Cascade and Porter of the ADK46

This Sunday, April 22nd, we set out to hike our first two of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks.  Steve and I hiked the 48 New Hampshire 4,000 footers over the past few years when we lived in Boston, so now that we are in upstate New York, this seemed like the perfect list to tackle next.

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Since this has been a long winter, we were hesitant to start climbing mountains this early in the season.  However, I’ve been feeling restless from many months without the great outdoors, so we went for it.  I had been reading trail reports and facebook posts to try and figure out what the trails would be like. Some people said snowshoes were needed. Some people said not to hike without crampons and an ice axe. I was a bit nervous. However, microspikes and trekking poles turned out to be enough for a solid hike up the mountains. The trail was icy on the way up and slushy on the way down.

The Hike

I will share some of the details and statistics from our hike.  Some of the information is based on the AllTrails app data and may not be perfectly accurate.

  • Time started: 9:45am
  • Time Ended: 1:45pm
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Total Distance: 5.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,297 feet

We started at the Cascade Mountain Trailhead on route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene. There were a few small parking lots right along the main road.  I assume this probably gets quite full during the summer months!

Alltrails Map

We took the Cascade Mountain Trail and then at the junction we took the Porter Mountain Trail to hit the summit of Porter first.  This ascent took 2 hours.  The summit of Porter had some lovely views of mountains in one direction and beautiful snow covered trees in the other direction.  There was only one other couple up there and we took our time enjoying the quiet and the beauty around us.  We then hiked down to the junction and then up to the summit of Cascade.  This took another 45 minutes including taking photos and having snacks at the top of Porter.  We spent some time alone on top of Cascade enjoying the incredible 360 degree mountain views.

After 15 or so minutes at the top, we made our way down.  The descent to the car from Porter took less than an hour.  We passed a lot of inexperienced and unprepared hikers on the trail. Make sure to do your research when hiking in early spring! Microspikes and poles were needed for a safe day on the mountain.

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This was a beautiful hike and a great introduction to the Adirondack High Peaks. Even though the ice was a bit slippery and slowed us down a bit, the scenery was incredible.  We also didn’t face any crowds or bugs, which was a plus! I can’t wait to hike more high peaks! 2 down, 44 to go!

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What to do in Oregon

Steve and I have been lucky enough to visit Oregon several times and explore some of the beautiful hiking trails and viewpoints throughout the state.  Oregon has some of the most beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous beach scenery, desert adventures, and wonderful mountain views in this country.  There are so many things I could write about, but I narrowed it down to 13 of my favorite things we’ve seen and done in Oregon.

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Mount Hood

1. Abiqua Falls – It was a very rough road to get to the parking lot of this waterfall.  We drove a high clearance, 4WD truck and it still felt like the car might be destroyed. It was a short hike on a rugged, steep, and slippery trail.  When we arrived, the waterfall was absolutely breathtaking as the late afternoon sun rays poured through the trees to light up a magical scene.

 

2. Wahclella Falls – This is an amazing waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge.  It is a relatively easy 2.4 mile round trip hike in a beautiful, lush forest.  The waterfall itself is powerful and covers you in refreshing mist if you get too close!

3. Trillium Lake and Lost Lake – These are two great spots to view Mount Hood.  We camped at both of these lakes during our van trip and really enjoyed the stunning views.  Lost Lake was very crowded on a summer weekend.  If you go for a day trip, make sure to arrive early to claim one of the lakefront day use spots.  Trillium Lake was a bit more rustic and much more calm and peaceful.

Here is a photo of the Milky Way over Lost Lake taken by my talented husband Steve Walasavage.

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4. Punch Bowl Falls – The 3.8 mile round trip hike to this waterfall is a stunning walk through an incredibly beautiful northwestern forest. When we went, it was drizzling and the hills were draped in thick fog.  There is an awesome view of the falls from above and then another after you climb down to the bottom. I really loved this hike!

5. Samuel H. Boardman State Park – This is a beautiful stretch of the rugged Oregon coast with stunning views and precarious hikes. I wrote more about Samuel H Boardman State Park in this blog post!

