Category Archives: Hiking & Camping

Hiking and camping is a lot of fun especially with a group of like-minded friends. This series of blogs present you unlimited options of nature walking, camping, backpacking and trekking.

Sri Lanka: Top 5 Hidden Gems to Discover

Thanks to its beautiful coastline, courteous locals, and plenty of sightseeing treasures, Sri Lanka is rapidly becoming an increasingly sought-after vacation spot. If you visit the well-known coastlines in the south or enjoy a few days in Ella, you may have stumbled across Tulum or the banana pancake route of Southeast Asia.

Sri Lanka Hidden Gems

There are excellent, unknown beauties in Sri Lanka that many travelers are unaware of. Although rare tourist sights, these secret spots are breathtaking and captivating. Although Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura, and Sigiriya are probably familiar, the locations we will share with you are equally beautiful places to explore.

In today’s guide, we will tell you about five magical Sri Lanka gems for a mesmerizing vacation with your loved one.

Riverston

The Riverston province of Sri Lanka is about as far away from the tourist path as it gets. This breathtaking area, located in the central part of the island, has more waterfalls than you can shake your hand at.

Several waterfalls, soaring peaks, and gently sloped terrain surround this verdant paradise. Traveling there from Kandy is better if you’re looking for a quiet retreat in the woods far away from Ella’s throng. You can take a train from Ella to Kandy to reach Riverston for a magical vacation.

Gartmore Falls

Among the most spectacular waterfalls in the country is Gartmore Falls. This gorgeous two-tier waterfall offers an untouched infinity pool where you may take a refreshing dip and a breathtaking 30-meter plunge.

It is incredibly gorgeous and is considered one of Sri Lanka’s treasure troves. Suppose all of that wasn’t sufficient. In that case, very few international visitors know about it, let alone visit, as it’s utterly off the main route in Sri Lanka.

Delft Island

As you explore the island, you will find many historic structures and artifacts from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British imperial centuries. A few of them are connected to the Chola era. You can indulge in sandy beaches and tourism in solitude because this serene region is usually unoccupied by tourists. The sole disadvantage is the need for more eateries and dining possibilities.

Panduwasnuwara

During King Pandukabhaya’s administration, Sri Lanka’s headquarters was Panduwasnuwara, a medieval city in the Kurunegala province. The city kept a wisdom tooth antique, which is an emblem of royalty and without which the ruler or the queen cannot be accepted.

Panduwasnuwara has a few good attractions, although it is home to just the wreckage of the kingdom’s structures, which are scattered over 20 hectares.

Like many Sri Lankans who avoid historical towns like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, few travel to this historic settlement. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through an old town in pieces when you walk through the Panduwasnuwara walls.

Goyambokka and Silent Beach

Besides Goyambokka and Silent Beach, which are idyllic pockets of beauty in the south, the excessive development that’s taken over nearly every square inch of this area has had no impact.

Other than lovely beaches, a small number of eateries, and some water, there are only a few activities to engage there. If all you desire to do is lounge on the beach, this is Sri Lanka’s greatest-kept mystery.

Sri Lanka is slowly becoming a more beloved vacation spot because of its gorgeous coastline, friendly individuals, and many recreational activities. Remember to include these hidden gems if you’re going to Sri Lanka soon.

With this guide to the most scenic and undiscovered spots in Sri Lanka, we have finally discovered the best off-the-beaten-track locations the country offers travelers worldwide.

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Wilderness Backpacking Tips for Beginners

Backpacking comes with tons of benefits to it, both mentally and physically. You’ll recharge your batteries, become relaxed, and you’ll regret not going for an outdoor adventure sooner. But, later is better than never, and you need to know a few basics beforehand. Going into the wild without any previous knowledge can easily turn into a disaster, but lucky for you, we’ll walk you through the basics of wilderness backpacking.

“Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.” — Antonio Machado

There are two generally distinct kinds of backpacking:

  • Wilderness backpacking — hiking in areas away from civilization, sleeping in tents or cabins
  • Urban backpacking — traveling from city to city, sleeping in hostels or other lodgings

In the rest of the blog, we’ll cover wilderness backpacking tips as a form of self-reliant travel that affords opportunities to see off-road sights available no other way.

Wilderness Backpacking Tips

We’ll remain beginner-friendly, tell you all about the equipment you’ll need and what and how to pack, and share some of the best backpacking meals and ideas with you to have enough energy to enjoy a great adventure!

The importance of having the right equipment

Once you decide to pursue your outdoor adventures, you need to be prepared to invest in some high-quality gear that will have multiple purposes and will also last you for at least several years. It’s no joke; gear can be pretty expensive. You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, and comfy backpack if you’re looking for adventure. 

Your backpack should be big enough to fit all of your things inside. It would be best if you purchase one with foamy cushions on the shoulders and the back. That way, there will be fewer pressure points, and you’ll carry it around with ease.

Ideally, the backpack should have multiple compartments for better organization. You don’t want to look for the matches at the bottom of your backpack, right? 

If you plan to share your tent with people, you should definitely look for a bigger one, but if privacy is your priority, then a small tent will serve its purpose. You also get to pick your favorite color!

The sleeping bag also comes in different shapes and sizes, but what matters most is the filling product. There are sleeping bags with synthetic fill and ones with natural filling. Thanks to advanced tech, the later ones can be safely purchased by people with allergies!

Do not underestimate the trail

Sometimes, the trail can be closer to your home, and you’ll think that it’s going to be a quick journey.  You’ll pack lightly, grab a water bottle and one sweater, and be on your way. Well, that’s the biggest mistake you can make.

No matter how small the trail is, and no matter how close to civilization you are, you should always prepare beforehand. That’s the golden rule of all backpackers out there- never underestimate the trail.

Look for online testimonies, read about the trail, and ask people who’ve been there already. That is the best way you can learn all about it. Also, make sure to check if the trail is marked if there is a drinkable water source, and preferably, sleeping huts in case it gets cold during the night.

It would be best if you could take a quick look at it by driving around the area, especially if there is a road nearby.

Pack and dress accordingly

Depending on the season, and the kind of trail you choose, you need to pack accordingly. If it’s summer, you’ll have no need for an extra warm sweater, but you can forget all about that tank top you planned on wearing if it’s winter.

Depending on the terrain, you can opt for comfortable walking shoes or boots with thick soles that will protect your feet and ankles. Either way, you can ditch those oxfords that you find super cute. 

When you’re packing, put the tent, the sleeping bag, and the extra clothes at the very bottom or on top of the backpack. Secure them if necessary. In the smaller compartments of your backpack, you can store a power bank, flashlight, matches, or lighter, and a basic first aid kit.

Put your pocket knife in the smallest compartment; you never know when you might need it.

Food and water

It is one of the most important things to bring with you on your hike. Your backpack should have enough space to store water bottles and snacks. If you’re a whole group, you can split your stashes amongst each other to relieve some of the weight on your shoulders. You can even bring meat with you, set up a campfire, and have a friendly night filled with chat and laughter.

But if not, premade food is your friend here. Always look for food that is high in calories and full of nutrients. Forget all about the calorie count. You’ll be moving a lot, carrying a lot of weight, so you’ll be burning those calories in no time. You might even drop a pound or two in a matter of days.

The food that you’ll bring should contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers. Also, just when you think that you have enough water, put one extra bottle inside your backpack; you never know when you might need it.

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186-Mile Hike on the Welsh Pembrokeshire Coastline

A strange yelping noise echoed up the cliffs to meet me. The noise rose and fell on the wind and sounded much like a crying baby.

I quickened my pace along the dusty path eager to see down into the coves. Another gust of wind brought more plaintive cries to my ears.

I reached the headland and stopped short on a grassy bluff and peered over the crumbling edge. Far below me was a shingle beach that teemed with activity.

Large figures moved in and out of the turquoise waters, their grey bodies dipping into the surf and diving amongst the waves.

Farther up the beach one of these creatures advanced past the tide line and slid ungracefully across the sand into the foaming sea. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A colony of Atlantic grey seals, right here in the UK.

This incredible evening occurred in mid-September whilst I was walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – a 186-mile National Trails hike located in the south of Wales.

Pembrokeshire Coastline

Pembrokeshire (Wales) map by NordNordWest CCBYSA3.0

The route crosses 35,000 feet of ascents and descents which is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest!

The path is populated by 14 harbors and some bigger fishing villages such as Tenby, Pembroke, and Fishguard.

It is renowned for its rugged heathland and windswept landscape due to the harsh weather that blows off the Irish Sea. It has 58 beaches and is, for the most part, a relatively untouched area of coastline.

It was this level of wilderness that attracted me to walk the path in its entirety. Following a series of travel restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, I felt an urge to spend some time exploring the local National Parks in my home country rather than planning to jet abroad only for the trip to get canceled.

Prior to this, I’d walked the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England. This hike stretched from the east to the west coast which amusingly gave me the right to say I’d walked across the UK.

Despite this, I still wanted to step it up. I felt I had more in me and yearned to do something even more adventurous.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path seemed like the perfect challenge I’d been looking for. It gave me that added element of raw nature whilst also allowing me to explore an area of the country I’d never visited before.

Gwlad Hud a Lledrith

In fact, the path is known as “Gwlad Hud a Lledrith” in Welsh, which means “The Land of Mystery and Enchantment”, and it’s this remoteness that makes it the perfect home for a breeding seal population.

During the autumn, adult seals flock to the secluded beaches and hidden coves of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to raise their pups.

Throughout the rest of the year, there’s only a small population in the area and it’s unlikely you’ll see any – let alone up close on the beaches. However, during the 3-4 weeks where their pups can’t swim, the colony remains close to the shore at all times.

Despite knowing this, I still felt strangely aloof about the whole thing. As if it was some myth that could never actually happen. The idea of being on an empty, sweeping beach in the UK watching a colony of seals teach their pups how to swim seemed too good to be true.

Yet there I was, witnessing exactly that. The more I stared, the more the animals seemed to appear from their camouflaged hiding spots amongst the rocks.

I began to recognize small white shapes, about the size of a house cat, flapping at the base of the crumbling cliffs. Those strange noises suddenly had their source.

The fluffy pups lay on their backs in the sun creating quite a racket, clamoring for attention. They moaned and cried out, calling for their mother’s milk.

I dropped my heavy backpack on the floor and sat beside a patch of ferns to watch the amazing natural dynamic unfold below me.

Occasionally the pups would fall asleep and go quiet, or sometimes a tired-looking mother would shuffle over and flop beside her pup for it to have a drink.

I was blessed with crisp blue skies and the cliffs were lit orange by the low Autumnal sun.

Rays of light illuminated the water so clear that I could see the adults diving down and foraging amongst the seaweed, catching fish and collecting crustaceans to eat.

They looked so sleek gliding under the water which only made it more comical seeing them try to move clumsily overland.

Some of the bigger seals rested out to sea glancing about with their whiskered heads bobbing up and down in the water.

From this distance, they looked much like dogs and I had to squint sometimes to convince myself otherwise.

As the sun lowered in the sky the calls and movements of the animals began to dwindle. Growing tired, I pitched my tent right there overlooking the cove.

I set up my cooking equipment and sat staring at the seals, almost in a trance. The wind gently swept through the grass and rippled the canvas of my tent. The blue flame from my stove hissed and the water clicked and rolled in the pan.

I ate a pouch of spicy tomato pasta and sipped at a steaming mug of tea as the sky ran red and the animals fell silent. The shadows lengthened on the beach and the sea turned slate grey as darkness descended.

I put on my hat and gloves and watched my breath rise into the starlit sky. The moon drifted above the ocean and cast a white glimmer onto the tops of the cliffs.

I could see no glow of urban settlements on the horizon nor hear the sound of any human noise. Only the swash of waves and the occasional scuffle of blubber against stone.

I lay in my sleeping bag that night thinking about what I’d set out to achieve on this walk. To have an adventure. To explore my home country. To find some of its untouched pockets of nature, and most of all, to have an experience I’d never forget.

As I drifted to sleep listening to the sound of waves lapping against the beach and a groaning seal roll over in the sand, I felt I’d accomplished exactly that.

Author Bio

My name is Matt (Twitter @MattWalkWild). I’m a 24-year-old Biologist and adventure traveler. I’ve visited 42 countries around the world and particularly love wild and natural landscapes. I write about all things hiking, camping, and walking. I want to encourage others to experience the amazing outdoors and inform them about how to explore it just like I do! Check out my website: mattwalkwild.com

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11 Days Hiking the Kerry Way in Ireland

I’d dreamed about the Ring of Kerry since I first saw it. I was 19. I’d never been out of the country before, and my first trip was to Ireland.

