Impromptu Camping in Joshua Tree

Nearly every day for the last two months, Daphney had been asking about camping—not just any camping, but specifically in Joshua Tree, or where there are foxes (Santa Cruz Island). The other request is to have a campfire, both in the evening and the following morning. That rules out the…

Jayden’s First Birthday Party

We’re all gathered at Fairmount Park in Riverside. The theme is fishing! There are fishing poles, nets, and games. We have fish tacos, and Auntie Alice and Auntie Susan made tower of cupcakes. Except for the Santa Ana winds at the end of the party, it was a perfect day…

Jayden Turns One

Today, our baby Jayden turns one! We’ve been so blessed by the smiles, giggles, laughter, and cuteness. And in this one year, we’ve done so much together. We first camped at Joshua Tree. Then, we celebrated the first 100 days. Soon, Chinese New Year came around. Altogether, we spent six…

Full Circle

Our first stop is in Borgarnes, at The Settlement Center. This multimedia exhibit opens our eyes to how Iceland was settled in her early days. We learn about how the Viking sailors left Norway and braved the open ocean to arrive and thrive in Iceland. The second exhibit chronicles Egil’s saga, detailing his family’s arrival, settlement, and turmoil.

North and West

Shortly after leaving the Mývatn area, we pull up to Goðafoss. A light rain mixed with not-so-light winds cuts this visit short. There are tourists climbing down the slick face of the flanking cliffs to take their pictures. I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

Eastern Side

Our trip winds up the eastern coast along the black sand beach of Djúpivogur. Leaving the Ring Road, we take the shortcut up Route 939 and 95. This dirt road switchbacks up the mountain, crests, and leads us down to Egilsstaðir. Because of the long drive today, we decide to get sandwiches and chips for the road. Beyond town, we rejoin the Ring Road and head west.

Southern Coast

Our cabin is tucked at the base of a towering mountain rising from the plains facing the ocean. From this picturesque location, we head to Skógar. I turn into a dirt road, and I soon realize that it’s one too early. Even though it’s the wrong street, there’s a beautiful green field with Skógafoss as a backdrop and no crowds. It’s a picture-perfect location.

Trip to Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar had been on my list for a long time. It’s featured in so many hiking articles that it is hard to pass up. Months ago, I had put our names on the waiting list for the backcountry hut. Our alternative plan was to camp or to completely skip this detour.

Golden Circle Tour

Waking up this first morning in Iceland, we enjoy breakfast at the hotel before setting out. The route takes us around Þingvallavatn, a rift valley formed between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. We join the crowds at Þingvellir, hiking to the rock outcropping where the earliest parliament of the world gathered since AD 930. Our kids didn’t enjoy the winds at all.

To Iceland

This is to be our most ambitious international trip to date, not only because we’ll be bringing our three-year-old plus our nearly ten-month-old baby, but because we have planned such varied lodging experiences—the usual hotels, guesthouses, camping, plus a backcountry hut reached only by fording two streams.

Summer Milky Way Camping

We arrive late to Lone Pine Campground. It’s now about midnight. Stepping out of the car, we hear the creek rippling down its drainage on the other side of our campsite. Beyond that stretches a dark ridge, and far beyond that, the summer Milky Way is already vertical. It looks…