6. Toketee Falls – This was a very quick 0.8 mile round trip hike.  It leads to a viewing platform with an amazing view of the falls.  The waterfall is stunning and the basalt columns give it a really unique look!

7. Tamolitch Blue Pool – We woke up early to make the 2.1 mile hike to the Blue Pool (4.2 miles round trip).  The hike was easy and beautiful, weaving through lovely forest scenes and crossing perfect rivers.  When we arrived, the view of this dazzling blue pool completely blew me away! There were only a handful of people there when we arrived and we scrambled down the steep slope to the edge of the pool. After some trepidation, we dove in. It was some of the coldest water I’ve ever felt!  But the rush of being in such a beautiful place and the refreshing jolt of jumping in made this an unforgettable experience.  On our hike back to the car, hundreds of hikers were coming in and the parking lot was completely full. Be sure to get up early to do this hike. It’s worth it!

8. Multnomah Falls – This is one of the most accessible and beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever been to.  It can be crowded with tourists and gets very busy, but the scenery is breathtaking and it is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the Columbia River Gorge! (Photo by Steve Walasavage)

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9. The Painted Hills – Most of the time we’ve spent in Oregon was at the coast, in the woods, or exploring waterfalls.  However, there are some really beautiful desert areas.  A few years ago we drove out to the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  The unique sand hills and rainbow of colors were really incredible!  Watch out for rattlesnakes if you visit this spot.

10. Tamanawas Falls – This was a very pretty waterfall on a relatively easy trail (3.6 miles round trip).  We didn’t have much time to spend at this waterfall, but enjoyed the hike and the lovely view of the falls!

tamanawas falls

11. Rowena Crest –  This is a beautiful lookout over an incredible winding road. It’s straight out of a car commercial (in fact they were filming a car commercial the day we were there!) We also went in April when the wild flowers were unbelievable.

12. Susan Creek Falls – Unfortunately this waterfall was swarming with mosquitoes when we visited this spring.  However, it was still a gorgeous hike and I would love to back in a different season!

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13. Crater Lake – This is one of the first national parks I ever visited!  The lake was formed by a volcano that collapsed around 7,700 years ago.  It is also the deepest lake in the United States at 1,949 feet deep! We only spent one afternoon there, but I’d love to go back to explore and do some hiking!

 

What are your favorite spots in Oregon? Have you been to any of the locations listed in this blog? Do you have recommendations of places to visit in Oregon that aren’t in this post? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors).

Hiking and Photography in Yosemite

We spent five wonderful days exploring the incredible Yosemite National Park.  We could have spent months there and still found new and beautiful spots! We hiked, camped, and wandered around Yosemite trying to soak in the beauty of the majestic waterfalls and glacier-carved granite landscape. I’ll briefly outline some of the highlights of what we did and saw on our Yosemite adventures.

 

Before I do, here are a couple quick pointers about traveling to Yosemite.

  • It is an incredibly busy and popular park. Especially in the summer and near holidays. If you can, try to visit the park off season, but be aware that some of the roads may be closed in the winter months.
  • Booking campsite reservations for Yosemite is really challenging. There is one day and time when every campsite in the park goes on sale for the entire year. We were ready to book at the exact time, and we tried to book 5 consecutive nights of camping. After we requested the reservation, it took a while for the web page to load and when it finally loaded, it said there were no sites available for five nights in a row. We kept trying to reserve sites for about an hour, and ended up with a hodgepodge of random nights at different campsites in the valley. Luckily for us, we had friends who worked in the park whom we could stay with on the nights we couldn’t get a site. I don’t know what we would have done otherwise!
  • Wake up early if you want to get parking spots or find peace and quiet on any of the trails. By the afternoon in the summer, the park was swamped with people and all parking lots were completely full.

 

Yosemite Falls Hike

Our first hike in the park was the hardest one for me. We hiked up to the top of Yosemite Falls. This was a 7.2 mile round trip hike with 2,700 feet of elevation gain. I was a bit out of shape for this hike and had to stop a few times to catch my breath. However, the scenery was breathtaking so I didn’t mind stopping occasionally to look around! There are amazing vistas that look out into the valley with iconic Half Dome in clear view. There are also several epic views of Yosemite Falls. Once you reach the summit, you are literally at the top of the falls. There is a misty lookout point where you can stare straight down as the waterfall plummets over the edge. It was honestly a little bit scary but so beautiful. There was even a rainbow!

 

Secret Hike

If you have the chance to go on a hike with a local Yosemite resident or park employee, I highly recommend it. There are several secret hikes that only the locals know about. Our friends took us one one such hike and it was a highlight of our visit. We escaped the crowds and throngs of tourists as we hopped off the main, paved path and began scrambling up an old trail into the wilderness. The hike was steep and challenging but the views at the top were out of this world! We could see most of the waterfalls in the park along with mind-blowing beauty in every direction. There was a small viewing platform and large, flat rocks to sit on. We hung out up there for hours enjoying snacks and taking photos. We saw only one other small group of hikers in the hours we spend up there.

 

The Mist Trail

The Mist Trail is a beautiful hike up to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.  The path is steep but paved, and people of all ages were hiking alongside us.  The trail was more crowded than what I typically prefer, but the amazing views made the hike well worth it.  The Mist Trail has a very accurate name.  Once you get near the falls, you will be soaked with mist and spray from the waterfalls. It felt amazing on a hot day, but made taking photos a bit of a challenge. I recommend bringing a dry bag and wearing clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. I loved this hike. It was fun and pretty easy. The sight of huge, powerful waterfalls and rainbows was breathtaking.

 

Glacier Point

Glacier Point had some of my favorite views in the park. You can hike up or drive up. We chose to drive because we wanted to stay into the night. We drove up in the late afternoon and claimed a coveted parking spot. The parking lot can fill up on popular summer days and you may be required to take a shuttle up. We wandered around, checking out all of the awesome views. We made ourselves dinner and then set up our cameras for sunset. Photos from Glacier Point might make you think it is a quiet, secluded spot. However, we watched the sunset with hundreds of other people. Despite the crowds, watching Half Dome in a golden glow as the sunlight slowly faded over the valley was one of those unforgettable moments of my life. Eventually the sky turned pink and gave a magical feel to the whole scene. There was a park ranger giving an informational talk during sunset. At first I thought it would be annoying, but I really enjoyed learning about the history of the park.

After the sun went down, the stars came out. Millions and millions of stars. The skies in Yosemite are so dark that the Milky Way was clearly visible with just my eyes. It was absolutely stunning. Aside from a few rowdy tourists, stargazing at Glacier Points was one of the more peaceful moments of my life. We parked our car in the lot and spent the night stargazing, taking night photos, and napping. My favorite part of the evening was that on this particular night, there was an event where people brought their telescopes and let us look through them! I able to experience some amazing views of the cosmos. I was even able to see Saturn, with its rings clearly visible! It was a night I will never forget.

The night photos below were taken at Glacier Point by my talented husband, Steve Walasavage (click for his website and his instagram)

 

Lower Yosemite Fall Hike

This was a flat, paved 1-mile loop hike. Due to the easiness of this trail, it was swamped with people. However, there were some beautiful views of the waterfall. I loved the scene shown below with the falls framed by towering trees!

Lower Yosemite Falls

 

Valley Views

Aside from all of the beautiful hikes, there are plenty of incredible scenery that can be viewed from the valley floor. Pretty much anywhere you park or walk in Yosemite will provide unbelievable views if you look around you.

 

There are so many other parts of the park I would have loved to explore if we had more time. Have you ever been to Yosemite? If yes, what were your favorite parts? If no, have you ever thought about going? Let me know in the comments! And as always you can find more photos or send me a DM on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors)!

What to do in Northern Norway

The northern part of Norway are less visited than the famous spots in the south.  However, northern Norway is absolutely worth a trip.

In case you missed it, I wrote a blog post with tips for traveling to Norway: Norway Travel Advice and another post describing my favorite spots in Southern Norway: What to do in Southern Norway.

To get to northern Norway, you can fly or take a cruise, but we chose to drive our rental car.  We had some very long 8-10 hour drives, but the views made every moment in the car worth it!  While in northern Norway, we spent our time in Lofoten and Senja.  This blog post will include photos and a quick description of some of our favorite hikes and viewpoints in the northern part of Norway!

