Friday, February 27, 2015

Nepal Trekking Guide : Best Hiking Trails For Adventurers!

If you check the global map, you will discover that the territory of Nepal is nothing but of mere ant size, while its neighbors are passable as a baby elephant in contrast, and I mean no disrespect when I divulge this stale discovery. The topic here, as you know, is of Nepal, and despite its humble land coverage (which is just 0.03% of world's total land area), the presence of mighty Himalayas, including eight tallest peaks of the world, have given the country a remarkable reputation among hikers and mountaineers. In fact, some even remark it to be the trekking capital of the world. Applause aside, we would like to introduce to our fellow hikers 5 of the best trekking routes of Nepal, around Everest and some other tall mountain peaks.

1. Everest Base Camp

Touching the Everest is every human's fantasy, and while mountaineers dare risk their life to touch the mighty summit, we hikers have another challenge - making it to the Base Camp of this towering peak, and it is not easy. Your greatest fear, while tramping over the Himalayas, is not the steep slopes, wild animals or the freezing cold; what you must be really afraid of is the ailment called altitude sickness. Word of advice is to acclimatize properly to the mountain environment before you proceed to climb above 25000 meters. Let me add that this spectacular Himalayan trail requires hikers to stand at a whooping 5545m altitude - they say the view from this height, i.e. Kala Patthar, is simply awesome. It's Mount Everest, after all, the summit of the world.

2. Upper Mustang Trekking

In a country so green and lush that the thought of a desert would never cross your mind, travelers tramping over the Upper Mustang area, aka the land beyond the Himalayas, have been rendered speechless. They had entertained a mental picture of green Nepal, and therefore were unprepared to behold the sight of barren hills and arid desert-like landscape.

While geologists have a complex theory for this strange phenomenon, suffice it to say that the area falls in the no-rainfall zone, an obvious trait of a land in close proximity to the Tibetan plateaus. Amidst this rare geographic diversity of Nepal, there lies a mystical city, La Manthang, from where a king, now retired, once ruled the Himalayan country. All the same, you will find the city's varied attractions truly hypnotic. Along the trail, hikers will also have the honor to visit the sacred temple called Muktinath, where they say an eternal flame blazes from time immemorial.

3. Annapurna Circuit Trek

Just type "what are the most beautiful hiking routes of the world", and Google will retrieve back numerable web pages, all touting about the enchanting trail of Annapurna Circuit area, which blossoms with lush vegetation and stunning mountain vista. Let it be noted that Annapurna represents thirty mountain peaks, with, of course, Annapurna I (8091m) as the tenth highest peak of the world; it's siblings are generally above seven or six thousand meter high. You see, you are going to make a circuit of this amazing mountain landscape, and along the pleasant trail, you will be sometimes admiring the green landscape; sometimes witnessing the queer lifestyle of the hillside villages; sometimes gawking at the magical scenario of the sun setting or rising behind the mountains; and, most of the times, shooting pictures of the lovely snow peaks.

4. Manaslu Base Camp

It never fails to shock us that a young British lady, novice in mountaineering and in her early twenties, made it to the summit of Manaslu, creating a sensation as the youngest British woman to acquire such a daring feat. From then on, crowds of mountaineers and hikers came from all over the world to touch the summit and to make it to the base respectively. I would like to address the brave hikers, and warn them that this challenging and restricted trail to the Manaslu Base Camp, while spectacular with wonderful villages, Buddhist shrines and picturesque landscapes around, is fraught with peril. Bear in mind that the trail is quite far away, requiring you to spend several cold nights under warm tents (pray that weather doesn't go on a rampage), and you will also be daring to cross the Larkya La pass (a glacial saddle), which lies at an incredible height of around 5213m (beware of altitude sickness) and, admittedly, offers a breath-taking panorama of the Himalayas.

5. Gokyo Trek

Call it the sweat of the Himalayas or its tears, either way the glacial lakes are a wonder to behold. And, the alpine valley of Gokyo, with six sacred glacial lakes, never fails to enchant the hikers with its picturesque beauty. Nonetheless, let me warn you that the Gokyo valley, which lies at the altitude of 4970m, commands a rogue reputation as the Valley of Death, owing to the death of numerous hikers caught in the grip of altitude sickness. And, there's this one hill, actually a small peak, called Gokyo Ri and hikers, in pursuit of the perfect viewpoint to capture the ultimate picture of the majestic Himalayas, climb this 5357m high peak, often falling or slipping down in their recklessness. All the same, I must say the view is worth the climb.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trekking Guide in South America

South America's most famous trek is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, now heavily regulated with limited numbers of permits due to its enduring popularity - and it is a stunningly beautiful as well as challenging four day trek, albeit one that attracts many people along its route with numbers now being strictly limited each day.