On that trip, I took a bus ride through the Ring of Kerry. It was the most beautiful place I’d seen thus far in my short life. I promised I’d be back soon.

Hiking the Kerry Way Ireland

Four years later, at 23, I finally kept that promise. But this time, I didn’t take a bus. I walked— 130 miles, for 11 days, with a 30-pound backpack on my back. Alone.

This is the story of how I took my first long-distance solo hike.

Hiking Kerry Way (Ring of Kerry), Ireland

The Beginning

I started out in the city of Killarney. I walked around an entire peninsula before ending back where I started—a full loop, a revolution, a cycle.

The hike started great. I felt empowered, ready to experience nature’s peace, and excited to visit charming towns along the way. I had a lot of thinking to do and I was ready to buckle down and do it.

But there were more challenges than I’d anticipated. I prepared extensively—purchased the right shoes, the perfect pack, researched and plotted everything I would need.

But the fact is that no amount of planning—and I had planned this for years—can prepare you for what you might face along the way. Especially when the toughest obstacle tends to be your own mind.

Killarney National Park

Day 1-3: My Body and Mind Adjust

Let’s go back to the start.

I stepped out of my hostel in Killarney apprehensively. It felt strange, walking through the city like a normal person, albeit with 30 pounds of extra weight on my back.

People were already out and about at 9 am, families laughing, people sipping coffees in cafes. For a moment, I felt like just another tourist visiting Killarney.

Between the Mountains and the Sea

Killarney National Park

I reached Killarney National Park after about an hour of walking along the road. Here, I passed waterfalls and streams and walked amidst massive mountains.

I adjusted to being alone, not having anyone to tell me where to go—only my GPS and the trail markers at every kilometer.

At one point, I nearly got lost in a field of boulders, with no trail marker in sight. But I kept myself calm and continued straight, eventually reaching the next part of the trail.

Lake Killarney

By the time I got to my first hostel, in an area called Black Valley, I’d lost track of time. My feet hurt bad I’d been limping for a mile, my thighs ached, and my shoulders felt like I’d done a million push-ups. I dropped the bag to the floor and slept like a baby.

According to the map, the next day’s hike was “difficult”. The day before had been labeled “easy,” and I could barely walk by the end. Still, I kept my mood high.

Yesterday’s intense foot pain had mostly subsided, though I felt bruises on my hips from where the pack was strapped tightly to my waist.

Landscape, Kerry Way

I enjoyed the dramatic scenery of the valley covered in towering clouds. Eventually, those clouds released a flurry of rain. I stuffed my hair in my raincoat and hummed to myself and the sheep over the sound of the raindrops.

I stepped through muddy gates in strangers’ farmland and a forest darkened by a lack of sun. When the rain finally stopped, hours later, I was in the most dramatic valley I’d ever seen.

The valley was rolling with green, sheep-dotted farmland. Massive mountains framed me on all sides.

I could see why the trail was marked difficult—it led me up and over one of the distant mountains. As I neared the base, I tightened my straps and steeled my nerves.

The climb was tough. The air thinned with each step up to the next rock, and the weight of my pack tugged me backward. I focused on where my feet would go next and controlled my breath until I got to the top and, panting, was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley I’d just walked through.

I felt immense pride when I reached my guest room, in a house on a beautiful lake called Lough Acoose. It was a relaxing place to spend the night and I slept peacefully.

The next day, though, I felt anxiety as I set out. I think the excitement was wearing off and exhaustion was finally hitting me. The terrain was full of small hills that would’ve been much easier if I didn’t have 30 pounds on my back and sore feet.

I counted the hours until I finally limped into Glenbeigh, found the hostel where I’d stay, and threw my pack down. This was the first real town I’d stayed in so far, and I delighted in buying actual shampoo from a general store.

After a hot shower, I rewarded myself with a Guinness at a nearby pub and befriended several of the regulars as I recounted my journey so far.

I felt exhausted but proud I’d completed the first few days of my hike.

Day 4-7: The Real Challenges Begin

On the hike scenery

As I walked out of Glenbeigh on day four, the mountains evened out and I realized I was nearing the coast.

Eventually, I found myself walking along a cliff overlooking the entire bay. It was stunning, and I stopped many times to absorb the view—and to allow my aching feet to rest.

Soon I reached the B&B I’d rented for the night, a farmhouse on the water called Taobh Coille. The owner greeted me energetically and immediately sat me down for homemade soup, tea, and biscuits.

I was starving, as I was subsiding on granola bars and fruit during my hikes (it was lighter). I ate gratefully in a sunroom overlooking the water as she told me about her family, who were grown now and having kids of their own. Her kindness made me feel awake and rejuvenated.

That evening, I took a slow walk down to the shore and watched the sunset over the water, ending a nearly perfect day.

I started the next day in a great mood, and walked along the coast for a while, enjoying the views of the turquoise bay and distant faded mountains. But soon the trail veered inland, cutting across the peninsula to reach the other side.

The views and peaceful sea disappeared as I walked through the dullest terrain yet—plain grass fields. No grand vistas or even uphill climbs to distract me now.

This was when the days started to blur. The terrain was mild, but the pain wouldn’t let me relax. It should’ve been the easiest section, and every step was a challenge.

I focused on anything but the pain to distract myself, finding solace in the sun, sheep, distant mountains, the big blinking eyes of cows. Mostly I thought of reaching my hostel, taking off my shoes, and getting a hot meal.

Day 6: Midpoint of my journey

The 6th day started the same. But while I was expecting that same boring terrain, I had another thing coming.

Soon the trail started ascending uphill. I thought it would only be one hill, and made the walk slowly, taking baby steps. My back and thighs ached.

When I stood at the top feeling victorious, the feeling was short-lived as I saw an entire range of mountaintops ahead of me. One after another, I walked over them, feeling as though they’d never end.

I focused only on the step right in front of me. The weather turned harsh. Freezing rain pelted my face, and the wind blew sideways into my ears. I could barely hear or see, and felt like screaming, crying, stopping.

But I kept going and going and suddenly, there were no more mountains. Only a silent winding valley that took me to my hostel, where I collapsed after the hardest day yet.

The next day, the valley looked new. The sun broke through as I walked and I felt as though nothing could faze me anymore. The day’s hike seemed to go fast. By late afternoon, I’d reached the coast again, and the charming seaside town of Waterville.

Once I checked into my B&B, I forced my feet to make the walk into town for a hot meal and a Guinness. I ate at a cozy pub on the water, staring out the window.

My view—the sea, the dark clouds, the crashing waves—looked like peace in its purest form.

Day 8-11: Learning Who I Am Now

On the hike scenery

It was a treat to start my walk along the coast again. My feet still hurt, but I was better at blocking the pain out now.

I was also becoming adept at entertaining myself with my own mind. Spending 8 hours a day completely alone with nothing to do but walk will do that to you.

After a relaxed and short walk, I ended in Caherdaniel. I had expected a town but found nothing but a small pub and a general store that doubled as a gas station that tripled as somebody’s home.

They didn’t even have an ATM—and I didn’t have cash. I ate dinner in the hostel, making due with what I had left and what I could find in the shared kitchen.

As I set out the next day, it quickly occurred to me I’d finished off the rest of my food the night before. I had nothing to tide me over during the 8-hour hike ahead of me.

My GPS said that there was a general store along the road where I’d be walking. But I was walking through rolling hills and farmland, dirt roads that looked like nobody had used them for months.

I could hear the hum of distant cars but never saw this road, never saw the general store. I ate my last apple as slowly as I could manage. I wondered if I’d ever felt so hungry. My body resisted every movement—my energy was spent.

When I hobbled into the busy, charming town of Sneem I felt plunged into bliss. The main street was nothing but restaurants—I smelled roasted chicken and barbecue, grilling burgers, and fresh bread. I nearly cried tears of joy when I quickly checked into my hostel and finally sat down at a restaurant.

I ordered several things off the menu and a big Guinness to wash it down, and felt more satisfied than I could remember ever feeling.

I was sad to leave Sneem the next day, but I bid farewell to its colorful shops and lovely restaurants and set about the second-to-last day of my hike.

I felt calm and relaxed, resolved like I was every day to ignore whatever pain I felt. No stopping now. There were no surprises in the trail description, just a bit of rain and clouds today which made me feel even more alone than I had before.

Ring of Kerry, Kenmare

I ended up in a town called Kenmare, and went about my usual routine of stopping in a pub for a beer. But I felt too tired to socialize. I slept like a baby, prepared for the final day of my journey.

Today’s final leg of the hike was to be long, but easy. I set about feeling strange—I had gotten so used to the routine of waking up early, eating breakfast, having a coffee and packing my bag for the day’s walk. The idea that it all ended today felt surreal.

After a few hours walking through those same massive mountains, I’d seen the first few days, I reached the part of the trail that led to Killarney.

Landscape Killarney

It was the same as the first day—the booming valley full of waterfalls and streams. I didn’t panic when I reached the boulders. It was the same place I started, but I felt like a different person.

The feeling stayed with me, heady and surreal, as I walked into Killarney that afternoon. The tourists were still there, trotting about, completely oblivious to the limping girl with the giant backpack.

Killarney, Ireland

I wondered if I looked as different as I felt. I thought I did—windburn-reddened cheeks, hair bleached from the sun. I could even see the muscles that had grown slightly in my legs.

But, I was still me. The same me who started the hike, the same me who first laid eyes on the Ring of Kerry and vowed to return. Except I had proven to myself that I can keep a promise to myself, that I can follow through.

I hoped that this well-earned knowledge would stay with me for the rest of my life.

Author Bio

Pandora Domeyko is a Barcelona-based travel writer and blogger, and the creator of the travel blog Pandora Explores. On her blog, she covers solo travel and expat living in Barcelona and beyond. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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Camper Van: One of the Best Travel Investments

There are many ways to spice up your travels and ensure that you are getting everything out of them in terms of comfort and convenience. And with so many things to consider on the market, making the right choice can be admittedly a bit difficult.

In this blog, we will look at why we believe a Camper Van is one of the best travel investments you can make to improve the quality and comfort of your travels. If you haven’t thought about a van as an option yet, it’s definitely something worth looking at.

6 Benefits of Owning a Camper Van

If you are dreaming of hitting the open road, amid this coronavirus pandemic, then consider a camper van aka motorhome.

Balancing Comfort & Utility

Volkswagen Autosleeper Clubman GL

The best thing about a van is also the main reason for its existence – it combines comfort and utility, and balances them in a great way that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s hard to overstate how useful a van can be when you have a larger family to ride around with, or a lot of luggage to take with you.

And it can also be great for certain special situations, like when an emergency comes up that requires you to rest somewhere on short notice. All in all, a van can cover many of the important bases for traveling efficiently.

Note: Camper vans due ton their smaller size can be parked in your garage or driveway, which eliminates having any additional storage fee.

Affordable to Own

Photo (Dutch Camper Van) by Charles01 CCBYSA3.0

If you haven’t looked into camper vans yet, you may think that these beasts must cost a fortune. But you would be surprised to know that camper vans are affordable for most people who already owns cars, SUVs, or minivans.

Despite the extra space and additional features, the basic models aren’t much more expensive than a standard minivan. With gas prices at all time low and improved fuel utility, this means you’ll be able to hit the road without overspending on gas.

Note: Camper vans are more fuel efficient than larger RVs.

Easy Maintenance, Affordable Insurance

An Old Volkswagen Camper Van

On top of that, your typical van isn’t that difficult to maintain either. It doesn’t take a lot to keep it in a good condition compared to a regular car, and finding a good insurance quote should not be a problem if you look around.

For example, sites like Quotezone (UK) can provide you with a van insurance quote, but do make sure you’re looking for camper van insurance and not commercial vehicle insurance. While Quotezone is primarily aimed at car and van customers, it can be a great starting reference point for your future search.

Great for Couples and Friends

A Talbot AutoSleeper 1991 model

Imagine road-tripping with your significant other. Or, with your best friend. All without having to worry about having a fixed itinerary or hotel bookings. With a camper van or motorhome, you can make plans as you go. Not only this provides you the privacy and freedom, it is also adventurous.

Any Class B Camper Vans are completely self-contained, which means it makes them a popular choice for camp grounds. You  don’t have to worry about pitch a tent, use an outhouse, or cooking outdoors all while battling unpredictable weather or unfamiliar places.

Great for the Sociable Types

Photo (GMC Chevrolet G30) by Daniela Kloth under GNU1.2

Even if you don’t travel with a family, a van can still be a great investment into your trips that can make them much more comfortable and convenient. If you like getting together with new people, this is one of the best options you have, and you can even throw small parties in there from time to time.

Of course, it can be difficult to keep things clean with so many random people coming in and out, so consider that in advance as well. If you can handle that though, a van is definitely something that will be right up your alley.

Lastly, Safety

Photo (VW Classic Camper van) by Paul Palmer CCBY2.5

We can’t talk about anything that weighs over a ton and moves at such high speed with a metal body without considering safety. Safety is a huge priority for us and it should be all of us.

The good news is all newer models are built incredibly sturdy. Plus these days, you get powerful disc braking systems, parking sensors, backup cameras, etc. in almost all standard models, without paying anything in extra.

Conclusion

These factors and more should get you on the right track and should show you the benefits of investing in a good van.

If you’re still not convinced, just talk to some people who’re already using a van regularly, and get their input. You’ll definitely get many positive responses, and will learn a few more reasons for potentially giving this idea a go if you’re still on the fence about it.

Author Bio

Rosana Beechum is a freelance writer who loves to talk about all things lifestyle, including travel, fashion, money-saving hacks, and more. She’s traveled the world and contributes articles that offer practical advice and tried-and-tested tips.

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Top 6 Sunshine Coast Attractions for Nature Lovers

The Sunshine Coast, Queensland is one of the top destinations in Australia, attracting over 3 million visitors a year. Beautiful coastal walks, beaches, tourist attractions, magnificent nature, adrenaline-filled excitement, and great food and beer are just the beginning of all the fun things to do in the Sunshine Coast.

If you’re a nature lover, you’re in luck in your visit to the Sunshine Coast, with all the animals and plant life to see in this amazing holiday destination.

Google maps

The Sunshine Coast is located approximately 100 km (62 mi) north of Brisbane. In this blog, we will share with you our Top 6 attractions for nature lovers.

Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park is situated near Noosa Heads between the Pacific Ocean and the Sunshine Coasts’s northern area, past Lake Weyba to Coolum.  The Headlands Section of the park contains pockets of rainforest where hoop and kauri pines dominate.

There are also areas of open eucalypt forest, wallum heaths, pandanus palms and grasslands. The Peregian Section is known for its wildflowers which blossom in spring, particularly the rare swamp orchid and Christmas bells.

A population of koalas is found in the park, as are mammal species such as the short-nosed bandicoot, common ringtail possum, brushtail possum.

Birds such as the eastern ground parrot, glossy black cockatoo, eastern yellow robin, rufous fantail, satin bowerbird and crimson rosella are all found in the park’s forests.

Headlands in the park are a popular place to watch migrating humpback whales (pictured above).

Noosa Everglades

There are only two everglades in the world, and one of them is right on the sunshine coast along the Noosa River. Float along the serene water that so perfectly reflects the plant life that borders it on either side.

Join an organized cruise so you can just enjoy the feeling of being on the water or hire a kayak and paddle along the water yourself. View the natural plants and animals—the Noosa Everglades are home to over 40% of Australia’s bird species.

Photo by Nadine van Dyk CCBY3.0

Whether you’re a local or an international visitor, there’s something to see on the everglades.

Maleny Botanic Gardens

Wandering through the botanic gardens is a treat for avid botanists, nature lovers, and anyone who enjoys escaping from city life for a little while.

Walk along over 6km of pathways through the gardens (or jump into a golf cart to make getting around the gardens a little easier). Enjoy a picnic in a gazebo or among the scenic grounds. Young ones can run wild through the fairy gardens while you relax.

Rainbow Lorikeet

The botanic gardens also feature Bird World—a place where you can get hands-on with live birds and get a photo with them for an experience you’ll never forget.

Australia Zoo

The Australia Zoo, affectionally subtitles the Home of the Crocodile Hunter, is the Zoo that Steve Irwin and now his family have always strived to make the biggest, best wildlife conservation facility in the world. The zoo has won a whole host of awards for the work it does to help animals and to educate visitors.

Steve Irwin (2005)/ Photo by Richard Giles CCSA3.0

When you arrive at the zoo you might find yourself overwhelmed with all there is to see and do! Throughout the day there are several animal shows you can watch to learn more about the residents of the zoo.

Not to mention the up close and personal animal encounters you can have. You can even adopt an animal and pay to keep it happy and safe throughout its life.

Glass House Mountains

The Glass House Mountains are a cluster of 13 hills that rise abruptly from the coastal plain on the Sunshine Coast. The highest hill is Mount Beerwah at 556 metres above sea level, but the most identifiable of all the hills is Mount Tibrogargan which from certain angles bears a resemblance to a face staring east towards the ocean.

Photo by Bidgee CCBY3.0

The Glass House Mountains are located in the traditional lands of the Jinibara and Gubbi Gubbi people. Local Natives have an elaborate legend about the mountains.

Sea Life Aquarium

When you haven’t had enough of amazing animals after your trip to the zoo, you can head into the SeaLife Aquarium. Walk through the aquarium and take a look at the underwater life from a perspective you won’t get anywhere else.

Lionfish

See the penguins, seals, sharks, smaller fish, and many more exotics aquatic species!

Coral Reef

Walk through the ocean tunnel and look around as sharks, rays, reef fish, and more swim above and next to you. The Tidal Touchpool gives visitors of all ages the opportunity to get their hands wet and touch some real sea stars, sea cucumbers, and more.

A Manatee

There’s plenty of fun things to do in the Sunshine Coast if you’re an animal lover. from getting up close and personal with animals to wandering through scenic nature.

Read Next

Henry David Thoreau On Travel and Being Present

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.

Below are some of Thoreau’s thoughts on travel and being present in time. We hope you’ll enjoy this selection just as much we enjoyed compiling it for you.

You Don’t Need Money to Travel

One [of my friend] says to me, “I wonder that you do not lay up money [but yet] you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country.”

But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is 30 miles; the fare 90 cents. That is almost a day’s wages.

Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week together. You will in the mean while have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season.

Living Deliberately

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

On Wandering in the Wild

Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest trees.

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil — to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.

Our Perception Changes

There is hardly anything that shows the short-sightedness or capriciousness of the imagination more than traveling does. With change of place we change our ideas; nay, our opinions and feelings. We can by an effort, indeed, transport ourselves to old and long-forgotten scenes, and then the picture of the mind revives again; but we forget those that we have just left.

It seems that we can think but of one place at a time. The canvas of the fancy is but of a certain extent, and if we paint one set of objects upon it, they immediately efface every other. We cannot enlarge our conceptions, we only shift our point of view.

The landscape bares its bosom to the enraptured eye; we take our fill of it, and seem as if we could form no other image of beauty or grandeur. We pass on, and think no more of it: the horizon that shuts it from our sight also blots it from our memory like a dream.

In traveling through a wild, barren country, I can form no idea of a woody and cultivated one. It appears to me that all the world must be barren, like what I see of it. In the country, we forget the town, and in town we despise the country.

The Pleasure of Traveling

I have all my life delighted in traveling, though I have never enjoyed that pleasure upon a large scale. Wood, water, wilderness itself had an inexpressible charm for me, and I had a dreamy way of going much farther than I intended, so that unconsciously my return was protracted, and my parents had sometimes serious cause of uneasiness.

On Taking Long Walks in Nature

It is true we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the work is but retracing our steps.

We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return—prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.

If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend 4 hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.

I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour of four o’clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,—I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together.

The New World

Sir Francis Head, an English traveller and a Governor-General of Canada, tells us that:

“In both the northern and southern hemispheres of the New World, Nature has not only outlined her words on a larger scale, but has painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she used in delineating and in beautifying the Old World. The heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the forests bigger, the plains broader.”

The Joy of Nothingness

Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.

I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.

I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.

The Cost of Anything

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

Related Posts

6 Best Long Hiking Trails Around The World

The lofty heights of mountains call onto our inner wanderer. We think, what ways lead the wind through that green forest, or what awaits at the top of that snow-capped mountain?

But we cannot sit and wait for getting our answers, can we? We need to pack up and get on our feet!

Below are 6 of the best hiking trails (around the world) that must make it to your bucket list.

KILIMANJARO

It is not a joke to mention Africa’s highest mountain in the top of the list. This 35 miles long hiking trail will lead you to the peak of Kilimanjaro.

Related: Kilimanjaro Travel Guide

With a tour guide, you can complete the hike in 7- 10 days. But if you want to do it by yourself, then you need careful planning. There are alternative routes which will take you to the destination faster.

Then Viola! You see the starry sky unfolding before you.

Read Next: How to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro: Rules of Success

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK

We included this in our list because it involves the highest mountain in the world. You will be filled with awe once you just have a glimpse of the tip. A 3-weeks trip will do, to make you climb the heights.

Related: Trekking in Nepal: The Complete Guide

You can fly to Nepal during September to November. During this time the cold doesn’t hit in full force so that you can enjoy your cultural as well as historical hike.

GRAND CANYON

Grand Canyon is one of the largest geographical features of the surface of the Earth. You can know the power of its sheer magnificence by the views it grants you.

Hiking from rim to rim will just take a week. But in that time, this 44 miles long hiking trail will offer you some of the best sceneries (that you can ever get on a long hike).

APPALACHIAN TRAIL

A 2180-miles of beauty and mountains is an adventure you will not want to miss. But hiking from Georgia to Maine is not for beginners with limited energy. You should undertake this task, if and only if you are passionate about it.

Completing this journey takes around three to six months depending on your fitness level and pace.

If you do not have that kind of time to dedicate, then you can do the Appalachian trail in smaller sections. There are several shorter and interesting trails within the Appalachian that will equally thrill your senses.

KUNGSLEDEN

When we said about the snow-topped mountains we did not joke. Sweden abounds in the frozen landscape; you can have a look at the beauteous landscape.

It is 275-miles long hike. Hence it will neither take much of your time nor energy. From icy glaciers to alpine vegetation, you will see everything that makes Sweden the dream destination of many.

It does not end here; you will get to see Mount Kebnekaise (the highest peak in the country).

TONQUIN VALLEY

Those looking for short trails are in luck. This Canadian trail in Alberta became viral when Ansel Adams posted photos of it online. From then on, it is on the bucket list of many.

Hiking the Valley takes a week. But you will have to struggle a bit to reach this place. Yes, its accessibility might not be up to the mark, but the scenic charms it exhibits will leave you spellbound.

Trekking in Nepal: A Bucket List Experience

If you are a serious wanderluster, chances are Nepal is high on your travel bucket list. With eight of the top ten highest summits in the world and some of the most beautiful landscapes which are only reachable on foot, trekking in Nepal is one of the unique experiences of South Asia.

Trekking is the most popular tourist activity in Nepal and travelers have a lot of options to choose from on the streets of Kathmandu and Pokhara (the trekking hub).

Kathmandu valley, city view

The huge variety of options allows for people of many ages and capabilities to attempt a trek in the country.

Treks can be anywhere from just a day long to 20 days long. There are easy treks and difficult alpine climbing. There are treks where you’ll have porters and guides and then there are options where you just need a guide to come with you.

Despite what many may perceive, trekking in Nepal is not necessarily wandering alone through an uncharted wilderness.

Trekking through the countryside 

As they walk along the well-marked trekking paths, travelers will often discover quite the opposite; hundreds of locals passing through each day as they haul food, water, and other odd necessities back to their tiny villages, along with dozens of fellow trekkers.

The regularly-spaced villages and tea-houses allow trekkers good opportunities to rest and recover, either for a few minutes or the night.

The strong culture and unreserved friendliness of the Nepalese people can also be witnessed as one traverses the hill tracks.

Best Time for Trekking in Nepal

The best seasons for trekking are the dry and warm seasons, March-June and September-November. During these times, the temperature is bearable and skies are usually clear, although the skies are foggier and the rain begins in May-June.

Note: It is possible to trek out of season, but expect lots of rain and leeches during the summer monsoon season and severe cold and closed passes during the winter months.

Experience and Fitness Level

Trekking independently

As we have mentioned above, there are treks suitable for a wide range of experience and physical fitness.