 

#1: Kvalvika

  • This is a secluded beach in Lofoten than can only be reached by hiking.  We packed our bags and hiked in just before sunset.  As we descended down to the beach, the sky lit up with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  Once we got down to the beach, we set up our tent on the shore and fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.  We were almost alone, sharing the beach with a handful of other campers and dozens of sheep.

 

#2: Reinebringen

  • This was a steep, challenging, and slightly dangerous scramble to a breathtaking viewpoint above the town of Reine.  The trail was washed out and was mostly slippery mud and dirt- be sure to check posted signs, trail conditions, and a weather report before doing this hike.  The views from the top were some of the best we saw in all of Norway.

 

#3: Festvågtind

  • This was another steep and precarious scramble in Lofoten that led us to amazing views! If you do this hike, I highly recommend you check out Henningsvær, an adorable fishing village nearby with tons of cute shops and restaurants!

 

#4: Segla

  • The photos I have seen of Segla on social media blew me away! Sadly, we went when it was too foggy to see much.  I am also not 100% sure we were on the correct hike to view the famous huge rock that we had hoped to see. Nevertheless, the hike was wonderful and being above the clouds was an incredible experience!

 

#5: Rago

  • This is definitely a hidden gem in Norway! The exact location is complicated to describe here and took us a lot of research to find. The hike was a little confusing, and I would not recommend it in the rain like what we did.  This was still a beautiful place and if you want more information about how to find it, please feel free to send me an email or DM me on Instagram!

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Aside from these hikes, there was a ton of natural beauty and peaceful solitude in northern Norway!  We visited adorable fishing villages and white sand beaches that looked like the Caribbean, we camped for free on the seashore, and enjoyed the scenic drives and viewpoints along the coast.  Some other photos from our visit to northern Norway can be seen below!

What to do in Southern Norway

I hope you enjoyed my blog post about advice for traveling to Norway! If you missed it, the link is here: Norway Travel Advice

In this blog post, I will share with you my favorite things that Steve and I saw and did in the southern part of Norway! Next week I will do a similar post about northern Norway.  To be clear, Steve and I went to Norway with the goal of hiking and seeing natural beauty, so my list doesn’t include any museums, restaurants, or city attractions.  I am sure there are plenty of those, but we chose to focus on the great outdoors!

So let me start with a quick overview of our trip. We flew in and out of Oslo and rented a car for the full three weeks. We drove west to the fjord areas in the south, then drove north all the way to the Lofoten Islands and Senja, and then back south to the fjords and back to Oslo.  

Before the trip, we made a custom google map with pins for each hike or attraction that we wanted to see. I highly recommend doing this before taking a big trip!  It helped us plan our route and made sure we didn’t miss anything.  We even color coded the pins (yellow = cities, tan = beaches, green = hikes, etc).   If you want any tips or have questions on creating a custom map or traveling to Norway, feel free to email me (carrieoutdoors1@gmail.com) or message me on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors).  Here is a screenshot of our Norway travel map:

Norway Map

Alright, now time for our favorite parts of the trip!  This includes hikes and viewpoints. I tried to put them in order starting with the best spots, but there was no science that went into the rankings.  Everything we saw and did in Norway was AMAZING, so ranking them was tough!
#1: Trolltunga

  • It was a 13.6 mile roundtrip hike.  We did it in one day and it took around 10 hours including a lot of stopping for photos.  Though we didn’t camp, we saw a bunch of tents near the end of the trail.
  • We started this hike at 5am and were so glad we did. When we got to the destination, there were only a handful of people there and we had plenty of chances to take photos. On our way back to the car, we passed hundreds of people heading in. I have heard stories of people waiting in a line for HOURS for a photo! If you go, go early!
  • If you walk out onto Trolltunga, be VERY careful. I heard that someone fell a few years ago.

 

#2: Kjeragbolten

  • It was a 7 mile roundtrip hike to this incredible boulder that is stuck between two rock walls and hovering thousands of feet above the fjord below.  The hike included a lot of ups and downs, was very exposed, and had some steep and slippery rocks.  Wear good hiking boots and bring sunscreen if you do this hike!
  • Go early! It was very crowded at the rock and there was a long line forming by the time we got there in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Be very safe and careful if you decide to step onto the rock.  I had someone hold my hand because I was so terrified.

