Occasional Traveler

A collection of my thoughts and photos on travel.

Posts Tagged ‘hike

Glymur Waterfall Hike (Failed) Attempt

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I love researching hikes for trips and Iceland was not lacking options. I especially get excited about hikes that are a little more off the beaten path since it usually means there won’t be a ton of people on the trails. I read about the Glymur Waterfall Hike on a few blogs (Life with a View). The hike included a river crossing with delicious glacier water, a cave, and great views of the second highest waterfall in Iceland!

I was a little concerned about this river crossing— it involved walking along some rocks and a log in the water while holding on to a wire. I read a few different blog posts about this crossing and ultimately decided it was doable.

Fast forward to Day 2 of our 8-day post-graduation Iceland trip. Following Google maps, we left Reykjavik after a late breakfast and arrived at the trail head a couple of hours later. There were other cars in the gravel lot, but there were plenty of spots to park. The sign indicated that our hike would be 3.6km one-way. No sweat!


There were some gray clouds in the sky and we knew rain was likely, so we wore our rain jackets and I left my DSLR in the car. The views from the parking lot were still stunning! We had noticed during our drive and now on this hike that there were fields of these pretty purple flowers that reminded me of bluebonnets. I later learned that the flower is the Alaskan lupine, a flower that was introduced to Iceland in 1945 to fight soil erosion, but that ended up spreading all over the island. There’s apparently mixed feelings about these flowers among Icelanders.

We reached the river and there was a path down to the cave. I opted to walk around and snap some photos of the river from the higher vantage point.

If you look closely, you can see someone making the river crossing!

Shortly after, we descended down the trail to the cave. Well, it’s a bit dark in there and Michael ended up slipping and cutting his wrist. Eeks! It was a deep, bloody gash. He went to the side of the river to rinse it off in that delicious glacier water (we forgot to try drinking it!). Being the worrywart that I am, I was already thinking that we might have to find an urgent care center for him to get stitches. And Michael being himself, insisted that he was fine and that we should continue our hike.

20180619_132546View from inside the cave looking down onto the river.

20180619_131208View looking up at the cave once we walked through it.

After leaving the cave, the trail descended further and continues along the side of the river. Then, we reached the river crossing. A couple of hikers were stepping out of the river, pants rolled up and shoes hanging around their necks. Hm. The water level was MUCH higher than what I had seen in the blogs, so the stepping rocks were all under water and the water was moving fast. We watched a few more people carefully cross before deciding that maybe we should just hike back— especially with Michael’s cut wrist.

So, we didn’t get to see the waterfall at all, but really, we couldn’t complain. The views from our short hike (we covered maybe 1.8 miles round-trip) were great! Michael was careful to avoid putting his wrist into untreated pool water for the rest of the trip, and he now has a gnarly scar with a (sorta) cool story.



Written by Jessica

November 6, 2018 at 5:18 PM

Posted in Iceland, photography, travel

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Roxborough State Park

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May 5, 2012 | On our weekend vacation to Denver, we drove to Roxborough State Park for a short hike. Pretty cool place with some nifty rock formations.


We couldn’t spend too much time here since we had to make our white-water rafting appointment!

Written by Jessica

January 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Posted in Denver, photography, travel

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Caldera Springs

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November 24, 2009 | After returning from the coffee tour, my parents and I (my sister decided to nap/relax in the roundhouse) went with our taxi driver to Caldera Springs.  There’s no easy way to really get there.  Our taxi driver drove his truck through some pretty rough roads before he pulled over and made the short hike with us to the springs.

If you’re expecting some fancy developed area, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  It’s basically in someone’s (big) backyard and you pay them a couple of bucks a person ($2, I think) to go on their property and access the springs!  I believe there’s a few spots that has the hot springs and the first one we came across was being occupied by a bunch of students, so we went to the next one.

What I found more amusing were the random animals nearby!  See?

