Staff Picks: 7 of Our Favorite Hikes April 12th, 2017 • by Matt Holmes It may come as no surprise that we are a pretty outdoorsy bunch here at Boundless Journeys. In the summer we go for runs or bike rides on our lunch breaks, in the winter we ski before work. And of course, we hike when we travel. Here are our favorite hikes around the world and what makes them so incredible. Iceland Glacier Hiking – Deborah, Destination ManagerIn the realms of exciting adventures, hiking on a glacier in Iceland is at the top of my list. Our guide instructed us on how to use our crampons and ice axe, which he jokingly said was just a photo prop, and told us to walk in single file, following in one another’s steps across the ice. Once ready, we made our way to the foot of the massive Sólheimajökull Glacier. At first, we walked gingerly, unsure of our footing, but as we became used to taking exaggerated steps and trusting the crampons, we walked more fluidly, discovering tunnels, arches, and crevasses carved by nature’s elements. We drank some of the glacial melt while resting and taking in the vast open surroundings. The sun shone brightly, and the glacier stretched off into the distance as far as the eye could see. I stood in awe of the power and beauty of nature. At the end of our adventure, we toasted ourselves with some Icelandic schnapps, and I felt relieved that my ice axe was indeed only used as a photo prop. Arthur’s Pass National Park, New Zealand – Ashley, Destination ManagerThis place is a hiker’s paradise for the views, terrain, and feeling of remoteness. Our featured hike up the Bealey Spur began right from our lodge, and we were quickly rewarded with the unrivaled panoramic views of the Southern Alps. Those who had the energy made the push to the Bealey Spur hut a bit farther down the trail, and we all congregated afterwards. Our post-hike cocktail from the comfort of our lodge while watching the sun set behind the mountains definitely made the day even more memorable. Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is extremely well-located and situated on a sheep station where they produce merino wool. Tiger’s Nest Hike, Bhutan – Matt, Boundless Journeys President and FounderAlthough never really crowded, we did get an early start so we could have the trail virtually to ourselves and see the morning sun reflect of the golden roofs and whitewashed walls. At the start of the hike, Tiger’s Nest was a tiny speck set into the cliff high above me, and then I didn’t see it again for an hour. The changing views of Bhutan’s most sacred temple complex are dramatic and increase the anticipation as you get closer. The final part of the journey, 850 steps, really puts the whole place into perspective—the remote location, the scale of the buildings, and the seemingly tangible spirituality that surrounds the place. Old Man of Hoy, Scotland – Michelle, Destination ManagerThis hike started quietly enough as we walked through meadows with sheep happily munching away, but as we approached the coast, the views opened to the most dramatic coastal scenery as the Atlantic’s endless horizon stretched out before us. The trail danced with the perspective of near and far as the endless blue sea juxtaposed with the rocky vertical cliffs. After 3 miles or so, the Old Man of Hoy sea stack made its appearance. We walked right up to the edge to see this incredible natural tower in all its glory as the waves pounded its base. This path shows off everything I imagined Scotland’s rugged, cliff-lined coast to be. Into Italy on the Tour du Mont Blanc – Katya, Marketing Assistant Every day on the Tour du Mont Blanc brought new, spectacular views, but the hike that led us from France into Italy had the most diverse landscape and varied terrain. We started the hike with a visit to a small cheesemaker who makes the regional Beaufort cheese, which of course we bought for our picnic lunch later in the day. We left the moss-green fields, cow bells, and dramatic valley behind us as we ascended the pass. The landscape on the other side was different—more exposed rock and a wider valley. We were also able to view the Italian face of Mont Blanc. With no guards or passport control, we walked right over the border and started our descent, following a turquoise river into a dense forest. We finished off with a pint of Italian beer before being transferred into the adorable town of Coumayeur. Mt. Brda Summit, Slovenia – Kristen, Guest Services CoordinatorEach hike in Slovenia was incredible in its own way, but I would say the hike up Mt. Brda was my favorite. It is one of the more strenuous hikes of the tour but well-worth the challenge for the feeling of accomplishment and the stunning views from the summit. We began our hike walking through open, rolling pastures with grazing cows. As the trail became steeper, our surroundings morphed into dense pine forest that eventually thinned as we got above the tree line. Beautiful Alpine views spread out before us when we made it to the summit, which evoked numerous wows and murmurs of wonderment from each of us, and to top it all off, we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch while resting, refueling, and soaking in the magnificent scenery. Vermont’s Highest Peak – Karen, Destination ManagerHaving lived in Vermont my whole life, I’ve hiked many trails around the state. One of the most beautiful is the hike along the ridge-line of Vermont’s highest peak, Mt Mansfield (4,393′). It is truly one of the most majestic and unique trails in the state. For more than a mile of the hike, there’s complete, uninterrupted views, which on a good day means you can see from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks in New York (and maybe into Canada!). I find it humbling and enjoy seeing my corner of the planet stretch out all around me. The foliage season is definitely the best time to go when the landscape is awash with color.