Viajar a pie

"Viajar a pie" is Spanish for "Travelling on foot"

2016 in 19 pictures

Chronological highlights of the year while travelling by human power.

2016 started unseasonally warm and dry in Central Iberia. It wasn’t until February that we had some significant snow in the local mountains. Early March brought a big dump, it was a whiteout day above tree line and a black & white world in the woods. While skiing down to a saddle, I met this group of hikers and a sudden burst of color:

March 6th

I had some great camps throughout the winter, most of them in sketchy weather so I retreated to the woods for shelter. The pine trees were my best friends. They’re always welcoming.

March 6th

In May we had our first major cycling trip of the year. It is a great time for riding the Iberia Highlands backroads. Find some mountains in those regions with the lowest population density and get into enchanting woodland teeming with wildlife. Here we took a trail through a narrow limestone canyon where the river would meander side to side. We needed to wade the stream 6 times! A teammate here portages his bike in front of a sunlit canyon wall:

May 1st

Cycle tourers often make all sorts of odd arrangements to integrate their bikes with their shelter systems. I come from a backpacking background and to me it’s natural to see the potential of the bike as a simple, offside vertical support. Here it works to support my Trailstar after a very windy night:

May 2nd

Summer was back to pedestrianism for my biggest yearly challenge and an old dream come true: crossing Iceland coast to coast, north to south. It was two intense weeks of long days over otherworldly country, of bleak desert and sudden bursts of life, of big clouds and huge rivers. Travelling on foot at its best:

Travelling on foot at its best

A spring bringing life to the desert

The mineral world can be colorful too: rhyolite hills in the Iceland Highlands

Glacial milky river, straight from the Hofsjokull Icecap

Light and darkness fight in the Iceland sky

Mob shock in the popular trails after a very solitary week

Iceland congratulates me on trip end with its most elegant waterfall

Late summer is fine in Northwest Scotland if you’re riding a bike: midgets can’t get you. We followed lochs back and forth, we enjoyed both sunshine and rain, we tried headnets and repellents to find that only positive mindsets work and we puked on the ferry back from the Hebrides. All great fun.

Applecross Pass. We love climbing

Loch Awe light show

Breathtaking Calanish standing stones

A Harris white sand beach down below

North Uist single track

We ride the bikes again in December. The cold and the impending dark is the perfect excuse for some pub warmth but we do sleep outside. We want our frosts!

Freezing wet December day deep into rural Spain

We love camping out

Don’t leave your wet shirt hanged over the handlebars overnight

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2 Comments

  1. Roman Nesipmnesolnaranu

    Gosh, what a sexy image of Trailstar! Why have you actually decided for the fully closed shelter in Iceland? Added warmth?

    • Viajarapie

      Not the warmth but the combination of wind and sand. Iceland is very windy and the highlands are mostly sand or gravel-over-sand, sandstorms are common and the sand gets everywhere. A Trailstar might work if you use a solid, sandproof inner (that I don’t have). The other potential problem of the sand+wind combo is that the Trailstar needs 6 staking points and lots of tension, this may be tricky in sandy soil. It’s time consuming to get it right. The Warmlite tent I used relies on tension too but it only needs 3 staking points in a fixed geometry. It’s also a very wind worthy tent.

      The Trailstar is definitely sexier though 🙂

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