Travel theme: Mountains

It’s hard to beat the soaring majesty of mountains. It’s also apparently hard to define exactly what a mountain is. Countries around the globe use factors such as height, elevation, relief and volume in a vain attempt to define them. The Oxford English Dictionary settles for something suitably vague: “a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relatively to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable.” Merriam-Webster doesn’t do any better: “a landmass that projects conspicuously above its surroundings and is higher than a hill.” Look up ‘hill’ in the same dictionary and you will find that it is described, helpfully, as “lower than a mountain.”

However you define them, mountains are some of the best places to look for snow. For the past two years winter has seemed determined to pass me by. Last year, New York was unseasonably warm and disappointingly snow-free; this year Seattle‘s rain and suggestion of frost has been equally underwhelming so I decided that if winter wouldn’t come to me, I would go to winter. Yesterday, my friend Sylvia and I headed north to the mountains near Granite Pass and there, in all its snowy glory, we found winter. Here are some of the snow-capped peaks that greeted us.

big four mountain travel washington ice caves

Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.” – Nemann Buhl

big four mountain washington ice caves  travel

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.” – Ansel Adams

big four mountain travel washington ice caves

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” – John Muir

big four mountain travel washington ice caves

Have you seen any soaring summits or peaked pinnacles recently? If you would like to join in the travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Mountains
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

Looking forward to your mountainous post.




About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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416 Responses to Travel theme: Mountains

  1. John says:

    We love mountains!

  2. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | Ese's Voice

  3. Love your photos and the theme, Ailsa! 🙂
    Much more summer-ish approach of mine is here:

  4. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | A Gringos life in Cusco

  5. Lyle says:

    Another theme right up my ally, check out my mountain shots at
    There is of course a picture of Machu Picchu

  6. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | lena de almeida

  7. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | LoganBruin–An Unauthorized Autobiography

  8. Oh man, did you ever pick a PERFECT (second probably only to Animals) subject for me this week!! Mountains fill me with such indescribable joy and fulfillment and awe. I’ll get to work!! =)

    –Love and Liberation–

  9. loganbruin says:

    Those are chilling in more ways than one! Mine are more sunny. . .

  10. Beautiful mountain photos Ailsa! So peaceful.

  11. markd60 says:

    Fantastic pictures!

  12. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains « To Mother Earth, with Love

  13. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | StandingStill

  14. cinova says:

    The Canadian Rockies will always occupy a special place in my heart:

  15. Pingback: Travel Theme: MOUNTAINS part 1 | The Rewild West

  16. This has gotta be one of my favorite pictorials I’ve ever done!! I’m doing it in 2 parts because I have so many mountain pics I love.

    Thanks Ailsa!

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @ TheRewildWest

  17. Pingback: Travel Theme: Dragon creeping across mountains | Travel with Intent

  18. Debbie says:

    A wonderful challenge. Mountains are so photogenic! Here are my Chinese offerings:

    • ailsapm says:

      Fabulous series, Debbie, what an amazing holiday that must have been! I would love to see that Great Wall snaking across the mountains. Someday!

  19. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains « Ben Nelson's Photo (Etc) Blog

  20. Ben Nelson says:

    Love these – beautiful! Here’s mine

    • ailsapm says:

      The mountain of mail buckets made me laugh out loud, Ben, love it! That view of the Delaware from the Appalachian Trail is fabulous – have you hiked the trail? That’s supposed to be quite an adventure.

      • Ben Nelson says:

        I wish i had, when i took that shot, i was on a hike with a bunch of other men, and did not even keep up, but i am trying to do better. When i was younger, i hiked a bit, but i have not for a long time.

        there were a couple hawks drifting around in that spot where i was shooting, but i did not have a good enough lens with me to get any good shots of them sadly.

        Thanks for stopping in.

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh my goodness, those are some insanely beautiful mountains. I have got to visit New Zealand, I think it would blow my mind. Gorgeous photos, Alien Shores. xxx

  21. Pingback: travel theme: mountains « a nomad in the land of nizwa

  22. These are incredible and I’m trying to remember the time I was completely awed and floored in Yosemite as a teenager. The quotations you chose also make a huge difference to how the photos are perceived … I’m going to have to steal Muir’s to put alongside some of my own mountain pictures.

    • ailsapm says:

      I haven’t made it to Yosemite yet, but I cannot wait. Muir is a secret hero of mine; he played such an instrumental role in the founding of National Parks and was a true advocate for protecting the environment. Way ahead of the times.

      • No way! You must, you must. It was the one place that Muir became a shepherd for a spell and climbed the mountains and got “lost” for 10 years in what is now known as his trail (Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks). But you probably know that already. BOOK EARLY for good camp grounds.

  23. Beautiful pictures of snow-covered mountains, Ailsa! 🙂 Here’s mine:

    • ailsapm says:

      These are AMAZING – I am a little giddy with excitement at that photo of Machhapuchhre – that’s the sacred mountain, isn’t it, the one off limits to mountaineers? So beautiful.

      • Yes, you’re right, Ailsa. That mountain is sacred to the god Shiva and is off-limits to climbing. I’m glad you like them. It was a real treat for me to see them, especially from tropical Pokhara!

  24. Pingback: Photo challenge: mountains | Empressnasigoreng's Blog

  25. Pingback: TRAVEL THEME – MOUNTAINS « Dear Bliary

  26. Pingback: TRAVEL THEME – MOUNTAINS « Dear Bliary

  27. Beautiful Ailsa! And thanks for this challenge. Just the excuse I needed to post some more photos from my recent trip to Tasmania – these ones from Cradle Mountain National Park:

    • ailsapm says:

      Hurrah, perfect timing, you getting back from Tasmania in time for the Mountain challenge 🙂 What an amazing trip that must have been. I love the name Wombat Pool and that little guy is so cute! I could do without the poisonous snakes though. Ewww.

  28. your pictures are awesome, Ailsa! This is a very old pic. I didn’t realize I have zero mountain photos! Something to work on 🙂

    • ailsapm says:

      Good grief, I can’t believe your friend’s mom climbed Mount Washington at 76. I want to be that zippy when I’m a septuagenarian! I loved your account of making the climb, it made me laugh. 🙂

  29. Loca Gringa says:

    Fabulous post! Clearly I need to get out more and see my island. After a little research I wanna see our big mountains. Thanx for the assignment and here’s my for all of you to “grade”

    • ailsapm says:

      What a beautiful post, Loca Gringa – full of wistfulness for the Rockies and yet filled with wonder for the island too. Yes please, go see the big mountains and bring us back photos. I would love to see them.

      • Loca Gringa says:

        It’ll be a few months before I can get there. I’m saving that for when my daughter is with me 🙂 But I too am very curious. This country has a very diverse ecosystem. When you think of it’s small size and the size of the island in general, you have an appreciation of it’s wonders. Whereas Canada is so vast diversity is … expected!

        Thank you very much for the compliment 🙂

  30. Although we love snowboarding and snowshoeing, we couldn’t wait to leave the grey and damp of Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Thanks for dropping by “Honey.”

  31. LvHao says:

    really beautiful

  32. Pingback: travel theme: mountains « bob's wife

  33. hi Ailsa, your mountain photos are amazing! please find mine here:

    • ailsapm says:

      Ooh, what a beautiful silhouette, I love how you can even make out the little tufts of grass along the slope, gorgeous!

      • Bob and i were atop a mountain and i saw this silhouette across from where we were … hence, the capture … but i had to take quite a few shots to get what i really wanted. i just tweaked the effect just once to give the clouds a certain glow that i desired. thank you for such an inspiring pat on the back, Ailsa … much appreciated! —APRIL

  34. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains « Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

  35. Pingback: All That Rock | The Wanderlust Gene

  36. aj vosse says:

    Now young lady!! You know full well the hills in Ireland don’t qualify to be called mountains!! Where am I going to get something for this week’s challenge?? 😉

  37. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains « A year in the Life

  38. livvy30 says:

    I’m claiming the hills are mountains! It’s a little difficult for me this week!!!

  39. Pingback: Travel theme: Mountains | Meg Travels

  40. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains. | the unbearable lightness of being me.

  41. greatgreths says:

    dear ailsa, thanks for this theme… i love it! 🙂 here’s mine:

  42. thephotoseye says:

    Great photos and a great theme….here is my version of “mountains” (all taken in southern Italy)….

    • ailsapm says:

      These are wonderful, that first shot is my favourite, so mystical, and that helicopter shot is really cool – were you in a helicopter too taking the shot, or just really high up? xxx

      • thephotoseye says:

        Thank you! I was not in a helicopter – it was one of those moments where I was lucky enough to have my camera in hand (with the right lens) while a helicopter had landed and left and I captured it all!

  43. Pingback: Travel Theme: Mountains | ehkstream

    • ailsapm says:

      Beautiful, beautiful shots, I just love the richness of the earth tones in the second Magdalena Mountains shot, and as for the next photo, wow, what an amazing part of the world. xxx

  44. Pingback: Travel Theme Mountains | Le Drake Noir

  45. viveka says:

    You have one of the most beautiful mountains in the world on your door step, Mount Rainier.
    Where I live .. I’m only 9 meters over the sea level .. not much mountains here .. *smile
    Wonderful gallery again .. but I love white soft snow. Somebody has said that snow and friendship – what ever it fall on will be soft.

    • ailsapm says:

      What a beautiful saying, viveka, snow and friendship, I love it. Yes, you’re right, Mount Rainier is stunning, I am hoping to explore it up close and personal while I’m here. It’s a little too snowy right now to get too far into the park, but soon, hopefully. xxx

      • viveka says:

        I admire it quite often .. when I lived in Victoria,BC – stunning.
        Can’t wait to see what your camera have for us .. after return.

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