Last year, as Kyle and I were planning our summer, we decided it was past time for us to get a personal locator beacon (PLB) of some sort. Our hikes and backpacking trips were taking us further and further from roads and, in some cases, even from trails. After research, I settled on the Garmin inReach Explorer+. This post covers our decision to buy the inReach and what it’s been like to use it for a year.
After visiting Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands on previous long fall weekends, Bryce Canyon called to us as the next destination. I had fond memories of visiting Bryce as a child, and Kyle had never been. Despite both of us having colds, we enjoyed three days of hiking in Bryce and a stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument on the way back to the airport.
We love Seattle, but by February or March, we’re craving some sunlight, warmth, and outside time. Conveniently, it’s easy to get to Hawaii from the west coast. In March 2015, we headed to Maui for a week of hikes, food, and beaches. We moved around between Hana, Lahaina, and Kula so that we could explore different parts of the island.
As noted in our post about planning the Tour du Mont Blanc, we strove for a balance in our packing. We wanted to carry little so we would have energy for side trips and explorations. We also wanted to carry enough that we weren’t committed to doing laundry every day or worried about clothes drying.
We recently returned from a fantastic ten-day hike of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Switzerland, and Italy. We’ll eventually add detailed posts about the actual hike, but we want to share some notes on planning the trip and logistics with our trip fresh in our minds.
For the final part of our trip to the Picos de Europa, we spent three days day hiking near Camarmeña and Poncebos. This included hikes to Cares Gorge, Bulnes and Jou de los Cabrones, and Ondón.
On our trip to the Picos de Europa, rain turned our planned day hike around the Lagos de Covadonga into a short walk. We augmented it with stops in historic Covadonga and at a queseria in Arenas de Cabrales.
The Central Massif of the Picos de Europa contains a mix of steep-sided canyons and ravines, green pastures, limestone peaks, and rocky, barren landscapes. To start our hiking in the Picos de Europa, we went for a three-day, two-night tour of the Central Massif. From Fuente Dé, we hiked to Refugio de Urriellu below the spectacular Naranjo de Bulnes, then to Refugio Collado Jermoso, and finally back to Fuente Dé. Despite encountering thunderstorms, rain, and snow, we loved the spectacular scenery.
Bilbao made for a great stopover on the way to the Picos de Europa. We could recover from jet lag while wandering the riverside, exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao, and eating excellent food. Rental car pick up at the train station made it easy to head out toward the Picos the next day.
In June and July 2017, we spent a week hiking in Spain’s spectacular Picos de Europa. The jagged limestone peaks, verdant green pastures, delicious food, and a pleasant stop in Bilbao made for a fantastic trip.
Read below for our notes on planning a trip, getting around, and where to stay, or jump right into our description of the trip:
- Bilbao and the drive to Espinama
- A three-day, two-night hike on the Central Massif
- A rainy stop in Covadonga and Arenas de Cabrales
- Hikes from Camarmeña, including the Cares Gorge, back up to the Central Massif, and a bit of the Western Massif