Friday, June 26, 2015

Hiking and Climbing in the Italian Dolomites




Daniel Sundqvist sent these photos from a private Dolomites hike that he's guiding in Italy. One of our guests wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday in style, so she, her husband, and two friends asked us to put together a private hiking and climbing tour in the Italian Dolomites that incorporates a Via Ferrata. What's a Via Ferrata? Click here for a definition and description of a Via Ferrata that we explored with guests last year. As Daniel likes to say, "Via Ferrata is fun!"



Where will they go next? Where will YOU go next?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Short on Time? Hike Three Different Countries in Under a Week!



Did you know that we have a shortened version of our popular self guided Tour du Mont Blanc? Well we do! It's called the Tour du Mont Blanc Vitesse. Vitesse means "speed" in French, and you'll feel speedy as you walk through Italy, Switzerland and France in 5 hiking days.

Technically, the Tour du Mont Blanc Vitesse is a 7-day tour, but the first and last days are travel days. On day one, you'll touch down in Geneva, Switzerland and transfer by private taxi (arranged by us) to Courmayeur, Italy. You'll stay in one of our favorite hotels located just steps from the cobbled streets of Courmayeur's historic old town. On day seven, you'll wake up to the fresh alpine air of Chamonix, France, have breakfast in your comfortable hotel and depart. In a pinch, you could actually jet out immediately following your hike on day six, though we don't recommend it. Chamonix is a really special place. It's considered the birth place of Alpinism, and the perfect base for viewing Mont Blanc (15,781 feet/4,810 meters), Western Europe's highest peak.

What's the hiking like? We can't forget about Switzerland! On day three you'll hike from Italy to Switzerland across the Grand Col Ferret (8,330 feet), passing cute little Swiss Chalets and working alpine dairy farms along the way. You'll also spend the evening in a very traditional Swiss Chalet, with delicious food and awesome mountain views. Click here for the full itinerary, then shoot us an email to organize your own Tour du Mont Blanc Vitesse.

Photo: One of the many glaciers on the Tour du Mont Blanc |  By Terese Broderick

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hike With Us In Patagonia!



Back in March we unveiled a set of photos with the tag line "Where are we going next?"

Now it's official. We're going to Patagonia in 2016! More specifically, we developed a nine-day hiking itinerary that explores the Lake District of Argentina.

At A Glance


You'll visit the most delightful towns and villages of Argentina including, San Carlos de Bariloche, El Boson, Llao Llao and San Martin de los Andes.


The hiking trails offer something special for everyone. Two days offer hiking above tree line with optional summit hikes and 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and the Andes Mountains. Two hikes stop at mountain huts serving lunch and home cooked specialties in gorgeous settings. One hike follows an incredibly scenic river gorge called Cajon del Azul, the Blue Canyon, filled with the clearest turquoise pools you've ever seen. Another day offers a boat ride across across Lago Nahuel Huapi, the largest lake in the region, followed by a casual walk through Los Arrayanes National Park, famous for its protected cinnamon colored Arrayan trees. Throw in some optional summit hikes, sprinkle with peninsulas straight from Neverland, add a shot of picnic on-the-beach, and we guarantee you won't want to leave!

Accommodations


You'll spend two nights in a modern lakeside 4-star hotel within walking distance of downtown Bariloche. Two nights in a family run 3-star hosteria out in the country near Bolson. This is a traditional family type of accommodation where a family member usually prepares the meals. Two nights in a classic, grand 4-star hotel perched up on a hill overlooking the Llao Llao peninsula and the surrounding lakes. Two nights in a smaller 3-star Hosteria or 4-star Hotel, both within walking distance to the lovely small downtown of San Martin de los Andes.

Breakfast and dinner are included daily. Luggage access is available on all nights of the tour. Private transport will deliver us to trailheads, villages and hotels during the course of this trip.


More Details

Click here for dates, prices, and to read the Patagonia hiking itinerary in full detail. See you in South America!

Photos by Dave Gruss. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Greetings from Sicily!



Check out these photos from our Sicily hiking tour which ran May 30th to June 7th. Do you see the volcanic eruptions at the bottom of each photo montage? Those aren't stock tourism photos. They're real photos from the trail. Our group hiked to an active volcano during their trip. It's not dangerous, but it's very scenic (something that everyone should do at least once in their lives). You can check out the itinerary here. Thanks to RW guide Daniel Sundqvist for shooting these photos.

What's it like to be a Ryder-Walker guide? It's a pretty exciting life, and you can be a part of it! Follow Daniel on Instagram and live vicariously through him as he travels around the world in search of new adventures. His next stop is Italy and a private Italian Dolomites Trek



Wednesday, June 03, 2015

What makes the holes in Swiss Cheese? | It's the bucket, stupid!



This is where Swiss cheese gets its bubbles, but there's a debate brewing on HOW those bubbles form. According a recent report, it's the bucket, or rather, what falls into the bucket when farmers milk Old Bessie, that determines the holes.

Scientists have long held that certain bacteria in young cheese release carbon dioxide to form the ubiquitous holes that people, (and mice), around the world love so well. A recent report, however, published by The Guardian and Agroscope, a state centre for agricultural research, said the phenomenon – "which marks famous Swiss cheeses such as emmental and appenzell – was caused by tiny bits of hay present in the milk and not bacteria as previously thought."

Whoa.

The piece goes on to say that "the mystery holes became smaller or disappeared when milk used for cheesemaking was extracted using modern methods." As it turns out, “It’s the disappearance of the traditional bucket used during milking that caused the difference."

You can read the whole article here.

What do you think? We have so many questions, like, what about the huge holes? Are those formed by huge pieces of hay? Does the hay swirl around like an excited electron, thus forming holes of different sizes. What about bacteria on the old buckets? Could that be the culprit, or the farmer's hands? Maybe something falls from the cow and into the milk that we'd rather not know about. Ahem.

We have unanswered questions, but this is certainly a great conversation starter for the next fondue party!

Please leave your comments below.

Photo: Swiss cheese ages (and gets its bubbles) at the Emmentaler Schaukaeserei "Show Dairy" in Affoltern im Emmental, Switzerland. | By Chris Pranskatis

Monday, May 18, 2015

Here's a nice story about our Arches & Canyonlands Tour!



Renowned travel/lifestyle and food blogger Marla Meridith published a nice piece about our Arches & Canyonlands hiking tour on her website, familyfreshcooking.com. Please check out her story, and be sure to give her a thumbs up if you love it!

We think that Marla did a nice job capturing the southwest flavor of our favorite hiking tour in the U.S. Thank you Marla!

Would you like to get on the guest list for next year's tour? Please give us a shout.

Above Photo: By Ken Fuhrer

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Open Saturday & Sunday—Now Through September



The hiking season is here! For your pleasure, the Ryder-Walker office is now open 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 pm (Mountain Standard Time). These hours are in effect from May 1 until September 30, 2015.

Give us a call, or send us an email to register for a hiking tour, ask questions about your trip, or inquire about a future tour.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

-Groucho Marx

Photo: Swiss Wildflowers | Engadine Trek, Switzerland
Babsi Glanznig