There is something special about a road trip. It seems more personal, you experience the elements more intensely and become more connected to the place. For the last year and some change I’ve been partaking in a perpetual road trip, mainly in the USA, but occasionally getting to spend some time internationally. Returning from seven days in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, I think I’ve found one of my new favorite road trip locations. From the culture, stunning mountains, vast oceans, and the proximity of all these things to one another, it’s got a little bit of something for everyone!
Being a VW owner and lover, needless to say I was excited to find out you can hire a fully set up van with Arctic Campers (www.arcticcampers.no), just down the street from the Leknes airport. Fast forward to some months later, and I was chatting with the folks there at their shop, getting some insider information on some of the best views and hikes to start the day. Driving off down the road, I couldn’t help but smile with anticipation of what we had in store in the coming week. It’s easy to see why I was excited to get started, with views like this right out your back hatch how can it get better?!
Besides having some of the best views from any given road side, of course you can choose to get a little higher up and get in to the mountains. Only an hour or so from the car park, we gained a decent bit of elevation, enough to get above the clouds and see some of Lofoten’s pristine lakes.
I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘foodie’, but I love cooking and fresh food, so having access to a stove and fridge whilst traveling is a treat. Do you ever get home from a trip and feel like you haven’t had a home cooked meal in ages? Vanlife is the answer 🙂
I don’t know how anyone could want to stay inside in a hotel room when you can have the best sleep machine earth ever created right outside your windows.
I was fortunate enough to find a little access road that led to an amazing overlook of the tiny town of Unstad. Yes, you can camp here, or if you would rather you can sleep down on the beach.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Lofoten without exploring the tiny fishing village of Reine. This became our home base, stopping in for coffee in the morning, or afternoon, and of course a softis or two. If you don’t know what a softis is, you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out.
Rolf is a fisherman on the islands, and from what I experienced a pretty good one at that. It’s great to get off the shore and see the mountains rising stark out of the sea.
Every so often, you find a place in this world that drastically changes your concept of beauty and serenity. For me, that place was Kvalvika beach. A short hike over a mountain pass is the only thing that separates you from the rest of the world, but you feel completely detached. Honestly, I could have stayed there for days, weeks even. If I was forced to choose just one place to visit the next time I am in Lofoten, this would be it hands down.
Second place behind Kvalvika Beach would be Reinebringen, the prominent mountain just outside Reine. Although we had a comfy camper waiting for us at the base of the mountain, it was such a good view of the midnight sun and the mountains we decided to stay at the summit overnight. That being said, it was sure nice to come down after a few hours of sleep (when the sun doesn’t set it’s hard to go to bed instead of photographing all night!) and hop in the bed for a morning cat nap.
The only problem I’ve found with Lofoten, is that now I have to return in the other seasons. Spring was wonderful, and there weren’t too many tourists, the weather never got too cold, but I am intrigued to see summer, fall, and winter. Well, there is always next time!
Bears have been an interesting thing to get used to again. Camping in bear country has been okay, but the number of bears that I’ve run in to this far in Glacier has been well above and beyond. In two hikes I think there has been at least six grizzlies out on the trails. I mustered up the courage to do some night and star photography last night, but I’m pretty sure I was being watched by bears. Probably not. But mabye.
*At Last – Two Medicine Lake // Glacier National Park, Montana*
Well yesterday was full of ups and downs. I managed to foolishly lose my tripod by leaving it on top of Ruby, and spent the better part of the afternoon trying to find it. Finger’s crossed that it shows back up. Then, as the day was ending, the skies parted and the world told me it would be alright, and life would go on. Thanks for the reminder.
Updates are Coming!
Finally! It’s long overdue, but I am refocusing energy on my website. It will be overhauled for the next few weeks, and once completed launched to the world wide webs. Till then, I am working on getting my mobile posting set up such that I can provide quick updates more regularly.
*When the Time Comes – Two Medicine Lake // Glacier National Park, Montana*
I have a childlike fascination with mountains, their rugged beauty never fails to bring a song to my soul. Thank you all for the birthday wishes yesterday, this was my birthday present from Mother Earth.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone missing, just been side tracked here lately. Trying to start a few projects, and been working on tidying up the website for a possible overhaul to the design. Anywho, I’ve been slacking on the posts, so the next weeks I promise to get caught up.
*Run Away With Me // Crater Lake NP, Oregon*
Sometimes a good clear sky sunset is a welcome change from dramatic clouds and color. It takes some of the pressure off, and I feel more at ease with nature. There is a serenity to following the stars, a calm that comes from being alone in the dark. In these moments your eyes begin to really see the wonders of the sky.
North To Alaska
Heading back up tonight. I’ve got high hopes for this weekend, and maybe even a bit during next week. I also want to spend some time in my image library, doing some house cleaning.
*That Moment – Trillium Lake // Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon*
There’s a certain mystery to the pre-dawn hours, and I find myself more and more drawn to them. Before I begin to ramble, perhaps a quote would best fit my thoughts:
“Life is flowing and continuous, it’s full of crossroads, tributaries, and sudden bends. To live is to travel, and navigable space attracts us. We want to follow the road or the river to find out what lies around the next bend or over the next rise. The mere fact that they exist seems to tell us that we should follow them. No one has ever lived our lives before us. This moment we are in a space and time that have never been traveled. Many past events prepared us for this moment, and we may often feel as though we were following a track that has been laid out for us, but at other times we feel as though we were strapped to the nose of a rocket, plunging through space where no one has ever been. Then, at times, we become one with our path, immersed in our lives unquestioningly. This is the condition we prefer, when the river that leads us through life simply flows.”
This quote has been stuck in my mind lately. It’s simple, yet powerful message is a driving force for moving yourself forward with whatever finds your heart.
“All you have to do is commit your entire life to something, which will result in one of two outcomes. Either you will succeed, or you will die trying, which is in and of itself it’s own form of success.” ~ Rich Roll
*Crystal Blue – Slaughter Gulch Trail // Cooper Landing, Alaska*
Although you’d likely never guess it from the name of the trail, this has to be one of my favorite hikes. Stunning overlooks, beautiful mountain wildflower patches, and even a bear or two! 🙂 Standing high above the small town of Cooper Landing, in the Kenai Peninsula is the Slaughter Gulch trail, concluding on one of the mountain summits surrounding this quaint town, split by the crystal blue waters of the Kenai River.