You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Hiking’ tag.

Our trip to the Lake District was just a little vacation we wanted to take, since Tim had some extra vacation. However, the hip thing to do now is to take a “baby moon” when you’re pregnant (according to pregnancy websites: it’s kinda like a honeymoon, but before the baby is born). So we decided to call this trip our “Baby Moon”.

Day 1- Monday, October 26

From Harpenden to Keswick (a town in the Lake District and the “w” in Keswick is silent) via A1(M) A1 (British Highway: Arterial road 1/Motorway 1) the trip was roughly 286 Miles. Timothy did ALL of the driving to Keswick. It was roughly 5 1/2 hours with a few stops. The drive was more scenic, than if we took just the Motorway. It was a bright and sunny English day, and the fall foliage was just gorgeous the whole way!

Once in Keswick, we checked into our wonderful B&B, the Ellergill B&B. It was recommended by Rick Steves, and Rough Guides, and so do we! We used Rick Steves’ book and Rough Guides, along with a video Rick Steves posted on Youtube about the Lake District to plan our trip. The B&B was just around the corner form the main market street and several restaurants/pubs! It was also about a 10 minute walk to Derwentwater (a lake).

That evening, we walked to the lake shore right at twilight. It was so peaceful and beautiful. Once it became dark, we went to town for dinner and turned in early.

Day 2– Tuesday, October 27

We woke up bright and early to walk to the lake shore before breakfast. Once again it was so peaceful and even more beautiful in the early morning sun light. Timothy and I really lucked out, our first day was a beautiful sunny/dry day! After our early morning walk, we went back to our B&B for breakfast! A Full English (vegetarian) Breakfast- eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, toast, with juice and coffee/tea. It was very good, and a perfect way to start the day!

Our host recommended we walk 1/2 way around Derwentwater– going west towards Nichol End Marine, and then south past Catbells around the lake to Mary Mount Hotel for lunch. The was was relatively easy. The 4 1/2-5 mile hike should have taken about 2 hours, but being 7 months pregnant, it took us more like 3 hours, with lots of stops for pictures and taking in the beauty of the Lake District.

Once we got to the Mary Mount Hotel, we were ready for lunch! The pub at the hotel had large windows with a great view of the lake and Catbells fells (a local mountain). It also had a ton of bird feeders, and a bird guide for us to learn about the different birds!

From the Mary Mount Hotel, we could take the Keswick Launch Company boat ride back to Keswick. The ride was very enjoyable, and we got to enjoy more of the lake. From there we walked through town and back to our hotel to relax, before dinner.

Day 3– Wednesday, October 28

After sleeping in (or trying too), we had another Full English Breakfast, before heading out for a hike to Castlerigg Stone Circle. Our original plan was to drive, but Google Maps said it was only 1.8 miles (one-way). So we decided to walk. Not a smart move. When we started walking it was overcast, and shortly into our walk it started to rain (lightly). Then about the last quarter or half (it felt like more) of the walk was UP HILL!!! It was tough, but I did pretty good for a pregnant lady! Once we got to the stone circle, it stopped raining and we had an amazing view from the top of the hill of the surrounding areas. It was breath taking. After taking lots of pictures, we started to walk back. Then it started to POUR!! It was an interesting walk back to town, and we even got lost a little. After lunch at a local cafe, we relaxed at our B&B until Dinner time.

Day 4– Thursday, October 29

Once again, we tried to sleep in, but it is not as easy as it seems! We had another Full English Breakfast before heading to the Southwestern corner of the Lake District to Muncaster Castle. The hour long drive was very scenic and beautiful. However, it was very stressful. English roads are very narrow and windy! Plus this road had lots of sheep and cows roaming freely! We even got in to a few “traffic jams” with the sheep and cows!

Luckily, even though the morning was wet, shortly into our drive the rain cleared up and turned into another beautiful day. We toured the castle (that is still lived in), the grounds, and a owl/eagle/hawk sanctuary! We also went though their family friendly scary halloween maze, and watched a spectacular bird show! Thankfully, I only had 1 heart attack during the show.

We then headed back to Keswick for dinner, and another relaxing evening.