So cute!! And some more pictures– first one is the hike there, next is this unused building next to the springs (perhaps it was once for changing?) and finally, the hot springs.

We didn’t end up staying around too long.  The water was comfortably hot but there’s lots of mosquitos!  It also started sprinkling while we were there (that actually felt nice), and then POURED on us on our hike back, haha.   I think this was more fun for me than for my parents. 

Written by Jessica

August 10, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Sendero Los Quetzales

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November 23, 2009 | Early in the morning, we were picked up by Rolando, our Chilean guide with Boquete Outdoor Adventures, at 7am along with another hiker (Dan from Wisconsin) that was staying at Isla Verde.  We definitely got lucky– no rain!  But nevertheless, we had to be prepared as the trail would be muddy and we’d have to cross a few streams!

The Los Quetzales Trail is probably one of the rougher trails that I’ve attempted although it took us just under 5 hours there and back.  It was certainly a challenge and I’m REALLY glad we got a guide for this.  There were a lot of spots where the trail would split off and it’d be easy to get lost!

Embarrassing to say, I almost didn’t make it all the way up the trail.  I got dizzy, nauseous, and according to my sister, a bit green.  I actually had to awkwardly lie down on the trail with my feet uphill to help my circulation.  After taking a few breaks,  Rolando asked if I wanted to just stay near the river and wait while the rest of the group went ahead.  No way.  I was determined, so I slowed my pace and made it!

Here’s our guide helping Dan and my sister to cross one of the smaller streams.

To get back, we basically backtracked and went downhill– to no surprise, the return trip was MUCH faster.  I also felt a lot better after having a light lunch at the top!  I’ve always had problems dealing with inclines for some reason.  Rolando told us that it wasn’t uncommon for people to not be able to complete the hike– the elevation is fairly high and there’s definitely less air.  Still, it was my idea to do this hike so I felt silly that I was the only one who had problems on it!  My doctor had recently told me that my blood level is lower than average though, so I’m guessing that didn’t help.

First image was the entrance to the park.  The road was long and VERY bumpy.  Took us roughly 45 minutes between getting picked up and getting to the trail head.  Definitely couldn’t be done without a 4WD.  Second image is the view from the top (as you can see, nothing amazing).  Last image is a picture from where we started the hike.  It’s the home of some local indigenous people.   As in most countries, the indigenous people of Panama are the poorest of the poor in the nation.

We didn’t see any quetzales (its a type of bird), but we did see some other interesting birds, which is what the trail is known for.  If you really enjoy hiking, this is a good hike for you.  Otherwise, I’d say skip it– it’s a rough and muddy, and there aren’t any super awesome scenic views.  FYI– $50 per person (or $65 per person from Boquete to Cerro Punta).

Written by Jessica

February 2, 2010 at 12:47 AM

Posted in Panama, travel

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Panama City

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November 22, 2009 | We arrived in Panama City at night, had dinner, and rested up at Balboa Inn, located in a quiet neighborhood. After complimentary breakfast at the inn, we hired a taxi driver to drive us around for a few hours. Our first stop was Ancon Hill– but the taxi driver could only drive partially up and we had to walk the rest of the trail up the hill.

This is a view of the city that we saw on the way up–

The hike was good, but it was hot!  There was some shade from trees on the way up. I’d say it’d be a 20-30 minute hike one-way.  Some other pictures I took on the hike:

The building in the left image was at the top of the hill.  Next to the building was a covered area with some guards sitting at the picnic tables.  The middle image was an old guardhouse (?) that had been painted.  And the right image was a stray cat that was hanging out at the top of the hill under a bench.  Cute!

The Balboa area just below the hill where we stayed was once part of U.S. jurisdiction so you’ll notice that the houses are nicer and the neighborhood is very nice.  The Panama Canal Administration Building is also located in Balboa, with the Goethals Monument located just in front of it.  We drove by so I didn’t get a chance to take a picture.

Written by Jessica

January 25, 2010 at 11:30 PM