Perito Moreno Glacier and A Jacket Review – Weekly Travel Photo

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

If you maintain a bucket list it’s time that you get out your pen and add hiking a glacier to it.  The experience is incredible. Of all the blues I’ve seen during my travels I think that glacial blue is, hands down, my favorite.  It’s also quite possibly my favorite color.  There’s just something so deep, so rich, so pure about it – it leaves you thirsty, yearning to swim in it, and to touch it all at once. It’s also a color you can only find in the wild, flowing along the surface, or out from a fissure in a glassier’s jagged surface.

This week’s photo is of adventurers hiking the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Patagonia region of Argentina.  Ringed by sheer cliff faces and cascading waterfalls the Perito Moreno Glacier is a hulking behemoth that slowly slides its way down towards a glacial lake with blue-gray waters that seem otherworldly and which change depending on the intensity of the light.  Opportunities to hike the glacier come in the form of short, and long excursions where intrepid visitors are strapped into harnesses before lashing their shoes to crampons and striding out onto the ice.

The only thing that was missing was the opportunity to explore one of the many ice caves that thread beneath the glacier.  But, I suppose that’s the perfect reason to return.

Peter Storm Jacket

Peter Storm Waterpoof Jacket – Product Review

The folks at Millets recently reached out to me and asked if I was interested in reviewing one of the jackets they have for sale.  After some discussion I gave them an outline of what I wanted.  A jacket that was waterproof, that was good in a mixture of different environments, that had some wind protection, and which also had excellent pockets.  I HATE how many of the jackets in this class lack usable pockets.  They are either too small, too far up on the body, or too shallow.  Another requirement was that it come in an intelligent color that was city-friendly.  Which ruled out watermelon pink, neon yellow and vomit green.

After getting the chance to try the jacket out for a month or so, I’m generally quite happy with it.  The pocket layout is excellent and exactly what I want in a jacket. The jacket itself is warm enough, does a good job repelling water, and can handle itself in the wind.  It’s a good jacket for good weather as well as mild bad weather. Exactly what I need as a backpacker. General build quality is good, and I feel like most of the jacket is built to last.  It has a well designed hood that stows away neatly and in a way that doesn’t disrupt the look and appeal of the jacket.  The jacket has underarm zippers, draw ties on the hood and other relevant places to reduce wind drag, and waterproofed zipper seams.

There are, however, two things about the jacket that people should be aware of.  The first is that they apparently run large.  The version I was provided with is a “large” which is what I normally wear. Keep in mind I’m 6’4″ and roughly 90kg with a 34 waist.  I almost went with an XL, and I’m really glad I didn’t. The cut of the jacket isn’t as fitted as I like and I feel that while I probably had to go with the large for arm length, body wise I’d have been happier with a medium.  This added size does make sense though if you anticipate wearing the jacket with bulky sweaters or run a bit thicker in the waist.     The second, which is my only real complaint about the jacket, is the quality of the main zipper.  While the pocket zippers are all high quality and seem durable, the primary zipper has taken a long time to break in, and doesn’t feel very robust. It’s always hard to judge the quality of a zipper, but in this case the teeth and zipper fit overall feels like the one weak spot in the jacket.

All in all, I’m very happy with the jacket and feel it is a solid piece of waterproof clothing.  It has already replaced my old REI jacket which had started to lose its waterproofing and failed to stand up to the wear and tear of my backpack straps.

You can find out more about the product on the Millets website.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

**The jacket reviewed in this post was provided as a complimentary sample by Millets Online for consideration.  My review of the jacket and its performance is independent and in no way influenced by Millets or Peter Storm. 

Ducks in Love – Weekly Travel Photo

Young Girl, Ducks in Flight

Situated five minutes walk from the Forum Metro station in Copenhagen there is a gorgeous little oasis.  The small park and botanical garden sits alongside the University of Copenhagen’s campus and is home to a wonderful assortment of green space, vibrant flowers, and even a small pond complete with a sprawling willow at the end of a short causeway. In late June I found myself relaxing in the park, enjoying a sunny day, and the brilliant allure of a rare summer day in Copenhagen.  Families, lovers, and friends could all be found wandering, relaxing, and reclining throughout the park. As I worked my way from Tulip bed to Tulip bed documenting the rich colors and creative patterns crafted by the gardeners a slight commotion caught my attention.

Over the giggle of a small girl who was playfully running circles on the green, the flap of duck wings, and a honk of vexation re-centered my focus on two male Mallard ducks battling for the attentions of a female. While seemingly open to one of the duck’s attentions, she was anything but willing to entertain the proximity of the other.  The result was a game of chase that led the three ducks around the pond, out of the water, into the air, and back again.  As the offending male followed in hot pursuit, flying immediately in front of the little girl, I snapped my camera up to my face and fired off a few photos.  This was the end result.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Snowboarding the Alps – Weekly Travel Photo

Innsbruck Ski & Snowboard Competition

A few weeks ago I took my first shot at learning how to ski in Obergurgl, Austria.  It was an awesome adventure. It was also a smudge easier than I expected. Probably in large part due to the awesome private instructor the local tourism board provided for my trip.  It made one thing very clear though.  Skiing is challenging, but snow boarding?  Good luck strapping both of my feet together and getting me on one.  Which leaves me that much more impressed by the incredible shows of acrobatics I saw from snowboarders and skiers on the slopes above Innsbruck during a locally organized ski and snowboarding competition.  This photo is of one of the competitors and highlights what an incredible day it was.  I was captivated watching them jump, spin, turn, and launch themselves through the air.  In many ways it reminded me of watching a gymnastics performance….only strapped to long objects and done on snow and in 10 pounds of winter gear.  Truly fantastic!  Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Polar Bear Meetings – Weekly Travel Photo

Wild Polar Bears in Churchill

While most of a polar bear’s existence is spent in relative isolation, there are times – often during their great migrations – when they find themselves cued up and provided with the opportunity for casual social interaction. Bear tea time if you will. It is in these rare moments as the bears wait for Hudson Bay’s ice to freeze over that what start as tense encounters casually transition into relaxing play time and socialization.

This photograph shows two bears engaged in the early stages of one such meeting.  We were incredibly lucky in that at various points in the day as many as four bears could be found in the immediate area of the Tundra Buggy Lodge where we were staying.  Watching the bears go through their social rituals, establish a power hierarchy  and make friends was a fascinating insight into these otherwise solitary, but highly intelligent creatures.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a  Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

The Dubai Spice Market – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Traditional Souks - The Spice Market

While Dubai is most famous for its skyscrapers, luxury resorts, and incredible malls there is another side to Dubai which is equally impressive and enjoyable.  While most of what you picture as Dubai has been built in the last 20 years the city actually has a long and rich history.  One of the most enjoyable ways to dive into that history is to head down to the local Souks which are outdoor markets.  Despite the brutal heat and humidity we decided to check out the local spice market.  A winding warren of small partially covered streets the spice market, clothing market, house supplies market, gold and silver markets all blend together in a wonderful mixture of goods, people, smells and experiences.  Each spice stand is overflowing with tubs and 50kg sacks of dried goods, spices, and minerals.  Each a vibrant but distinctly different color ranging from rich blues to rust-colored oranges. The vendors were mostly fairly polite, though some still fall back into the attempts at high-pressure sales that you might expect.

Dubai’s old souks are a must-see part of any visit to Dubai.  Not only are they enjoyable in their own right, but they serve as a wonderful way to frame the contrasts between Old Dubai and New.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Dubai is also a convenient stop over location if you are visiting the Indian Ocean. I recently swapped stories with Charles Duncombe, director of Holidays Please as he went to Dubai and the Maldives on his honeymoon. He said, “Because Dubai is relatively modest in size we crammed loads in within just a few days. There is so much variety, as one day I was sand dune surfing and the next I was indoor skiing with 90 degree outside temperatures! It’s also pretty affordable at the moment with the number of hotels that have been built recently. At the risk of a shameless plug our site has found Dubai Holidays starting under $100 a night on an accommodation only basis.”

Perito Moreno Waterfalls – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

I love hiking near water.  I’m not sure if that love stems from early childhood when I was imprinted with wonderful memories while hiking along snow-melt fed streams in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, or results from having spent the majority of my life in the dry, dust-filled deserts of South-Central Arizona.  Regardless, the opportunity to hike next to/through/along/over rivers and waterfalls is always high on my priority list.  Thus, the chance to hike along and then out onto the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina was extremely appealing.  I signed up, geared up, and was off on a full-day hike.  What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the chance to hike along the base of a series of steep cliff faces decorated by rich, blooming vegetation and roaring waterfalls.  After all, when I think of Glaciers I think of snow and ice…not green vegetation and blooming flowers.  In the photo featured in today’s weekly travel photograph the glacier is immediately behind me.  The waterfall pictured flowed down across the path, before cascading over a swath of black rocks and then diving into a channel carved beneath the base of the glacier.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

A Wheelbarrow Full of Flowers – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Assisi's Beautiful Streets

I captured this photo just before sunset along a side street in the Italian town of Assisi which is located on a small mountain amidst the rolling fields of the rich Italian countryside.  The winding streets of Assisi are delightful and full of small highlights like this wheel barrow.  While the stone facades of the tightly packed ancient homes that line the streets are somewhat uniform most are decorated with vibrantly colored flower pots.  The golden hue of the day’s last night worked to bring out the reds and golds in the stone and wood, casting everything in a warm twilight glow.  I hope you enjoy this shot!

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – Traditional Construction

Goreme at Night in Cappadocia

On a frozen winter night I found myself walking the streets of Goreme in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.  It’s an unusual place.  A city that has literally been carved into the rocks.  Built in a series of valleys, the rocks have formed natural spires. Some are small, many are not.  Over hundreds of years humanity has slowly hollowed many of those spires into homes, hotels, restaurants, storage buildings and even car garages.

As we walked the city just before midnight, the ice crunched loudly under our boots. It had to be at least -10 Celsius.  Luckily the wind had stopped and the clouds had parted offering us a wonderful view of the city in the moon’s pale white light.   This photo is of a small construction site on the outskirts of town.  It’s hard to know what they were building.  Perhaps a small storage facility.  Perhaps an expansion to the hotel located next door…or who knows, it might be nothing more than a place to store dog food.  Either way, the tools they used offered a special ambiance that was lost in time.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.