Day 5– Friday, October 30

It was sad to leave the Lake District Friday morning after another Full English Breakfast, but we were ready to go home. Plus there is always laundry, and house work to do after a vacation. The drive back was LONG! We went down the M1 (motorway). And there was a lot of construction and traffic! It probably took us 7 hours (including lunch break). This time, Timothy started out driving, but after lunch I drove, and did a pretty good job! 🙂 We were very thankful to be home, even though we highly enjoyed our “babymoon,” and hope to go back to the Lake District one day! There was still so much for us to see and do, and so much more hiking to do.

(Click on Image to enlarge gallery)

Jordan – 2 Day Tour 

First Day Tour of PETRA – “Departing Eilat early morning we cross into Jordan and head straight to the ancient city of Petra. The tour takes in the most popular highlights of Petra beginning with the Treasury and the Siq Canyon and heading right through the main centre of the site. After lunch in Petra we have some free-time… take an optional hike up to The Monastery on Jabel A-Deir…” *Info provided by Desert Eco Tours

Ali our tour guide was amazing! There were 13 of us on the Petra tour (I think) and Ali learned all of our names! He told us interesting fact along the drive from the Jordanian border at Aquaba to Petra. One interesting quote is that we were only 12 km from the Saudi Arabian border! And from Aquaba we can see Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel! So cool!

Petra itself was spectacular. Ali was very knowledgeable about the sight. It is about a 4 km hike from the Visitor Center to the Treasury, in which we hiked through the “siq” or canyon. We saw the aqueducts and terracotta “pipes” along the way. While there were tombs along the way, the iconic and most spectacular Treasury was amazing to see as we walked through the canyon walls. After marveling at the Treasury, we walked down to the Palace Tombs. This was where the tour ended for the one-day tour group as they had to walk back 4 km to the bus to head back to Israel. Since we were staying overnight for the Wadi Rum tour, we got to stay as long as we liked. We had lunch at the end of the Ancient Roman City that is located in the middle of Petra. After that, we hiked to the Monastery. It was over 800 steps in the hot desert sun. Some people took donkeys, which seemed frightening because there was no railing and the donkeys were quick and the passengers looked petrified! The hike up to the Monastery was definitely worth it! It was a beautiful sight! After we came back, we explored the ancient Roman city (Colonnaded Street), then hiked up to the Royal Tombs. By then we were exhausted. But the hike back to the visitor center was nice. Seeing the Treasury in the late afternoon was beautiful. It was less crowded and just spectacular.

*After our wonderful day in Petra, we were taken to the Ammarin Bedouin Camp http://www.bedouincamp.net/enter.html. It was my favorite part of the trip! We stayed in a goat haired tent, that had nice thick matting, and super warm blankets. The camp had real bathrooms and showers, plus a generator that ran from sundown til 10pm. Timothy and I walked around the camp, and sat the around the fire drinking “shie” (tea). Also, there was a herd of goats on the side of one of the mountains! It was so cool! Our hosts were very nice, and helped us practice our Arabic before serving us a very delicious dinner. Then we sat around the fire some “shie” and enjoying star gazing. It was so beautiful being surrounded by mountains, sitting by a warm fire, looking at the stars with my wonderful husband. It reminded us of our trips to Big Bend.

In the morning after we woke up we had more “shie” and were served a wonderful breakfast. Then we walked around the camp a little bit more while we waited for Mohhamad, our Wadi Rum guide to pick us up. Right before our driver came, we saw a DESERT FOX! It was so cool. Plus, we got to see more goats on the mountains. I highly recommend staying at a Bedouin camp if you stay overnight near Petra or Wadi Rum! It is a great experience and the hosts are so friendly!

Second Day Tour of WADI RUM – “This day covers the highlights of Wadi Rum. Having arrived at the village of Rum inside the nature reserve, we board  4X4 jeeps, driven by professional Bedouin drivers and journey to the sandstone area of Wadi Rum. Here we go off-road into its unique landscape and get right off the beaten track to explore rarely travelled ancient merchant routes. The enchanting Wadi Rum is an area almost surreal in its distinctive beauty. We cross red sand dunes and explore the beautifully eroded pillars of sandstone rock. It was this area of Wadi Rum that so inspired T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Wadi Rums beauty remains intact and its breathtaking scenery is still an inspiration for those who travel there. Lunch is enjoyed en route in the great outdoors. The tour includes the Seven Pillars, Khaz Ali canyon and Jabel Um Asharim. Returning by evening to Eilat.” *Info provided by Desert Eco Tours

Wadi Rum was so much fun! First we stopped at the “visitors center” and saw the Seven Pillars. Then we drove through the village where Timothy and I met our camel guide! We had a private camel ride through the desert. We rode for about 30 minutes, then took a “shie” break, and then we took another 30 minute ride with our camels! It was a really cool experience. We really enjoyed it! Then we drove to HUGE sand dune that we got to play on and raced down. It was really cool. Then we hiked through a canyon. It was really neat. Also, I did some pretty scary rock climbing. Tim was not happy. Then we had an amazing desert barbeque (and we saw another DESERT FOX). It was delicious! After lunch, we hiked up a pretty large rock formation that had a “bridge” we got to cross and take pictures on! Then it was time to head home. On our way back to Eilat, we stopped at the 1916 train station where a train from the movie Lawrence of Arabia is still located.

While Timothy and I have been blessed to go on so many adventures over the years, it’s hard to believe they just keep getting better and better. We highly recommend Desert Eco Tours (http://www.desertecotours.com/English/ ) and Jordan Experience Tours (http://www.jordanexperience.com/), who work together.

(Click on a picture to view enlarged gallery)

We are so excited about 2015! We have so many plans for the new year and we are excited to share our new adventures with you all! We are really hoping 2015 will be a BIG year for us and you! Happy New Years!

Here are some Israeli memories from the past year (pictures from our friends Dan & Shirley!)…

(Click on a photo to enlarge and view album)

It is hard to admit, but Israel is starting to feel like home. Timothy and I are now in a nice routine and the city is becoming more and more familiar. We have also started taking Hebrew classes. We are currently studying the alef-bet. We are learning to write in both print and “cursive”, and read! Hebrew, while phonetic, doesn’t really have vowels. This makes reading difficult, but not impossible. There are “vowel indicators” that help us to figure out words. While at a restaurant, I was able to read several items on the menu. I many not know what I am reading, but HEY! it’s a start. 🙂

Last weekend, April 5, we went to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Cable Cars with our new friends the Hofmann’s from Wisconsin (We met before Pesach (Passover) at a falafel stand. The crazy part of the story is Mrs. Hofmann is a Potsdam graduate! Small world). Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery is a beautiful monastery, here in Haifa. “The Carmelites are a Catholic order that originated in the late 12th century when a band of Crusaders, inspired by the prophet Elijah, opted for a hermetic life on the western slopes of Mt Carmel (hence the name).” (Lonely Planet)  While we were there, we rode the cable cars and had a wonderful view of the Mediterranean and the Carmel Mountain side.  We also visited Elijah’s Cave. Then we had lunch on the beach and later we played a game at our apartment. We had such a nice time with the Hofmanns.

Today, Timothy and I went to Nesher Park (Eagle Park), with our neighbor Shira. Nesher Park is near our home, about a 10 minute car ride, and has several nice hiking trails that lead to 2 suspension bridges. It is a city park, so it was very crowded, but we still had fun. Plus there were so many beautiful wild flowers!

This week we are celebrating two holidays, here in Israel. Sunday evening starts Memorial Day, followed by Independence Day. So far we do not have any plans, but hopefully we will catch some fireworks!

For our 5th Anniversary Tim and I traveled back to Big Bend for three awesome days!

May 13: Traveled roughly 575 miles to Chisos Basin @ Big Bend

May 14: Hiked Lost Mine Trail (4.8 miles)  and Window Trail (4.4 miles)

May 15:  Hiked Grapevine Trail (2 miles), Homer Wilson Ranch (1 miles), Burro Mesa Pour off (2 miles), Sam Nail Ranch (.5) and drove Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

May 16: Hiked Mule Ear Springs (4 miles) and Pinnacles Trail (roughly 6 miles)

May 17: Drove home! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: