Taking the Stairs: 10 Breathtaking Views to Hike to in Europe (part 2)

Taking the Stairs: 10 Breathtaking Viewpoints to Hike to in Europe on North to South

If you enjoyed the five epic views in Europe we shared last week, there’s more where that came from. Find the second half of our favorite European viewpoints to hike to below!
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Taking the Stairs: 10 Breathtaking Views to Hike to in Europe

Taking the Stairs: 10 Breathtaking Views to Hike to in Europe on North to South

At the very beginning of our two-month Europe trip, Ian and I made a deal. Any time stairs were an option, we’d take them. Stairs up the Eiffel Tower? Why not? Hike to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar? Sign us up! It turned out to be the best decision we made all trip. Not only did we take in some truly awesome sights, but we got loads of exercise and saved money, too!

Ready to get your heart pumping? Put on your walking shoes. Here we share our top ten viewpoints to hike to in Europe, with directions for how to reach them!  Continue reading

Hiking to the Top of the Rock of Gibraltar… all the way from Spain

Hiking to the Top of the Rock of Gibraltar via the Mediterranean Steps

Walking across an airport runway, enjoying epic sea views all the way to Africa, conquering the Mediterranean Steps, and observing Gibraltar’s resident apes. It took us several hours, but we literally walked all the way from Spain to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar… and back… and saw loads of cool stuff along the way!

If you’re the active sort with a day to spend in Gibraltar, you’ve gotta try this.  Continue reading

Our Hiking Gear

Our Hiking Gear (and why we love it) | North to South

Hiking is one of our favorite outdoor activities. It always offers up something amazing: spectacular views, wildlife encounters, a breath of fresh air… Plus it’s a hobby that requires little money — Yay! — after a small initial investment.

From basics like boots to specialty items like bear mace, if you want to know what gear we use (and recommend) for hiking, find out right here!  Continue reading

The Magical Landscape of White Sands National Monument: A Photo Journal (New Mexico, USA)

The Magical Landscape of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA

This year Ian and I checked a HUGE item off our bucket list. We can both now officially say we’ve visited all 50 U.S. states. (Hooray!)

We’ve explored a LOT of the U.S. this year — even amplifying our goals to include visiting all 50 states in one year’s time — and every time I tell people about our epic quest, I always get asked some version of the same question: Which place was your favorite?

Well, if you limit me to a certain number, I’ll have trouble answering, but White Sands National Monument is absolutely 100% somewhere on my list of favorites. (Funny, because our visit there was completely unplanned.) And while I could go on and on about how amazingly surreal and magical the scenery is there, I think the photos will give you a better idea. So I’ll let the scenic photos do most of the talking… Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Wanderlust and White Sands (White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA)

Shot of the Week: White Sands National Monument sunset hike

Roaring wind. Rippling sand. Rolling dunes. All were present on the night we backpacked out to our backcountry campsite at White Sands National Monument. As luck would have it, we’d gotten the last available site. And we were grateful. Otherwise we’d’ve had to backtrack 30 miles toward Las Cruces and the nearest campground.

Up and over and in between the dunes we hiked, each carrying our backpacks, cameras at-the-ready. It took us 45 minutes to get to our campsite, racing the setting sun. We set up camp, took off our boots, and set out barefoot for the top of a neighboring dune, getting in just a few more photos before darkness and the evening wind settled in. We’ve now completed week two of our cross-country U.S. road trip, and White Sands stands out as one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen. It was magical. Enchanting, even. If you’ve never hiked over sand dunes before, add it to your bucket list. It’s surreal.

This photo was taken on May 18th with the Sony a7 II and Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar III lens. Continue to view full photo.  Continue reading

[VIDEO & REVIEW] Sky Adventures Ziplining, Gondola & Hanging Bridges (Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica)

Sky Adventures review and video at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Accustomed to urban life after two weeks in Costa Rica’s central valley, Ian and I were eager for a nature adventure.  We set off for Volcán Arenal, a volcano situated among a beautiful rainforest and mountain landscape, near the developing tourist town of La Fortuna.

Our hotel — booked, as usual, through Airbnb — had the best view I’ve ever seen from a hotel room. A list of nearby tourist activities included kayaking, a chocolate tour, rappeling down waterfalls… there was a full page of options. With one day allotted for adventure activities, we chose a ziplining tour. (Neither of us had ever been!) Watch the video here!  Continue reading

Volcán Poás National Park: An Affordable Costa Rica Tourist Activity (Alajuela, Costa Rica)

Poas Volcano (Volcán Poás) National Park: an affordable Costa Rica tourist activity

*Photo: “Poas Volcano 2” by Sergio Quesada (license: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Photo has been cropped and text added.)

A visit to Poás Volcano can be a gamble due to potential view-obstructing fog, but it’s a cheap enough risk to take. Despite thick fog during our visit last week (thus the borrowing of another photographer’s image for this post), Ian and I still had an enjoyable time in Poás Volcano National Park.

Here we share an overview of our rainy visit to Poás, including instructions for how to get there affordably bus, a list of what to take with you, plus photos from our foggy trip!  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: View from the Top (Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, USA)

Shot of the Week: View from the Top (Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu, California, USA)

Determined to get outdoors one final time before the new year, we set out on Sunday for the top of the Santa Monica Mountains: Sandstone Peak. A bit out of shape, there was a little more huffing and puffing involved than what’s typical for us, but we made it! This photo captures our celebration after making it to the top. (That’s me and our friend Maya, and Ian’s behind the camera.)

Note: We’re actually not standing on Sandstone Peak in this photo; we took a detour about 5 minutes to the right and just a touch lower in elevation.  But from this vantage point, we had an arguably better view of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands and the setting sun. We hiked over to Sandstone Peak afterward and signed the logbook to make it official.

The above photo was taken with the Sony a7s and Sony E 10-18 f/4 OSS and edited with the Whitefall preset from Film Speck One, our free pack of Lightroom presets on lonelyspeck.com.  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Colchuck Lake (Washington, USA)

Shot of the Week: Colchuck Lake, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington on northtosouth.us

After hiking 4 miles, we were treated to a gorgeous view of Colchuck Lake, a bright blue alpine lake in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington, on Sunday, October 12, 2014.

The above photo is a stitched panorama of photos taken with my Sony a6000 and Sony E 20mm f/2.8 lens.  Continue reading