Ireland in 8 days

8 days and 7 nights traveling around Ireland + Northern Ireland.

The following blog post will include:

  • A detailed packing list
  • Renting a car in Ireland
  • Currency – Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • How I planned our trip
  • Accommodations we stayed at along the way
  • A detailed itinerary – activities + places we explored
  • What we would change/add on to our trip if we were to go back again
  • Total cost of the trip

I booked our trip to Ireland while sitting in the airport on route to Tanzania in September. Traveling gets me more excited for future trips and often I find myself planning my next one, during the one I am currently on. I have always wanted to travel to Ireland, and so I decided to finally make it happen. Craig teaches full-time so is limited with days he can travel on, and I really wanted to experience the country with him, so I booked our trip during his April spring break from school, April 7th-15th. Giving us 8 days and 7 nights in the country to see and do as much as we could.

Packing list:

Craig and I did not check any bags when flying, instead flew only carry-on, and each had a 30L backpack. This way we wouldn’t have to deal with waiting for our bags at the carousel, and with it only being one week of travel a carry-on was doable.

April is known to be pretty rainy, but with pockets of sunshine. Our week spent there happened to be a lot rainier than the week prior, and the week after, so rain gear was a must. The average temperatures for April range from 10-13 degrees celsius.


  • 3 jackets – 1 GOOD rain jacket, one thinner longer jacket. and one short puffy
  • 2 pairs of jeans – a blue jean and a black jean
  • 3 leggings – I wore one on the plane then had two pairs to wear there
  • 1 waterproof pant/wind breaker
  • 2 sweaters – ‘cute’ warm wool ones
  • 1 thin turtle neck
  • 1 thicker fleece – Patagonia
  • 3 long sleeves – one for hiking and 2 casual
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 plaid shirt
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks – three pairs of thicker wool/hiking socks and 2 thin ones for my tennis shoes
  • 1 pair of hiking boots – that work as casual boots too – Severson Moc Toe
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes – which I wore on the plane there and back
  • 2 toques

Other items:

  • 1 carry on luggage bag – Expedition 22 Duffel
  • 1 backpack – 30L – Adventurer 30L
  • Packing cubes – which help to make everything easier when traveling
  • 1 pair of thicker mittens
  • 1 pair of thin gloves
  • 1 sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • toiletries (toothbrush, small lotion, small sunscreen/SPF, small shampoo and conditioner etc).
  • Kuju coffee
  • 1 waterbottle

Electronics (that I brought with me):

  • Camera – extra batters, battery charger, all necessary cords etc.
  • Iphone tripod – I brought one so Craig and I could take photos together or if I wanted to take any photos of videos on my own
  • External charger
  • GoPro
  • Universal travel adapter – make sure you check to see if the one you have works for ireland plug ins. ‘For Ireland the associated plug type is G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. Ireland operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz’.
  • Iphone/phone charging cable
  • Laptop – I brought my small laptop with me as I had some work I had to do in the evenings

Folder full of printed paperwork:

I often bring printed copies of things, because I love having backups, and it’s easy to refer to when driving/on the go/on the plane.

  • Our flights – Air Canada
  • Booking information for our rental car
  • information for all our stays – 7 printed copies of our B&B’s
  • Photo copies of our passports/license.


We planned to spend 5 days in Ireland and 2 days in Northern Ireland, and funny enough while planning this trip I learned they are indeed two separate countries with two different currencies. Ireland uses Euros and Northern Ireland uses British Pounds. We paid for our stays and rental car before hand, but I made sure to take out Euros and Pounds before leaving. I brought with me 400Euros and 300Pounds, and we ended up using everything there.

It is easy enough to take our currency at ATM’s there, or to pay with your credit card, but depending on your credit card there could be higher fees, so bringing cash can help you save on that. If you don’t end up using it you can always bring it back to the bank and exchange it back.

How I planned the trip

I used Google Maps to plan our entire route around the country, and to book our stays.

Google Maps is ideal for planning a trip no matter where you’re going. You can easily add layers to the map, and do a day by day break down, of places you want to stop at. I used different colours to show the daily stops and blue to showcase our accommodations and it helped me to see how far we would be driving everyday. You can click on items and photos will come up for what the places look like, and from there I decided what would be good places to stop at, whether castles, towns, hikes etc.

I researched other blogs too, and what people recommended for places to see along the way. I tried to add in 4-5 stops a day. We had days where we were in the car for 4 hours or so, and others was 1.5-3. I would suggest 10-14 days for the route we did, and not 8 as we were moving pretty quickly and had to miss some spots, but I will get to that later in the post, on things I would have done differently or made sure not to miss out on! We just had a limited amount of time.

Most people when they visit Ireland, and only have one week stick to JUST the South or JUST the North, to avoid long driving days. But here is my map for the week. It is doable, if you’re okay with being busy.

Rental Car Information:

Given Ireland roads are left side drive, and the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle, I figured it was best for us to rent an automatic car, and not a manual. This is more expensive, but we felt it was worth it, as driving on the opposite side of the road is a challenge enough in itself, without then figuring out how to shift with your left hand.

I booked our rental car through Saturday to Saturday, for $737.51CDN dollars. Average of $100CDN/day. Our car came with unlimited mileage (make sure you check for this), as we ended up driving 1800kms in the 8 days. A manual car was around $200CDN less.

I booked the car under MY name, but should have booked it under Craig’s name as they had us pay $70 more to add another driver, even though the plan was to always have only Craig drive during our trip.

We shuttled from Dublin Airport to the rental car location, a short 5 minute drive:

  • Address: EASIRENT CAR HIRE, Dubling Airport, Collinstown Business Park Swords Road, Cloghran, Dublin K67 C7D0, Dublin, IE.
  • Once we got out of the airport all I had to do was call Easirent for a pickup, and they sent a van to grab us. We were only waiting maybe 5 minutes.

Be sure to check with your credit card company about insurance, instead of just denying or accepting the insurance by QEEQ or Easirent themselves.

Drop off the last day was at the same address. We dropped off the vehicle and they shuttled us 5 minutes to the departures terminal at the Dublin airport.

The process was quick and easy! Would recommend Easirent car hire.


It was important to the both of us to stay in places that were outside the busier cities, away from the crowds or ‘busyness’. Some of the places had kitchenettes, so we were able to cook, whereas others didn’t so we went out for meals. We wanted the balance, in order to save some money on eating out for every meal.

Every accommodation had coffee/tea provided in room, with a kettle available. I did bring Kuju Coffee with me, as I heard Ireland doesn’t have the BEST coffee, and that is correct. They use a lot of instant Nescafe packages. So if you are like me and want a good cup of coffee first thing in the am, bringing your own may be a good idea, or if you ain’t picky, they have some at every accommodation.

Night 1: Clonakilty Accommodation An Ullord Getaways – $148CDN

  • Address: Grancore North, P85EK57 Clonakilty Ireland

Night 2: Coastal View House – $176CDN

  • Address: Cahermaclanchy Doolin, Doolin Ireland
  • Communal mini fridge – in the hallway

Night 3: Waterfront Rest B&B – $139CDN

  • Address: Derren, Sky Road, Clifden, Ireland

Night 4: Windmill Cottage – $142CDN

  • Address: Donegal Binbane P.O, DOnegal, Ireland
  • We loved the view from this cottage, of the windmills
  • Wishing we would have had more time in this area to explore
  • The only accomodation with laundry, so I was able to toss a couple items in.

Night 5: Churchview B&B – $150CDN

  • Address: 15 Church Road, Ballycastle, BT54 6EA, United Kingdom
  • We originally had booked Glen Haven B&B, in Ballycastle, though when we arrived the owner was having issues with the bathroom, so she moved us to one of her friends places a couple blocks away. Churchview is pictured below. I forgot to take a photo of the outside, but this is the view!
  • Glen Haven is $150CDN but Churchview is $220, but Churchview matched the price, due to the troubles at Glenhaven.
  • Breakfast was great, and the owner was amazing. Very knowledgable, social but yet respected our space in the morning and let us do our thing after she cooked us breakfast.

Night 6: Lizzie’s Cottage – $253CDN

  • Address: 29 Clonvaraghan Road, Crumaroad, BT31 9Ju, United Kingdom
  • This was our favourite stay of the whole trip. The host was amazing, the kitchenette was great, the location. and the fact that it had a hot tub. A great perk! Was worth the higher cost, in comparison to other places we booked.

Night 7: Arlington O’Connell Bridge – $272CDN

  • Address: 23-25 Bachelors Walk, O’Connell Bridge, D1 Dublin, Ireland
  • We splurged a bit on this hotel, because we wanted to be right downtown in the hub of things. We were able to walk everwhere. We parked our rental car at a parking garage directly behind the hotel, which was a 5 minute walk.
  • There are a number of places to stay in Dublin, and really once we got there and got walking around we realized we probably could have booked something cheaper, as we spent our entire time there exploring, and not even in the hotel room, and things were close together.
  • Images taking from google


I highly suggest doing this trip in 10-14 days, if you are going to circle the entire country. 2 weeks being ideal, in order to fully take it all in.

April 8th – Saturday, Day 1 – 330kms – Dublin to West of Kinsale

We flew into Dublin at 8am on Saturday April 8th, and given it was Easter weekend we thought it would be best to head directly out of the city, to avoid the ‘busyness’ and then end with Dublin on the last day, before flying out. We picked up our rental car and started the drive down South.

If we had more time I would have stopped in the Wicklow mountains the first night, or spending your first night in Dublin, and then the last day. Depending if you want more time to explore the big city!

On our way South I had a couple places pinned to google maps:

  • Wicklow mountains – Ballinistoe Woods. A great place to hike. I could easily come back to Ireland and spend a week exploring around the Wicklow mountains.
  • Blarney Castle – if you are wanting to kiss the Blarney Stone!
  • Kilkenney + Kilkenney Castle – Admission was 20Euros/adult – you can explore the yard for free, but if you want to go inside the castle itself you do have to pay admission.
  • Charles Fort – Just outside of the town of Kinsale – 5Euros/adult to walk around
  • Kinsale – We then drove into the town to take a look at the buildings, and grab a bite to eat
  • We then made our way to our accommodations for the night. A 30 minute drive from Kinsale
  • Clonakilty Accommodation An Ullord Getaways
  • We were absolutely exhausted, after arriving early in the morning, and with the 7 hour time difference from home and very busy first day. We were asleep by 8pm and slept until 8am.

April 9th – Sunday, Day 2 – 205kms – West of Kinsale to Doolin

  • We left our glamping pod at around 930am and started our drive North West, towards Killarney National Park. I HIGHLY suggest adding on an extra day here, or two and spending it driving the Ring of Kerry, and then over in Dingle. We had to miss these due to our timeframe. The coastal drives are so beautiful and so many people that I talked to said Dingle was their favourite stop in Ireland.

Our stops for the day:

  • Bantry – For morning coffee and a quick breakfast grab
  • Gap of Dunloe – a beautiful drive – though very sketchy road – that makes it hard to pass others coming the other direction. I advise entering through the North and not the South, like we did, as the road coming towards Gap of Dunloe will be wider and a quicker drive.
  • Ross Castle – 5Euros/adult – We didn’t pay admission to go in, instead grabbed a coffee out back at the Ross Castle Garden Cafe, and walked around the grounds.
  • King Johns Castle – We ran out of time but I suggest stopping here if you have the time.
  • Tarbert ferry – We took a ferry from Tarbert to Killimer, which took off 1.5 hours of driving. The ferry runs every hour on the half hour, so we took it across at 5:30, and then had an hour drive to the Cliffs.
    • 23Euros/car
  • Cliffs of Moher – I was SO excited to get here. It rained most of the day, but when we arrived at the Cliffs end of day it ended up clearing for us and we had a beautiful sunset. I suggest hiking as far as you can along the pathways, to get away from the ‘tourist spots’ and you will have a beautiful view all to yourself.
  • We then made our way to our accommodation for the night, at the Coastal View House, checked in, and headed out for a late 9pm dinner. We drove a couple minutes down the road into Doolin and ate at McDermott’s Bar.

April 10th – Monday, Day 3 – 150kms, Doolin to Clifden

  • Aran Islands – This was a day before idea as I didn’t really have a lot planned for Day 3 other than a castle, exploring Galway and then hiking Diamond Hill for sunset. So happy someone told us about the Aran islands. It was a 10 minute drive from our stay to the ferry.
  • It was a 15 minute ferry ride from Doolin over to the first island. We went to the smallest one, Inisheer.
    • Our ferry left at 10am, and we returned back on the earliest ferry, 145pm. 3 hours there was plenty time to walk around, explore, take photos and grab a bite to eat at one of the only restaurants on the island.
    • My only regret is not picking up one of the Aran wool sweaters sold at the local shop.
    • It was 34Euros/adult return
    • Highly suggest doing this, was one of my highlights
  • Dunguaire Castle – Is on the way from Doolin to Galway and a quick stop
  • Galway – A beautiful city if you have time to stop, explore and walk the streets. We drove right around it as we wanted to make it up to Clifden area for our sunset hike.
  • I highly suggest staying two nights around Galway if you can as there is so much to do.
  • We checked into Waterfront Rest B&B. Shortly after we arrived a beautiful rainbow lit up the sky in front of the B&B.
  • We headed back out for an evening hike to Diamond Hill. There are a variety of trails you can take in this area, Connemara National Park. We didn’t do the higher Diamond Hill hike, though instead took the lower route, that looped us back to the car, and took 1.5 hours to complete.
  • I would have loved to have longer in this area too. Two nights here would be suggested.

