#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.

Jet Suit Mountain Rescue

We proved you can scale a Lake District Mountain (3100ft Helveylln) in 3mins 30 seconds, despite very poor visibility that would have grounded a HEMS Helicopter.

The Mountain Rescue foot response is over 70 minutes typically.

The route was 1.2 miles and 2200ft of height gain.

This is the latest in a series of Paramedic Response Exercises to prove capability in parallel with training up real Paramedics to provide first response Critical Care in hard to reach geographies.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Ammonite Falls the HARD WAY 😀

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Keith and I headed out to Ammonite Falls near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Having failed badly my previous time there 😀 out of the Weigles Road trailhead, this time I tried the Jameson Road trailhead. We immediately got lost.

Doh.

Happily, returning hikers explained how we could do a bit of road walking to get to the actual trail to Ammonite Falls.

A nice walk.

Below is my original trip report from January 2021:


Without checking in advance, I cycled out for my first visit to Ammonite Falls near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Most convenient for me was the Weigles Road trailhead.

January 15th was the best weather we’ve had in 2021. A perfect day.

And it’s an easy day hike.

What could go wrong?

Turned out the BENSON CREEK trail to the Falls was closed for MAJOR improvements. I had to find another way.

Later I found out that other trails to the top of the Falls were open. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

related – Outdoor Vancouver – Ammonite Falls Hike

Click PLAY or watch the hike from the Jameson road trailhead on YouTube.

Winter Hiking #FAIL

Sundance Canyon is a popular, easy day hike directly out of Banff townsite in the Canadian Rockies.

On a lovely Spring day in April I set off to enjoy the afternoon.

Some of the approach is along the lovely Bow River.

Everyone stops en route at the (now closed) Cave and Basin National Historic Site. And nearby boardwalk trails down to the river.

I popped into 3 Mile Cabin.

My #FAIL came when I reached Sundance Canyon itself. I’d forgotten to bring my Yaktrax® up to the mountains. They were essential this day. 😀

I was forced to quit.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Surviving Vancouver Island Wilderness – ALONE TV

Alone (TV series) … follows the self-documented daily struggles of 10 individuals (seven paired teams in season 4) as they survive alone in the wilderness for as long as possible using a limited amount of survival equipment. …

They may “tap out” at any time, or be removed due to failing a medical check-in. The contestant who remains the longest wins a grand prize of $500,000. …

Seasons 1, 2 and 4 were shot on Vancouver Island.

The first season premiered 2015.

They were dropped on Quatsino Sound in Northern Vancouver Island, Canada, only accessible by boat or float plane.

As I hike and cycle a lot on the Island, I was keen to see how mere mortals could live off the land in a remote rain forest.

Starting a fire was the first big challenge. EVERYTHING is wet all the time.

Food was the long term challenge.

Lucas was by far the most skilled in season 1. He built a boat, yurt and even a musical instrument.

But Lucas didn’t take home the $500K first prize. That went to the contestant that was psychologically strongest. I do believe he could have lasted weeks longer — though he lost over 60 pounds.


The 10 people selected for season 2 were better prepared. The challenge was the same — remote, wet Vancouver Island. Though the weather was better.

The final four all found ways to last a long time. But as winter approached, the food supply dwindled.

Nicole was one of my favourites. Marine biologist. Expert in intertidal zone ecosystem. Knows what plants to eat. What plants not to eat.

She had the luxury of letting a big salmon go free one day. Wow.

I was cheering Jose, as well, a Spaniard who had adopted the ways of the North American indigenous peoples. His kayak is amazing.

In the end, missing loved ones at home was the final reason to tap out.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Season 4 had seven teams of family members competing against one another.

Same geographical location.

Personally, I found the pairs stories less interesting. Did not finish the season.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody

GearLab awarded the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody Editors’ Choice award for the best overall down jacket.

But I bought mine after seeing how many thru hikers use it on the Continental Divide Trail. They can beat this up for months without destroying the warm layer.

I am a little worried about the ultralight zipper.

NOT CHEAP. I paid CAD $341 including taxes and shipping. But it will be well used on adventures where weight and bulk are critical.

On colder trips, I’ll bring it along with my beloved Helly Hansen LifaLoft jacket.

  • highly compressible
  • DWR (durable water repellent) 800-fill RDS®-certified down insulation
  • Ultra-lightweight ripstop fabric
  • stuffs into its own hand pocket with internal carabiner clip loop
  • 8.8 oz. / 249 g

Click PLAY or see the original Men’s Ghost Whisperer on YouTube.

Personally, I don’t like the form fitting shape — so bought the XL. For me it fits much like a normal jacket.

Read the full review.

#1 Day Hike in the World – Harder Ridge

Harder Ridge in Switzerland, also known as Hardergrat (… grat is ridge in German) is our pick for the very best day hike on Earth.

  • 24km total … about 18km on a sharp ridge
  • 10+ hours. Physically and psychologically challenging.
  • no water available. Carry all you need.
  • not an official trail, but it’s easy to follow in good visibility
  • about 1500m above the lake
  • permits not required
  • it’s popular with trail runners who do about 35km entirely on foot.


Check our Harder Ridge information page.

let’s go outdoors is posting flyovers of some of the world’s best hikes on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch one route on Harder Ridge on YouTube.

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