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Adventures for All

Category Archives: Adventures

Getting off the beaten path – do-it-yourself and organized adventures welcome!

Visiting Filming Locations Around the World

filming locations

One of Iceland’s many waterfalls. But this one freezes in winter to become The Wall in the HBO series “A Game of Thrones.”

Years ago, I got hooked on A Game of Thrones. I was surprised to see HBO take the ambitious step of turning A Game of Thrones into a series – and doing a pretty good job of it too. Sure, some of my favorite background characters didn’t make the cut; a few situations changed too. But overall, HBO did a nice job preserving the essence of A Game of Thrones.

My first glimpse of The Wall, which the Night’s Watch guards to protect the realm from all sorts of encroaching bad stuff, added some fun for me. I realized that I’d been to there in-person. That revelation made me think of movie and TV filming locations I’ve visited in my travels. These were the first three that came to mind.

The Wall from A Game of Thrones

The real-life version of The Wall is Godafoss, a waterfall between Akureyri and Myvatn in northern Iceland. I visited in summer, long before the first movie crews arrived to turn it into a filming location for A Game of Thrones. So what appears on your TV screen as an icy monstrosity 750 feet tall was considerably smaller, and flowing with milky-green water. I admire the creativity of the people who decide on locations for A Game of Thrones. I wouldn’t have looked at Godafoss and said “this is The Wall.”

filming locations

Climb Mt. Ngauruhoe – it’ll be one of the coolest things you ever do.

And I know just about everyone hated Prometheus. I was less harsh since I’m not an Aliens fanboy. I saw the problems with it, but there were still parts I enjoyed – like the opening credit sequence, which pans over the landscape you’d see in the first stage of the Laugavegur trek. I annoyed my friends by chanting “I camped there, I camped there!”

Mordor and Mount Doom
I’m not a big Lord of the Rings fan. But the scenery is pretty epic. You can see Middle Earth filming locations throughout New Zealand – all the locations are there, and I’ve been to many of them. But nothing is cooler than saying you’ve climbed Mount Doom – in real life, it’s called Mount Ngauruhoe. To get there, you have to hike through the Rangipo Desert, which is also Mordor. I still keep meaning to go back and watch the corresponding movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

filming locations

Follow in the footsteps of the man in the hat.

If you like Hercules:The Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess, you can scope out many of their locations in New Zealand, too. Unfortunately, you’re not likely to run into Bruce Campbell.

Indiana Jones on the Run
Raiders of the Lost Ark gets off to a rolling start, with Indiana Jones out-sprinting a giant stone marble that wants to squash him flat. He hightails into an amphibious plane and flies to safety.

You can kayak up that river with a visit to Kauai. It’s called the Hule’ia River, and it’s a major point for tourism in Kauai. I’m a big fan of Kauai since it’s more laid-back than anywhere else I visited in Hawaii. It’s mind-bogglingly green and verdant, and the Kauai topography doesn’t stay flat very long. Add the Raiders of the Lost Ark factor, and it’s obvious why so many film crews choose to work in Kauai.

Things I Learned at Primitive Living Skills Class

This weekend, I took a primitive living skills course at the Aboriginal Living Skills School. The class, called “The Provident Primitive,” started at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. We returned to the school in Prescott at about 6 p.m. the next day. Cody Lundin, who you may have heard of from the television show “Dual Survival,”Continue Reading

My Experience at the 2014 World Cup

This afternoon, Germany just gave Brazil a 7-1 hiding in the 2014 World Cup semifinal. I can only imagine the anguish in Brazil right now – especially since I just had the chance to visit Brazil during the Group Stages. So it’s a great moment to share a few of the great things I sawContinue Reading

New Estrella Trails a Bit of a Mystery

The people who built the FINS trails in the Estrella community of Southwest Phoenix are up to their old tricks again – but this time, they seem to be building new Estrella trails with the blessing of landowners. I went out to FINS in late April for one of my rare West Valley forays; it’s aContinue Reading

Titan Missile Museum Tour Taps Cold War Memories

The Titan Missile Museum tour is perfect those of us who have forgotten – and for those of us who never knew – the Cold War. Some of us (not me!) will recall the “is this the end?” tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis. People my age will think back to Regan-era rhetoric, the StarContinue Reading

McDowell Sonoran Preserve Mountain Biking

A year has made a big difference for Scottsdale, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and its mountain bike trails. Back then, I took my first ride on its new trails near Brown’s Ranch Trailhead. And I had some harsh words. Since then, the trailhead has opened. Most of the trails have some sort of signage. MoreContinue Reading

All Nippon Airways Asks “Is Japan Cool?”

Really, All Nippon Airways doesn’t need a website to answer the question “Is Japan Cool?”. The company knows the answer: yes to the fourth power, Japan is cool. So what’s the deal here? Well, it’s to find out what’s absolutely the coolest of the cool about Japan. It asks readers “Is Japan Cool?” by ratingContinue Reading

Halong Bay: Why You Shouldn’t Go – and Why You Should

Halong Bay isn’t quite Lake-Havasu-On-Spring-Break crowded. But it’s not far off. By nightfall of our first day, we’re anchored among hundreds of other boats holding anywhere from 20 to 100 passengers. Some look fresh from the factory, while others sport worn, weathered wood and a distinctly “seen better days” look. Our Christina Cruise is somewhereContinue Reading

Stress-Free Travel and Travelers Versus Tourists

Some travel bloggers love to debate the difference between “travelers” and “tourists.” Nearly every single idea I’ve read about this implies that tourists are lower on the evolutionary scale than travelers – there’s room for both, in my view. But I don’t want to be what I consider a tourist. My goals are just different.Continue Reading

Is Spring Hikers Versus Mountain Bikers Season? No.

Dear Hikers, Hi! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood mountain biker. Look, I want you to have a good time on the trails. I want your children to have a good time on the trails. And yes, your pets, too. We can all enjoy ourselves – it’s not really a question of hikers versus mountain bikers.Continue Reading