This year, we partnered with Outside Magazine, Danner Boots, Big Agnes, & Visit Bend, to bring you the “Enjoy Anywhere Contest.” Since we had recently released Pacific Wonderland Lager, a beer that pairs well with every adventure, we thought this contest was the perfect way to celebrate. We asked you to show us your “wonderland/outdoor adventures,” and for three months, we received some absolutely amazing photos submitted to the contest! With 2,739 total uploads, it was difficult for the judges to choose, but a winner was selected!
Katherine, or @katstillings on twitter, from Washington, DC is the WINNER!
Her stunning image was shot while exploring glacial ice caves in Iceland! We asked her to tell us more about her experience and she was happy to share this with us…
“Little did I know when I first started ice climbing in Minnesota (thanks to a Groupon), years later I would find myself in exploring glacial ice caves in Iceland.
Commonly referred to as the land of fire and ice, for any outdoor adventurer, Iceland should easily be in your top five places to visit. On what was my seventh trip (clearly I have an infatuation), my spouse and I took what has become our usual route to the southeast coast, exploring black sand beaches, fantastic waterfalls, winding canyons, awesome crags, and of course, exploring Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe (by volume).
In order to get the fullest experience from our trip we booked a tour with the family-run Local Guides of Vatnajökull. For both novice and experienced ice climbers and mountaineers alike, I couldn’t recommend a better company to book through.
The day started out with a gear check and game plan with our guide, Snorri, one of the most knowledgeable guides I’ve met to date. After a few days of high winds, gusting up to 70 miles per hour, the weather gods were smiling in our favor. Not only did we have low winds, we also had sunny skies, mild temperatures and a big enough window of time to allow for a fair amount of glacier travel. We zigged-zagged across the glacial tongue, searching for places to traverse across each crevasse, heading further and further into the glacier until we reached our destination.
After rappelling about 20 feet into the cave, I was surrounded by layers of intersections of blue – light, dark, and almost translucent. With stable ground to walk on, we explored the cave. Each new angle presented a different mosaic of blues. The lighting was perfect – this photo was taken with an iPhone (no joke and there’s video to prove it). Like the rest of the country, the scenery is so stunning it literally can’t help itself. It was definitely an experience that will be hard to match!
Probably the most difficult thing that day was to wrap up the trip and return back to our hotel. That said, in addition to the amazing landscape, Iceland also has some pretty fantastic beer you can reward yourself with after a day of hiking/climbing. In the past few years there has been a significant increase in microbreweries and craft beers, several which take advantage of unique local ingredients, such as arctic thyme and bilberries. Probably my favorite beer-related fact for Iceland is that “Beer Day” is celebrated annually on March 1st, in honor of the elimination of a 74-year prohibition of beer which lasted from 1915-1989. Definitely a holiday a cause worth celebrating!
So if you haven’t already – start planning your trip. Go for the scenery. Go for the beer. And of course, go for some amazing experiences. Skál!”
Congrats to Kat! We’ll see her soon when she claims her prize of a trip to Bend for some new adventures, tasty beer, and some awesome gear! Oh, and catch this image in the October issue of Outside Magazine…
Original Image Below: