McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

I’d love to hike Antarctica.

Realistically, the best destination would be out of McMurdo.

The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of valleys in Antarctica located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The region includes many interesting geological features including Lake Vida and the Onyx River, Antarctica’s longest river. It is also one of the world’s most extreme deserts.

the largest relatively ice-free region in Antarctica. The valley floors are covered with a loose gravelly material, in which ice-wedge polygons may be observed.

… Scientists consider the Dry Valleys perhaps the closest of any terrestrial environment to Mars, and thus an important source of insights into possible extraterrestrial life.

McMurdo Dry Valleys – Wikipedia

The superb photo blog Dark Roasted Blend has done it again. These are just a few of the pics they posted in a series on the McMurdo Dry Valleys.




more photos in this series on Dark Roasted Blend

The photos originally came from a Russian website. Spacibo!

wet feet trekking Greenland

Christian Davies from Denmark recounts a 180km (112mi) trek from Kangerlussuaq (Sdr. Stromfjord) to Sisimiut (formely Holsteinsborg) on the west coast of Greenland.

One hiker had to be left behind.

His feet were all swollen and had deep blisters. Although we were so close to our destination we couldn’t tell for sure how long time, it would take to walk the last part of it.

The pace was about 1 km/h and it could be even lower for the last part. We shared our rations and made sure that he had food for 4 days and we all said goodbye to him. That was one of the most surrealistic thing I ever have experienced.

To finish the story shortly, everything went well and we got to the town. The one we left was brought home on a snowmobile by one of the locals in town.

After all this struggle and all these days with wet feets and the freeze dried food, I still miss that magical moment from that time. Non of us will never forget what we experienced together.

As for the picture goes, it shows a moment where we all were very tired and a bit exhausted, but there was still energy to take pictures and enjoy the moment.

Live Your Life


great photos – Mono Andes

Mono Andes from Concepción, Chile is a big time outdoors photographer on flickr.

Here are just a few of his great photos.

Volcano Villarrica


more Mono Andes HIGHLIGHT photos – flickr

He’s using every feature of flickr, including geotagging.

Here’s the map of his Araucanía photo set:

source – flickr

You can see those photos and interact with the map on his Andes – Araucanía set page.

A couple more, to inspire a trip to Chile.



hike Baffin Island

map_iqaluit.gifBluePeak tipped us to a new adventure in the far North.

Few people think of trekking in the high arctic, but Black Feather now offers a 60km trek through Katannilik Territorial Park on southern Baffin, not far from Iqaluit. There is a surprising abundance of flora, and also lots of wildlife. As a bonus, the trip ends with a country meal hosted by a local family, addding a cultural touch to the trip.

Bluepeak: Trekking in the high arctic


build a quinzee (snow shelter)

The quickest way to get shelter in the snow is to build a snow cave or quinzee. (quinzhee)

Once built, the door loosely covered (to allow in some air), temperature stabilizes at about 0C (32F). You can wear a t-shirt while sitting inside your sleeping bag quite comfortably as there is no wind.

One candle will provide enough brightness.

Jason Klass has a new gear blog, one post showing a huge quinzee.


The roof looks too heavy to me. We keep ours no thicker than 12in as people have suffocated after collapses.


Check out Jason’s blog, Homemade Backpacking Gear.

By the way, I notice he is using software. Looks good. I have another friend very happy with that free site hosting software. (I cannot seem to find an RSS feed from the blog, however.)

article “winter camping for beginners”

Club Tread is a site I have been using for years for advice on trips in Western Canada. We link to many of their pages.

But this is the best Club Tread article yet!

Thanks so much to author Stephen Sharp.

He is less keen on building a quinzee than am I:

All my experiences with snow shelters have not been successful or comfortable. They are fun to build but I am claustrophobic!

They are definitely warmer than a tent but take at least three hours to excavate. Having to evacuate a snow cave in the middle of a blizzard because the roof was collapsing under the weight of an enormous snowfall has soured me completely on them.

My favorite snow shelter is a snow trench. Essentially it is a trench dug into the snow in which sleeping platforms have been cut and is covered by a tarp that is covered with a layer of snow. Remember to bring some sort of sleeping bag cover to protect it from getting wet from dripping melt water!

I find that a candle lantern is an essential piece of gear to use in any shelter or tent. Besides providing light, a candle will help dry out the air and add a little warmth.

winter-camp.jpg – Winter Camping for Beginners

(via The Adventure Blog)

hiking arctic Sweden – Kungsleden

Peter Potterfield is the author of Classic Hikes of the World.

He spent a week hiking a section of the Kungsleden — Abisko Mountain Station to Kebnekaise Mountain Station — about 100 kilometers — “some of the best scenery of the entire route, including Sweden’s highest mountain.”

Hiking Arctic Sweden page 1 –

Kungsleden: The Basics

The Trail: The 450-kilometer Kungsleden begins at Abisko, in the north, and continues south to Hemavan. Hiking the entire route takes a month, or more, figuring about 100 kilometers per week. …

When to Go: The huts on the northern section are open from mid-June to mid-September, when the trail is sufficiently free of snow to be hiked. The midnight sun shines from the end of May to Mid July. Expect a wet track but uncrowded huts until mid-July, when the month-long busy hiking season begins. Any hike in September comes with the risk of early season snow.

Trip Planning: Lappland is relatively remote, but surprisingly easy to reach from Stockholm if you know how. Kiruna makes a laid-back staging city, accessed by air, with convenient bus connections to and from the hike.

The STF, the Swedish Touring Federation offers basic information in English and Japanese, and much more in Swedish and European languages. STF volunteers answer email, so if you inquire in English about a travel detail or ask a question about Kungsleden, you usually get a response in English within a week or so.

photo – elfi kaut

more photos of Kungsleden on Flickr