April 11th – Tuesday, Day 4 – 227kms – Clifden to Donegal

  • Craigs Birthday!!! What better place to spend it, than in Ireland. Right?
  • This was a long day of driving, which is why I suggest two nights in Clifden and two in Donegal area.
  • We woke up and had a nice breakfast provided by the B&B, she asked us the night before if we wanted a traditional Irish breakfast (eggs, etc) OR pancakes. There was also a dry breakfast, cereal, juice, toast, fruit, yogurt, etc. provided on top of the rest.
  • Kylemore Abbey – A stunning castle I was so excited to visit, and only a short 20 minute drive from the B&B.
  • 15Euros/adult to enter the castle.
  • We could have spent a lot more time here, exploring the gardens and surrounding area but it was down-pouring so we were only at this location, inside and out for around an hour.
  • Drive from Aasleagh to Creggenbaun – instead of the route google wants you to take when you type in Donegal. It adds on a little bit of time but you get to experience:
    • Doolough Valley. A lot of history here and a beautiful drive through the mountains.
    • ‘The Doolough Tragedy is an event that took place during the Great Irish Famine in south west County Mayo. Around 600 in total including women and children – were starving as a result of the potato famine in Louisburgh alone’.
  • We then continued our drive up towards Sligo, where we had lunch.
  • This is supposed to be an absolutely stunning place. I recommend spending a night here, in between Donegal and Ballycastle. The skys were filled with rain clouds, so we didn’t get all the beautiful views of the green mountains around us. Benbulben is supposedly a majestic mountain that overlooks the beautiful North Sligo countryside known as Yeats Country.
  • Mullaghmore – a beautiful drive, just off the main highway, heading up to Donegal. So green!
  • Donegal Castle – we stopped in Donegal to grab groceries, as we planned to cook at our cottage, and also to check out the Donegal Castle. It was onlt 4Euros/adult for entry.
  • We then drove another half hour from Donegal to the Windmill Cottage, where I did a load of laundry. The laundry machine was a nice perk!
  • We had to buy drinks to enjoy too, to end Craigs birthday off.

April 12th – Wednesday, Day 5 – 154kms – Donegal to Ballycastle

  • Reason why I suggest a couple days in Donegal is so you are able to take in Slieve League Cliffs and explore further West for one full day, and then come back to your cottage/stay in the evening again before heading North.
  • We woke up early and headed to Slieve League, for a morning hike, though unfortunately got rained out shortly after arriving, so we only made it a short way up. You can read more about Slieve League by clicking the link here: More information.
  • Drive to Londonderry – Crossing into Northern Ireland. Currency changed from Euros to Pounds.
    • Here we had lunch, walked around a bit and visited a cathedral downtown Londonderry.
      • Saint Columb’s Cathedral, was the first Cathedral built after the Reformation. It is the city’s most historic building containing displays of artefacts from the Siege.
      • We were told that Biden was visiting in the afternoon, to the church for the 25th anniversary of the commemoration of Bloody Sunday.
      • We then walked across the Peace Bridge and had lunch at The Embankment Bar & Grill.
  • Portrush Golf Course – Craig wanted to stop here to check out the Golf Course/shop. He picked up a couple souvenirs! If you are big into golf, Ireland is a great country to visit. So many beautiful courses.
  • Giants Causeway – One of the main reasons we wanted to come to Northern Ireland. We weren’t sure whether we were going to check out Giants Causeway on day 5 in the evening, or day 6 in the morning before leaving, though the weather was looking okay so we decided to go for it.
    • It was beautiful! You can park up top in the car park, and then you walk the 20 minutes down to the location. ‘The Giant’s Causeway (Irish: Clochán an Aifir) is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption’.
    • ‘Legend has it that an Irish giant named Finn McCool created a causeway to get across the Irish Sea to face his rival, the Scottish giant Benandonner. Following their fearsome meeting, Benandonner ripped up the causeway as he fled back to Scotland, leaving what you see here today’.
  • Dunluce Castle – On our way back from Giants Causeway we made a quick stop here just to check it out from the outside, from a far, but you can tour inside the castle, for 6Pounds/adult.
  • Dunseverick Castle – Another stop you can make just a couple minutes away from this one. We ran out of time to stop there, but it’s another one if you have more time in the area.
  • We then made our way to check into our B&B in Ballycastle, Churchview Bed & Breakfast.
  • From there we walked downtown to a restaurant for dinner. The Central Bar.
  • We found eating out to be quite expensive in Northern Ireland, due to the exchange rate, and the portions to be very large. I suggest ordering one meal and sharing it, depending on the restaurant. Or a main meal, and then an appetizer to share.

April 13th – Thursday, Day 6 – 140kms – Ballycastle to South of Belfast (Newcastle)

  • The Dark Hedges – ‘The Dark Hedges is an avenue of Beech trees, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The trees form an atmospheric tunnel that has been used as a location in the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’, which has resulted in the location becoming a popular tourist attraction’.
    • I suggest going early. We went at sunrise and there was only maybe 15 people there, though during mid day theres said to be hundreds that swarm the avenue.
  • We headed back to the B&B for a 8am breakfast, she had us choose between a hot breakfast of eggs, or pancackes or a cold breakfast. After we ate we packed up and headed to our next stop for the day.
  • Carrick-a-Rede-Rope Bridge – A ten minute drive from our B&B. Unfortunately when we got there the staff let us know the bridge was closed to crossing due to the high winds. We arrived at 930am, and they said it MAY or may not be open again at 12 or 1pm, but they couldn’t promise such. Even though we couldn’t cross the bridge we made the walk down to see it. Still beautiful!
  • Kinsbane Castle – After we headed back down the road to another stop. This may have to be my favourite spot during our week trip. We had the entire place to ourselves. It was a longer walk down to the location, but worth it (140 steps). From greenery, to ocean views, waterfalls, to the castle itself it was quite the sight. No admission fee.
  • Belfast – From there we drove the 1 hour down to Belfast, and went right to the Titanic Museum.
    • ‘Located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock – the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched, Titanic Belfast tells the story of Titanic from her conception, through her construction and launch, to her maiden voyage and subsequent place in history’.
  • We only walked around it, and then inside to the shop, deciding not to spend the 25Pounds/adult to walk through the museum, as the conversion = $100CDN for the both of us. Instead we decided to continue right to our cottage, a 35 minute drive South of Belfast.
  • Checked into Lizzie’s Cottage – Got settled and an hour later headed to explore the area close by.
  • Castlewellan Forest Park Peace Maze – ‘One of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes representing the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland. Planted in 2000 with community involvement, visitors can attempt to solve their way to the peace bell in the centre of the maze’.
    • This was very cool to see, and no admission fee.
    • After we just spent some time walking around a different area of the park. There area a few beautiful trails here, including a nice 4km walk around the lake.
  • After we headed back and spent time relaxing in the hot tub.
  • I would suggest two days in this area, and taking one of them to explore the Mourne Mountains close by. I would have loved to have more time to explore these trails.

April 14th – Friday, Day 7 – 160kms – Newcastle to Ballycastle

  • I woke up earlier and went for a run in the countryside, and back to the cottage for a bite to eat, and coffee.
  • We then packed up and hoped in the car making the drive to Dublin.
    • We took a more scenic route, that added on 15 minutes of driving, through the countryside/Mourne Mountains, instead of driving the whole 2 hours on a main highway.
  • Dublin – We arent HUGE city folks so we didn’t mind only having a day to explore the city.
    • We parked at a car park just a couple minutes walk from the Arlington Hotel, and then brought our bags and stored them at the hotel, until we were able to check in later in the afternoon.
    • Lunch – We grabbed a quick bite and coffee at a cafe close to Temple Bar. There are many Cafes/lunch spots to choose from.
    • Temple Bar – A 5 minute walk from our hotel
  • Trinity’s Old Library – We walked here next and once we got there, there was a sign that said ‘SOLD OUT FOR TODAY’, so we were unable to go in. I highly suggest booking a time slot online prior to going. We didn’t know this was going to be an issue.
  • Guiness Storehouse – Admission was 30Euros/adult. Also suggest booking in advance, we were lucky to be able to grab two slots at 1pm.
    • We walked the 2.2kms to the Storehouse, from Trinity College.
    • This took about 1.5 hours.
  • We then made the walk back towards downtown and headed to see Dublin Castle, and St.Patricks Cathedral
  • We put on 28,000 steps this day, as everything is within walking distance.
  • If you don’t want to walk as much, there are other options such as the public bus, and carriage rides available, for a price.
  • Cloud nine – Got ice cream here.
  • Quays Restaurant – We went here for dinner.
  • SO many places had live music, so if you’re into that there is no shortage of pubs to choose from.
  • We made our way back to our hotel around 8pm, for an earlier bedtime as we knew we were going to have a longer travel day next.

There is a lot more to do in Dublin, such as museums, parks, stores, old pubs, etc.

April 15th – Saturday, Day 8 – Dublin to Calgary

  • We woke up at 630am, and got ourselves packed up.
  • Headed to the parking area, which opened at 730am, hoped in our car and headed to Easirent, which was a 20 minute drive from downtown Dublin, to the place where we had to drop off our rental car.
  • Took a shuttle to the airport, which was provided by Easirent.

We drove 1800kms around Ireland, in 8 days. Doable, but I highly suggest 10-14 days to really take it all in (2 weeks would be ideal, if you’re doing Ireland and Northern Ireland).

  • 7 hour flight to Toronto
    • We had a 9 hour layover in Toronto (12pm-9pm) so opted to store our bags for $20/CDN a bag and head to watch a Toronto Blue Jays game which started at 3pm.
    • The train was easy to take from the airport to the Rogers Centre. It was a 20 minute train ride to the last stop (which was our stop).
    • A perfect way to spend a layover.

Total Cost of our 8 days in Ireland:

Flights: $1900CDN round trip/2 adults

Rental Car: $770CDN

Gas: $270CDN

Accommodations: $1286CDN

Dining/food: $600

Admission/activities/parking: $369CDN

Approximate total cost: $5196CDN/2 adults or $2598CDN/adult for 8 days.

This trip could have been done cheaper by reducing the amount of money spent on food/dining. Instead of going out for meals, you could easily purchase all your food from grocery stores, and then cook at your accommodations, or eat at a park if it’s nice out. We just wanted to be able to experience the local food too. We didn’t realize so many places would have admission costs. There are A LOT of free castles you can tour, you don’t have to go into all of them, paying the fee. Unless you’re really into the history of them and it’s important to your experience. Also we drove A LOT, so gas cost could be decreased.

There are. a lot of free parks to explore, and cute towns to walk around in. We also splurged on a couple of our accommodations (Lizzies Cottage and the hotel in Dublin).

Thanks SO much for taking the time to read the above blog post. We had such a great time exploring Ireland.

If you have any questions about anything written, feel free to leave a comment, DM me on instagram @brookewillson, or email me at

Happy traveling!

Mount Engadine Lodge

One of my favourite mountain lodges, nestled in Spray Valley Provincial Park, about an hour drive from Canmore, Alberta. We have been coming here for years, since learning about it around 7 years ago. We love it so much, we even ended up booking the lodge out for our wedding, on September 30th, 2021.

The views are amazing, the staff, the food, the dog friendliness, along with the endless adventure near by, no matter the season. From Summer to full on Winter, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a little adventure, OR perhaps you’re wanting to just get away and recharge, and take in the surrounding beauty in the mountains.

Pet-friendliness can be tough to find sometimes, so this is surely one reason we continue to come back to Engadine. They make our dogs feel so welcome, with the custom dog treats, beds, bowls, dining with your pets experience, and dog photo wall.


All of which offer an inclusive dining experience – breakfast, a packed-lunch, afternoon tea (charcuterie and dessert) and dinner. The meals are easily 5 stars! We have never been disappointed in the food served at Engadine. One thing I love about staying is the fact there are NO in room telephones, or TV’s, which allow you to really escape and relax, tuning in with nature.

Glamping Tents

Engadine offers 5 different canvas glamping tents. We have stayed in them few times now, as they are all dog friendly, and only in the Winter months, and find them to be so cozy and fun! Camping? In the Winter? Yes, please!

