Climbing Mount Marcy, NY State

Mount Marcy 5,344 feet (1,629 m) is the tallest of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.

The majority of the mountain is forested, although the final few hundred feet is above the tree line.  …

The shortest and most frequently used route up the mountain is from the northwest, the Van Hoevenberg Trail, which starts at the Adirondak Loj near Heart Lake. From there it is 7.4 miles (11.2 km) to the summit, a lengthy 14.8-mile (22.4 km) roundtrip which can nevertheless be done in a day.  …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Rain in Spain – Camino Finisterre

Pilgrims who walk or cycle to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral on the Camino de Santiago celebrate — then decide whether to continue on to Finisterre on the coast. That name is from the Latin for “end of the earth“.

That’s an additional 88.9 km (54 miles) by the most popular route.

This N.W. corner of Spain — Galicia — is the rainiest.

The Stingy Nomads had one of their worst, and best, hiking days while on the Camino Finisterre.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Weather was bad when I reached Santiago on my 6 day cycling adventure from León, Spain .

I’m happy I cycled rather than walked. There is a lot of pavement. 😀

I decided to sign up for a very inexpensive (25€) all day van tour offered through my accommodation, the excellent Albergue Seminario Menor:

A Costa da Morte – Finisterre

  • Noia
  • Muros
  • Carnota
  • Corcubión
  • Finisterre

A few photos from my trip:

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Vancouver Island

The most famous hiking adventure in Canada is the West Coast Trail out of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island.

Port Renfrew is also the trailhead for the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail — yet no reservation is required. It’s the best back-up plan if you can’t get a reservation for the WCT.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

IF you plan to hike Juan de Fuca, be sure to read our Juan de Fuca Information page. Especially details on the tides.

This is one of our best hikes in North America.

#7 day hike – Caminito del Rey, Spain

One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

Why?

Once called the most dangerous pathway  in the world.

  • Caminito del Rey is near Ardales in the province of MálagaSpain, Andalusia
  • first built 1905, the walkway had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for nearly 15 years due to deaths
  • re-opened in 2015
  • new pathway still offers a walk of 2.9 km
  • 1 metre (3 ft) wide climbing over 100 metres (330 ft) above the Guadalhorce river
  • the entire trip from the start at the town of Ardales to finish at Álora would be about 8km and might take 3-4 hours
  • originally built to provide access to workers at hydroelectric power plants Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls

World → Europe → Spain → Caminito del Rey

For details click over to our Caminito del Rey information page.

The Hatchet by Gary Paulson

Hatchet is a 1986 Newbery Honor-winning young-adult wilderness survival novel written by American writer Gary Paulsen.

Brian Robeson is a thirteen-year-old son of divorced parents. As he travels from Hampton, New York on a single-engine Cessna bush plane to visit his father in the oil fields in Northern Canada for the summer, the pilot suffers a massive heart attack and dies.

Brian tries to land the plane but ends up crash-landing into a lake in the forest.

He must learn to survive on his own with nothing but his hatchet—a gift his mother gave him shortly before his plane departed.

… He discovers how to make fire with the hatchet and eats whatever food he can find, such as rabbits, birds, turtle eggs, fish, berries, and fruit. …

Over time, Brian develops his survival skills and becomes a fine woodsman. …

I enjoyed the short book. But it’s far from realistic. The Alone (TV series) documented just how difficult it is to survive on the much easier west coast of Vancouver Island.

The film adaptation is even more over the top.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Many readers asked the author WHAT would have happened to this teenager if he had to try to survive the Canadian winter. Brian was rescued by floatplane in The Hatchet.

So — in 1996 — Paulson published what would have been a sequel IF Brian had not found the emergency beacon.

Brian’s Winter

… still stranded at the L-shaped lake during the fall and winter, constructing a winter shelter, building snow shoes, being confronted by a bear, befriending and naming a skunk and learning how to make a bow more powerful. …

There are more books in this series. I’ll read those as well as I’ve grown to wonder how Brian adapts to civilization.


There are 3 other Brian books. All quite good.

I thought Brian’s Return was quite good. He meets a mysterious Indian mentor in the woods.

FINALLY – the Camino de Santiago

I’ve many times been asked IF I’d done the Camino. Surprisingly, the answer was NO. Until now. 😀

The Camino de Santiago … known in English as the Way of St James … is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the apostle are buried.

As with most hikes that can be cycled, I prefer to cycle. At least 10% of pilgrims cycle rather than walk or arrive on horseback. They are known as ‘bicigrinos’ or ‘bicigrinas’, bike pilgrims.

My PLAN is to ride León to the famous cathedral. About 325km. Perhaps a week. No rush.

The total length starting in France is 825km.

You need to cycle at least 200km in order to receive a Compostela certificate in Santiago (as opposed to minimum 100km walking).

Nearly 350,000 Compostela pilgrim certificates were issued in 2019. I won’t be lonely. 😀

The Camino Francés, or French Way, is by far the most popular of many routes. Roughly 60% of pilgrims choose this camino over other options.

Though no guidebook is needed, I picked up a paper copy of Mike Wells’ Cycling the Camino de Santiago (2019). I’d listened to a good interview with the author.

Wish me luck.

Many folks only know the famous pilgrimage from the 2010 Martin Sheen movie. It’s very good, by the way.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

Hiking Valencia, Spain

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

One of the best urban hikes anywhere is in Spain’s 3rd largest city. Home of paella. 😀

While many tourists stick to the historic centre, the best walking is on a long green space to a complex designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava — the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), which contains an opera house/performing arts centre, a science museum, an IMAX cinema/planetarium, an oceanographic park and other structures such as a long covered walkway and restaurants. 

It’s impressive.

Cityscape of Valencia. Turia park. Aerial view

Usually called Turia Garden, the park is officially 9km long. But expect your mileage to be quite a bit longer. I was on it at least 5 hours with side trips.

To start, I caught the subway to the Zoo on the far left of this map.

click for larger version

One essential stop is the Botanical Garden of Valencia (Jardí Botànic).

You really need several hours to explore the massive City of Arts and Sciences. There is a lot to do and see.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse of this urban hike on YouTube.

#7 –  Otter Trail, South Africa

The Otter Trail is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Why?

Lush forests, rugged shorelines, river crossings, waterfalls and fragrant fynbos make this adventure at the southern tip of Africa unique. It’s strenuous, with lots of ups and downs …

  • non-stop superb hiking
  • one of our top 10 coastal hikes in the world
  • Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley
  • 42km
  • 5 days, 4 nights
  • huts or tenting
  • permits are difficult to get as only 12 hikers start each day. December and Easter holidays are highest demand.
  • Recommended to book 12 months in advance. (Because folks book so early, it’s often possible to get a last minute cancellation spot.)

World → AustralasiaNew Zealand → Tongariro Circuit

CNN
... one way to cross the Bloekrantz
River crossings are a challenge.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute preview on YouTube.

For details click over to our Otter Trail Information page.

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