For those who love to lace up their boots and grab a rucksack but want a more remote location, there are some absolutely breath-taking walks all over South & Central America worth considering. Peru trekking holidays can offer treks to Inca sites such as Choquequirao as well as other civilisations such as Kuelap or the stunning remote traditional communities of the Apu Ausangate. I will happily advise on some great alternatives for keen walkers, being a fan myself of using my own two feet to explore and slow down the pace a little. And of course if you prefer a little more comfort, I can recommend some beautiful mountain lodge to lodge treks along quieter and alternative routes to Machu Picchu such as the Lares or Salkantay trails.

Chapada Diamantina National Park, west of Brazil's Salvador de Bahia is a truly awe-inspiring landscape ideal for trekking with its verdant table-top mountains, waterfalls, underground lakes, and caves. What about combining a visit to the Glaciers National Park in the stunning rugged wilderness of southern Patagonia with a few days spent in El Chalten where your hiking guide will take you walking past remote glacial valleys towards Mt Fitzroy or spend time across the border in Chile trekking the W circuit around Torres del Paine National Park. You could also combine your trekking adventure in this region with a chance to track one of South America's most elusive wild cats, the puma.

Heading further north into Ecuador brings you to the stunning peaks of the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes', where we can suggest a beautiful new trekking programme where you can take on some of this small country's more challenging peaks as well as experiencing stays in delightful small, locally run haciendas and lodges, perhaps combined with a more relaxed journey aboard the newly re-opened train line between Quito and Guayaquil on the coast. If you like the thought of combining iconic rail journeys with using your own two feet, then you could also venture northwards again to Mexico. After journeying by train through the Copper Canyon, get off and take to pathways deep into the canyon to remote settlements of native Tarahumara Indians.

The list goes on and on. It's important not only be able to discover a great list of active adventures, but also ensure the little details of your journey all go to plan.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Guide Hiking on Oahu Island

Mountain peaks covered with eye catching greenery, surrounded by crystal clear water and blue sky above can be observed in one place, and that is "Oahu Island" in Hawaii. It is the third biggest island of Hawaii. The beauty of the island cannot be conveyed in words. It is a peaceful resort where people come to enjoy their vacations.

If you are passionate about Hiking, Oahu island provides you the opportunity to enjoy. The island has many interesting trails, natural elevations and slope to experience. Many of the trails were laid down by the people who first came to Hawaii. To assist people, the state of Hawaii does not charge a single penny. Similarly, using tracks for hiking is totally free. No expense incurs over hiring a navigator.

The Hawaii Sierra club offers free excursion plans for hiking, along with the navigators. Log into the club's website to find details, and plan your vacations in Oahu. Various hiking plans are available on the site for you to select.

If you decide to go for hiking alone, or in a group of two or three. It is advised to contact Na Ala Hele. It is a section of the forestry department, which can assist you in knowing the trails across the mountains and the forest. The department also provides you details about the safety procedures, and guide you through trail maps.

The elevated lands, steeps turns and hills make hiking very much different from the areas near the city. The administrations fully support you to make your trip memorable. You are strictly instructed to take care, and not to harm or destroy the natural habitat. You are allowed to take along the plants, flowers, leaves or ferns against permit issued by the authorities. This is done in order to maintain natural resources on the Island. All guidelines for safe hiking are available on the web, or can be obtained from the administration in the printed form.

Honolulu, a place where nature speaks for itself is worth visiting. The most famous hikes can be listed as;

Diamond Heads Trail: The hike is famous for a 225 foot long tunnel. The amazing part you can observe is the array of light coming across the tunnel, which resembles a flashlight. People come here and enjoy this place for a picnic.

Aiea Loop Trail: The trail at the Keaiwa Heiau State Park is open for bikers. The place, is at an extreme height, with steep cliffs and hills. The healing temple, forests of eucalyptus is the prominent features on the hill. From this point you can clearly view majestic canyons, Pearl Harbor, Koolau range and central Oahu.

Manoa Falls: It is a lovely waterfall, but a dangerous place for swimming. People are allowed to enjoy the landscape from a safe distance. The danger of trembling rocks is always present.