  • Beautiful mountain, valley, and forest views
  • King-size bed with pillow top mattress, which can be split into two twins
  • Full pull-out couch
  • Full ensuite bathroom with hot showers
  • Private patio and deck
  • Pet-friendly
  • Chandelier and hardwood floors
  • Gas fireplace
  • Canvas walls
  • Electrical outlets to charge devices

Lodge Rooms

We stayed in the ‘Moose’ suite for our wedding, which is located upstairs in the lodge and then most recently in the ‘Elk’ Suite, which is attached to the lodge but on the main level, just a couple steps away from the main entrance of the lodge. The upstairs rooms are not dog friendly, though the Elk suite is. There are a number of different sized rooms, even one called the ‘Chickadee’ which is perfect for a solo traveler! All the rooms, excluding the Chickadee offer a view of the valley.

The Moose suite is perfect for a romantic getaway or wedding suite. My bridesmaids and I got ready in the room and our photographer was able to capture some stunning photos of such. There is a pull-out couch as well, adding extra sleeping space for kids or others traveling together.

The Elk Suite has a private balcony, separate from the main deck, and a cozy reading nook. The gas fireplace, and pull-out couch are also great to have. Craig used this room to get ready with his groomsman on our wedding day.

There is also the ‘Eagle’, ‘Owl’ and the ‘Raven’, located upstairs. All which have King sized beds, and stunning views of the mountains. Keep an eye out for wildlife which tend to roam in the valley below!


Just off the lodge are 3 cabins, with balconies overlooking the valley. I stayed in a cabin 7 years ago, during my first visit here and would love to experience them again soon. ‘Whiskey Jack’, ‘Burstall’, and ‘Birdwood’.

‘Whiskeyjack’ – ‘The perfect cabin for families or friends on a weekend getaway. Featuring 2 adjoining bedrooms – one with a queen bed, and another with two twins – you’re sure to create some unforgettable memories on and off the trails. Whiskeyjack has a private entrance, bathroom with a shower and a balcony overlooking the meadow’.

‘Burstall’ – ‘One of two rooms in our cozy meadow’s edge chalet with a stunning view of Tent Ridge. Featuring a queen-size bed, private ensuite bathroom, and a large balcony overlooking the meadow that is perfect for viewing any of the beautiful Kananaskis wildlife that may come visit’.

‘Birdwood’ – ‘One of two rooms in our chalet tucked between the forest and the meadow’s edge. This cabin features a queen-size bed, private ensuite bathroom and a large balcony that overlooks the meadow giving guests a glimpse of the picturesque Birdwood Mountain. Perfect for two’.


One accommodation that goes a little unnoticed, as it is tucked in the trees, a couple minutes down a trail from the main lodge. Perfect for someone on a smaller budget, though it still includes an all-inclusive dining experience and full access to common areas in the lodge (bathroom/sinks etc), just like the rest of the rooms.

At our wedding a few friends stayed in the yurt. The perfect place for them to lay their head after a long day.

It also has a lovely view of the valley. They say it’s even one of the best on the property.

  • Open all year round
  • Propane heater
  • Pillows, Linens, Blanket provided in the Summer, Spring, and Fall. In winter, guests must bring their own sleeping bags
  • Sleeps up to 4 People. 2 sets of bunk beds
  • Pet-friendly
  • A camping experience, with no plumbing or shower facilities
  • No electricity 

Dining Experience

You’ll never leave Engadine hungry. The food is always 10/10, with an on site chef. They are wonderful at accommodating any dietary needs/allergies. It is great not having to worry about packing any meals when staying at Engadine, or snacks for that matter because they sure do feed you well.

There is afternoon tea served between 2-5pm everyday, complimentary to guests staying at the lodge, and open for drop-ins as well between those times. They offer coffee, tea, a charcuterie board, accompanied by a dessert. We like to arrive a bit early always, before check-in to enjoy this. $35 a person for those dropping in.

Dinner – Served at 7pm every evening. A 3 course meal. The menu is always written up on the wall beside the bar, listing the first course, main dish and dessert.

Breakfast – Served between 8-9am every morning. There is a cold breakfast bar to start. Fruit, pastries, parfaits etc. Then two options given for your main course. Different everyday. From omelettes to pancakes, waffles, frittatas, crepes and more.

Lunch – At dinner you will be provided with a piece of paper, for which you will select your lunch preference for the next day. They provide you with a sandwich, and a snack, whether that be a cookie, trail mix, or veggies and hummus. This bagged lunch is awesome, if you plan to go out adventuring during the day, it’s easy to take with you.

Coffee/tea bar – There is always coffee and tea available to guests in the main lodge. Drip coffee, Chemex, or press. A wide assortment of tea is available.

Drink bar – They have a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available on site, with a drink/wine menu available. As a wine lover myself this is appreciated.

Pet-friendly – Engadine allowed us to dine with our dogs, in the living room area, which was lovely. The dogs aren’t allowed in the main dining area, but will ask you if you want to dine with them in a space just next to the dining area. This was such a nice treat!

Sunday BrunchIs also reopening to the public on June 1st, where you can join them from 10:30- 1:30pm for a lovely meal overlooking the beautiful mountains in the back. Smoked salmon Benedict, or banana pancakes with strawberry compote? Yes please! The menu will change from week to week. Sunday strudel will also be available from 2-5pm daily. Reservations are required for this.


The lodge has a couple fat bikes, along with snowshoes available for guests to use at no cost, with trails right from the property. There is also cross-country ski trails near by, at Mount Shark, just a few minutes down the road.

No matter the season, all-trails is a great resource for researching hiking/snowshoeing trails within the area, or if you’re into backcountry skiing. Summer is endless to, with lakes near, for paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking.

The staff can also offer suggestions depending on what type of activity/level you are looking for. Pet friendly, family, experienced etc. We never get tired of the trails around in Kananaskis.

On our most recent stay we hiked to Chester Lake (pictured above), which is a few minutes down the highway, before checking in, and snowshoed on Rummel Lake Trail (pictured below), which is directly across the highway from Engadine.

In the Summer months, Tent Ridge (pictured above) s a favourite hike of mine, located just behind the lodge. We had a one year sunset photo shoot done here for our wedding anniversary. Photos taken by @lindselora.

Fire pit area – There is a fire pit area located just outside the lodge, which is a great place to gather around in the evening, after a day of adventuring.

Swings – A fun feature for guests. Two sings area available on site, one single wing farther back in the trees, and another swing for a couple people to enjoy overlooking the valley.

Weddings/Special events

Like I mentioned earlier in my blog post, Craig and I got married at Engadine, and I wouldn’t have chosen any other place for our special day. They were incredible to work with and made all my dreams come true. We rented out the entire lodge, and had friends and family stay for 3 days, 2 nights which made for a very memorable experience. Wedding days go by so quickly, so being able to spend more than one day with loved ones made it so special. Photos taken by @lindselora.

Some friends and family stayed close by in Canmore, which is an hour drive from the lodge, as the lodge sleeps up to 30 people. Immediate family and bridal party stayed at Engadine, while the rest in town.

They offer weddings, corporate retreats, romantic getaways, and other special offers depending on when you book, and providing group rates, along with mid week rates. There are also other offers available for yoga retreats, along with Fathers Day and Mothers Day.

Tap to check out their page for wedding details.

If you have any questions at all about my experience at Mount Engadine Lodge, feel free to leave a comment or email me at OR you can get in contact with the lodge directly, by visiting their website.

Eddie Bauer Gift Ideas

Thermal Watchman Beanie

Glacier Peak Seamless Stretch Down Duffel Coat

Cabin Fleece Throw

We Wander 1/4 Zip

We Wander Fleece Vest

Crossover Winter Trail Adventure High-Rise Leggings

K-6 Boot

24-Oz Enamel Mug

Folding Trekking Poles

Adventure Backpack 2.0

Women’s Camp Slippers

Cabin Faux Fur Pom Beanie

Bygone 45L Duffel

Karakoram -30 Sleeping Bag

Guide Pro Evertherm Mittens

Stowaway Packable Waistpack

Dad Hat

Polar Fleece-Lined Pants

Mid Cairn Hiking Boot

Microtherm 2.0 Down Jacket

Thistle Beanie

Boyfriend Flannel Lined Jeans

Downlight 2.0 Hooded Jacket

Thermal Tech Crew

2022 Skyliner Duster

Severson Moc Toe – Unisex

Train Ascent Long-Sleeve Crew

Women’s Radiator Fleece Gloves

Trail COOLMAX Crew Socks

MicroTherm 2.0 Down Vest

Favorite Long-Sleeve Crewneck T-shirt

Cozy Camp Fleece Jogger Pant

Mount Kilimanjaro

I had always dreamt of hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, but I never would have ever imagined I would be doing it twice, 6 weeks after the first one, and along side two incredible groups of humans.

When I learned about the mountain, many moons ago, I thought to myself, ‘How cool would it be to do this as your honeymoon’. I know it’s not the typical relaxing, romantic honeymoon people usually book, but such an incredible experience, to share with your loved one. When the opportunity came up to host a trip there, I thought ‘Okay now how do I combine this with a honeymoon’, as my husband and I had planned to get married before the trip dates. Craig was able to join me on the first dates, in July 2022, and even though the hike was spent with 14 other ‘strangers’, we then continued on for 10 days after, safariing and exploring Tanzania even more so. Best of both worlds. Having the support from a large group, summiting one of the 7 highest peaks in the world, and with your loved one, then being able to combine it with a more romantic, unique experience afterwards. We figured we would extend our stay in the country seeing as we were going to be flying WAY across the world.

Our guiding company was ‘Monkey Adventures’. They were SO wonderful. The lead guide Remmy was with me both times, and then there were 5 assistant guides as well, helping the entire week. There were 3 porters for every traveller, and then cooks etc. We had a group of 75-78 people going up the mountain.

July-September are the busiest seasons on the mountain, and for good reason. Its dry season, so you won’t be hiking in rain every single day, and the temperatures are reasonable. YES it is still freezing at the top. I will talk about that more as the blog post goes on.

Packing List

Packing for Kilimanjaro was a feat in itself. I felt I spent way too much time adding things to piles, taking things out, and so forth. By the second trip there I feel I was able to perfect it.

The following are MY recommendations and what I was comfortable in. Some other people may have more or less or different items. You can also choose to rent a lot of items in Moshi, in Tanzania. Depending on whether or not you are comfortable bringing your own gear, or maybe you are traveling for a lot longer and don’t want to haul gear around. The rental prices are very reasonable and the quality of gear is great. I personally just liked the comfort is knowing I had my own gear.

Below is a photo of the 70-90lb duffels and day packs.

The porters will carry your big bag, and you will have your day pack everyday.

The guiding company provided wonderful 4 season tents, the sleeping pads, and breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, along with coffee/tea/hot chocolate. They also provide all the cooking gear, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any of that. I did bring my own coffee thermos the second time around because I love mine, but they do provide one.

The guiding company also provides water purification items and first-aid supplies.

I have linked as many of my clothing/gear items. They are affiliate links and I do earn a small commission from sales, so if you do love it and would love to purchase any items, and want to support me in that, it would mean a lot to me if you used the links to do so ❤



  • 90L duffel bag – which your porter will carry for you. This will be where you place ALL your gear – sleeping bag, extra clothing, snacks etc. Minus the tent and sleeping pad they provide you with.
  • 30L backpack for day to day
  • Hiking poles
  • Sleeping bag (-17C or a -7/-10C with a -10 liner). I have linked two options here.
  • 3L water bladder, and a 1L Nalgene bottle. I highly recommend a bladder. I didn’t pack one for the first trip and do regret it. It made it easier to stay on top of my water consumption. They won’t let you on the mountain without 3L of water space. No plastic bottles allowed either on the mountain. An insulated one is important to as the hose can freeze on summit day.
  • Head lamp – make sure it works/new batteries!
  • Gaiters – can be packed. I didn’t pack any but they are recommended in some packing lists.

Other packing items:

  • Phone for photos – I kept my cellphone off the entire week, though some people chose to turn theirs on every once and a while as the mountain does have cell coverage in some locations if you are wanting to get in touch with loved ones.
  • Garmin Inreach – I brought one but its not necessary. I brought it to text my husband on the second trip, at the end of everyday to let him know I was safe and sound at camp. The guiding company has devices.
  • Camera – if you have a camera you want to bring. It does add a lot of weight to your day pack
  • Charging blocks – you are on the mountain for 7 days so making sure you have a way to charge your phone or other electronic devices.
  • Sunglasses
  • Sport watch – I pack mine with me everywhere. Kept track of my mileage everyday.
  • Sunscreen – high SPF. The sun is so intense.
  • Lip-balm – SPF
  • Medication – Tylenol, Benadryl, Gravol, Advil, Pepto, TUMS. These are some items I brought with me. Like I mentioned above the guiding company has first aid supplies, but I am always more comfortable bringing some medications for myself incase.
  • Altitude medication – Make sure you book a medical appointment before you go and talk to them about altitude meds!
  • A book – if you like to read there is lots of down time at camp.
  • Hand sanitizer and baby wipes
  • Hand/footwarmers


Like I mentioned above the guiding company does provide breakfast. lunch and dinner but NOT snacks. I made sure to bring a lot of things from home. There are snacks available in the town of Moshi but comfort items from home are lovely to have with you. I would put a few things in my backpack every morning. Some things I brought:

  • Sausage sticks
  • Gummies – sugar is key – watermelon candies, gummy bears etc.
  • Corn-nuts
  • Gold fish crackers & pretzel sticks
  • Dried mangos
  • Granola bars/protein bars – high calorie bars
  • Electrolytes for your water
  • Mio/Kool-aid drops to add flavour to my water
  • Kuju Coffee – they do provide you with coffee, but for the second trip I decided to bring my own as I LOVE Kuju!