 

#3: Preikestolen (aka Pulpit Rock)

  • This was a much easier hike than the first two hikes on this list at only 5 miles roundtrip without much elevation gain.  We hiked up to the top on the same day that we did the Kjerag hike.
  • We brought our tent and camped up at the top (we set up our tent far from the edge).  There were only ten or so other campers who spent the night, which is amazing considering I have see photos with hundreds of people up there! We woke up early and scrambled up above the rock to watch the sunrise over the fjord below. It was absolutely incredible.
  • PLEASE leave no trace when you visit (or during any hike)! There was a lot of trash and food left along the trail and even on the Pulpit Rock itself.  Don’t forget: even banana peels and apple cores need to be packed out!

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#4: Bondhusvatnet

  • This might not make most Norway top ten lists, but it was one of the most beautiful spots we visited on our trip.  It is a short, flat hike to a peaceful glacial lake.  We went in the rain and were treated to a beautiful foggy scene with perfect reflections!

 

#5:  Trollstigen

  • This is not a hike, but the drive up the hairpin switchbacks is just as exhilarating! There are several viewpoint platforms at the top to enjoy these incredible views.

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#6: Besseggen

  • This is a beautiful ridge hike with gorgeous views of mountains and two brilliant blue lakes.
  • There are three options for doing this hike.  You can hike there and back, hike to the end and take a ferry back, or take a ferry to the end and hike back.  We chose the last option.  We took the ferry ride down the lake to Memurubu and then did the four mile hike back.
  • The hike was pretty tough but the views were breathtaking.  Be sure to arrive early because the ferries sell out quickly!

 

#7: Lovatnet

  • This is not a hike, but a beautiful glacial lake that you can drive to.
  • We could only stay for a little while but we were able to sip delicious coffee at an adorable cafe and take a handful of photos by the dazzling turquoise water.

 

#8: Romsdalseggen

  • This is another beautiful ridge hike in Norway.  To do this hike, you can hike there and back or take a bus to the end of the hike and hike back, which is what we did.  If you choose this option, be sure to book your bus ticket ahead of time and don’t be late!
  • This hike had stunning views of the valley below and included some tough spots for hiking.

 

#9: Lysebotn

  • This is not a hike but an adorable fjord town that you can drive to!
  • We stayed at the campground, enjoyed beers and burgers at the charming restaurant, took walks along the misty fjord, and watched base jumpers soar down from the cliffs above.

 

#10: Geiranger

  • This is a beautiful fjord with an adorable town! It was packed with tourists but was stunning nonetheless.
  • We stopped at some of the viewpoints and took a boat tour through the fjord to see the beautiful waterfalls.
  • We had some unbelievably delicious pizza in town!

 

Stay tuned for the next blog post which will describe my favorite viewpoints and hikes in central and northern Norway! As always, you can find more of my photos and stories on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors).

Norway Travel Advice

Do you have wanderlust? Do you loving hiking, beautiful vistas, and a mix of mountains, lakes, and the ocean?  Have you ever thought about traveling to Norway?

Steve and I spent our honeymoon driving, hiking, and camping around Norway.  It turned out to be one of the most incredible places I have ever been.  I get asked all the time about my recommendations for the best things to do and how to experience Norway.  After writing multiple versions of the same email to different people, I figured I might as well pull all of my thoughts together into some blog posts! Since we spent three whole weeks in Norway, I won’t go into the details of each day of our trip, but I will instead share the highlights and some tips and tricks that we learned.  This blog post will focus on advice and the next post will highlight our favorite hikes and viewpoints from the trip.

Here are some photos of us from the trip. Notice the huge variety in landscapes! From misty fjords, to white sand beaches, to dramatic mountaintops, to turquoise lakes, there is a never ending supply of natural beauty in Norway.