Maunawilie Falls Trail: Meanwhile, fall leads to the foot of the Koolau Mountains. The place is worth visiting in the summer. White and yellow ginger and mountain apple tree adds beauty to the mountain scenery.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

El Chalten Argentina Hiking Guide

Argentina is the go to place for many backpackers who are interested in hiking and skiing. It boasts of ample tourist offerings such as the Bariloche Ski Centre, the Iguazu National Park, the Andes Mountain, Los Alerces National Park as well as some popular Incan sites. Aside from these popular tourist sites, Argentina also has other places that are less travelled which backpackers should take advantage of before commercialism takes over. One such place is the town of El Chalten.

Capital of Trekking

The town is one of the newest ones that were founded in 1985. It was established by the Argentinian government to encourage settlement in the Andean range. The town is accessible by El Calafate which is 220km. away. The town attracts many visitors because of its natural surroundings that are well-maintained and preserved by the local people as well as its trekking paths which allow many novice trekkers to practice their mountain climbing skills.

Beginner's Trekking - Cerro Torre and Piedra del Fraile

For novice or beginners who are still starting out or those who just want to enjoy the scenery without the difficulties of trekking, a private tour that includes the Cerro Torre and Piedra del Fraile is available. The trek will include a short and easy trek which will allow you to see the views of the peaks in just 2 to 6 hours of trekking. A private camping place is also available near the Fitz Roy. Some treks will start at the Lago del Desiertos or Rio Blanco y Laguna de los Tres which will shorten the trekking time.

Intermediate Trekking - Mount Fitz Roy

Many trekkers would practice their trekking skills by visiting Mount Fitz Roy or the Chalten "Smoking Mountain". The trekking will take about 6-8 hours and includes visiting the Rio Blanco basecamp after which trekkers must do a steep climb to reach the Laguna de los Torres. For advanced trekkers, you might also wish to visit the Piedras Blancas Glacier which is an hour's ascent from the Laguna de Los Torres.

Advanced Trekking - Glacier Grande, Torre and Continental Ice

For advanced trekkers who want to challenge their skills, trekking to the Glacier and the Continental Ice is a must. The trek will usually take about a few hours for the Glacier trek and a few days for the Continental Ice trek. Although basecamps are available especially for the Continental Ice, hikers must ensure that they are equipped with all the necessary equipment as well as have an experienced guide. As the hiking grounds are maintained and preserved, all garbage and leftovers must be removed from the campgrounds. Permissions must also be obtained as some trails will cross through private properties.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Guide for Hiking in the Bibbulmun Track, Australia

Southwest Australia is one of the worlds 25 biodiversity hotspots and this walk will take you through many of the habitats that make this region so spectacular and world renowned. The entire walk takes six to eight weeks to complete or can be done in shorter stages and is exclusively for walkers only, if you are interested in mountain biking please see the Munda Biddi trail article. The Munda Biddi trail takes a similar course and runs from Kalamunda to Albany as well.

Towns along the trail can be days apart, the longest being 12 days walk so it is important that you carry plenty of food and water. The only source of water on the track is at the campsites which are located a days walk apart, the rain is collected in rainwater tanks which are not filled by any other means. Water may be limited after summer so if you are planning on walking in April/May keep this in mind.

Unlike other famous trails the Bibbulmun is not very crowded and it could be days between seeing other hikers. But it can get busy on long weekends and holidays particularly at the campsites that are easily accessible.

When to go:

Temperatures in the region varies during the year, summer (December - March) is hot and dry with bush fires being a real threat. So the track should be walked in the cooler months (notice cooler- don't be surprised if in the middle of winter there is at least a few days with temps above 25OC) any time between April and November. October and November can be really hot and dry, and nights get cold in late winter and early spring. Most rain falls in July and August and the southern half of the trail tends to get more rain.

The wildflower season peaks in September and October, can vary based on rainfall and temperatures. The bush comes alive with hundreds of different flowers and colours and should be seen.

Mosquitoes are found throughout the year on the track and the open shelters don't provide protection from them so a mosquito net is recommended to prevent possible infection with River Ross Virus, some walkers will use the shell (sealed inner) from their tent for protection.


The track can be walked in both directions, with walkers choosing the direction that suits them or is easier to travel too (more on this later). The most common way to walk is from north to south. The track passes through the towns of Kalamunda, Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole, Denmark and Albany where hikers stay for one or two nights to resupply, wash their clothes and enjoy the hospitality.