Common questions:

What is the bathroom set up like on the mountain?

  • There are bathroom porters who haul up portable toilets and set up individual tents around them.
  • They provide the toilet paper so bringing your own isn’t necessary.

Are you able to rent gear there, instead of bringing your own?

  • Yes. You can choose to rent a lot of items on site in Tanzania (Moshi). Depending on whether or not you are comfortable bringing your own gear, or maybe you are traveling for a lot longer and don’t want to haul gear around. The rental prices are very reasonable and the quality of gear is great. I personally just liked the comfort is knowing I had my own gear.
  • You can rent gear ahead of time – there are many different gear stores. Whichever guiding company you go with may have a recommended store you can rent through.

Is it really that cold at the top?

  • YES. Don’t underestimate it. My toes and fingers froze both times. Making sure you are packing GOOD quality gear or renting proper layers will make or break your summit experience. Weather can be unpredictable and summit day is cold. The wind adds to it. Your guiding company will make sure to check ALL of your layers before you step foot on the mountain to make sure you have what you need to have a comfortable summit experience. Even though I had warm mittens and hiking boots/socks, along with hand warmers/foot warmers I still was chilly. Looking back I may have brought heated gloves/socks with me. Again this is a personal recommendation as I often have cold toes and hands!

What if you are vegetarian/vegan or have specific food allergies/preferences?

  • Our company was amazing with this. We just let the company know in advance our food preferences/dietary accommodations and they cooked accordingly. I assume all other guiding companies would be the same way. Whether you are meat free/gluten free/lactose etc.

Was the altitude a big issue for you?

  • Altitude sickness is a real thing. It can effect anyone, especially if you are not use to higher altitudes, and hiking. Making sure you book an appointment with your doctor before you go/pharmacist is necessary. They will go over your current health, and make sure you are fit to climb, and if you are approved to take altitude medication. If you are good, you will be prescribed altitude medication, that you will then take daily there.
  • My husband and I booked an appointment at a local travel clinic, which was a huge help. They went over the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • The guiding company also checks 02 levels and heart rate daily, and carry oxygen tanks with them incase of emergency.

Is a visa necessary for Tanzania?

  • YES. You can google how to do this. Depending on what country you are coming in from, the type of visa you will apply for will vary. As a Canadian we had single entry (ordinary) visas, but as a United States citizen they had multiple entry visas.
  • Visa Link – it took ten days to come in.
  • You can also apply for it upon entry, but I advise doing it in advance, in order to avoid any delays at the airport.

Was it cold at night?

  • This will depend what time of year you go. It only got below freezing one night I think for us.
  • The guiding company provides 4 season tents which were lovely!
  • The thicker sleeping pads were great keeping us off the group. You can also opt in for a double thermarest for $10 extra for the week.
  • A -17C degree sleeping bag is ideal. Or a -7/-10 with a heated liner to make it -17.
  • I comfortably slept in tights and a long sleeve every night and with a toque to keep my head warm on the even cooler nights.

Did you share a tent with someone?

  • They pair you up – 2 people to a tent.
  • The first trip I shared a tent with Craig, but second time I was on my own as the company I hosted for had me by myself. I suggest sharing a tent for warmth, or you can opt in to have your own for a bit of a higher cost. This will change depending on the guiding company you are with.
  • Remember the porters carry all this gear up, so sharing a tent with someone will also allow for one less tent needed to be carried, which helps.

That is the water/washing situation like?

  • Everyday you will be provided with 3L of clean, filtered drinking water.
  • Between my bladder and a nalgene this was perfect.
  • At camp you are provided with hot cleaning water, in a tub outside your tent. This is where a pack towel comes in handy. You can have a little ‘towel bath’. I did this and used body wipes every day.
  • The only camp you’re not provided hot water at is base camp, because there is no water source, so only drinking water is ported up to the camp.

How did you train for the hike? Was it hard?

  • I always find this question a bit challenging to answer. Yes you do have to have some some sort of baseline fitness. It really is ‘pole-pole’ which means ‘slowly, slowly’. They have you go slow, never hiking at a fast speed, it’s just for longer durations and the altitude really does start to effect people. I found it to be more mentally challenging than anything. Day after day, throwing on that bag and putting one step in front of the other. I also have a lot of hiking and running experience, endurance and elevation wise.
  • Training at altitude would be helpful but some people don’t have that option, with where they live. If there are no mountains then resorting to the stair climber at the gym, or stairs in the area would be a great backup. Biking, swimming, yoga, jogging are all great ways to get ready for the hike. ‘Gym activities including step aerobics, treadmill,bicycling, or elliptical trainers to name a few. A modest weight training program focusing on the muscles that support the ankles, knees, back, and shoulders is also beneficial’ – TrovaTrip.
  • Getting out for longer walks/hikes on mixed terrain/rocks would be a good idea. Being sure to break in your hiking boots/trainers before the hike. Increasing the weight on your backpack too when you go out. On the hike you will be carrying no more than 20lbs. Having a backpack that fits you properly is important, as I did find my back to even start to get sore as the days went on, with the weight everyday, and having it on for many hours at a time. Train with it 🙂 ‘Start with short hikes (1-hour in length) with a light daypack. From week to week build the length and difficulty of your hikes and gradually increase your pack weight until you’re comfortably able to hike 6-8 hours a day carrying the weight you’ll have on your trip (refer to your trip packet for exact pack weight). Unless you’re in great shape it is ideal to begin your training at least 12 weeks prior to your trip’.
  • There are quite a few training plans that can be found online, for Kilimanjaro, that you can follow.

Did you tip the guiding company? The porters?

  • The guiding company does rely on tips. Their income is not very high, so tipping after the trek is expected. I will attach a link here that will help guide you with tipping. It depends on group size (how many travellers are with you), and how many there are helping guide/support the group (lead guide, assistant guides, porters, cooks, etc). These are recommended numbers, to guide you, but if you feel the local teams have added to the experience, you can always tip more.
  • With our group of 16, the recommended per person tip to the group was $250USD, though some gave more. This can all be placed in an envelope at the end of the trek and given to the lead guide, who will then disperse it amongst the group.


Travel insurance?

  • ‘Due to the trek’s high elevations, travel insurance covering high-altitude treks is required to be purchased before departure. TrovaTrip recommends World Nomad’s Standard Policy which covers treks up to 19,685 feet (6,000 meters)’. TrovaTrip is the company I hosted the trip with:

Where did you stay in Moshi? Before and after the hike?

  • We stayed at Lindrin Lodge – We loved it here. Highly recommend it.

Day to Day on the Hike

We took the Machame Route up the mountain. There are 7 different routes linked here. I also attached a photo below to show the various routes on the mountain.

Here is a day to day break down of what things were like for the 7 days. You can do the route in 6 days but 7 is recommended. Some people go directly from Baranco to Bafaru camp (basecamp), and skip Karanga. So your day 5 would be 9kms instead of 5kms, then 4kms. There does tend to be a higher success rate, so i was told for those who stay at Karanga. This helps with altitude acclimatization and more time to rest.

‘The trek begins in the south-west area of the mountain at Machame Gate. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Because of the ascent in the west and descent down the north, Machame offers great vistas of Kilimanjaro. Additionally, Machame visits stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco, and Lava Tower. Machame is ideal for those who want a more difficult climb, and are confident in their ability to hike over extended periods of time on sometimes steep terrain. Climbers using Machame place a premium of varied scenery, but also accept heavy traffic’ – Kilimanjaro Routes.

Day 0 – Lindrin Lodge

  • The lead guide and a couple assistant guides came to meet our group in the evening before we started the trek.
  • They went over the entire trek, how it would look day to day and then had us all bring our duffel bags and day packs/items we planned to bring on the hike with us, to show them what we had.
  • If they felt as though we had to much weight, or not enough gear/had to rent certain items they made a list and tracked down those items for us/anyone who needed specific things. This helped prep the group and made sure everyone would be comfortable on the 7 day trek. Example, making sure everyone had a headlamp, and batteries charged, and proper layers for summit day.
  • Then we enjoyed a welcome dinner.

This entire break down of the 7 day trek below was taken from:


Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 5,380 ft to 9,350 ft
Distance: 11 km
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. As we leave the park gate, we walk through the dense rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge until we reach the Machame Camp.

Below are photos from the first day. Starting at Machame Gare and the trail to Machame Camp. I have mixed in photos from both my July trip & my September trip.

Above are photos from the morning at Machame Camp, before starting our trek for the day. I do recommend getting an earlier start the first day if you are going at a peak time. The gate gets VERY busy and paper work there and organizing the crew does tend to take a long time. Both times we left a bit late and ended up getting to camp when it was dark.


Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp
Elevation: 9,350 ft to 12,500 ft
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Heath

We leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, we pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira 2 Camp.


Photos below are from the morning at camp to the Lava Tower. Every morning they would check out O2 levels and Heart Rate.

Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft
Distance: 7 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation: 15,190 ft to 13,044 ft
Distance: 3 km
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization.


This was one of my favourite days. I loved the Barranco wall! We left camp a little bit later in the morning to allow for other groups to get through the wall, that way we wouldn’t have to wait for them. It was a shorter day anyways to the next camp, so made sense to wait longer.

Below are photos from the morning at Barranco Camp.

Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
Elevation: 13,044 ft to 13,106 ft
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.

Below are photos from the trek to Karanga, and at Karanga Camp.


Morning at Karanga, then the hike over to basecamp.

Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft
Distance: 4 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy lunch to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.

Photos of basecamp below. You will see my summit attire layout pictured in one photo. We arrived at camp at around 1pm, ate lunch and then went to bed, sleeping from 2-10pm. 8 hours of rest and then the guides woke us up and we had a later dinner, and packed up and prepared to hike to the summit.


We started hiking to the summit at midnight. Below are photos from the hike to Uhuru Peak and then back down to basecamp.

This was a VERY long day. I found my July summit to be much harder than my September, maybe because I knew what to expect, but also feel I was more acclimatized. It was VERY cold. I had hand-warmers, and foot warmers in my mitts and boots.

Our guides/porters kept us so motivated and positive. It was a long 6 hours in the dark, before the sun started to rise. They sang, they took our backpacks, they helped us with our poles/gear if we looked like we were struggling. They were overall just SO amazing.

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Habitat: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft
Distance: 12 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you  will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

When we got back down to basecamp, we had 2 hours to rest up before waking up, eating lunch and heading down to Mweka Camp. The reason they don’t allow you usually to stay another night at basecamp is to try to get you down to lower elevation ASAP. We were SO tired and it was hard waking up and getting going but as we descended it felt GREAT!

Below are photos from basecamp to Mweka Camp. Arriving just as the sun was setting both trips.


We woke up early on the last day and had a 2.5 hour hike out to Mweka Gate. Breakfast and then our lead guide had the entire group get together for some introductions, along with a final ‘hurrrahhhh’ song and dance.

Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Gate photos/certificates below.

It is extremely difficult to put these two trips into words, summarizing what an incredible experience it was, both times. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t extremely challenging for me to go back the second time. Both trips I was quite ill (a whole other can of worms to open up with that one), but I powered through and can say I summited Kilimanjaro twice, and so close together.

It would not have been possible without the people in the groups, along with the most supportive local team. They were all incredible hard working, caring humans. I would highly recommend Monkey Adventures to anyone wanting to climb Kilimanjaro in the future.

If you have any questions about the above, whether its gear related, travel, or on the hike itself please feel free to leave a comment, or email me at Or you can always send me a DM on Instagram @brookewillson.

Thanks so much for reading! ❤

After the July trip, Craig and I headed out for an 8 day safari. This will be a whole other blog post COMING SOON!

After the September trip, Danci (a traveller on my September kili group), a friend Tara, who lived in Las Vegas (who came on my Alaska trip), and I all went to Egypt for 3 days. Again this will be a whole other blog post also COMING SOON!

Coyote Gulch, Utah.

May 9-15th, 2022.

The whole crew, left to right, top to bottom: Dessee, Maude, Sarah, Alyssa, Brooke, Kelsey, Liana, Katie, Alexis, Jessie, Jill.

Utah has always been one of my favourite states in the US. Growing up and spending most of my days in the rocky mountains, makes Utah’s landscape extra special to me. My first time visiting was back in February 2017, with my friend Andy. We drove around both Arizona and Utah in his van for 7 days and after leaving Utah, I already couldn’t wait to come back. The red rock, canyons, waterfalls, trails, the way the sun rises and sets, it’s just a gorgeous place to be and to explore.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

My second time visiting was in 2019 with my husband (boyfriend at the time). We decided to take a 10 day road trip down to Utah, starting in Alberta, right after we graduated from our education degree. Having been before I was familiar with some of the National Parks and felt confident going back again having a better handle on what I was doing there, and this time able to show Craig some of the places I went, along with experiencing many new trails together too.

Zion National Park, Utah

Both times I visited Utah, I never drove South enough towards St.George and the area where Coyote Gulch is, and told myself one day soon I would 100% be back to through hike it. When Trova Trip offered me the opportunity to host a 5 day women’s only backpacking trip, I was all over it, and launched it pretty quickly after, to take place in May of 2021. I launched it at the beginning of COVID, not knowing how long the pandemic would hinder travel plans for so unfortunately as May crept up we had to move it to May of 2022, and as much as postponement hurt, it ended up happening and it was well worth the wait.

The group size max’d out at 9, and then there was myself and 2 guides, Sam and Jessie, who are husband and wife. They had the lovely opportunity of guiding our group and work for a company called ‘Wildland Trekking’, and more often guide separately, but happened to be placed together to lead ours. They were absolutely amazing, from their organization, knowledge, experience, and humour to their cooking abilities, we were well taking care of. We did not have to worry about anything and very confident on the trail.

The entire group at the trailhead start of trip.

When I launched this trip I really did want to make it so women who have never backpacked before, or perhaps only a little bit prior, would feel comfortable joining. Whether you were an avid backpacker or a beginner, you were welcome to join and prepped well in advance to succeed on the trail! The trekking company really does provide almost everything you need, other then the clothes you plan to wear, your own toiletries, water bottles, and you do have to bring a sleeping bag or camp pillow if you so choose to (I used my puffy jacket rolled in a ball every night but that’s just me).

Here is a packing list of what I brought, followed by a list of things the trekking company provided us:

The trekking company will suggest what to pack, though this is what I packed:

  • Sleeping bag (-7C, 20F)
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 long sleeve – 1 to hike in, 1 to sleep in
  • 1 puffy jacket
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 3 pairs of socks – 2 to hike in and 1 to sleep in/at camp
  • 2 pairs of shorts – Guide Pro, and Departure Amphid Shorts. I brought the amphid shorts incase I planned to swim/go in the waterfalls
  • 2 pairs of leggings – 1 to hike in and 1 to sleep in
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 1 buff – for the dust. Was so happy to have this!
  • 1 hat – I would have packed a large brimmed hat if I had to hike it over again, cause of the sun.
  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Sandals – I ended up hiking in my sandals most of the trek and wore them at camp
  • Hiking boots – the guides suggest trail shoes and not ankle high but I brought my ankle ones and they were fine. You are trekking through a lot of water so my sandals I found were better anyways!
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, face wipes.
  • Sunscreen, bug spray (luckily didn’t have to use it)
  • 3 – 1L water bottles

The guides were adamant that I did not need this many clothes haha. They are expert backpackers, ultralight being the way to go and wore the same clothing items the entire trip, but for comfort purposes I packed a bit more and so did most on the trek.

What the trekking company packed/provided:

  • 1 single tent each
  • Sleeping pad
  • Trail snacks – 16 snacks – 4 for everyday
  • Coffee/Tea
  • All the cooking supplies – stoves, bowls, plates, cutlery etc.
  • Water filtration supplies
  • First Aid supplies
  • Backpacks – you can bring your own but they do supply them if you don’t have one
  • Trekking poles
  • Water sock booties (neoprene) – which you can put in your shoes or wear with your sandals so they keep rocks out. Everyone but me wore these. Depends on your comfort level. I was okay without.
  • Emergency communication devices

The trekking company cooked up the most delicious meals, for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert. We were so impressed the entire trip. I will be sharing some details of these meals throughout the blog post.

A bit about the hike itself:

‘This is our most popular hike in Utah and deservedly so. We give you a glimpse of what Glen Canyon was like before being flooded by Lake Powell, and as such this is a true treasure. Highlights include beautifully sculpted stream beds, intimate cascades and waterfalls, deep overhangs and alcoves, and numerous natural bridges and arches. This hike has incredible diversity, as we finish with an exciting ascent out of the canyon and across a stretch of signature Utah slick rock.

Our backpacking trip begins in St. George, Utah where we get an early start and drive to the remote trailhead. From the trailhead we’ll work our way down the Coyote Gulch drainage. For the next four days this dramatic canyon takes us through some of the most beautiful country in the United States. It culminates on Days 3 and 4 with an amazing arch, natural bridge, pictographs, waterfalls, fantastic side canyon exploration, and a memorable ascent out of the canyon. Our guests tend to fall in love with this route but we want to forewarn you, the power of this place awakens strong emotion. People often feel compelled to return again and again throughout their lifetime in search of more “good times!” – Wildland Trekking

Reading this over it’s 100% true! I did fall in love with this place and can’t wait to bring my husband back one day, and children to experience it.

May 9th

We flew into Las Vegas airport (LAS) at different times on May 9th (some arriving the day before and staying in Vegas a night before meeting back at the airport) and together we all shuttled to St. George as a group.

Accommodations before and after the trek were at the Best Western right downtown St.George. This was a perfect location as we were able to walk around a little bit to get a feel for the place, with shops close by.

The hotel provides you with a secure/safe storage room for you to leave your gear in, that you do not wish to bring with you on the trek, seeing as some spent longer in Utah, before and after, and after the hike meeting some people chose not to bring some gear they originally planned to, or brought with them.

We went for a welcome dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, before coming back to the hotel for a pre hike meeting.

During this meeting the guides went over EVERYTHING. You had the opportunity to unpack your backpack/bag and repack it with them present. They went over how the trek would look day to day, the mileage, the group gear and how that was going to work, separating the group gear amongst all of us. They handed out gear we were borrowing etc. Basically a few hours of making sure everyone had all the info and gear they needed for a successful 4 days out on the trail. This was a bit of a late evening, and we knew we had an early morning, so we all went to bed around 11, then up to leave by 630am the next day. They provided us with ‘breakfast to go’ the night before as we were leaving before continental breakfast started (though they gave us coffee, which is essential for me and some others).

Start of the Hike

Day 1:

We left the hotel at 630am, and had a 5 hour drive to the trailhead. 3.5 hours on pavement and 1.5 on gravel, with a few stops to grab water, snacks, use the bathroom etc. We got to the trailhead around 11 and we organized a few things in the parking lot, making sure everyone had everything they needed. Due to us arriving around lunch Jessie and Sam also prepped lunch, and we all had the opportunity to eat before heading out. We had taco bowls! YUM!

Jessie also went over how we were going to use the bathroom on the trek. This is the first time EVER that I have had to pack out my own poop. That’s right, you ain’t leaving that stuff behind in the desert. Each one of us were provided with 4 clean waste bags, one for everyday, that you would use and then pack back out with you. Poop doesn’t decompose out in the desert SO could you imagine if everyone went #2 out there and NEVER packed it out? GROSS. It was a bit intimidating at first, but we all got the hang of it and it ended up not being too bad.

Cleanwaste Bags
  • Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 300 feet

‘This Utah backpacking trip begins at a remote trailhead at the “headwaters” of Utah’s Coyote Gulch. From the trailhead we hike a short distance before entering an open and dry wash, the upper section of Coyote Gulch. The day’s hike continues downstream and gradually the wash begins to resemble a canyon as short walls of Navajo Sandstone begin to appear on either side of the wash and we come to several pour-offs and short waterfalls. Just as the canyon begins deepening we’ll find ourselves in a beautiful cottonwood grove and our camp for the evening.’ – Wildland Trekking

I started out hiking in pants, a longsleeve, hat and boots, and by lunch I was down to shorts, a tank and my hiking sandals. The guides did recommend we keep a sun longsleeve on, and pants because of the thick brush scraping against your arms and legs but I did not find it that bad and was too hot. It is all about your own comfort. I just made sure to wear a hat, apply sunscreen a few times and stay hydrated. It also felt so good to walk in the water in my sandals. A good pair of hiking Teva sandals would also be a good option, or light weight hiking shoes, not ankle hiking boots that are heavy.

We were never in a rush getting to camp, always stopping if anyone wanted to take photos, and the guides were so great at explaining the area around us and answering any questions we may have had. When we got to camp we set up the tents, and went for a little side hike, getting up above the trees. Camp back, had dinner (burritos), then a few of us all went back up to the view point for sunset before returning back again. Camping by the canyon wall was pretty neat.

Day 2

Canyon walls/Arches

  • Mileage: 6 miles plus optional day hikes
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet

Breakfast first. Coffee. Always coffee, and a yummy rice pudding breakfast.

‘Continuing our hike downstream through stands of cottonwood and willows, the gulch deepens and narrows and encloses us in a towering corridor of sandstone. The creek is flowing continuously now and there are numerous crossings. As we progress, the day’s changing light plays on the canyon’s walls in a brilliant show of reds, yellows and browns. These imposing walls are the backdrop for features closer at hand: beautifully sculpted streambeds and intimate little cascades and waterfalls.

After a few miles of hiking, in an especially sinuous and narrow part of the gulch, we’ll hike by an amazing backcountry arch. Another half mile hike downstream brings us a natural bridge. We’ll walk directly underneath this unbelievable feature and make camp in the vicinity.’ – Wildland Trekking

This was an amazing day. Endless canyon walls, and arches, the winding trail through the gulch. Again taking our time, and enjoying it to its fullest along the way. We stopped for lunch at the Jacob Hamblin Arch which is an iconic photo spot, this is the place that really attracted me to this trip in the first place. There is a cool little side hike you can scramble up to get a bit higher and you’re then able to look down both sides of the rock face. Again the meal prepared by our guides was delicious, a backcountry charcuterie spread. Can’t ever go wrong with that!

We continued down the gulch, and were originally supposed to stay close to another iconic arch, though a group was already camping there, so we simply took a few photos and continued another km to an empty open space.

The wind was WILD this way, blowing dust, so we were very happy to have our buffs to cover our mouths/nose and the guides did their best to set up the camp spot/kitchen area in a place that wouldn’t be COVERED in dust.

We stayed up until 9pm (yes I know seems early but long days make you tired) chatting and then made our way inside our tents for a restful nights sleep.

Day 3:

Native American Ruins/Waterpark day

  • Mileage: 2.5 miles and 2 miles optional day hiking
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 600 feet

We woke up, had oatmeal for breakfast and then went on a little side hike before coming back to hike to pack up and head out for the day.

‘We ended up exploring the truly amazing Native American ruins nearby. Bands of Fremont people, a pre-columbian culture that lived contemporaneously with the Anasazi through 1300 AD, once called the Gulch their home. They farmed plots of land and made their dwellings beneath the canyon’s walls. Our second night’s campsite allows us to see a fine pictograph panel at the base of the Navajo Sandstone, a small ruin littered with artifacts, and a Fremont Indian dwelling.’ – Wildland Trekking

‘A casual morning and delicious breakfast will precede more beautiful hiking downstream. Several miles from camp we’ll hike beneath yet another wonderful rock feature, a spectacular arch several hundred feet above the canyon floor. The character of the canyon changes again as we progress, becoming wider with steep vegetated hillsides beginning to appear beneath the canyon’s walls. Larger pour-offs accompany a higher stream volume and sandstone terraces begin to appear above deep overhangs where the stream flows.

Later in the day we’ll use these terraces for easier hiking and ascend 200 above the stream to our dramatic campsite overlooking the confluence of the Escalante River and Coyote Gulch. after traversing a sandstone slab we’ll arrive at the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River.

Camping here under a steep cliff wall, and looking directly through Stevens Arch. We’ll make camp here under steep cliff walls and, time permitting, we’ll have the opportunity to attempt to day hike to the confluence of the Escalante River or to a remote and spectacular side canyon. Those so inclined are more than welcome to relax in camp and enjoy the breathtaking views of the stunning Escalante Canyon rather than day hike.’ – Wildland Trekking

We didn’t have time to day hike to the Escalante River, but we enjoyed some time at camp in the later afternoon before going for a little sunset side hike up the sand dunes, for a better look over at Stevens Arch, and it had a great view up above of the campsite. This also gave us a good taste for what the day was going to be like tomorrow. The sand dunes are no joke, especially with a heavy backpack in the morning, and continued elevation gain.

One neat thing about this evening/night was the amount of bats around, don’t let this scare you, they were harmless, and ended up providing us with a lot of laughs. They were circulating around the campsite, swopping low to the ground and we had to dodge them, getting out of their way as they flew close to us.

Day 4:

  • Mileage: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 800 feet
  • Shuttle to St. George: 5-hour drive

‘Following breakfast we’ll break camp and begin our ascend up a long sandy slope. It is a strenuous hike in soft sand to the “crack in the wall,” a narrow crevice we’ll use to escape the canyon’s upper-most cliff wall. From the top we’ll have a brilliant view of the Escalante River and the surrounding canyon system.

After the guide hauls everyone’s backpack over the rim with a rope we’ll hike two miles across the desert to our ending trailhead and our vehicle. Refreshing drinks and a comfy suburban signify the end of our Utah backpacking trip and will get us safely back to St. George.

Please Note: participants must be able to fit through an 18 inch “crack in the wall” on the final day of this tour. To test whether you can fit through, we recommend opening up a door to 18 inches, turning sideways and shuffling through the opening. If you’re unable to, we recommend looking at the Boulder Mail Trail as a great alternative Utah backpacking trip.‘ – Wildland Trekking

What a day this was. I really did enjoy the crack in the wall, it certainly added to the trek. We had to work as a team to get everyone through the crack, and then all the bags up. Our guide Sam went up the crack first to check things up, and checked where would be a good spot to drop a rope down, to haul the bags up, and once that was done reported back. We all dropped our bags on the one side of the crack, and continued through it one by one, as 3 stayed back, 2 travellers and Jessie the guide to assist in tying the bags up one by one also. 3 ladies helped Sam at the top stringing the bags up. I hope the photos help to showcase the ‘art’ and thought put into this process. Once all the bags were up successfully, the 3 ladies at the bottom made their way through the crack and up to join the rest of the group. The views were unreal from up here. One way looking down into the canyon, seeing how high we really climbed, and the other was desert all the way back to the parked vehicle.

We hoped into the shuttles and started our journey back to St.George, but first we made a stop for lunch in Escalante.

We had lunch at the Escalante Outfitters Cafe, where our guides placed orders in advance, so it was quicker once we arrived there. The pizza, the salad, the iced coffees, etc. never tasted better. They also had a wide range of delicious sweets/desserts to choose from. It was such a treat!

We got back in the vehicles and then did the rest of our 3.5 hour drive to St.George. You can enjoy a beautiful picture of myself below, after being in the same clothes in the desert for 4 days. WORTH IT!

We stopped at the hotel quickly for a rinse off/dropped our bags and then headed to find a place for dinner. I recommend reserving a dinner place if it’s on a weekend, especially for a larger group.

This evenings farewell dinner was bittersweet, they always are. It’s at the end of the trip when you really start to feel like you have gotten to know people well, and making all those connections, just in time to have to say goodbye. I know it won’t be goodbye forever though, as I do hope to adventure with these ladies again someday, or meeting up in their home towns, or perhaps showing them around the rockies if they come to visit.

May 15th

I woke up early this morning to get out for a run to explore a bit more of St. George. It is such a cool place and I do hope to return again one day soon to explore it even more. There are so many trails, for running, and biking which would be perfect.

When I returned back to the hotel, we all decided to go to a cafe down the street, called Feel love Coffee (pictured below), and wander around a bit downtown before our shuttle was picking us up at 10am. I would recommend staying ONE more day in St. George if possible so you could check out some of the local shops and walk the streets.

If you have any questions at all about the trip don’t hesitate to reach out, via instagram @brookewillson OR email me and I will do my best to answer them!

Happy trails.

A Week In Iceland

February 17th – 24th, 2022.

The entire group, plus our amazing local guide, Baddi!

The trip finally happened, and was worth the long wait! After a couple postponements due to COVID-19, the trip was finally a go. I had 15 travellers join me. I hosted the trip through a travel company called ‘TrovaTrip‘, where trips are designed and hosted by topic experts. This was my 3rd hosted trip, the first being to Peru in 2019, and to Patagonia in 2020. Iceland was originally supposed to be in February of 2021, but the world had other plans. I like to say that it was all meant to be and that the timing, and travellers were all meant to travel together for a reason.

I am going to be sharing a detailed packing list of what I brought with me on a Winter trip to Iceland, and then go ahead and share a day to day itinerary of what we did, along with some tips for traveling in the country.

Iceland in the Winter is no joke. It’s cold. The temperature may read a certain degree, but then add in the wind and humidity and it does chill you to the bone. Having appropriate layers, and quality gear will certainly help you enjoy your trip a bit more. No one likes to be cold! My bag weighed in at 43lbs (with a 50lb cap at the airport).

Iceland is a country you can travel to and easily use a larger wheeled suitcase for it. Everyone in my group had a large suitcase, as Winter packing is more bulky and heavy. I used this Expedition 34 Duffel 2.0 from Eddie Bauer.

Packing list:


  • Parkas – I brought two with me. Both Eddie Bauer. One shorter red one (Superior 3.0 Down Parka) and one long one (Glacier Peak Seamless Down Duffle Coat). I was going to only pack the shorter red one but was VERY happy I brought a longer one as well, which covered more of my legs, and I found I wore it a lot more walking around the city. With the unpredictable weather having outerwear that is reliable is important, and both good to at least -40C. Both are storm repellent (waterproof) and VERY warm!
  • Down Jacket – I brought a down jacket for hiking (Downlight 2.0 Hooded Jacket). This was a lighter option (which is great as it doesn’t take up weight when packing). It is good to -28.
  • Windbreaker/Rain shell – I packed a jacket for this, but didn’t end up having to use it as I planned to have it incase it rained while hiking, and needed to put it over my down jacket (above).
  • Arcteryx LT Hoody – I packed this to wear on my morning runs. If you don’t plan to run at all I would stick to one ‘puffy jacket’ you would use for hiking/adventuring.


  • Fleece – I packed two – one thinner 1/4 zip, which has a 4 way stretch and breathable and another thicker 1/4 zip, ultra-soft and cozy.
  • Long-sleeves – I packed two casual cotton long sleeves which I wore in the evenings with jeans, just walking around, and to dinner. I also packed two Lululemon long-sleeves for exploring/running. I did get out for morning runs a few times so used one for my runs and then one for my adventures/exploring/hiking.
  • Plaid long sleeve shirt – Perfect to throw over a t-shirt or hoodie (also great for photos if its warm enough some days).
  • T-shirts – I packed two t-shirts to have to wear under my plaid, or under a hoodie for a bit more warmth.
  • Hoodie – I wore a hoodie on the plane (there and back) and would toss it on in the evenings when at the hotel. Can’t go wrong with a cozy cotton hoodie!


  • Leggings – two Lululemon align leggings, and one fleece lined long pair of leggings, from Eddie Bauer.
  • Fleece lined pants – also Eddie Bauer. Polar Fleece-Lined Pull On Pants. Storm repellent, which sheds moisture. SO warm. These pants over top of a pair of leggings and you’ll be cozy in the cold.
  • Windbreaker pants – I brought a pair of Eddie Bauer Guide Pro pants to wear over top of a pair of leggings. Perfect for hiking/day to day adventuring.
  • Jeans – I brought two pairs with me to wear in the evenings.


  • Hiking Boots – Eddie Bauer K-6 Hiking Boot is what I brought over with me. Make sure the hiking boots are water proof and warm, with good grip.
  • Day to Day warm boots – Soft-Moc Fleece Lined Slip-Ons – To wear when not adventuring or hiking/around town. Easily to slip on and off and warm with the fleece. Anything waterproof and fleece lined/warm would be good. There are plenty of options out there, but the waterproof is necessary as it does get wet and chilly.
  • Running Shoes – Waterproof
  • Crampons for your hiking boots – The ice is no joke. Packing a pair of crampons was needed, as we wore them almost daily, t different locations throughout the day. You can rent them in Reyjkavik but if you have your own I advise you bring them!

Other items:

  • Swimsuit – If planning to visit any hot springs or if your hotels have a hot tub/sauna.
  • Underwear – Can never have too many I always say! Packed 10 for a week.
  • Socks – I packed 5 pairs for a week. GOOD wool socks that breathe, and I packed a couple running socks.
  • Toque/beanie – I brought a couple different ones – as we wore them every single day.
  • Mitts/Gloves – I brought two good pairs, one thinner pair of gloves for our hikes and another pair of VERY warm mitts to wear day to day. I made sure my mittens were waterproof!
  • Head Buff/ear warmers- I don’t go anywhere without one or two. Versatile Buffs.
  • Ski goggles – This may seem silly, BUT we all wish we had a pair for the snowstorms/insanely windy days.
  • Hiking poles – depending on how much hiking you plan to do. I didn’t bring mine because the hikes we were doing weren’t ‘crazy’ long or difficult, and I wasn’t planning to have a heavy pack on.
  • Towel – A lighter one if you plan to do your own hot spring visits. Blue Lagoon provides them for you if thats the only one you plan to visit, though there are private hot springs all around the island you can visit too!
  • Backpack – 30L is a good size. I always bring a backpack traveling, on the plane, for my camera gear, laptop etc. I used my backpack everyday for layers, snacks and water.
  • Fannypack – for day to day. I never go anywhere without my fannypack these days.

Most hotels have a blow dryer, if this is something you need (you can check this in advance too – most hotels list this on their amenity list).

Camera gear:

  • Full frame camera – Canon mirrorless RP. With extra lenses. Extra batteries and charger.
  • GoPro – Extra batteries and necessary cords.
  • Iphone – & charging cord.
  • Power adapter – make sure you have the correct one for Iceland!
Photo of an Iceland Power Outlet

‘The power outlets used in Iceland are Type F. This type of outlet is recessed; meaning the faceplate of the outlet is deeper in the wall. Type F outlets and are round with two small holes that fit a Type F electrical plug (also known as a Schuko plug). The Type F plug fits into the outlet has two 4.8mm round pins spaced 19 mm apart. The Type F outlet and plug type are commonly used in Northern European countries. Type C plugs are also used in Iceland and are similar in appearance to Type F, although they are being switched out more and more for Type F.

Electricity in Iceland is 230 Volts with alternating electric currents of 50 cycles per second (50 Hertz).

If you are traveling from the United States or Canada it is important to note that the electrical outputs are half that of Iceland. For example, electrical devices from the United States are usually 120V and 60 Hz so be sure to check the voltage range on your devices. This information can usually be found labeled on the back or bottom of electronic devices.’ – Power Adapter

Day to Day Itinerary

February 17th – Day 1 – Arriving in Reyjkavik – Skuggi Hotel

630am – We all flew in first thing in the morning and got a shuttle to our hotel. TrovaTrip pre booked shuttles for the group, though this can easily be done online. We arrived at our hotel at 8am, which was well before check-in. If you plan to arrive at this time, and are coming from a ways away, with quite a bit of time change, I would advise you email about a potential early check- in to your hotel, OR even pay for a night before so you can check in and get cleaned up, organized, unpacked etc. Our group wasn’t able to check in until 3pm that day, and most coming from 7/8h hours time change, so we were walking zombies around town for 7 hours. Many hotels also serve a buffet breakfast which is convenient!

We loved Skuggi Hotel as it was right in the heart of downtown, and you could easily walk to all the shops and restaurants.

MorningWalking tour of Reyjkavik. Some people booked ahead of time, though ended up paying more then we did when we booked in person, as we weren’t paying a third party. This was a 3 hour walk, about 5kms of easy terrain, in a small group with a great guide.

Lunch – at Kaffi Loki. Located across the street from the Hallgrimskirkja church in downtown Reyjkavik, where the tour started. A traditional Icelandic home style restaurant serving classic Icelandic cuisine.

We checked into our hotel at 3pm and freshened up before dinner. I suggest having a day in the city before you start touring around, and a full day after incase you’re wanting to grab any souvenirs and rest before flying home.

Dinner – Bastard Brew & Food – A 10 minute walk from our hotel.

February 18th – Day 2 – Golden Circle

6am – Solo morning run to explore Reykjavik. I like being able to move my legs a bit before a travel day starts, its also a great way to see new places.

9am – Left the hotel with all our luggage as we were moving to a new hotel for the night.

Thingvellir National ParkWe started at Bingvellir, where we got to see the only place on Earth where tectonic places split apart (here at the pace of almost 2cm per year). This area of Iceland is made up of mountains, lakes and forests (which are no where near like the forests we have in Alberta). You can also find the ruins of historic buildings.

Our group hiked to a Pigvellir waterfall along the trail, which allowed us to stretch our legs a bit.

Pigvellir Waterfall

Geysir Visit – We walked around a geothermic area, and observed and photographed several water sprouts from Strokkur, the most active geyser in Iceland.


Lunch – at the local restaurant across the street from the geyser.

Gullfoss – This was our last stop of the day, where the milky Hvita river drops into a volcanic fissure, displaying Gullfoss, a very powerful waterfall! We spent time walking around it and taking in the views. In the Summer you can walk down closer to it, though in the Winter the trail is blocked off due to the snow and ice/danger below.

The view of Gullfoss (With and without the group)

Transfer from the waterfall to Land Hotel – 1:15 minute drive. On the way we stopped to see some Icelandic horses, which you can see all over Iceland. Many people refer to them as Icelandic ponies but locals don’t love when you call them that. They are indeed ‘horses’. Fun fact: once a horse leaves Iceland it can’t ever come back!

Land Hotel – We LOVED this hotel. It is relatively new, opening a few weeks before COVID hit. The perfect place to watch the northern lights, if the sky is clear and the aurora is on high alert! They have a sauna, and are soon opening a gym. They have a great selection of food at the hotel restaurant too.

February 19th – Day 3 Lava Fields

Our journey continued along the south coast of Iceland. Due to the weather our itinerary had to change a little bit. If you plan to travel Iceland in the Winter you have to come with an open mind and flexibility because plans can change at any time, due to road conditions and weather. I will write up our original plans here:

Breakfast – Complimentary at the Land Hotel.

Lakis Lava Field Sightseeing – The original plan was to do a short afternoon hike in Skaftafell National Park Area, but the weather didn’t allow us too. We instead stopped quickly and walked out onto the lava fields. I recommend hiking here if the weather calls for it and you have the time.

Skogafoss – We did have the opportunity to visit Skogafoss, even though it was crazy winds we were able to get out and see the falls and hike up to the top. I highly recommend crampons, if hiking here in the Winter time. The stairs are quite steep to the top, but it is great seeing it from both angles. The group were such troopers throughout this weather madness.

‘When visiting Skogafoss Iceland in Winter, you must be extremely careful. The combination of the water, snow, and cold coat the rocks at the base of Skogafoss Waterfall with dangerously slippery ice. It is still possible to walk on the ice to reach the base of the waterfall, but you must be aware and be super careful’. – Iceland Trippers

Checked into Hotel Skaftafell at around 5pm. Dinner at the hotel. I went for a little walk around the property with Miguel after dinner.

February 20th – Day 4 – Skaftafel Hotel

The weather was WILD during our time in Skaftafel, with winds up to 200+km/hr, and snow blowing for 2 days, so we ended up changing the itinerary around a little bit, and having to skip out on a couple hikes. We were supposed to hike Svartifoss and in  Hveradalur for a hot springs hike. Even though we had to pass up a couple hikes we made the best of the days!

Morning – I woke up and looked out the window only to see our van trailer flipped over. The wind was blowing so hard all night and we knew we probably were going to be stuck at the hotel all day. THIS ended up being the case.

BreakfastSkaftafell Hotel

After breakfast I headed back to my room for a little full body workout.

As a group we all played some games like ‘Heads Up’ and ‘Fruit Bowl’. Drank a lot of coffee and ate snacks and had some great conversation in the lobby/gathering areas!Lunch – Skaftafell Hotel

Some of us decided to go outside and brave the elements for a little ‘yoga’ session (pictured below), and attempt hiking up a tiny hill. The winds were so strong that I was able to ‘sit’ on the wind. I am sure from the inside of the hotel, looking out some people in it thought we were CRAZY, but we didn’t mind, it was just nice to have some fresh air time and laugh A LOT. It is tough to even put this experience into words (my group can speak to this). Not everyone came for this part, but they all did join on a little hike before dinner.

Fagurhólsmýri Hiking trail – The best part of the Skaftafel hotel is their hiking trail right behind it that leads back to the glacier. It’s about a 15-20 min hike along a well-marked trail to where you can see the glaciers and small lagoon with the mountains in the background. With the wind speeds it took us quite a bit longer to reach the end of the trail. Again everyone in the group joined and together we made it to the top view point. People falling over from the wind speeds, and helping each other up. What memories!

February 21st – Day 5 – Skaftafell National Park, Vatnajokull National Park

7-8am – Breakfast at Skaftafel

9am – Meet in lobby to depart to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

‘Jökulsárlón literally means glacial river lagoon and that is what Jokulsarlo glacier lagoon is, a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. It developed into a lake when the surrounding glaciers started receding into the Atlantic Ocean. Huge blocks of ice break off the glacier and float on the lagoon’. – Iceland Trippers

We wandered around for a bit, took some photos and then 45 minutes later met up with our Ice Cave tour guides for an ice cave adventure! The Ice Cave visit was an optional add on, though everyone chose to partake. The guiding company was ‘Local Guide‘, which I highly recommend.

Lunch – At Glacial River Lagoon – there is a small shop that has sandwiches and hotdogs/drinks.

After visiting the ice caves we had to quickly hop over to ‘Diamond Beach‘, which is on the other side of the highway from the glacial river lagoon. The weather window was small, as a storm was rolling in so we maybe had 20 minutes to explore the beach. SO happy we were able to see it, even if it was for a short time. This was one of my favourite parts of Iceland, when I visited it 7 years ago.

Diamond Beach

We then headed to a new hotel ‘Foss Hotel‘. Checked in and then all had dinner together, and stayed up later playing cards and chatting. I love these trips and the conversation!

February 22nd – Day 6 – Seljalandsfoss, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Vik

Morning workout – A few of us decided to get up early to get a workout in before breakfast.

Kirkjubaejarklaustur Waterfall – Our first stop of the day.

A quick walk from the side of the highway.

Fjardárgljúfur Canyon – a 2 km (1.24 mi) long canyon in the South-East Region of Iceland. The canyon is about 100 meters deep and through it runs a small freshwater stream. It’s known to be one of the most picturesque places in Iceland.

Fun fact, it is best known as the location of Justin Bieber’s video, “I’ll Show you.” Since the video was released, the visitation numbers to this canyon have increased by A LOT!

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – I was so excited to get back to this beach. A must stop. From the black sand itself to the rock pillars/formations it is extremely picturesque. Watch out for the tide, it likes to sneak up on you. I could have easily spent hours here hanging out.

Lunch – The town of Vik – Just down the road from Reynisfjara, is the little town of Vik. A great stop for lunch. We stopped at Smidjan Brugghus, a brew pub, after going up to Myrdal Church, an awesome lookout point above the town.

Seljalandsfoss – A waterfall along Iceland’s southern coast is fed by melting water from the famed glacier- capped Eyjafjallajokull volcano. This powerful waterfall cascades into a pretty meadow. However, the path that runs behind the curtain of water is the main attraction. There you can enjoy a truly unique viewpoint of the waterfall’.

In the Winter the path behind the waterfall is closed due to ice/snow and dangerous conditions.

Drive to Reykjavik – After our stops we then started our drive back to the capital, to check into the same hotel we stayed at the first night.

Farewell Dinner

February 23rd – Day 7 – Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon

Morning run – I love running when I travel, as I am able to see more of the areas in which I am visiting. Myself and two others from the group went for a little 6km in Reykjavik before getting ready for the last day at the Blue Lagoon.

Breakfast – Skuggi Hotel

Blue Lagoon – ‘When visiting Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to unwind after busy days sightseeing. Don’t risk the chance of tickets selling out, and instead, guarantee your spot by pre-booking an entry ticket. This flexible experience allows you to choose from Comfort or Premium packages, and add on transfers if required. Once you get the Blue Lagoon, spend hours relaxing in the mineral-rich geothermal water pools. Guarantee entry to the Blue Lagoon by pre-booking a ticket Spend time relaxing in geothermal outdoor pools Flexible experience—choose from Premium or Comfort entrance Entry includes a towel, drink, face mask and other perks with premium entry’ –

This was the perfect way to end the week trip to Iceland. A way to unwind and just to soak in all the memories and enjoy a few laughs, drinks, and face masks. I never had the chance to make it to the Blue Lagoon during my first trip to Iceland, so this was a treat.

There was a handful of us who decided to stay one more night, so a group got an air bnb together downtown and myself and a friend got a hotel not far from them. We wandered the city together, got hot dogs and reminisced about the week. The group got along so well, which always makes my heart happy! These trips are about connecting with like minded folks. So many come on group trips because they are unable to find others willing to travel with them, or just aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to planning trips, and then finding others who may feel the same.

If you have ANY questions about Iceland, or about group travel in general, feel free to comment on this blog post OR email me directly at

Happy travels!

All Things Running

Running teaches us we are capable of so much more than we ever imagined” – PattiSue Plummer

This blog has been a long time coming… but seeing as SO many of you have questions about running, I felt it was time to address them all here, in ONE place. From finding and maintaining motivation, training for a 5km, what to wear in the different seasons, choosing the right shoe, preventing injuries etc. I do hope this will help you all, or be a starting point, if anything.

  1. My story. How I got into running.
  2. Going from running 400ms to running a 5km.
  3. Fuelling your body and staying hydrated.
  4. Finding the right shoe.
  5. Running attire. Dressing for the weather/season.
  6. Winter Running Tips
  7. Running apps/watch recommendations.
  8. Finding and keeping your motivation.
  9. Injury prevention.
  10. Stretching.
  11. How to increase your speed.

  1. First off, I will tell you a bit about how I got into running…

It all started in the Spring of 2008, my graduating year. In grade 10 I had stopped all sports, soccer and dance, so was not partaking in any exercise on a regular basis, and decided I should start SOMETHING at least. Sooo…. I started running. I figured that was something I could do anywhere, anytime and with little ‘equipment’. Also we have SO many beautiful trails in our city, it was a great way to get out and explore them. I had a pair of running shoes and attire that I figured would work, starting out and I just got out there. I wasn’t able to run consistently for longer then 400m when I started, but at least I was out there, giving it my all. I have already been pretty self motivated, so when I told myself I was going to start this I was determined to keep at it. Consistency is key!

Everyday, or couple days I would go for my run and slowly worked my way up to being able to run for longer and longer durations. I ran on my own. I felt like for MYSELF at the start, running solo was better, as I didn’t have to keep up with anyone else, oh and no one had to see me struggling hard. I was my only competition. I do know lots of people who find motivation in others (which I will address later), but I enjoyed the ‘self time’.

In the fall I got on with the Red Deer College Cross-country running team. It was my first year in post-secondary, attending RDC for my Social Work diploma, and figured, why not? What could it hurt? Maybe I would make a few new friends in the process too. My father was on the RDC team when he attended years ago, and actually had the same running coach as me. My Dad was one of my biggest supporters, with my running. He was SO good, and he encouraged me to push, and go harder. He use to tell me, ‘If you’re not laying on the ground after your race, almost dead, you didn’t run hard enough’ haha. That may sound harsh, but to be honest, I LOVED with encouragement and it was all in good fun. He knew I had it in me. Besides, our coach was pretty chill, and really taught me to LOVE the sport. Yes he wanted us to have great times for our runs, BUT most importantly he wanted us to LOVE running.

I also trained with a couple teammates in Lacombe, with another coach, on the side, who I guess gave us that littttleeee extra push we needed. I remember that during some practices I wanted to give up. Those days that you could taste blood… ya those were hard days haha. BUT I saw the results, and loved it!

We became a little family, the cross-country team. Outside of running we also had team bonding trips, to the mountains, and house gatherings, celebrations etc. I met one of my very best friends on the team, and she is not my maid of honour. Joining the running team was intimidating, but also was one of the best decisions I ever made. It helped balance me outside my studies, and gave me a purpose. Little did I know how much running was going to change my life.

I have raced 5km trail runs, 10km road races, half marathons, and have completed one full. Even though I don’t race as much as I use too, I do have goals! I hope to get into longer distance trail running over the years to come, combining my love for running and the mountains. 40-50km runs is the plan. Running brings me so much joy, and I hope you’re able to find joy in it too.

2. How did I go from running 400ms to running a 5km?

By not giving up. I was committed. Before joining the cross-country team, I ran solo, like I said earlier. Everyday I would push a little more, run a little further. I used light posts to gauge how far I could go. Every time I would go out I would try to run one or two more light posts further. I did not have a running specific watch so I used different landmarks, and my regular watch. I also used different houses, and bridges depending on the area of town I was in. I also never focused on my speed, strictly distance, and pushing further everyday, even if it was slow.

I also would go for ‘run-walks’, meaning I would try to run for 30 second, walk for 30 second, run for 30, walk for 30 and kept at that for a certain amount of time. Eventually I would change it to run for 45, walk for 30, run 45, walk 30. Then run for 1 minute, walk 30 seconds. Eventually I was at the point where I was running for a 5 minutes and only have to walk for 30 seconds, before doing that all over again. From there I kept adding distance. Running for 10 minutes (2kms) and walking 30 seconds, and so on and so on, decreasing the amount of time I spent walking during my runs.