 

Our Kind of Honeymoon

Steve and I could never go on a typical honeymoon.  All-inclusive resorts have never really been our thing.  We knew that our honeymoon would have to involve camping, hiking, and breathtaking views.  We were looking for adventure! We had both been drooling over photos of Norway for quite some time and it seemed just epic enough for a honeymoon.  We had to wait from our September wedding until my summer break in July to go, which gave us plenty of time to extensively plan every moment of an unbelievable three week  trip!  We drew most of our inspiration from Instagram.  I had saved dozens of amazing photos and created a google map full of pins…there were enough hikes to keep us busy for several years!  We spent time researching, reading blogs, and eventually narrowed down our itinerary to a reasonable amount of activities for three weeks (though in reality we still ended up skipping a handful of things due to exhaustion!)

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Advice

We learned so much during our planning process and on the trip itself.  Here are some pieces of advice and tips and tricks for planning a trip to Norway!

1. Norway is not cheap.  Okay, that’s an understatement. Norway is EXPENSIVE. It is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Food is expensive, drinks are expensive, and gas is very expensive. I want to say this first because if you’re a budget traveler like me, you really have to do your planning to make Norway an affordable trip.  To do this we did a LOT of camping (read tip #2 for more details about camping in Norway).  We also saved money by trying to avoid eating at restaurants.  We brought our small camp stove and bought fuel when we arrived to make coffee and hot meals. We had a lot of granola bar meals, peanut butter sandwiches, and trail mix.  Sadly, the food we did eat at restaurants was really delicious, especially the pizza, which made it all the more difficult to stay on budget.

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2. You can pretty much camp anywhere for free.  One wonderful thing about Norway is their law known as “allemannsretten” or freedom to roam, which essentially says that you can camp on public lands for free. We made use of this rule, and pulled over to camp on the side of the road in some beautiful areas. We did free camping on the beaches, on high mountain passes, and rocky areas alongside the fjords. This is such a huge contrast to our recent van travels in the United States where we had to check and double check where we parked for the night to make sure we didn’t get a ticket or a fine.  Before you visit Norway, be sure to do your research to stay up-to-dates on their current camping laws! Here are some photos from random places we camped for free:

3. Plan your ferry rides in advance.  If you plan on exploring the Lofoten islands or any coastal island areas, which I highly recommend, be sure to plan your ferry schedules ahead of time.  For example, we really wanted to hike Rodoy, but the ferry only ran a few times and days of the week, so it ended up not fitting in our schedule.  If we had known this ahead of time, we could have planned accordingly.  There were also a few times when we just barely missed a ferry and ended up having to wait upwards of an hour for the next one.  Also understand that ferries cost money, which can add up after a while.  To get to some islands, it can take two or three ferries each way!  Here are some photos from our ferry rides:

4. Prepare for some wild driving. Norway is famous for its unbelievable winding switchback roads like Trollstigen and Lysevegen.  The main roads near big cities were fine, but the mountain passes and the descents down to the fjords were narrow, steep, and downright scary! There were times I was sure only one vehicle could fit on the road, and yet somehow we just barely squeaked past another car! I was tempted to slow down on the hairpin turns and narrow, foggy roads, but the locals in giant trucks were happy to slam on the gas and speed on through. Thankfully Steve took the wheel on most of those mountain passes. Here are some screenshots of roads in Norway:

Here is a photo I took of the famous Trollstigen road:

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5. Bring layers and prepare for all types of weather.  When we visited in July, the weather was typically in the 50s and 60s.  It was perfect hiking weather, but got pretty chilly in the evenings and at high elevations.  It even snowed on some of the high mountain passes!  Bring a coat, gloves, and a hat…even in the summer!

6. Avoid crowds if you can.  Some of the most beautiful spots in Norway are, as you might expect, incredibly popular.  Even some of the long and challenging hikes were swarming with tourists! I highly recommend waking up early to visit the popular spots at sunrise, or go in the evening and plan to camp overnight to avoid crowds. We started our Trolltunga hike at 5am.  When we arrived, only a handful of people were there and we were able to spend plenty of time walking out onto the precipice and taking photos.  We had heard stories of people waiting in line for hours for their turn, and we were so glad we went early!  Sunrise hikes can also lead to some stunning views!  I had seen photos of hundreds of people up at Preikestolen, so we decided to camp up there.  Only about 10 other people spent the night, and we practically had the whole place to ourselves at sunrise.  Here are some photos from famous spots early in the morning, before the tourists showed up. I hope you’re not afraid of heights!

7. Prepare for a lot of driving. You could probably hit a handful of the best spots in Norway without too much driving and without leaving the southern part of the country.  However, some of the most beautiful scenery and hidden gems were in the northern region.  We ended up doing a ton of driving in order to make it to the Lofoten islands and Senja. While these areas had incredible hiking and scenery, I am not sure I would have done all of that extra driving if I were only in Norway for 1 or 2 weeks.  This photo was from the remote northern islands:

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8. Don’t plan on doing laundry.  We learned the hard way that laundromats really aren’t a thing in Norway. Since we were there three weeks, we planned on doing laundry a few times (especially with all of the hiking we were doing).  Laundromats were almost nonexistent and we ended up begging a hostel to let us use their laundry machines.

9. There are sheep everywhere.  Watch out for sheep!

10. Bring your camera and extra batteries.  Norway has some of the most incredible scenery you could imagine.  I found myself snapping photos constantly!  Stay tuned for my next blog post with details and photos of my favorite spots in Norway!

Samuel H Boardman

After our lovely time in the redwoods, we made our way to the coast of southern Oregon. We found a nice rest area near Brookings to park overnight while we explored some beautiful beaches and viewpoints along the shore. The rugged coast dotted with rocky outcroppings and sea stacks was incredibly beautiful and I highly recommend this spot to anyone who is in the area!

 

Harris Beach State Park

Our first evening, we went across the street from the rest area to Harris Beach State Park where we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. It started with the sun lighting up the sea stacks and bathing them in golden light.

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Golden Hour at Harris Beach State Park

We waited and watched as the scene kept changing as the sun sank below the horizon. Suddenly pink puffy clouds spread across the sky and reflected in the ocean over the incredible and unique rocky coast. This was an unforgettable sunset.

 

Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor

The next morning we woke up early to explore Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. I had been wanting to see this area for a long time after seeing some incredible photos on Instagram, and the amazing scenery we found did not disappoint! Many of the viewpoints were easily accessible and we found pit toilets and picnic tables at the Arch Rock Viewpoint.

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Natural Bridges

We started with the breathtaking Natural Bridges area. There was a small sign indicating the parking area, but no other signage was to be found. We first walked the short trail on the left to the viewing platform. Unfortunately, the view from the platform was not great as it was quite far from the natural bridges and there were many trees blocking the view. I also noticed that this was not the angle I had seen in other photos.

We returned to the car and then followed the unmarked path on the right side of the parking lot which took us down a narrow trail through the woods. The trail was steep, muddy, and challenging (and surrounded by poison oak). We slid and scrambled down toward the shore, so please be careful if you attempt this descent. Finally we got down to the rocky outcroppings and were blown away by the scenery. This was the view we were looking for! We spent a few hours here, taking photos and soaking in the beauty.

This was my favorite photo from the day!

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Me and Steve at Natural Bridges

 

Arch Rock Viewpoint

We hiked back out and continued driving down the main road, stopping at various pull-off spots and viewpoints. We enjoyed a nice meal at the picnic area at the Arch Rock Viewpoint. There was a very short and easy trail to some lovely views (but we had to hop the fence in order to get unobstructed views of the rocky coasts and sea stacks).

 

Secret Beach

Our last stop was Secret Beach. We did not see signs for this spot, but had read on a different blog to find the parking area behind a guardrail that was on the right as you head south from Arch Rock (the blog said it was the third pull-off but we counted that it was the second). We parked in the unmarked dirt area and took the short, slippery path down to the beach. The views when we got down there were some of my favorite views of all time. Wow. We went at low tide and were able to walk the length of the beach. It was incredible to walk among the towering sea stacks rather than seeing them from above!

 

Overall, Samuel H. Boardman was a very beautiful area and I highly recommend it! Our next stop is to head back to California, where we reserved campsites at Yosemite National Park. If you have any recommendations on what to see and do in Yosemite, please leave me a message on here or on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors).