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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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!