It takes patience. It takes consistency and it takes commitment to conquer longer distances,” – Michael D’Aulerio

Every bit of success I had, I held onto. It is amazing, the feeling of accomplishment and feeling yourself getting better and better at something, because of the time you put in. When I started running, I told myself that I was going to be able to run 5kms non stop, in 4 months time, at the end of Summer (as I started at the beginning of May). Guess what, I did it! I ended up running even further than 5kms (I think it was 8km), non stop in those 4 months, because of my commitment. It takes time and consistency. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Again, when you are starting out, DO NOT worry about how fast/slow you are going, only pay attention to how far, and try pushing further and further. This just gets you out and moving off the start. Once you hit your goal of being able to run that 5kms, if that’s your goal, you can then turn your focus to more speed work, which I have wrote about near the end of the blog.

3. FUEL your body and stay hydrated.

FOOD IS FUEL. Aside from just the training, there all things food related. When I began running, let’s just say I wasn’t always fuelling properly, and paid for it, in injuries. I have learned over the years what my body needs to feel strong. Don’t deplete your body of things it needs, and remember, but because you go our for a run doesn’t mean you can eat EVERYTHING in your house, or think it’s okay to crush that sugar loaded donut daily haha. I am a fan of treating yourself, but just be conscious and choose foods that will benefit you in the long run. I am no EXPERT on this topic, and it has certainly been a learning curve for me over the years.

If you’re concerned about your diet/exercise mix, especially if you are getting more and more into running, and putting on the kms, it doesn’t hurt to meet with a dietician, if you can, about what fuelling your body may look like. Regular doctor check ups are smart too! I find we are all a little different in that sense, depending on our health history, our height, weight, and needs. For example, I LOVE running fasted, in the mornings, and I feel good doing it. Though I also know some people who feel absolutely sick if they don’t eat before a run, and some that can’t even run until the evening, because they need all three meals in them before. I also weigh less then say, my fiance Craig, who needs a lot more food before he runs, and after than I do.

Majority of the time, if I am running in the early morning, I eat a half a banana with some peanut butter. This gets me through. Oh and I always have to have my coffee… and a washroom break before. Yal get my drift. Makes us a little lighter on our feet. I have never taken any pre workout supplements, so I don’t have any advice in that regard. During race season, I will usually have a piece of toast with banana and PB/honey.

If you need to have something to eat before a run, here are some suggestions:

  1. Plain greek yogurt with berries and granola.
  2. Whole-fruit smoothie.
  3. High-protein oatmeal and berries.
  4. Banana with peanut butter and honey – my FAVOURITE.
  5. Apple with almond butter and raisins.
  6. Nut berry energy balls – or other types!
  7. DIY sports drinks – “Just blend water, freshly squeezed citrus juices, sea salt (sodium chloride), and honey, and you have your own carb- and electrolyte-rich blend.”
  8. Homemade granola bars.
  9. Low- fat cottage cheese and dried apricots.
  10. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich – Use whole-wheat bread and natural nut butter.

Click to read the whole article!

Runners World states that, ‘Aside from sodium, getting enough potassium and magnesium is important, and that a deficiency in either mineral can exacerbate the symptoms of dehydration and cause extreme muscle cramps. A well-balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes will ensure you get enough of these nutrients. These sources are particularly good choices: Magnesium: Leafy greens, almonds, pumpkin seeds, tofu, flaxseeds, broccoli, lentils Potassium: Bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, tomatoes, oranges, pomegranate juice’.

Best foods to eat after a run: What I eat after my run is different then what others eat, based on their own person goals, or preferences. Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or just training for long distances… you should be eating different foods. I could easily share what I eat on a day to day basis, but that may not necessarily help you (even though I will share down below). Attached are a couple articles that lists various food options, depending on your goals.

How To Eat to Run: Fuelling the body for performance – Map My Run Blog

What I like to eat post run/throughout the day: Rice cakes, with tuna, avocado, melted cheese and pepper. This is my go too snack! Also love a good omelette, or yogurt with berries/granola, apple and peanut butter, hummus and veggies/pita chips/crackers, or a real fruit smoothie. For dinner we like to make sure half our plate is veggies. Then we have a protein and a starch. Craig laughs at me cause I always need a little ‘cold with my hot’, meaning a cold salad with a hot meal. We mix up our meals with salmon, chicken, steak, ground turkey, and rice, pasta, and we eat a lot of sweet potato. Lettuce wraps are also one of our favourites. If I plan to do a long run the next day, usually I will toss on a little bit more of that pasta on my plate. My diet really isn’t that complicated, and I have figured out what works for me. I eat clean/healthy most of the time but certainly am not afraid to treat myself. I love a piece of chocolate everyday after dinner, or some chips/popcorn. Pizza night here and there is NEEDED. It is all about that balance. Hope this gives you a bit of an idea to start out.

Don’t forget to Hydrate

Don’t just hydrate the night before your run, or the day of, instead you should be hydrating all week. Make it part of your routine. Try to avoid chugging a lot of water RIGHT before you go out, as it can be harder on the stomach and cause cramping. Runners World states: ‘Aim to drink about 2-3 mL per pound of body weight at least 4 hours before your run‘. If you are running in the am, have a small glass before you go out. Listen to your body. Headaches, cramping, fatigue, or lowered heart rate may be signs of dehydration. Lastly, consider adding an electrolyte mix to your water or incorporating a salt tablet during long runs or races’. Pedialyte also has Advanced Care Electrolyte solutions to rehydrate, by the litre and individual packets.

People also ask me, ‘How much water do you bring with you on your long runs’, ‘Do you carry any sort of water pack while running’. I don’t actually. Though some people NEED the water during their runs. It changes from person to person. So if you need those sips of water, buy a running water bottle hip belt, or run vest. I JUST recently got into longer trail runs and purchased a running vest (Salomon Advanced Skin 8L), the one I am wearing below is an older Osprey pack. If I am out for hours and hours, or all day for that matter, that’s when I feel I need the hydration and electrolytes. Oh and there are pockets for snacks. YUM. Trail running is a whole new ball game I feel…

4. Choosing the right shoe for you.

So many people ask me, what shoes do you run in!? Well, I can give you my shoe of choice, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. We all have different foot types, strides, running styles etc. That’s why there are so many types of shoes out there! If you really want to get into the sport it is SO important to be in a shoe that is right for YOU. Stopping be a run specific store and talking to a shoe expert would be a great place to start, especially if you are training for a 5km, or any type of distance race, and are going to be in them often. Your shoe can make or break your enjoyment, and can be one way to help prevent injury.

I ran in Asics Nimbus for years and years, as that is what I was recommended, and so many others on the team ran in, though eventually my body was telling me something was up. I was getting injured. I had achilles problems, and my hips weren’t so happy. I went to a run clinic and met with something who told me that I was in the wrong shoe, so they switched me over to a Mizuno Rider. Our feet change and that’s okay! The Mizuno shoe worked for me and was my go-to up until about 3 years ago.

On Running had reached out, asking if I wanted to partner, and try out some shoes. I was hesitant at first, because the Mizuno Rider was working for me, and if you are a runner reading this you understand our hesitation when switching brands, moving away from something that works. But I did say heck with it, I will try them out, but I wasn’t going to promote the shoes until I tried them for a few months and figured out if my body agreed with them. Wellll…. lets just say I never went back to Mizuno. I am dedicated to my On Running shoes and haven’t had an injury since switching.

Here are the types I use for various running terrain/seasons:

Pavement runningCloud Flyer – A lightweight shoe with supreme support and cushioning. I wear these in the Summer months on pavement, yet haven’t put them on in the Winter months, as I tend to need more grip.

Trail runningCloudventure Peak – I wear these year round when trail running, and in the snow. A lightweight trail-racing shoe with Missiongrip, along with the Cloudventure – A lightweight trail running shoe that’s big on cushioning and grip. The grip is amazing and I highly recommend them for Winter running, when it gets slippery out.

All three styles also come in a waterproof option, if you live somewhere where it rains a lot.

You can complete the Shoe Finder questionnaire to figure out which On Running shoe would work for you, based on your needs. ‘Whether you need a shoe for cross-town commutes, marathons or mountain ascents, ensure premium fit and comfort‘, by completing the questionnaire – On Running.

It is important to monitor your shoe life as well. It can vary from person to person, but usually shoes have to be replaced after 300-500miles depending, or every 4-6 months if you’re running 20 miles a week. Though just pay attention to your body, and how it’s reacting. I have ran 250kms a month, for the last 5-6 months in my one pair of Cloudventures and my body still feels great. I guess I also owe kudos to the On Running brand. The kicks are holding up SUPER well. If your arches are blown, or there are holes in the sides, and you have pain in your hips or ankles, back etc. Perhaps it is time for new shoes, though try not to let your body get to that point and be proactive. New shoes may be costly, but it’s sure worth it. Tracking your mileage on a calendar would help with this.

5. Running attire. Dressing for the weather/season.

Okay… this is a topic MANY of you asked for me to touch base on.

Summer/Winter training

Your attire can certainly make or break your run, depending on the weather or temperature. I have learned this over the years, and have grown my running wear collection, to better meet the various temperatures/conditions outdoors. First off, I do want to note that we all are different, and some of you may get colder easily and need more layers then I do outdoors. I get hot SUPER easy, so there for am conscious of wearing too many layers when I go out. This will be a learning process to start, but I promise, you will figure it out. I am now able to just check the weather app, the temperature, along with the wind (ALWAYS checking the wind speed), and the ‘feels like’ temperature. From there I dress appropriately.

I am sharing my own layering/attire for the temperatures/seasons, so just remember that, when reading. You may have to adjust a bit, accordingly. I have been a ‘Lululemon girl’ since I started running, and have sworn by their gear. I have been wearing some of the same items since college, so over ten years and they’re still in great shape. So even though is may be pricier, I find it worth the investment.

Summer/Indoor training:

I sweat a lot when it is hot out so I like to have gear that is sweat wicking, light, breathable, non chaffing (so seamless helps), and not too tight to my body. Try to avoid cotton if you can. Nylon, polyester, elastane, are all great materials.

Running shorts:

  • Lululemon – Low-rise Hotty Hot Short II 2.5″ – Designed for running. They come in a 4″ as well, and a high-rise version, if you prefer those. They have built in liner, a continuous drawcord, a discreet zipper pocket, a secret stash pocket in the liner and reflective details.
  • Lululemon Track That High-Rise Short 3″ lined – Designed for running. The waistband lies flat and won’t dig, a continuous drawcord, built in liner, and a side zipper pocket. There is also a 5″ version.

Tank tops/t-shirts:

  • Lululemon – Swiftly Tech Racerback, and the Sculpt Tank, which is designed for running and training. I like to have both length/fit options. Both are sweat wicking, quick drying, stretchy, and co comfy. The sculpt tank sits below the waistband, which allows for more coverage, and is an easy, loser fit.
  • On-Running – Performance t-shirt

Sports bra:

  • Lululemon Energy Bra – for B to D cups. I wear this by itself sometimes too, for indoor workouts or outside running and hiking when it is too hot for a tank over. It is extremely comfortable. Great support, with the band and back straps. If you neemore/less
  • support Lululemon has many other options.


  • Bliz – Mattrix sport glasses
  • Goodr which are a more affordable option

Also lets talk socks for a second… if you are like me and your feet sweat a lot, make sure you have a few good running specific socks. 95% nylon, which allow your feet to breathe easier. Nothing like sweaty, chaffing feet, or socks that ride down your foot while you are out. Some people prefer a higher sock, so the lip of your shoe doesn’t rub against your skin (depending on your shoe choice).

Spring/Fall training:


My three go-to long sleeve tops are:

  • Lululemon – Swiftly Tech long-sleeve, I have it in probably 6 colours. It is designed for running and training. Again, minimal seams to reduce chaffing, lightweight, breathable, sweat-wicking and added elastane which improves stretch and shape retention. Also, they have thumbholes, which I love in a long sleeve top. I also have one thicker swiftly, and wear it if I need even more warmth.
  • Eddie Bauer – High-Route Grid Fleece. I love the 1/4 zip, as I can do it up, or unzip it if I get to hot. It is four way stretch, and fleece lined, so it is a bit warmer on its own, but still breaths well. Sometimes I layer the Lululemon swiftly tech under it was added warmth. Oh and again… thumbholes. The chest zip pocket is great to throw keys in, money, bank cards etc.
  • Sweaty Betty – Athlete Seamless Long-sleeve – very similar to the Lululemon Swiftly Tech long-sleeve.

When it is a bit cooler I often toss on:

  • A vest – Eddie Bauer Microtherm Down Vest which keeps my core warmer, but also allows my arms to breathe. I have been wearing it for the last 5 years and love it. The stretchy side panels allow for breathability, and mobility.
  • Thin jacket – Eddie Bauer Sandstone Backbone Jacket – which I toss on if it’s a bit cooler/windy.
  • On Running – Trail Breaker Long-sleeve – 1/4 zip. Thumb holes and a watch window. ‘Featuring zonal water repellency and ventilation, the Trail Breaker is engineered for running through the rain‘ – On Running.

Rain jackets: