Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada

20 of Our Favorite Adventures from 2015

This past year has been a whirlwind of adventure! We’ve been based in St. Paul, Minnesota, but the majority of our year has been spent on the road either creating video projects for clients or for our own adventures. It’s always fun to reflect on the year as it closes, so we wanted to share our favorite adventures and experiences with you all.

Due to the craziness of the past year, we still have plenty of stories that have yet to be shared, so stay tuned for more details on the below adventures that I haven’t had a chance to write about.

Snowmobiling in Colorado

We both grew up in Minnesota, so snowmobiling was a pretty common winter activity; however, snowmobiling in the mountains was a completely different experience. As we sped through the Rocky Mountains surrounded by snow-drenched trees, we felt like we were dreaming.

Snowmobile Tour with Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge, Colorado

Dog Sledding in Colorado and Utah

Dog sledding has been high on our list of dream adventures for quite some time, and this past year, we were able to go for not one, but two different rides. Each experience was extremely different, but there were several different aspects in each tour that we really loved. Utah was a private excursion with just the two of us and our guide—we flew through the mountains as our guide drove the sled, and we really got to focus on filming (which is something we love!). Our guide was fantastic—we learned so much about dog sledding and heard entertaining stories the entire way. But, in Colorado, the scenery was spectacular. This tour was a bit different since we were with a group of people and weren’t on the dogsled the entire time, but when we were on the dogsled, we drove it ourselves and had complete control, which was so much fun!

Dog Sledding with Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge, Colorado

Food Tour in Italy

You can’t go to Italy and not eat your weight in delicious morsels, so the first thing on our to do list was a food tour through the Emilia Romagna region. We visited small producers of Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar to see how each one was made and taste plenty of samples. We also made a stop at the Ferrari Museum before heading to a local restaurant for one of the best meals we’ve ever had. It was a mouth-watering day that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Viator Food and Museo Ferrari Tour of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, Italy

Robot Restaurant in Japan

Japan is a country full of crazy contrast, and the Robot Restaurant definitely played into the wacky, futuristic side of the culture. The evening was filled with neon flashing lights, scantily clad dancers, blood pumping music, dancing robots, and completely bizarre scenes and sets. While the food left a bit to be desired, the show overwhelmed our senses and left us laughing in confusion and joy. We still haven’t fully processed what actually went down that evening.

Robot Restaurant, Tokyo, Japan

Canoeing at Moraine Lake

We had the chance to visit Banff National Park twice this past year, and we went canoeing on Moraine Lake both times. It’s a bit on the expensive side for an hour rental (about $50), but we loved it so much the first time, we had to splurge again on our second visit. The water was crystal clear and aqua blue—it was so gorgeous that it didn’t seem real. We paddled in awe as we stared at the mountains, glaciers and forests surrounding us.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada

White Water Rafting in Colorado

Another activity that has been on our wish list for a very long time was white water rafting. We had the chance to head out on the Arkansas River and paddle down Browns Canyon—it was a wild ride with a great group and every bit as thrilling as we hoped. Next time we want to go down even more extreme rapids!

White Water Rafting with River Runners in Buena Vista, Colorado

Camping at Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is located in our home state of Minnesota, and this year marked our first visit to the gorgeous region. The park is made up of more water than land, and campsites are boat up only. We had the chance to borrow a small boat from Ebel’s Houseboats, and spent the night in a beautifully secluded campsite after a full day of exploring the park. Our car was an hour away by boat, and as we went to light a fire to cook dinner, we realized we forgot our lighter and matches. Thankfully, we were able to flag down the only boat that passed by that evening, and they were kind enough to lend us their lighter so we could eat!

Camping at Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Staying in Ryokan and Visiting the Snow Monkeys

Another exciting accommodation experience was our night staying at a Ryokan in Japan. The hot tub bathing snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park brought us to the charming town of Shibu Onsen, and the entire two days were a blast. We loved staying in a traditional Japanese accommodation, taking an onsen, and visiting the snow monkeys. It all made the long journey to get there more than worth it.

Snow Monkey Park, Jigokudania Yaen-Koen, Japan

Eating all the Ramen in Japan

We are ramen obsessed. And, our trip to Japan only made matters worse. There is something about the rich bowl of noodles and broth that makes us salivate on cue. While in Japan, we frequented Ichiran Ramen, an adorable and unique experience that focuses solely on ramen. You order from a machine and are handed your bowl through a little window at your individual booth. I want to return to Japan just for another bowl of this goodness. We also made a stop at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, where we sampled different varieties of soup from various regions of the country. I think we filled our quota over our 10 day visit, but we still can’t get enough!