The track is well marked with triangular markers with a snake on it, although snakes are commonly found in the bush it is not a warning to walkers, the snake is the Waugal which is a mythological rainbow serpent from the Aboriginal dreamtime. The track is broken down into 9 sections with 8 maps:

Getting There:

If you are walking the entire track you will need to get to/from Kalamunda and Albany. The northern trailhead is on the corner of Mundaring Weir Road and Railway Road, Kalamunda. From the Esplanade busport in Perth you can catch the 282, 296, 299 buses. Check out Transperth for timetables and fees. A taxi from Perth cbd to Kalamunda cost approximately Aud$55, and Aud$36 from the Airport.

The southern trailhead is 409km south of Perth at the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade, Albany. Transwa provides buses between Perth and Albany for Aud$59.90 one way. Skywest provides flights to and from Albany for min $186.

Transwa also offers buses from many of the towns along the track to Perth if you want a shorter walk.


For the majority of the walk you will be camping. There are 49 campsites spaced a day's walk apart and each has a three-sided timber shelter and are designed to sleep 8-15 people. They are free and offered on a first come first served basis so you should be bring a tent for times when the shelter is full. Each campsite also has a sit-down pedestal pit toilet, rainwater tank, picnic tables and tent sites.

In the towns there are no campsites so you will need to stay in alternative accommodation,


Their are no fees to walk the track and stay at the campsites, you will need to pay for accommodation in the towns, food, maps and equipment. There are 8 water resistant rip-proof colour maps that cover the entire track and are essential when taking on the Bibbulmun track as well as 2 compact guidebooks which show car access points, campsites, terrain profiles and distance tables. These are available here, and at some visitor information centres.

Individual maps (1-8) cost Au$11.50 each ($92 total)


Northern half map pack (1 to 4) cost Au$42

Southern half map pack (5 to 8) cost Au$42 ($84 total)

Northern Guidebook - covers Kalamunda to Donnelly River Village and includes map 1 to 4 cost Au$35

Southern Guidebook - covers Donnelly River Village to Albany and includes map 5 to 8 cost Au$35

Guided or Solo:

This is a walk that is best done at your own pace and with your own itinerary, if you want to stay a couple of days in a town go ahead or want to skip one you can. But because of the length of time required (not many people have 8 weeks free), or lack of hiking experience there are tours along the track that take in the best sections. The foundation offers tours in May and September that run for 9 days.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Guide for Hiking in the Pindus Range, Greece

The Pindus Mountains, which bisect the country, running from North to South, are often referred to as 'the spine of Greece'. This 160km long mountain range runs from the Albanian border all the way to the north of the Peloponnese Peninsula. Its highest point is Mount Smolikas, which is 2,637 metres tall. This range is one of the best places to hike in Greece, with its varied geography of high mountain peaks, rolling hills, lush valleys and deep, dramatic gorges. Along its varied length there are two National Parks, Aoos-Vitus National Park and Pindus National Park.
One of the most popular walks in the Aoos-Vitus National Park is the walk through the Vikos Gorge. This route, it should be noted, is not a walk in the park. While well-maintained, this is an ankle-twisting trail which traverses the limestone uplands of Mount Gamila for 20km. Be sure to check conditions before you set off as the snowmelt of April or early May can often make the end nearest Monodhéndhri impassable. Be warned that heavy rainfall can also lead to landslides on the sides of the gorge. Still, if you set out well-prepared then you will be rewarded by the spectacular scenery - the gorge walls are sometimes over 1000 metres in height and tower over you in rocky splendour.

Another option is the beautiful walk along the banks of the river Aoos. This gorge walk as also dramatically stunning. You can walk from Konitsa and those who have a good level of fitness could consider continuing the walk up to the summit of Mount Papigo. There are many signposted trails around Vikos and Aoos that provide walking options for a range of fitness levels, ages and abilities.

Unfortunately, the surprisingly little-known Pindus National Park does not benefit from such good signage. Even getting there from the main road is a bit of a mission as there are no proper signs. You can gain access to this rugged wilderness by way of the village of Perivoli to the north.

The dirt roads that cross the mountains and weave their way through the dense black pine and beech forests of this area are perfect for hiking and more than likely if you are in search of peace and solitude then you will find it. If you are lucky you may see a glimpse of a brown bear - this is one of three regions in Greece still populated by these shy animals. If you walk in Flegga Forest, you may also catch sight of wolves, lynxes, wild cats, deer or wild boar. If you are looking for somewhere different to go, then Pindus National Park could be the perfect place as it is unlikely that anyone you know has been. This is the least known and least visited national park in Europe, which is a shame, unless you are looking to escape the crowds that is.

The Pindus Mountain Range is ideal for a real escape into nature, on hiking trails you are likely to have entirely to yourself.

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