Through all our years of travel, we have yet to find someone who doesn’t love a good hike! What’s better than getting out into the world and truly emerging yourself in all the beautiful nature? So many amazing travelers shared their favorite hikes this week, and it’s bound to make you immediately want to throw on your boots and give one of these mountains a go!
As always, we want Travel Tales to be a fun and interactive experience. We’ve added the links to all the great travel blogs that contributed this week, so please check them out!
Tongariro Crossing New Zealand
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (also known as mount doom in Lord of the Rings) is well known as one of the most beautiful and popular day hikes in New Zealand. In the winter months you actually need a guide to help navigate through the ice and snow. Along with the few friends I met we decided to do the twelve mile hike the day after you legally need a guide! The moment we reached the top a HUGE storm rolled in. Ice, snow, and sleet… We were a group of inexperienced day hikers that were in for the shock of our lives. I guess I watch too many movies because my first instinct was to make everyone rope together! We crawled the second part of the hike along a vertical cliff that had a straight drop into the ravine below. Thankfully everyone made it safe and sound to the end, but that will be a hike I will never forget! Funny thing is I can’t wait to go back and do it again in better weather!
Shared by Brigitte from Nothing Familiar
Big Bend’s Lost Mine Trail Texas
The W Trek Patagonia Chile
The most challenging and rewarding hiking experience of my life was The W Trek in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia, Chile. We’re talking 5 days of trekking with the big backpacks full of your food, a seriously heavy -5 degree sleeping bag, clothes, and gear. We went from the third largest body of ice in the world (Glacier Grey), to endless green valleys, steep ravines, to the grand finale on the 5th day: The Towers. By the end, our tent was torn to pieces from the wind, our gas stove nearly set the first campsite on fire, our sleeping bags were completely drenched, and our abused bodies were defeated. But the glacier water that filled our bottles along the way was as refreshing as the smell of the tall trees and views of the islands, lakes, and high waterfalls cascading down the rocky mountains.
Shared by Tommy from Tommy Go Round
Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
The Haiku Stairs or “Stairway To Heaven” is a dangerous, illegal hike on Oahu, Hawaii. 3,922 stairs lead up the imposing mountain ridge, often at a vertical incline, with only a hand-rail to catch you from falling into the valley below. Originally the stairs were built in 1942 by the U.S. Navy as a top secret facility for transmitting radio signals to ships that were sailing in the Pacific Ocean. The stairs were then opened to the public until 1987 when they were deemed unsafe because of disrepair. This hike has been called one of the wanders of the world and is an amazing, atmospheric experience. We watched the sun rise over the horizon as we sat at the base of the antennae and for that hour it felt as though we were on a different planet.
Shared by Jackson from Journey Era
The Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a network of pilgrimage paths that all have as their endpoint the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. People in the middle ages believed they could skip purgatory and head straight to heaven if they did a pilgrimage; walkers these days are more interested in the beautiful scenery and delicious food, plus the sense of getting away from it all.
We’ve walked four of these routes, starting in such diverse places as Pamplona, Seville, La Coruña and Oviedo. Our most recent way (called the Camino Primitivo as it was the first of all the Caminos) began at the cathedral of Oviedo, where we saw Jesus’ facecloth and other relics before starting our two-week walk.
There’s something so freeing about walking for two weeks, or four weeks, or six; not thinking about anything except where you’re going to sleep and eat, just putting one foot in front of the other. The landscape changed as we went on, people came and went, and we enjoyed the camaraderie of the Way. I highly recommend it. Check out our Camino page if you’re interested in doing your own Camino.
Shared by Linda from Indie Travel Podcast
Childhood Hiking Memories in Bavaria
I had my most special hiking experience in Bavaria. When I was a little kid my family used to go to the very Southern part of Germany called Allgaeu. There, we would stay on a lovely farm and go hiking a lot of times. And like most children, I didn’t pay attention to the beautiful landscape or the amazing views. My father, who studied biology always tried to get me enthusiastic about all the wild flowers and animals we came across. There were cows – obviously – but we also saw lizards, birds of prey and chamoises. But all I cared about was the next stop and the next mountain pasture where I could get some ice cream. Now, years later, I still remember our numerous hiking trips and I can still see the landscapes in my head. It’s interesting that after so many years, I can finally value these experiences. And I will definitely return to this wonderful spot to enjoy the stunning landscapes now that I can see their beauty.
Shared by Lisa from Travellana
Cameron Highlands Malaysia
Mac (my boyfriend) and I were deep in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. We had been told the hiking was breath taking, but to stick to the paths because there recently had been some men with knives holding up hikers demanding money. So with empty pockets and weary spirits, we set out for an 1 hour hike to the top of a mountain. We reached the summit and decided to take a new path back down.
It wasn’t long till we realized this was no trail, but instead maybe the remains of a mudslide from years ago. We had gone to far and turning around was to steep. We bushwhacked our way down, thinking of pythons, tigers, and the terrifyingly large spiders Malaysia is known for. The jungle opened and we found ourselves on mountain side farming, with local kids running around in a remote village. We continued walking and found ourself in the middle of a MASSIVE tea plantation. It was an amazing, exciting, and adventurous 4 hour hike. We definitely deserved that delicious dinner and a good nights rest after!
Shared by Nadia from World Class Surf Trips
Khao Ngon Nak Thailand
The snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas beckon all who look upon them. You’d be a fool to travel all this way and not spend at least a day wandering upwards! A trek in Nepal will take you past Nepalese farms, tiny mountain towns, and to viewpoints that will put the whole world to scale. The most spectacular trek we’ve taken was just outside of Pokhara, where it seems anything is possible at high altitudes. With flip-flop-footed sherpas hauling 100lbs of gear, and fully stocked teahouses serving momos and beer, there may be nowhere in the world above modern comfort. But you can always trek farther trying to find it.
Shared by Taylor and Daniel from Travel Outlandish
John Gardner Pass in Torres del Paine
We have been walking since 6am, laboring steadily in a silent rhythm perfected over the past week. Since we hit snow about an hour ago, the incline has become steeper, our faces peppered with sleet. I am in front, the lighter of our pair and least likely to slip through the treacherous slush, but as we reach the top of the John Gardner Pass we each stop, stunned into stillness at the landscape unfolding beneath the dense clouds.
A great expanse of ice fills the bowl of the valley, grey and green and reflecting the dulled blue of the sky; thousands upon thousands of tiny, frozen waves carving their way through the belly of the mountains. On a clear day the view can stretch from here to the French Valley, but Glacier Grey, this living, creaking, groaning wonder of nature, is the star of the show. For the next few hours we will walk, sit, slip and slide our way past it to the lake below, marveling both at the light as it prisms across its surface and at the fact that only 2% of visitors to Torres del Paine will ever reach this point.
The W Circuit is undeniably a magical experience. But it was the raw, breathtaking wilderness of the backside of the park which really grabbed us by the throat. The last few days of the O Circuit, hiking from the Towers to Lago Grey via the road less travelled, is the reason we talk about Torres del Paine again and again, and why, seven months on, it is still the highlight of our trip.
Brigitte & Jake