“The mountains are calling and I must go” – . John Muir

I have always loved mountains. Perhaps it is their breathtaking beauty or their earthy mystique or even the challenge of getting from the ground on up atop a mountain that lures me to love them so much. I’m not sure what it is about mountains but I long to be near them, in them and a part of them. I love to hike them, climb them, ski them and just see them. If I could pick one place to be, I’d be in the mountains.

Unfortunately we don’t really have mountains in Minnesota. The highest peak, Eagle Mountain, in Northern Minnesota is only a meager 2,301 feet (701 m) tall. So when the mountains are calling, I must board a plane and fly to them. I am beginning to get those itchy feet again, longing for lacing up my hiking boots, throwing on my pack and heading to the mountains. I’m not sure which ones are calling me now. There are the Himalayas in Bhutan and India that I long to see but don’t have the two-three weeks available to climb them. There are the unknown peaks of the Peruvian Andes. And there are even those beautiful Canadian Rockies that call my name thanks to all those Alberta bloggers and Instagrammers I follow.

There are no immediate plans to go to the mountains so instead I will reflect on some of my most favorite mountains I’ve had the luxury of being atop of.

July 2015 – Mount Kilimanjaro

Me in front of the mighty beast, Mount Kilimanjaro

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro TanzaniaBase Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro TanzaniaBase Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro TanzaniaBase Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

On top of Uhuru Peak Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

On top of Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro July 2015

February 2015 – Snowbird in Utah

Snowbird Ski Resort Utah

Snowbird Ski Resort Utah

Me and daughter

November 2014 – The Bolivian Andes

Condoriri trailhead Bolivia

My dad and I at the start of our first hike, to Mount Jaillaico (16,800 feet)

Condoriri trailhead Bolivia

Climbing up to top of Austria Peak

Condoriri trailhead Bolivia

Almost there!

Condoriri trailhead Bolivia

And we made it! Here we are on top of the world at 17,698 feet/ 5396 m

August 2012 – Vanoise National Park in the French Alps 


November 2011 – The Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China, China

The Great Wall of China

November 2010 Annapurna Trek, Nepal 

The top of the Annapurna Pass in Nepal

Argentina  – November 2009

My first big trek to Peru – November 2001

My Dad and Me at Machu Picchu circa 2000


So now I’m wondering, what mountain do I go to next? They are calling me once again……

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop




    1. Thanks so much! It was fun to put this list together as it has reminded me of all the beautiful mountains I’ve seen and the ones I’ve yet to discover. 🙂

    1. Thanks Arv! Yes he brought me hiking ever since I was a toddler. He’d carry me up the hills. Now we can go together and it is very special indeed. I’m even getting my kids to love hiking too! 🙂

      1. It’s great to hear this Nicole. He has inculcated a great way of life for his kids and now you are doing the same. Great family…Family that hikes together …stays together! awesome…

      2. Oh thanks Arv! I would love to someday go hiking in India. There are lots of amazing hikes there. Dreaming of the Valley of Flowers. Just have to wait for the kids to get older as it is hard to get away for that long. But I’m longing to explore more of India.

      3. Thanks so much! Wish I had the opportunity to go to India. It is so busy now with the kids but someday I dream of doing a trek there!

  1. I did envision your mountaintop experiences and the photos you’ve shared from them while I was making my post response, but I have never been to these global high points. Mine are the American variety, some quite local. Nevertheless, mountains always give me that extra boost skyward and elevate my spirits.

    1. I haven’t climbed many peaks here. I’ve done the Eagle Mountain hike countless times on the north shore of Lake Superior and we recently did Harney Peak in South Dakota as a family. I would love to hike in the Pacific Northwest, And Colorado someday. Yes mountains always elevate the spirits and make you feel magic! 😌

  2. Lovely post Nicole, and magnificent Pictures (as always), I know what you feel!
    You must try South America again. I know you were in Machu Picchu and Bolivia, and experienced how wonderful this part of the world is. Some suggestions? If so, think about Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador; Huascaran National Park in the Cordillera Blanca Peru (so many amazing hiking and trekking choices here); Fitzroy in El Chalten Argentina; or, may be, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. You will not regret nor forget, I promise!

    1. Great minds think alike Jaime! I actually have done Torres del Paine in 2000 and Fitz Roy too! Loved it! I have wanted to do the Cordillera Blanca in Peru! That was one we were thinking of actually. My dad and husband attempted Cotopaxi but didn’t have a good guide and decided to turn back after they had to try to risk their lives over the deep ice crevices. I have never been to Ecuador though or Colombia which also has hiking. I seem to really love what I’ve seen in South America so far!

      1. It really was Nicole! It was just the last two days of our trip to Peru and it was a bit hasty. It was a two days hiking from the Hascaran National Park entrance, near Huaraz town. The 1st day, a moderate trekking to Cebolla Pampa where we past the (very cold!) night in a tent. The 2nd day , starting very early, at about 5 am, the round trip trekking to Laguna 69, getting back to the camp at about 5 pm, to return by car to Huaraz.

      2. Sounds awesome. My dad and I are thinking of possibly going to hike in Peru. Just haven’t figured out the details yet. I will keep you posted!

  3. Well, we are certainly birds of a feather on mountains! I am a mountain mama from way back, and I can’t wait to get back to the heights myself. It won’t be for a while, I fear, with the new move, an old dog, and a sick mother-in-law, but it’s always top-of-mind. My next one might be in the Ladakh area of the Indian Himalayas, but who knows? Sometimes another place catches my fancy and off I go!

  4. Hello Nicole!
    Such stunning scenery captures in your inspiring photos. You have had a beautifully ‘large’ life in this word. Simply awesome. And have I missed something because I’m in suspense about ‘the surprise tomorrow’✨🙋

      1. I’ll look forward to it whenever you get around to posting, Nicole. In the meantime… I’m staying tuned ✨🌸

      2. Just posted it Di! Do you have waterfalls like this near you? On another note, I just saw the first set of buds today on the trees. Oh I can’t wait for spring!

      3. Awesome Nicole… I’ll catch up today!
        And those first signs… they are special. Enjoy them 🌺🌸🍃🌿

  5. What amazing photos from so many wonderful mountain tops. You make me want to get my hiking boots on. I’m sure you’d love many of the beautiful mountains in Norway. Not has high as the Himalayas 😉 but amazing views. Looking forward to seeing where your boots take you next.

  6. You DO get around girl!!! Love the shots with the clouds and tents – and am very envious of your shot with your dad. Mine gifted me with my love of nature and art but passed away before we could have enjoyed traveling together. That must have been wonderful.

    1. Oh thank you Tina. I don’t know if you remember but a few years back he had cancer and he came through it and we went hiking in Bolivia. It is definitely a gift.

  7. I know exactly what you mean about mountains Nicole. And this is a wonderful collection of photos. I don’t remember all the mountains I’ve climbed, but they do include Cotopaxi, Macchu Pichu, and many in different parts of the Canadian Rockies that don’t even have names. I’m like you – I’d love to go climb a mountain again. Soon!

    1. Thank you. Hope you are doing well with the little one. I remember those infant years and they are hard but it gets so fun around a year. Enjoy!

      1. That’s alright! I know how life gets with children. He is adorable by the way. I love that age when they smile so much. Enjoy this time! It is very special!

      2. Just got back from Costa Rica with the family. My kids first big trip out of the country and it was absolutely wonderful. I have months worth of blogging to do. 🙂

      3. Sure of course! Landed in Liberia and took five hour drive south to Manuel Antonio Park. Then up north to Arenal Volcano and Rio Celeste. Amazing trip. Can’t wait to share it all!

  8. ‘Climb Every Mountain’ is the song that came into my mind whilst reading your post and looking at your wonderful photos, Nicole. I’m sure you’ll be off on another adventure before too long. 🙂

  9. As a kid who grew up in the foothills of the Andes, I share your love of mountains. I don’t know whether it’s the expansive views or the thin, pure air or the sense of being utterly alone … but there’s nothing quite like it. Oddly enough, though, as you ponder your next big mountaineering adventure, your post has me pining for Eagle Mountain! Even if it’s a molehill compared to the places you’ve captured in your GORGEOUS photos. 😉

    1. Wow that must have been quite a magical childhood! How did you end up growing up there? Sounds amazing. Yes, Eagle Mountain is one of my favorites and we do it every year. Looking forward to our annual summer trip up to Lutsen so we can do Eagle mountain with the kids and our dog. 🙂

      1. My dad’s corporate job took us to the wildest places! When my family finally settled in the Midwest no one believed my stories about the bugs in the rainforest or the deep-blue color of the sky in the Andes. But you know … you can vouch for me. 🙂 Although it’s tempting to say sometimes that Minnesota pales by comparison, a trip to the North Shore always disabuses me of that notion. So glad the same is true for you too …

      2. Pretty fascinating upbringing. Have you written about it on your blog? Would love to read stories. Yes, I LOVE the North Shore and last summer we discovered Ely which I love too. There is so much beauty in the world, even right in our backyard! 🙂

      3. Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t believe that tiny plane you flew on. I bet you have a ton of stories from four years living in Peru as a child! Pretty amazing and yes going back would be pretty cool.

      4. In hindsight I can’t believe my whole family climbed into that tiny plane, either! It was pretty bouncy; only my dad and my youngest sister managed not to puke. 🙂

    1. Thanks! So glad you enjoy the pics! Hiking has never been that hard for me. I handle altitude well so that helps. It is the one sport I can still do fairly well as I injured myself when I ran a marathon so now it is only short runs. Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the pics!

  10. Inspiring as usual Nicole. The mountains call me too but I haven’t been to any that look quite as spectacular as those you’ve visited here. Gorgeous post and wonderful memories to look back on. xo

  11. Hello Nicole! Your photos are inspiring, there really is nothing like climbing on a mountain top and only someone who stood there and admired the view from above can understand how it feels like.

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