Ichiran Ramen, Kyoto, Japan

Tea Ceremony in Kyoto

A last minute decision led us to a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, Japan. We watched the beautiful and reverent ceremony before learning how to prepare our own cup of matcha tea. It was so peaceful and relaxing, and we left feeling refreshed with a new outlook on Japanese culture. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of our favorite experiences from the entire trip to Japan!

Tea Ceremony, Kyoto, Japan

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

When we were looking for adventure activities in Nova Scotia, we came across something we had never heard of before: tidal bore rafting. We just had to check it out and I’m so glad we did, even though it was a freezing cold morning. The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world, which creates crazy tide pools in the Shubenacadie River. We hopped in a motorized raft and flew upriver through the rapids over and over again. It was unlike anything we’d ever done before and it was so exhilarating.

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia, Canada

Angels Landing Hike

When we made our way to Zion National Park, we just had to hike the 5 mile roundtrip trail called Angels Landing. It is frequently listed as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, and after completing the hike, I can see why! The last portion of the hike consists of a narrow trail with no guardrails, and an almost 2,000 foot drop off on either side. It’s sure to get your blood pumping with adrenaline and the views from the top are well worth the terrifying path to get there!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Ice Climbing in Boulder

After ice climbing on a glacier in Iceland, we knew it was an activity we wanted to try again. So, when we spent some time in Colorado last winter, we signed up for another ice climbing lesson in Boulder. We made our way to a frozen waterfall in the mountains, and spent a couple of hours trying to scale the ice. It was much more difficult this time around, but it was still so much fun.

Ice Climbing in Boulder, Colorado

Sandboarding on Sand Dunes

Another Colorado adventure that we loved was sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I would have never expected that this could be done in Colorado, and that made it even more exciting. We hiked up the dunes and flew down on sandboards and sand sleds, and we left absolutely covered in sand from head to toe!

Sandboarding and Sand Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

Kayaking the San Juan Islands

We set out on a bright and sunny morning to kayak with whales, but instead we saw seals, jellyfish, and plenty of birds. Even though we didn’t get to see any Orcas, we still had a great day kayaking in the San Juan Islands. The water was calm, the sky was clear and we had some great company to paddle alongside.

Kayaking the San Juan Islands in Washington

Snow Tubing in Utah

This was such a simple activity, but we really enjoyed every minute of it. While we were in Park City, Utah, we made our way to Gorgoza Park for a bit of childish fun on the slopes. As the evening progressed, the tubing lanes got icy and we caught plenty of air as we flew over the bumps on the hill.

Snow Tubing at Gorgoza Park in Park City, Utah

Hot Air Ballooning in Sedona

The scenery in Sedona makes the perfect backdrop for a hot air balloon ride. After venturing out before sunrise and lifting off in the early morning hours, we were greeted with views of the sun peeking out over the stunning red rock formations. We spent the morning floating through the sky, and followed it up with a Champaign brunch—it doesn’t get much better than that.

Hot Air Balloon in Sedona, AZ

Camping in the Adirondacks

Another one of our favorite adventures was spending a weekend in the Adirondack Mountains with our friends, Evan and Hilary, from Pure Adirondacks. We camped near Lake Eaton in freezing temperatures (we had ice on our tents!), hiked Owl’s Head and climbed the fire tower, made our way to Whiteface Mountain for sprawling views of the mountains, and explored so many gorgeous landscapes throughout the park. It was a fun weekend with great friends.

Exploring the ADKs

Driving a Dune Buggy in Curacao

Five years ago, we spent most of our first visit to Curacao on the west side of the island, so this time around, we made it a goal to venture to the east side. We explored the private land on the northeast in a dune buggy and spent the morning kicking up dust on the winding trails.

Dune Buggy Ride in Curacao

Hiking Mt. Christoffel in Curacao

When we made our way back to Curacao, we couldn’t resist hiking Mt. Christoffel a second time. While it is a rather short hike, it is not particularly easy as it shoots straight up and the trails consist mostly of boulders that you need to scale. It only takes about an hour to get to the top, but the challenging path makes it exciting and the views of the island from the top are spectacular!

Hiking Mt Christoffel in Curacao

Share with us! What were some of your favorite adventures from 2015?