unfortunately, it was relatively close to a highway so I would expect a lot of people camp there.

Hiking the AT - August 22, 2020

By the end of this hike, I think I had started to get dehydrated although I still had a large bottle of water remaining. I was getting quite nauseous so when I finally got back to the car, I stopped at a McDonalds and got one unsweet iced tea and two bottled waters and slowly forced myself to drink all three on my drive back home, even though I didn’t feel particularly thirsty. It was a good hike although I will need to avoid hiking this long again on rocky trails such as this one.

Hiking the AT - August 22, 2020

Hiking the AT – August 15, 2020

This weekend’s adventure was a 16.8 mile hike along the AT north of Fort Indiantown Gap. I started the hike at Clark’s Valley Rd around 9:30am and finished around 3:30pm. I left Max at home for this hike. The highlight of the hike was running into another Timber Rattlesnake (I saw three of these rattlesnakes last weekend). This snake was coiled up just to the left of the trail. Fortunately, a fellow hiker gave me some warning otherwise I probably would have hiked right past and never noticed it. Like last week, the snake was very still and didn’t seem agitated (no rattle). I just gave him a wide berth and continued on.


I also got a few pictures of some interesting insects along the hike. The following is a Milkweed Tiger Moth (late instar stage).



Hiking the AT – August 8, 2020

Max and I completed a 20 mile section between Duncannon, PA and the crossing of Clark’s Valley Rd. The best moment of the hike was running into these three timber rattlesnakes. With all my hiking on the east coast, I’ve never seen a single rattlesnake. This weekend I was treated to three rattlesnakes! I was a safe distance away and they didn’t seem threatened (no rattling) so it was definitely a fun and enjoyable moment.

Timber Rattlesnakes

There were a couple of good overlooks on this portion of the trails. Here’s one of my favorite views from the hike.

Kinter View

I also crossed the Susquehanna River on today’s hike. This was around 3pm in the blazing August sun so I wasn’t feeling to great when I took this photo but it was a nice view.

Susquehanna River
Useless Stuff

Death Valley and Joshua Tree

On Tuesday, we started the day at Twenty Mule Team Canyon. This is a short drive on a dirt road, which was in really good condition. We drove this with our Hyundai Sonata rental car. Here’s a photo showing the dirt path as it winds its way through the canyon.

Death Valley - 20 Horse Team Canyon 4

After driving through the canyon, our next stop was Dante’s Peak, which overlooks Badwater Basin and Death Valley. The following photo was captured from the overlook. The white area in the valley is Badwater Basin. The white color is actually salt that has been washed from the nearby mountains into the valley. Once the water evaporates, only the salt deposits remain resulting in this white color.

Death Valley - Dantes Peak 2

After Dante’s peak, we started the drive to Joshua Tree National Park. We took the scenic route and drove through the Mojave National Preserve. In between Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve, we made a brief stop at the Dumont Dunes, which seems to be a recreation area for dune buggies. It was pretty cool although the area did seemed pretty trashy with a lot of litter. Maybe the dune buggy community is not as environmentally conscious as the national park community. Here’s a picture of the dunes.

Dumont Dunes 1

After a brief stop at the dunes, we continued our way towards Joshua Tree, stopping for lunch in Baker, CA. We ate at Los Dos Toritos – a small Mexican restaurant that had a lot of good reviews. Afterwards, we went up the street to a store called Alien Fresh Jerky. It was a tourist trap but it was really entertaining. They are building this alien-themed empire. Just behind the jerky store, they are building a hotel like an alien spaceship. The following pictures shows one of the vehicles parked in front of the jerky store.

Alien Fresh Jerky

Continuing on, we arrived at our hotel (Holiday Inn Express in Twentynine Palms, CA) around 4pm. We unpacked our stuff and then headed into the park around 5pm. We hiked the Arch Rock Trail and captured a few photos of the arch at around sunset.

Joshua Tree - Arch Rock

Here’s a map of the Arch Rock hike.

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We headed back to the hotel and ate some snacks for dinner (the burritos from earlier in the day were very filling). Shea and I headed back to the park to do some night photography.

Joshua Tree - Night Road

To see more of the photos from Joshua Tree, please check out my Flickr album.

Useless Stuff

Death Valley – Day 2

After a long first day in Death Valley, we slept in on Day 2. After getting breakfast, we drove up the road and rented a white 4 door Jeep Rubicon for approximately $315/day. We drove up to Titus Canyon, which is a pretty well maintained gravel road through a narrow canyon. I think we could have made it with our rental car but it was nice to have the peace-of-mind that the Jeep was going to make it through without any tire punctures. Here’s a picture of the Jeep with Shea and Joe in the front seat.

Death Valley - The Jeep Rubicon

About half way through Titus Canyon, we parked the Jeep and completed a short but steep hike to Thimble Peak. There were some great overlooks although the photo doesn’t seem to capture it.

Death Valley - Thimble Peak Trail 1

The GPS track of the hike is shown below. It was approximately 2.5 miles out and back with about 930 ft of elevation gain.

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After completing the Thimble Peak hike, we continued driving down the Titus Canyon Road. Eventually, the road entered the narrow portions of Titus Canyon, as can be seen in the picture below.

Death Valley - Titus Canyon 2

After driving through the canyon, we drove north to see the Ubehebe Crater. I had initially assumed this crater was formed by a meteorite, but it was actually caused by geothermal processes. My understanding is that magma near the surface basically caused a steam buildup that eventually led to a massive explosion. The Ubehebe Crater is basically the remnants of that massive explosion.

Death Valley - Ubehebe Crater

Our next stop was the Badwater Basin. We stopped on the side of the road and hiked onto the flat, salty basin. We were hoping to see very white sand but I think we happened to hike on an area that still had a lot of moisture – it had actually rained the day before we had arrived in Death Valley. Consequently, the salt was brownish so it didn’t make for a great photo, as can seen below.

Death Valley - Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the United States. I like to keep track of these personal records, so here’s a screenshot of my phone GPS when we were in the basin. This represents a new low point in my life.

A New Low Point in My Life

After visiting the Badwater Basin, we headed back to the hotel to grab some dinner. Shea and I then went to Harmony Borax Works to take some night time photographs. I spend some time doing some light painting, as can be seen in the photos below.

Death Valley - Harmony Borax Works 2

We headed back to the hotel around 1opm. For all the photos I captured during my time in Death Valley, please visit my flickr album.