An easy trek with Nepali support (guide and porter) and tea-house accommodation is quite attainable for anyone who is “reasonably fit”.

Note: Reasonable fitness here means you can walk uphill for a few hours each day. Your backpack is the only thing you’ll carry yourself.

Longer treks, crossing high passes and into remote regions demand a higher degree of endurance. For summiting a mountain taller than 5000m, it is desirable to have some alpine climbing experience (because you may encounter snow and hard ice).

What Supplies to Carry

While trekking in Nepal, your needs will be simple. It is, therefore, best to carry only what you absolutely need and leave the rest behind.

View from Pokhara

Enjoy the scenery and savor the moment. Leave books, gadgets, toys, and fancy cameras. They all make your bag heavy. (If anything, perhaps carry a dairy and a pen).

You can buy or rent everything you need in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu or in Pokhara.

Note: When it comes to shows it is best to use your own footwear that is already broken in. Because you will be walking hundreds of kilometers and a new or misfitting shoe can be quite painful on your feet.

The main essentials to bring are sturdy and comfortable hiking boots, a sleeping bag (depending on your accommodation), a daypack, a few changes of clothes for the varying temperatures, fleeces & down jackets, a water filter & bottle/cup and some essential medicines.

For cold weather, hiking pants, thermals, gloves, neck warmer or scarf, beanie, a warm inner jacket and a windproof and waterproof outer jacket are essential. For the more difficult treks involving mountaineering, crampons and ice axes may be required.

Note: Always carry a map and compass whenever you venture into the wilderness (anywhere in the world).

Other items to bring include a hiking stick or two, waterproof case, fabric bandages such as moleskin, a headlamp, water purification supplies, altitude sickness and other medication, a lightweight camera, and binoculars.

Note: On the popular trekking routes, everyday supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, chocolate bars, and even basic hiking supplies can be purchased along the way, though prices rise dramatically as you go higher in elevation. Try to stock up lower down and buy locally-produced products such as fruit, and biscuits.

You may see several Buddhist statues on your trek

Go Guided vs. Independent?

This is more of common sense or a subjective question than a technical one.

Whether to join an organized group, trek unguided with other independent travelers or to hire your own guide and/or porter is a personal decision based on the difficulty of the trek, your budget, capabilities, and prior experiences.

Note: Guided treks must be legally organized through TAAN registered trekking agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara. No one else — no hotel, no street broker, no nice person you just met, not even a trekking guide — is legally authorized to organize a trek.

Going Guided

During the main seasons, there are many group treks, and it is generally easy to find a group doing the trek of your choice. Group treks can be the both small or mid-sized. You can shop around for one that fits your needs.

On a guided group trek, all the necessary trekking gear, food, fuel, and other goods are carried by the porters. The cook will prepare all the meals during the camping trek. Trekkers carry only a daypack, as required.

At night, tents for dining, sleeping and washing are provided and set up. Mattresses, sleeping bags, tables, and seating are arranged by staff. For large group treks, a chief guide is employed to pre-arrange and then to oversee the entire program.

A Sherpa (Assistant Guide) is also hired to lead the staff and assist the Sirdar (Chief guide). All land transportation, local permits, taxes, porter insurance, port dues, and entrance fees to National Parks or sites that are part of the trip are arranged by the agency.

Note: When signing up with an agency, you should speak with several and make detailed inquiries about the differences in service besides just the base cost. Having someone along who is experienced, professional, attentive, and can speak your language could be very important.

Annapurna Trail, Nepal

Tipping in Nepal

If you are employing the services of guides and porters, it is customary to present a tip to the head guide at the end of the trip. This will be divided up between the various people employed in your group.

Note: Like most tips, the amount will vary depending on the quality of services provided, but it could be between 5% and 10% of the total cost of your trek.

Going Independent

Independent trekking is quite easy in the main trekking areas. You can also team up with an experienced local person.

If hiring staff independently and without an agency, be mindful of your responsibilities to ensure that your guide is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe.

Note: Know that foreigners on a tourist visa are not legally allowed to hire any staff directly.

Donkeys are often used to haul supplies

Get the Required Permits

Police checkpoints are numerous and unavoidable and park officers can check your permits at any time, with a fine of double the normal cost if you are caught without the proper permits.

Note: Do not try to bribe officers or police personnel; it might get you in more trouble than you think. You must purchase conservation or national park entry and TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card.

TIMS card

The Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card is required for several treks in Nepal.

There are two types of TIMS cards:

  • Green (independent trekkers) – more expensive
  • Blue (trekkers in a guided tour) – less expensive

Individual TIMS (green cards) are obtainable only from Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara and from the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal office.

Note: Make sure that you bring the required insurance documentation, a photocopy of your passport, and passport-sized photographs when applying.

Treks in Annapurna, Khumbu, & Langtang

Treks in these areas only require national park entry tickets (prices vary per park) and a TIMS card, but do not require “special permits”.

Treks in Restricted Areas

Restricted areas such as Dolpo, Mustang, Manaslu, and Kanchenjunga require “trekking permits” (but not the TIMS card), which are obtainable only through trekking agents.

Trekking Mountain Peaks

There are 33 mountain peaks in Nepal of 5,650-6,500 m height classified as trekking peaks. Trekking Peaks require a qualified “climbing guide”, permits and deposits to cover camp waste disposal.

Climbing permits for these peaks can cost anywhere from $350 USD for one to four members to $500 USD.

Trekking Tips & Good Habits

  • Trek legally: If you trek independently, you are not allowed to take any staff by law. For this, you need a trekking agency authorized to employ staff for foreign trekkers. Do not hire staff or “independent guides” through hotels, unless they have a trekking agent license or offer this service through an affiliated trekking agent.
  • Please make sure you take all of your trash, including bottles and cans from goods consumed in restaurants, to the nearest truck-accessible road for the most proper disposal available. You may note pollution and lack of trash management in villages on treks—including trash-clogged rivers and mounds of discarded beer bottles. Nepal is struggling with its rapid development and hasn’t yet figured out how to dispose of its waste. Don’t contribute to the problem any more than necessary!
  • Filter your own water: Plastic water bottle use is increasing around the Himalayas. Try to use locally available water; you can use purification tablets, which are easily available, and most tablets make water drinkable within 30 minutes.
  • After your trek, you can donate your clothes to the porters’ clothing bank, which is managed by the KEEP association. This bank is in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu and provides clothes to the trekking porters and their families.

Top Trekking Itineraries

The Himalayas in Nepal

The Great Himalayan Trail

The Great Himalayan Trail is a 1,700-km trek that connects all the main trekking areas. It is possible to make this trek with a coterie of very good guides, cooks, porters, equipment (including technical gear) and payment of many expensive fees.

The window for completing this trek is exceedingly short as snow closes the high passes for much of the year.

Annapurna Region Treks

Annapurna

The Annapurna Region, north of the middle hills city and the trekking base city of Pokhara, includes Annapurna I, the 10th tallest mountain in the world at 8,091 m above sea level, as well as thirteen additional peaks over 7,000 m and 16 more peaks over 6,000 m.

All of these treks offer amazing views of this mountain range.

  • Annapurna Circuit (18-21 days) – circling the Annapurna Mountains
  • Annapurna Sanctuary (14 days) – an oval-shaped plateau 40 km north of Pokhara, at 4,000 m above sea level. Trek through the sanctuary to Annapurna Base Camp.
  • Annapurna Base Camp (7-10 days) – can be reached via various routes.
  • Poon Hill (3-5 days), at 3,210 m above sea level, northwest of Pokhara, is the most famous viewpoint in Western Nepal.
  • Jomsom Muktinath Trek (5-10 days) – treks to Jomson, a village on the other side of the Annapurna mountains that can also be reached by air, and Ghorepani, a village that is 2,750 m above sea level. This area is always very windy.
  • The Royal Trek (3-4 days) – an easy trek with excellent views of the mountains and local villages. The trek was made famous by Prince Charles.
  • Mardi Himal (5,587 m) (4-7 days) – a trek that offers amazing views at the summit of Mardi Himal.
  • Khopra/Khayer Lake Trek (7-14 days) – a sacred lake at 4,500 m asl, reachable via a moderate/strenuous hike.
  • Sikles Trek (4-7 days) – a camping and homestay-based trek through the villages and the Gurung settlement of Siklis.
  • Panchase Trek (3-5 days) – a popular easier trek with great views.
  • Kande to Australian Camp to Pothana to Dhampus to Phedi, or reverse (3-4 days) – an easy trek for those that do not want to try the more challenging treks. Spend a night in each location to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset.
  • Gurung Heritage Trek (5-7 days) – Hike through the villages of the Gurung ethnic group, known for being humble with a great sense of humor.
  • Upper Mustang Trek (12-16 days) – the former Kingdom of Lo that has a culture very similar to Tibet, has amazing Trans-Himalayan scenery although it is a difficult trek because of high altitude, exposed terrain, and continual strong winds. This trek requires a restricted area permit of US$500 per 10 days, making it less favorable for budget travelers.
  • Naar-Phu Valley Trek (12-15 days) – a hidden Tibetan valley just north of the Annapurna Circuit.
  • Dolpa Trek (15-21 days) – Upper Dolpa is the remote Land of the Bon, almost as Tibetan as Nepali. Lower Dolpa is more accessible and can be reached by plane.
  • Manaslu Trek (14-21 days) – Manaslu is the 8th highest mountain in the world at 8,156 m above sea level. Hike unspoiled trails through remote villages and over the Larke pass at 5,135 m to circuit the mountain. You are required to have special permits and the services of a guide.

A Sherpa village on the way

Kathmandu Valley Region

  • Nagarkot (2 days) – offers a great spot for watching surrounding mountain ranges at sunrise or sunset from atop the hill.
  • The Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (5 days), includes treks to Nagarkot and Dhulikhel
  • Shivapuri Hiking Trek (5 days) displays the best of Nepal’s rural culture, biodiversity and stunning Himalayan views. Trekking routes to Nagarkot, Gosainkunda, Helambu and the Langtang National Park (see Langtang region).
  • Indigenous Peoples Trail – a cultural delight with marvelous viewpoints through the Ramechhap district, just east of Kathmandu

Langtang region

  • Helambu & Gosainkunda Trek – a short taxi ride from Thamel to the roadhead at Shivapuri leads to a trail through the middle-hills countryside of Helambu, either circuit around and return to Kathmandu or cross the pass to the sacred Gosainkunda lake (4,380 m), descend and then hike up the Langtang valley
  • Langtang Valley Trek – start in Shyaphru Besi (bus from Kathmandu) and hike up the Langtang valley beneath stunning mountains that form the border with Tibet. Reach Kyanjin Gompa (3,830 m), where you can decide to continue further, climb the peaks just above the village, or descend back.
  • Tamang Heritage Trail (5-7 days) – cultural trek to meet the Tamang people, as well as enjoying great scenery in the Langtang Himalayas.

Mount Everest region

Gokyo Lake, Mount Everest, Nepal

  • Everest Base Camp Trek and the ascent of Kalar Patar – Visit the Buddhist Tengboche monastery for the Mani Rimdu festival in November. Explore the Gokyo valley with its sacred lakes and stupendous views of four 8000-m peaks. Or a circuit of the region crossing the high passes or Cho La and Renjo La.

Namche bazaar sherpa village

  • Khumbu – Take the bus to Jiri or fly to Lukla then hike up to Namche Bazar, capital of the Sherpa lands at the foot of Everest.
  • Island Peak Trek (trekking peak) – takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Himalayas.
  • Mera Peak (trekking peak) – During the ascent of Mera Peak (6461 m), enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Cho-Oyu (8,201 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), Makalu (8,463 m), Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), Nuptse (7,855 m), and Chamlang (7,319 m).
  • Makalu Barun is the 5th highest mountain in the world. This trek gives the opportunity to see rhododendrons, orchids, snow leopards, red panda, musk deer, wild boar, wild yak, and Himalayan Thar.
  • Numbur Cheese Circuit (12-14 days)

Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Chitwan Region

Chitwan National Park

  • Chitwan Chepang Hills Trail (from the Trishuli River to the Terai)

Far Eastern Nepal

  • Milke Daada Ridge (7 days) – Spectacular views at 3,500 m asl and a visit to the bazaar town of Chainpu.
  • Kanchenjunga (21 – 28 days) – The 3rd highest mountain in the world. It is in far-eastern Nepal on the border with Sikkim in India. Peak 5950 is a more doable trek along this mountain.

Mount Kanchenjunga

Far Western Nepal

  • Rara National Park (8 days) – a remote trek that is hard to get to. The mountain views are not as nice as some of the other treks, but the highlight of this trek is a view of Nepal’s largest lake
  • Humla and Mount Kailash (18 days) – a trek that includes entrance into Tibet.
  • Api and Saipal Himal (16 days) – a remote off the beaten track trek to the mountains of far-western Nepal
  • Khaptad National Park (7-10 days) – a remote trek to Khaptad National Park that stretches over four districts of Province No.7 namely, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham and Doti.

Hiking in the Himalayas

Where to Sleep

Tea houses (lodges) at settlements at various points on the trek offer dorm room accommodation and simple basic meals reflective of what the local people in the area eat.

Although many tea houses and hotels in the hills and mountains are reasonably comfortable, some may be dirty and rather basic.

Note: Bedrooms and dorm rooms will not be heated. Note that linens are not provided by the lodges, and nights can get very cold, so it makes sense to bring a sleeping bag even for teahouse treks.

A Himalayan village in Nepal

Camping can be conducted almost anywhere in the country. Camping treks can be fully organized and supported by a team of guides, cooks, and porters to accompany you.

Homestays in local villages can also be organized by your guide.

Safety Tips

Always carry a head torch or lamp, water, some food, and a mobile phone with helicopter evacuation number in case of emergencies.

Altitude sickness

Please read up extensively on Altitude sickness. Click the link to refer our page on acute mountain sickness (AMS). Be familiar with the symptoms and do not ignore them. Be sure to keep to a conservative ascent schedule and drink plenty of fluids.

If you or anyone in your party begins to experience symptoms of AMS, do not ascend any further, and if they do not improve, then descend to a lower altitude.

Note: Carry some Diamox (Acetazolamide) pills, which can be bought at local pharmacies in Nepal. Diamox forces the kidneys to excrete bicarbonate in the urine, therefore making the blood more acidic, which stimulates breathing, increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Diamox is not an immediate fix for acute mountain sickness; rather it speeds up part of the acclimatization process which in turn helps to relieve symptoms.

Drink More Water

One thing that is often overlooked is that your body requires large amounts of water at altitude to counteract sickness so be sure to drink more than you are used to.

Water Contamination

Buy antibiotics for stomach infections at a local pharmacy when in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Getting a med for bacterial and amoebic infections is recommended.

For drinking water, the best practice is to treat all water as being contaminated, especially water in the cities.

Please do not buy bottled water on the trek as there are no rubbish disposal systems on the trek. It is both less expensive and better for the environment to treat your own water.

The main two options for trekkers are to use the safe drinking water stations along the trek for a small fee or bring your own water purifiers.

Chlorination and iodine tablets are available in the main cities.

You can also use a filter with a ceramic cartridge or a UV treatment system such as a Steripen which should remove anything 1 micron in size or larger. You might want to combine two of these systems just to make sure you have made the water completely safe.

Note: Use treated water for brushing your teeth.

Get Rescue Insurance

Before the departure check that your travel insurance covers trekking activities and the conditions.

Note: Be aware that “some” insurance companies view even walking in the mountains as “mountaineering” and will not provide coverage. So you may have to shop around.

Most reputable trekking agencies will require proof of rescue insurance before you start on your trek. It would be very costly to pay a helicopter rescue at 5000 meters.

Trekking Solo in Nepal

Make sure you trek with other people—especially on side treks with unclear paths. If a problem occurs, it is much easier to get help if others are nearby.

Note: Many people have gone missing or died on treks.

If you do not have a trekking partner, then look for one in Kathmandu or Pokhara. It is usually easy to find other like-minded people with similar travel plans. But do not trust any strangers blindly. If in doubt, go for a guided tour.

How to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro: 10 Rules of Success

Thinking of climbing to the highest point in Africa? We have identified some 10 rules that will assist you to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with ease and enjoy the success you’re searching for. Take note of these tips on how to climb Kilimanjaro as you make plans.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is an exciting adventure especially if you’re into outdoor activities. Just know that by the time you reach its peak, you’ll be at the highest point in Africa.

Therefore, congratulations are in order for even considering making this trip. Although it’s not a very difficult climb, succeeding can be a tricky affair.

Photo: Mt. Kilimanjaro / The Art of Travel Partners

There are some factors to consider such as knowing how to climb Kilimanjaro or being familiar with the Kilimanjaro climbing season which is essential to success.

We have identified 10 rules to help you succeed in your climb:

1. Train to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

You’ll need to do some exercise to climb Kilimanjaro. It’s not something you wake up and just decide to do. It takes quite a lot of prepping and training to climb Kilimanjaro.

One thing you’ll have to do for a month or two just to be safe is some training exercises. You can go on hikes or do lots of gym. Having the know how to climb Kilimanjaro will be futile if you’re not fit.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

2. Kilimanjaro Climbing Season

Did you know that there’s a Kilimanjaro climbing season? Yes, like other similar places on earth, there are specific suitable times to make such trips. Kilimanjaro has two favorable climbing seasons – January to March, and June to October.

Before traveling, find out the best time to climb Kilimanjaro and check weather alerts. The information is crucial for both your survival and successfully reaching the summit.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

3. Find Your Best Route to Climb Kilimanjaro

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Decide on the most suitable route to take. The best route to climb Kilimanjaro, especially if you’re not a skilled climber is the one that takes around 8 days to reach the top.

There are shorter routes, but when it comes to mountain climbing, the trick is always to take the long route. Well, you get to adjust to the increasing altitude with ease.

4. Get the Right Gear

Knowing how to climb Kilimanjaro to the top is a skill that takes patience, and you’ll need all the help you can get. One way to get help is by getting the right gear.

They are essential because they help keep you safe. Get the appropriate waterproof boots, warm clothing including socks – it gets freezing, trekking poles, sunscreen and a hat among others.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

5. Pack Power Food

There’s a lot of planning and preparation before climbing Kilimanjaro. One thing you’ll definitely need to plan for is food.

You’ll need all the energy you can get to conquer the climb. Carry snacks especially energy bars. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are a part of your climb.

You’ll have the guiding team carry and prepare meals for you.

Photo: CC0

6. Stay Hydrated During the Climb

Mastering how to climb Kilimanjaro is all about knowing how to handle your body throughout the climbing process.

Just as you’ll need energy, the body will also need to stay hydrated during the trip. To successfully reach the top without developing complications from dehydration, you’ll need to consume at least 3 liters of water.

Add energy bars to the water if you’re having a hard time drinking it.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

7. Get a Tour Guide and Porter

Part of knowing how to climb Kilimanjaro is realizing that it is a new terrain and you’ll need a tour guide.

It’s not a one-person climb; therefore, you’ll have to get a tour guide or two and three or so porters to help with the luggage.

Remember, you’ll be carrying a tent, beddings, water and other cooking supplies which you can’t do solo and still make it to the top.

Most guides speak fluent English while porters have a better hold of Swahili though they can still understand some English.

8. Have a Budget

What does preparing to climb Kilimanjaro entail? Prepping food, water, gear, and training, among others.

However, all of the above, the quality of your climb is significantly affected by your ability to access cash. You can obtain quality services to make your trip successful and offer a worthwhile experience.

 

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

9. Get a Medical Check-Up Done

You have a few days to climb Kilimanjaro left. Everything is in order, but chances are you’ve left out this crucial rule. You assume you’re fit because of the training you’ve been doing, but that is not enough.

Have a medical checkup done to give you a clean bill of health. It can stand between you and your success climbing Kilimanjaro.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

10. Believe in Yourself

What’s the point of climbing Kilimanjaro if you don’t believe you can? Determination and just believing in yourself is key to succeeding this long climb. Knowing how to climb Kilimanjaro is a plus, but without any resolution, chances are you won’t reach the top.

 

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Conclusion

Several Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions have been a success. Therefore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the same. We have identified some 10 rules to help you climb to the highest point in Africa with ease. The details are in the planning and preparation. What other rules do you have? Kindly share them with us.

Author Bio

Malcolm Cano is a scientist on biology corner, professional angler, baseball and hunting lover. Malcolm also has some own projects, including fishing guide school and GearExpertGuides. Follow him on Twitter.

5 Destinations Not To Miss On Your Utah Road Trip

It’s the beginning of summer, which means it’s time to start planning a fun road trip. If you’re in Utahyou’re in luck! The Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef) are within a half-day’s drive of Salt Lake City.

If you feel like a long road trip, you can visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, or Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Must Vist Destinations On Your Utah Road Trip

I first moved to Utah two years ago, and have visited all of the national parks here. Here’s what I’ve learned from my road trips that are a must-see if you’re driving through Utah this summer. 

If you’re leaving from Salt Lake City, expect to arrive at any of these spots within about 5 hours.

Related: 7 Best Places Not Enough People Visit In America

Zion National Park

Zion is Utah’s first ever National Park, and has over 4 million visitors every year. By far Utah’s most popular national park, this place is a must-see destination. It gets crowded, so make sure to plan ahead and arrive early. My favorite adventure was a hike through the Narrows!

If you are looking for a more challenging and hike with beautiful views you will not go wrong with Angels Landing. You can spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days in Zion.

Just remember: you must use shuttles to get through the park, it’s best to arrive early, and bring plenty of water.

Pro tip: The city of Hurricane is only 30 minutes from the entrance to Zion National Park, and is a much more cost-effective option than staying in or near the park.

Related: US National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park

This is truly one of Utah’s most underrated parks with some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Bryce Canyon National Park has over 2 million visitors per year. There are shuttles available or you can drive your own car through the park.

Pro tip: There isn’t a whole lot of trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. Much of the park can be seen by parking and a viewpoint.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

This National Monument is the size of Delaware, and features many unique rock formations throughout.  It’s also one of the most remote and infrequently visited travel destinations in Utah. You can even find some of Utah’s famous slot canyons here.

Image Credit

Pro tip: Find the Visitor’s Center and talk to a ranger. Plan out your visit because this park is huge, remote, and fairly empty. Make sure you know where you’re going before entering the park.

Arches National Park

Last, but not least – Arches National Park. This is arguably Utah’s most famous national park. Delicate Arch is one of Utah’s most famous rock formations, and is featured on across tourism campaigns everywhere. It’s worth the hike to see this amazing rock.

Pro tip: Be sure to leave early in the day, as it gets hot and crowded pretty quickly. Wear good shoes, bring a hat, and bring more water than you’ll think you need.

I really can’t stress how much there is to see in Utah. Salt Lake City itself is full of great hikes, nightlife, and fun events. If you have time, be sure to check out a list of hikes and sights to see in downtown Salt Lake and Park City.

Utah boasts some of the United State’s best and most unique National Parks, and they’re all accessible by car. If you’re planning a trip to Utah, be sure get in your car and explore the state’s unique rocks and deserts.

Related: 9 Tips on How to Have a Great Holiday in America

Author Bio

Victoria Schmid is a freelance writer with a background in television and digital journalism. She enjoys writing articles about smart technology that will educate and inspire readers. She has a passion for news, writing, and reading. In her free time, she loves hiking, traveling, exploring, and volunteering.

5 Best Dream Camping Destinations in Australia

Australia is famous for its rugged and natural beauty. The beaches are beautiful, there are places where you can stargaze, the deserts are spectacular and the list goes on. 

It is home to the most incredible forests, beaches, and rugged landscapes and no camper will ever go away disappointed. It is the dream travel destination choice for many and people especially go there for their vacations.

Best Camping Destinations in Australia

An experienced camper can go for a three-day hike across the rugged countryside or pitch his tent on the plenty of beach camping spots that are available. Even an amateur camper can find plenty of places to spend the night and a person who’s suited to luxury travel can avail the glamping opportunities it offers.

Read: 10 Fun Facts About Australia

Here are the top 5 dream camping destinations in Australia which you will remember for the rest of your life.

1. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

If you are a beach person, you’ll love the beach campsite at Whitehaven. Gorgeous, pure white sand and water like the bluest crystals, the sun shining down in all its majesty, this is a spot which you must visit once in a lifetime.

It is a relatively small spot, with a total of seven camping sites so you must make an early reservation if you want to visit. The camping sites with the bathrooms and other amenities are close to the beach so you don’t have to worry about personal comforts.

One of the best experiences of a lifetime is sleeping and waking up to the sound and the crash of the waves. This is one destination which will stun you in all its gorgeousness and beauty.

2. Millaa Millaa, Queensland

There is a waterfall known as the Milla Milla Falls on the Queensland Atherton Tableland. It is a place of such beauty that people have been struck dumb for a few moments.

Milla Milla also boasts of a Tourist Park on its outskirts which has Queensland’s tallest mountain set in the backdrop. This stunningly beautiful place will blow you away.

You will also find tropical rainforests, waterfalls and fresh produce. The gorgeous waterfall cascades from a crevice far above, amidst a backdrop of greenery and is a sight that you will find hard to look away from.

3. Conto Field Campground, Leeuwin-Naturaliste NP

 

Just 20 km south of the Margaret River lies a coastland which has pristine white sand, yellow limestone, and the bluest waters. The bonus is that the site is reasonable.

For just 7 dollars a night, you can avail full camping facilities and personal comforts. The site offers the best fishing experience. Campers can catch the freshest salmon and cook it right away.

You can stay for a night but the cheap prices and the beauty around may entice you to stay for a full weekend or even more.

4. Kununurra, Western Australia

On the shores of Lily Lagoon, the Kununurra resort lake campsite exhibits the best sunsets in the world. There are various activities to do around there and the adventurous person can see plenty of crocodiles and exotic birds on the campsite.

If you can go around the time the Kununurra agricultural show takes place, your visit will be worth the hassle of traveling the long distance. Trust me, you won’t regret the decision to visit this place.

The fair boasts of Melon Olympics and Cane Toad races which is an experience that must be seen in a lifetime.

5. Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour

Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour is one of the most different and unique places where you can pitch your tents. It is an island which was a colonial jail, naval dockyard and school long ago where the people have preserved most of their history.

So, you can still visit these buildings and be awed at the former life they represent. You can explore all around this island, rough it out in a tent and stay for a day or two.

For people who like their luxuries, this island also has better opportunities in terms of resorts where the creature comforts are provided. The campsite has its own kitchens where you can cook and also personal hygiene facilities including toilets and a hot bath.

Conclusion

Australia is one of the best places you can go on a camping trip. It does not simply have the usual run-of-the-mill beach resorts but has every type of camping experience to offer.

From beautiful beaches to stargazing sites where you can stare at the sky in awe, to tropical paradises where the exotic birds visit in droves and you can see the crocodiles basking, Australia has it all. The waterfalls where you can see some of the best sunsets in the world.

So what are you waiting for? I’ve packed my Canvas Tents for the next fun trip to Australia for sure. The temptation is irresistible and I would recommend you to do the same.

Author Bio

Judy Robinson is a passionate blogger who loves to write on home lifestyle and travel-related topics. Currently, she is associated with White Duck Outdoors, an Idaho based online camping shop. Follow @JudyRobinson on Twitter for more updates.

Hiking In Malta: 5 Things You Need To Know

South of Italy, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, sits a tiny island holding one of the most diverse landscapes in all of Europe.

The island country of Malta is one of the most unique places to hike in all of Europe and affordable flights to the island come from almost every country in Europe.

A vast clear sea full of life underneath, top-tier sand beaches, towering coastal cliffs, breathtaking cityscapes, and great hills filled with vibrant agricultural sights and local culture.

Hiking In Malta

Related: Top 6 Places to Visit in Malta

I’ve lived in Malta for two years and have hiked just about every trail and coastline on the island. Without further ado, here are 5 things you need to know about hiking in Malta.

1. Some of the best hiking can be done on the west coast of the island

The west coast of Malta is my favorite on the island. You’ll notice life is slow to the West and the famous stretch of towering cliffs known as Dingli Cliffs is no different. Head out for an evening hike and majestic Maltese sunset viewing for maximizing the potential of the west coast.

2. Hike across the entire island in a weekend

That’s right – the island is so small, you could walk its entirety in a weekend. I’ve done it before and love to tell the story of when I hiked across an entire country! Wild camping is not only allowed on the island but its the only camping option.

Bring a tent and set up camp wherever you end up for a night and continue your cross-country hike in the morning. My hike along the entire west coast was around 54 kilometers in total.

3. Hike around the entire sister island of Comino in a matter of hours

The island is relatively unexplored by the rest of the world and that makes it one of the best places to hike in solitude. With only one local inhabitant on the island, you’ll rarely run into another soul – especially after all the tourist day-trippers go home.

See some awe-inspiring cliffs, crystal clear water, and, of course, the world-renown Blue Lagoon that makes the island a popular spot for all tourists.

4. See the best hiking on the island of Gozo

Gozo, just a short ferry ride from the northernmost part of Malta is the largest sister island of Malta’s archipelago.

With only a small percentage of the population, Malta has, its calm environment could very well be the best place to get a full taste of Maltese culture. Not to mention its great cliffs, flashy colors, and relaxing beaches – there aren’t many better combinations that will make as great.

5. Trails are fairly unmaintained and wild

Sometimes, the trail you are following will end and it could get confusing – especially if you’re not following the coastline. Malta is a beautiful place with lovely local people who are willing to show you around. Don’t be afraid to ask a local for directions and you never know what experience may come of it.

Malta and its vast landscapes are one of the best-kept secrets in Europe and its Mediterranean culture is sure to keep you coming back to the island for more. Good thing there’s plenty of hikes to go on upon each return.

Author Bio

Adam Cheshier is an adventure travel novelist writing fiction tales based on his travels around the world for the past three years. Check out his top travel tales on his storytelling blog or follow along through his Instagram.

Best Glamping Experiences for Couples

If you have been looking for somewhere unique and one-of-a-kind to spend a weekend away in nature with your special someone, then look no further, because these romantic glamping accommodations are available to make your getaway special and memorable.

From cozy tents to charming cabins, for outdoor enthusiasts who want to indulge in some luxury and restoration away from the hustle and bustle, there is nothing better than a glamping getaway tucked away in the heart of nature.

Your partner will absolutely adore waking up to the smells of organic coffee, epic views of the gorgeous landscapes, and high-end amenities at each of these unbeatable retreats.

Treat your loved one to something magical this Valentine’s Day, or during the summer and enjoy a stay at one of these best romantic Glamping sites.

Glamping for Couples

Glamping Hub provides a unique selection of glamping experiences all over the world from tree houses to Yurts to Tipis! 

Cottage with Wooden Turret in The Berkshires

What could be more of a fairytale getaway than a stay in a tower cottage in the Berkshires? Found in the heart of the forest, glamping duos will fall head over heels in love with this romantic cottage accommodation and everything it offers guests this year.

With a queen-sized bed and other modern amenities, glampers will be able to snuggle up and enjoy the coziness of this rental without any distractions to draw their attention away from reconnecting with each other and nature.

Head to the Berkshires in Massachusetts this Valentine’s Day to sweep your special someone off their feet with a glamping trip.

All-Inclusive Luxury Tents in Northern California

With a completely unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean, nothing will be a more romantic setting to embrace and indulge in with your loved one than these luxury tents on the California coast. For an authentic glamping experience, guests visiting these spacious tents will adore the amenities, activities, and everything to experience from the comfort of this retreat.

Why rough it in nature, when you can reside, refresh, and relax at these stunning accommodations with a beautiful view of the ocean right before your eyes. Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee while sitting under a tree and watch the sunrise over the mountains in the distance.

Luxurious Log Cabin for Groups in Oregon

Take advantage of all the spaciousness and activities to participate in at these spacious and luxurious log cabin for groups near Eugene, Oregon. This cabin not only offers a bundle of romantic amenities within the cabin but also has some secret natural features to discover when venturing through the woods surrounding the site.

Whether you are looking to call a few other couples to share this experience with you and embrace the comforts of nature, or you and your loved one want to share this adventure just the two of you, you will not want to miss this once in a lifetime chance to call the great outdoors your romantic home away from home.

Glamping Cabins at River Farm in Virginia

If your Valentine’s Day desires include visiting vineyards, enjoying views of the river, and escaping to the Blue Ridge Mountains, then be sure that your accommodation awaiting you is this deluxe glamping cabin at River Farm in Virginia.

This is no ordinary cabin, glampers, as this cabin offers a number of activities guests can do together including visit some of Virginia’s best wineries, go golfing, fishing, horseback riding, and more. You will not want to miss the opportunity to embark and participate in a number of excursions with your partner by your side.

From eating up all the high-end and top-tier amenities and features both indoor and outdoor to letting your stresses and woes be washed away by nature, spend your romantic weekend at this deluxe cabin with your loved one.

Tents for Glamping Getaway in Santa Rosa, Florida

Wake up with a view of the beach from the comfort of your stunning and cozy bell tent in Santa Rosa, Florida. From walks along the shore to bonfires outside your tent to make smores and bring the wilderness right to your quiet retreat, for glampers looking to spend their romantic holiday tucked away from it all, these tents are the places to be.

Don’t forget to ask the host for some beach rentals to paddleboard, kayak, and even paint by your accommodation. There is a brand new experience awaiting you and your special someone, and you can be sure that you and your partner will want to celebrate this weekend again and again.

Please let us know if you have an interesting glamping experience to share with us.

Read Next

A Practical Guide To 50 States Highpointing

The fastest record of completing all 50 US States Highpoints is a little over 44 days. Yes, I agree, that’s insane AND expensive AND definitely not for everyone. So, you may ask, what is the most practical way to do highpointing? Well, there is a smart way to tackle all fifty state highpoints.

First, if you are not a rock climber, then I would suggest following a progressive order where you do easier highpoints (hikes) before attempting the harder ones. Second, if you also happen to have limited vacation days, then you also should try to attempt multiple highpoints in a single trip. You can make a loop of neighboring state highpoints and do them together.

State Highpoints By Difficulty

1. Alabama (Cheaha Mountain, 2407) – Drive up
2. Delaware (Ebright Azimuth, 448) – Drive up
3. West Virginia (Spruce Knob, 4863) – Drive up
4. Florida (Britton Hill, 345) – Drive up
5. Kansas (Mt. Sunflower, 4039) – Drive up
6. Kentucky (Black Mountain, 4145) – Drive up
7. Massachusetts (Mt. Greylock, 3491) – Drive up
8. Michigan (Mt. Arvon, 1979) – Drive up (4 Wheel Drive)
9. Mississippi (Woodall Mountain, 806) – Drive up
10. Nebraska (Panorama Point, 5424) – Drive up
11. New Hampshire (Mt.Washinton, 6288) – Drive up
12. New Jersey (High Point, 1803) – Drive up
13. Ohio (Campbell Hill, 1550) – Drive up
14. Pennsylvania (Mt. Davis, 3213) – Drive up

15. Louisiana (Driskill Mountain, 535) – Class 1 – Easy
16. Rhode Island (Jerimoth Hill, 812) – Class 1 – Easy (Private property)
17. Illinois (Charles Mound, 1235) – Class 1 – Easy (Private property)
18. Wisconsin (Timms Hill, 1951) – Class 1 – Easy
19. Indiana (Hoosier High Point, 1257) – Class 1 – Easy
20. Iowa (Hawkeye Point, 1670) – Class 1 – Easy
21. Missouri (Taum Sauk Mountain, 1772) – Class 1- Easy
22. Arkansas (Mount Magazine, 2753)  – Class 1 – Easy
23. Maryland (Backbone Mountain, 3360) – Class 1 – Easy
24. Georgia (Brasstown Bald, 4784) – Class 1 – Easy
25. North Dakota (White Butte, 3506) – Class 1 – Easy (Private Property)
26. South Carolina (Sassafras Mountain, 3560) – Class 1 – Easy
27. North Carolina (Mt. Mitchell, 6684) – Class 1 – Easy
28. Tennessee (Clingmans Dome, 6643) – Class 1 – Easy
29. Vermont (Mt. Mansfield, 4393) – Class 1 – Easy
30. Hawaii (Mauna Kea, 13,796) – Class 1 – Easy (4 Wheel Drive)

31. Minnesota (Eagle Mountain, 2301) – Class 1 – Moderate
32. Oklahoma (Black Mesa, 4973) – Class 1 – Moderate
33. South Dakota (Black Elk Peak, 7242) – Class 1 – Moderate
34. Virginia (Mt. Rogers, 5729) – Class 1 – Moderate
35. Connecticut (Mt. Frissell, South Slope, 2380) – Class 2 – Moderate

36. New York (Mt. Marcy, 5344) – Class 1 – Strenuous
37. Maine (Mt. Katahdin, 5268) – Class 2 – Strenuous
38. Texas (Guadalupe Peak, 8749) – Class 1 – Strenuous
39. New Mexico (Wheeler Peak, 13,161) – Class 1 – Strenuous
40. Arizona (Humphreys Peak, 12,633) – Class 1 – Strenuous
41. Colorado (Mt. Elbert, 14,433) – Class 2 – Strenuous – higher elevation (lightning risk)
42. California (Mt. Whitney, 14,494) – Class 1 – Strenuous – higher elevation (camping)
43. Utah (Kings Peak, 13,528) – Class 2 – Strenuous
44. Nevada (Boundary Peak, 13,140) – Class 2 – Strenuous

45. Idaho (Borah Peak, 12,662) – Class 3 – Strenuous – Technical
46. Montana (Granite Peak, 12,799) – Class 4 – Strenuous – Technical
47. Oregon (Mt. Hood, 11,239) – Class 4 – Strenuous – Technical
48. Washington (Mt. Rainier, 14,411) – Class 4 – Strenuous – Technical
49. Wyoming (Gannett Peak, 13,804) – Class 4 – Strenuous – Too long & Technical
50. Alaska (Mount Denali, 20,320) – Class 4 – Strenuous – Too long & Technical

Read: Altitude Mountain Sickness

A Practical Guide to Highpointing

Here is the climbing schedule for our first 29 high points that we have finished as of November 2017. As you can notice, most of our hikes are clustered around long weekends such as Thanksgiving, Labor Day, July 4th,  and summertime in general.

October is our birthday month so we take some time off and travel. You can make your own custom schedule which fits your need. But keep in mind, weather conditions matters (especially for the taller highpoints). Some highpoints such as Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Denali has snow year round.

Also, you do not want to be hiking at a higher altitude during rainy months of June and July when thunderstorms and lightning are more common. You do not want to climb in the middle of winter as well. So, find your own balance as per your preference and risk tolerance level.

Read: 50 States Highpoints: Backpack Packing List

Best Time To Highpoint

Fall (Oct – Nov) Hikes
Hawaii – Class 1 – Easy (4 Wheel Drive)

Tennessee – Class 1 – Easy

Arizona – Class 2 – Strenuous

Texas – Class 1 – Strenuous

New Mexico – Class 1 – Strenuous

Fall (Sep – Nov) Loop from Boston
Massachusetts – Drive up
New Hampshire – Drive up
Rhode Island – Class 1 – Easy (Private property)
Vermont – Class 1 – Easy
Connecticut – Class 2 – Moderate
Delaware – Drive up

Summer (July – Aug) Loop from NYC
New York – Class 1 – Strenuous
New Jersey – Drive up
Maine – Class 2 – Strenuous

Fall (Oct – Nov) Loop from New Orleans
Alabama – Drive up
Arkansas – Class 1 – Easy
Florida – Drive up
Louisiana – Class 1 – Easy
Mississippi – Drive up

Early Fall (September) Loop from DC
Pennsylvania – Drive up
Maryland – Class 1 – Easy
West Virginia – Drive up

Fall (Oct – Nov) Loop from Chattanooga, TN
Georgia – Class 1 – Easy
Kentucky – Drive up
North Carolina – Class 1 – Easy
South Carolina – Class 1 – Easy
Virginia – Class 1 – Moderate but long

Fall (Oct – Nov) Loop from St. Louis, MO

Missouri – Class 1 – Easy

Indiana – Class 1 – Drive up and walk (Private Property)

Ohio – Class 1 – Drive up and walk (Private property)

Summer (Jul – Aug) Loop from Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota – Class 1 – Moderate
Michigan – Class 1  – Drive up
Wisconsin – Class 1 – Easy
Iowa – Class 1 – Easy
Illinois – Class 1 – Drive up and walk (Private property)

Summer (July – Sep) Hikes

North Dakota – Class 1 – Easy

South Dakota – Class 1 – Moderate

Idaho – Class 3 – Strenuous

California – Class 1 – Strenuous

Nevada –  Class 1 – Strenuous

Utah – Class 1 – Strenuous

Oklahoma – Class 1 – Moderate and long

Kansas – Class 1 – Easy

Nebraska – Class 1 – Easy

Alternative to Drive Up

You can choose to hike the below 11 highpoints instead of driving up to the summit or taking the cog rail to Mount Washinton (New Hampshire). Something to consider if you want to up your game or you are a 50 finisher and need something fun to keep climbing and highpointing.

1. Mississippi (Woodall Mountain) – Easy 0.1 mile walk
2. Kansas (Mt. Sunflower) – Easy 0.5 mile hike
3. West Virginia (Spruce Knob) – Easy 0.7 mile hike

4. Nebraska (Panorama Point) – Easy 2.5 miles hike
5. Kentucky (Black Mountain) – Easy 4.6 miles hike
6. Pennsylvania (Mt. Davis) – Easy 5.4 miles hike
7. Alabama (Cheaha Mountain) – Easy 7.6 miles hike

8. New Jersey (High Point) – Moderate 3.6 miles hike on the AT
9. Massachusetts (Mt. Greylock) – Difficult 10.4 miles long hike
10. Michigan (Mt. Arvon) – Difficult 12.4 miles long hike
11. New Hampshire (Mt. Washington) – Difficult 8 miles long hike

US Territories HighPoints

There are 6 more highpoints that you can consider to be the Ultimate United States Highpoint finisher. Five of these are US territories and D.C. is a federal district.

1. Washington, D.C. (Point Reno, 409) – Drive up
2. Guam (Mt. Lamlam, 1332)
3. Northern Mariana (Agrihan, 3166)
4. Puerto Rico (Cerro de Punta, 4390)
5. American Samoa (Lata Mountain, 3160)
6. US Virgin Islands (Crown Mountain, 1556)

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For the Best View of Mt. Everest, Go to Kala Patthar

Kala Patthar, meaning “black rock” in Nepali and Hindi, is a notable landmark located on the south ridge of Pumori in the Nepalese Himalayas above Gorakshep.

Although not a proper mountain, the ascent of Kala Patthar is very popular with trekkers in the region of Mount Everest since it provides the most accessible closeup view of Mount Everest.

Due to the structure of the Everest Massif, its high summit is blocked by Mount Nuptse from much of the surrounding region.

The views of Everest, Nuptse, and Changtse are spectacular from Kala Patthar and there are glimpses of the northern flank and summit of Mount Lhotse as well.

View of Mount Everest, Mount Nuptse, & Mount Lhotse

Sunrise on Mount Everest

Note: Kala Patthar is considered the highest altitude most will reach without an Everest climbing permit, which must be obtained in Kathmandu, at the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

So, if you are planning to do the famous Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek, you can trek up until Kala Patthar.

Fun Fact: The world’s highest webcam, Mount Everest webcam, is located here.

How To Climb Kala Patthar

Everest view from Kala Patthar

The ascent of Kala Patthar begins at Gorakshep (5,164 m or 16,942 ft), the original base camp for Mt. Everest.

After a brief dip to an ancient lake bed (which now contains a small lake and a helipad), the ascent makes its way up to a series of steep switchbacks before leveling off somewhat as it traverses to the eastern side of the mountain.

Mount Everest from Tibet, Tschomolangma peak

The trail then becomes steep once again until it reaches the wind-swept summit ridge. From there, a 5-to-10 minutes scramble over boulders takes one to the top, which is marked with prayer flags.

Note: There is also a geocaching trackable named Kala Pattar Yeti attached near the summit. Its trackable code is GS9EBG.

Elevation & Hiking

The full ascent usually takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. If the attempt is made starting from Lobuche, an additional two to three hours (one way) is required.

The elevation is commonly listed as 5,545–5,643 m (18,192–18,514 ft). It is possible that since Kala Patthar is merely a minor summit on a ridge leading to Pumori, different people may have measured different summits.

The summit traditionally referred to as Kala Patthar is, however, completely festooned with prayer flags, making it quite readily recognizable.

It is quite clear that the point trekkers climb to is a local maxima on the Pumori ridge, not the summit of Kala Patthar proper.

Safety Tips

Clinics are a sparse resource in Khumbu. However, should you require medical attention there are two possibilities:

Kunde Clinic, in Kunde Village (above Namche) has Western-trained doctors and is a surprisingly well-equipped facility – they even have a decompression chamber for those suffering from severe altitude sickness.

On your return journey, you might like to donate your unused medicines to Kunde Clinic, though ensure that they are clearly labeled in English – even the most valuable medicine is useless if there are no instructions on how to use it.

The Himalayan Rescue Association operates a clinic staffed by western physicians in Pheriche. They give a daily lecture on taking care of your health in the Khumbu region, and, for very little money you can check your blood oxygen level and pulse rate.

This is a good place to stop at even if you are not experiencing any health problems. Check out their t-shirts, scarfs and hats, the proceeds of which go towards operating the clinic.

Local medicine

The Healing Center in Namche offers treatments using natural formulas. It is next to the Camp de Base hotel but entered from the path in front of the library.

This clinic provides free treatment for porters and other patients on a low income. In order to continue this service, donations are greatly appreciated.

Along the trail, you will also see small medical stations. These stations generally have very rudimentary facilities and can only realistically offer treatment for very minor ailments, such as cuts and bruises and (non-altitude sickness related) headaches, etc.

Namche also has a dental clinic, on the right side slope of the village when looking up.

Don’t drink the water no matter how pristine it appears. Use iodine tablets as a purifier or purchase boiled water.

Exceptions: Namche and Phortse have clean water supplies that the locals drink directly from the faucet. However, this may not be a good idea for outsiders lacking immunity to local bacteria, but it may be OK for brushing teeth.

Read Next

An International Couple Climbing All 50 US State Highpoints

As of 2017, there were less than 300 recorded completers of all 50 state highpoints. There are 10 or so couples who have done it together. If we successfully complete it, we’ll be the first international couple to successfully climb and summit to all 50 state highpoints.

Moreover, Neha, my wife will be the first Nepali-American to do so and I’ll be the first Indian-American to achieve this feat. So, that’s our goal.

This post is part 1 of the overview and the list of highpoints to conquer.

Read: What is Highpoining?

50 STATES HIGHPOINTS

We are dividing the 50 state highpoints based on the geographical regions. This way, we will be able to plan our road trips better (with, little to no flying during most of our trips). We have also covered whether a highpoint is a hike or a climb and it’s difficulty level.

MOUNT DENALI, ALASKA

Mount Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) in Alaska is the highest summit of the United States and North American Continent.

This Alaskan peak, one of the seven summits, is considered one of the steepest and an extremely challenging climb for anyone. Severe weather conditions make this mountain dangerous for all climbers.

Mt. Denali formally Mt. McKinley

Mount Denali is 20,320 feet tall. You start the ascent around 7,500 ft. Most climbers fly in from Talkeetna, a small town almost completely centered around the climbing of Denali. The standard route up the mountain is the West Buttress, and from May until July the route is a crowded series of camps from 7,800 feet until the high camp at just over 17,000 feet. The 14,000 foot camp on Denali is the largest on the mountain. Over 100 tents are typically set up here including the National Park Service.

CLIMBING MOUNT DENALI

Denali involves a high level of preparation: carrying 3 weeks of food, equipment, clothing, and shelter. These sleds can easily weigh in between 40-80 lbs plus the backpack.

We are going to keep our backpack and sleds as light as possible. We believe in“light is right”. To achieve this, we will be packing completely dried food, lightweight tents, sleep with our clothes inside the tent, and high-quality lightweight hardware.

Well, this will cost money but we have to pay the price for the safety and increasing our chances to reach the summit and return safely and successfully. For up to 14,000 feet, Mount Denali requires nothing more than glacier travel.

The real test of our strength would be climbing to 17,000 ft from 14,000 camp and climbing to the summit from the 17,000 ft high camp. High winds and extreme cold can pin down parties between 17,000 ft and the summit for days on end.

Mount Denali, the ultimate North American Climb

The challenges on Mount Denali are numerous, for example, rigging of sleds, the use of crampons and ice ax, the proficiency in a rope rescue system, the use of a mechanical ascender, the unexpected weather conditions, the effects of altitude on the body and brain, and cooperation among the teammates and between the guides and the team.

MT. WHITNEY, CALIFORNIA

Mount Whitney in California is the highest summit of the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous United States. It is 14,505 ft. The most popular route up the high point of California is the 22-mile round trip Whitney Trail. We’ll be doing the hike within a day during the summer month.

Mount Whitney, CA (the second tallest peak in U.S.)

MT. ELBERT, COLORADO

The 2nd highest peak in the lower 48 states, Mount Elbert in Colorado is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains.

Mount Elbert view from Twin Lakes

Its 9.2-mile round trip hike to the summit is an attainable goal for a single day hike. We’ll be hiking Mt. Elbert during the summer months.

MT. RAINIER, WASHINGTON

Mount Rainier in Washington is the highest summit of the Cascade Range and the most prominent summit of the contiguous United States. With collapsing snow bridges, avalanches, route finding problem, and sudden severe weather during peak climbing season, Mt. Rainier is a serious mountain that has deaths, injuries, and rescues each year.

Mount Rainier over Tacoma (the second hardest climb after Mt. Denali)

Rainier is a huge mountain with 20 plus routes and sees a large number of climbers each year. It is considered by many to be the best training ground in the lower 48 for Mt. Denali and other larger mountains with glacier travel and steep snow. We’ll be taking the Disappointment Clever Route, a common route.

Mt. Rainier, WA (Ariel view)

Winter time conditions (snowy storms and sub-freezing weather) is expected year round. For perspective, In 2010, 10,643 people attempted to climb Mount Rainier and only 4,920 of them actually reached the summit. This is the second hardest climb in the 50 state highpoints.

GANNETT PEAK, WYOMING

Mount Gannett in Wyoming is the highest summit of the Central Rocky Mountains and the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado. The most remote state high point requires a long (40-50 miles) round-trip hike and climb to reach its summit. The entire trip is beautiful, if not more so than the summit.

Gannett Peak, Wyoming

The standard route from the Pole Creek Trailhead involves a potential camp at the north end of the glacially carved Titcomb Basin and a snow climb up and over Dinwoody Pass (Bonney Pass) at 13,000 feet before the true summit is climbed up via the Gooseneck Ridge. On the descent, a 1,200-foot climb back up and over Bonney Pass is required.

Green Lakes, WY

Along with good conditioning, Gannett typically requires proficient usage of ice-axe, crampons, and a rope. It’s the hardest state high point, probably No. #3 after Denali and Rainier.

MAUNA KEA, HAWAII

Mauna Kea means “white mountain” in Hawaiian. The name white mountain is due to the fact that snow falls on the top of this 33,000 ft giant volcano. From the depths of the ocean floor to the summit, Mt. Kea is 33,000 feet, making Mt. Kea the highest summit in the Pacific Ocean and the tallest mountain on Earth as measured from base to summit.

The stars (night view) from Mauna Kea Summit

From sea surface level to the summit, Mt Kea is 13,796 ft tall, making it the 6th tallest peak in the USA. A road leads to the top, and the summit is filled with large, white domed observatories: the largest collection of astronomical telescopes on the planet.

Mauna Kea Observatories (on the summit)

Sunset over four telescopes of the Mauna Kea Observatories. From left to right: the Subaru Telescope, the twin Keck I and II telescopes, and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility.

Mauna Kea Summit (winter)

The Mauna Kea trail starts at the visitor center, climbs 4,576 feet in 6 miles, and provides a good way to the summit. We’ll be using a mountain bike for a portion of the hike to make our time more fun.

KINGS PEAK, UTAH

The 7th highest State High Point is situated in the High Uinta Wilderness Area of north-central Utah. Moose are often seen along the approach and altitude sickness is a common complaint.

Kings Peak, Utah

The Henry’s Fork approach is the standard route. We’ll be doing this in two days.

Kings Peak, UT (Henry’s Fork Trail Sign)

WHEELER PEAK, NEW MEXICO

The highest peak in New Mexico lies in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range of New Mexico and Colorado. The most common hiking options include the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail which goes 16 miles round trip and is quite scenic or the Williams Lake Trail which is just 6 miles round trip but less scenic.

Wheeler Peak, New Mexico

Wheeler Peak is a good candidate for a Fall ascent, as the days are often warm and clear with the nights cold.

BOUNDARY PEAK, NEVADA

At the northern end of the White Mountains, lies Boundary Peak, the highest point in Nevada at 13,140 feet. Within this range, which spans Nevada and California, are some higher peaks.

Boundary Peak, Nevada

White Mountain is the highest in this range and the third highest in California. Nearby Montgomery Peak (13,441 ft) is taller and craggier than Boundary peak. We plan to do Boundary peak and some of these other peaks in one outing.

Trail Canyon (Boundary Peak Wilderness) in Esmeralda County, Nevada

The nature of the climb up the Trail Canyon Route is scree with some minor scrambling near the top. Solitude can be easily found here as the general climbing season is long with year-round climbing being possible. Like most other taller peaks, Boundary peak receives snow and frequent high winds.

GRANITE PEAK, MONTANA

Granite peak has the distinction of being the only U.S. State Highpoint that requires climbing the vertical rock to reach the summit.

Granite Peak, MT

Granite is known for a little of everything: rock climbing, long hiking, scrambling, snow climbing, route finding, exposed camping, sudden severe thunderstorms, deep August snow, and most often a truly rewarding summit.

Granite Peak, Montana (close up view)

Granite is typically done in two days. It involves hiking on a rolling, very rocky plateau, with no defined trail. The best navigational method involves following large, easily sighted cairns, across the terrain. Camp spots are typically in rock built shelters and water sources could be hit and miss. Summit day involves mostly class 2-3 scrambling, crossing a snow bridge and 4th class to easy 5th Class climbing.

BORAH PEAK, IDAHO

Idaho’s tallest peak at 12,662 feet is situated at the northern part of the Lost River Range. The range is host to 7 of the 9 tallest peaks in the state of Idaho. The Lost River Range is known for its large, hulking, non-technical summits. This sparsely populated valley is a paradise for those seeking solitude.

Borah Peak, ID

Borah’s Chicken-Out-Ridge Route gains 5,260 feet of elevation in just 3.6 miles. At about 7,200 feet, the route starts out as an old Jeep road, then becomes a faint climber’s trail, then crosses an exposed ridge of rock, followed by a seasonal snow bridge crossing, until the summit is finally reached.

Mount Borah, ID

The route is typically done in 6-10 hours, round trip.

HUMPHREYS PEAK, ARIZONA

At 12,633 feet, Humphreys Peak defies the typical Arizona stereotype that the state is mostly a warm desert region.

Humphreys Peak, AZ

From the depths of the nearby Grand Canyon to the often snowy and windy summit ridge, this region is one of the most diverse in the nation. The lower west slopes of Humphreys contain some beautiful Aspen groves, while the east side of the peak is in a rain shadow and contains Sunset Crater.

Humphreys Peak (western face)

The standard route heads up the Humphreys Peak Trail from the Snow Bowl ski area. Nearby Agassiz Peak appears as the tallest peak from the Flagstaff area.

MOUNT HOOD, OREGON

The sulphuric and steamy vents near the Devils Kitchen is a reminder that Mount Hood is a dormant volcano. Like most of the Cascade Volcanoes, this peak strikes up and away from its surrounding terrain with much prominence.

Mount Hood, Oregon

The mountain is well used, given its proximity to the Willamette Valley, the ski area, and the resort lodge.The popular south side approach starts at Timberline Lodge and climbs Class 2 terrain to the summit. Conditions may vary and crampons, ice ax, and helmet are often times required.

Mt. Hood reflected in Mirror Lake

At just 8 miles round-trip and 5,300 feet of vertical gain, this approach provides a straightforward route to the summit. It is best climbed early morning, given the chance of collapsing snow bridges on the glacier and the hazard of rockfall.

NOTE:

Of the 50 high points, probably only 32 of them could be considered actual mountains. Nine of these highpoints are actually hills and another 9 of them are essential flat plateaus with a noticeable gradual slope or no rise at all.

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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already climbed some of these mountains, please share about your experiences. If you want to climb some of these peaks with us, shoot me a message. We are game.

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US 50 States Highpoints: Backpack Packing List

As a fellow highpointing couple, we want to speak to other highpoint and adventuring couples.

“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” – Aldous Huxley

I wish I was a mountain goat or, at least, as strong.

 

Highpointing Tips

The first thing in the sports of State Highpointing is considering “SAFETY” from all angles and all perspectives. Hiking and mountain climbing involves a great deal of risk and prioritizing safety means being prepared for any situation.

Below is our 4 safety rules of Highpointing that we are following and we will be following throughout this entire endeavor.

“Knowledge is power on the trail. Know how to keep yourself and your group safe every time you go out.”

State Highpoints Peakbagging Couple

KNOWLEDGE & PROPER GEAR

We’re watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, reading books, learning about proper gear use and everything that is in our power to make ourselves educated with mountaineering gears and mountaineering in general.

Read: Altitude Mountain Sickness

STAY TOGETHER

Most of our hikes will be just two of us together, but we will also be doing some group hikes. The plan is to:

A.) Stay with the crowd when hiking as a solo couple.

B.) Stay with the group at all times during the group hike.

TURN BACK

If one of us are feeling not well, sick or if we are overly exhausted or tired, our motto is to turn back and come back later. Money and time are secondary to life. You cannot put a price tag or time tag on the value of human life. For us, staying safe, staying alive and staying together is more important than finishing our goal.

Now, having said that, we also know that we are hardcore, and no matter how many times we may have to “turn back”, we will come again and we will keep coming until we reach to the summit and hike back to the camp. In other words, we are not afraid to screw our plans or change our plans.

Read: A Practical Guide to Highpointing: Best Time to Hike

BACKUP PLAN

Emergencies happen. Situations happen. Bad things can happen. Unplanned events do come up. Therefore everyone needs a “Plan B” or an “exit strategy”.When we are hiking solo, we will be sharing our trip information with our close friends and family and we will be requesting that they contact us every 12-24 hours by phone. We will be calling back and informing our emergency contact before and after each hike.

When we hike solo, we share our trip information with our close friends and family and we request them that they contact us every 12-24 hours by phone. We call back too. Inform a few close people and share your emergency contact numbers during each hike.

“Most falls and injuries occur when hikers are descending a trail.”

BACKPACK PACKING LIST

This is our listing of the clothing and equipment that we bring to almost all of our hikes. (If you are new to mountain climbing and hiking, it’s important to remember that you must know how to use these. Just carrying them with you won’t help much in times of need).

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Guidebook
  4. GPS Watch
  5. Hiking poles
  6. Flashlight
  7. Matches
  8. Cigarette Lighter
  9. First Aid Kit (with personal medication, if any)
  10. Whistle
  11. Swiss Pocket Knife
  12. Warm Clothing (layer jackets, long pants, woolen hat, full-body long underwears)
  13. Climbing Helmet
  14. Dry Food & 500 ml Bottled Water
  15. Water Bottle with Water Purification
  16. Rain/Wind Jacket & Pants
  17. Sturdy Footwear (Mountaineering Boots)
  18. Trash Bags
  19. Insect Repellant
  20. Sunglasses
  21. Sunscreen
  22. Gloves
  23. Cord & Ropes
  24. DSLR Camera with accessories
  25. GoPro Camera with accessories
  26. iPhones with add-on battery & charging cord
  27. Selfie stick for iPhone

Read: A International Couple Climbing All 50 US State Highpoints

OVERNIGHT TRIPS

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Foam Pad
  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Pots, Cup, Bowl, Spoon
  • More Food
  • Travel kit (Toothbrush, etc), Small Towel, Extra Underwear & Socks

FYI Fact: “The Alpine zone is the area above treeline.”

ALPINE ZONE, AVALANCHE TERRAIN

  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Avalanche Probe
  • Small Snow Shovel
  • Insulated Boots
  • Overmitts
  • Snowshoes
  • Ice Axe
  • Crampons
  • Face Mask
Ice climbing with all equipment

 

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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already climbed or have been to some of the state highpoints, please share about your experiences.

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Highpointing: The Ultimate American Adventure Bucket List

The movie Everest is out. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend you go watch it. It’s a masterpiece. It’s beautiful. It’s majestic.

It has been my longtime dream to climb Mount Everest, the ultimate adventure. After years of hiking, trekking, mountaineering, skydiving, and whatnot, I have finally put together a realistic and fun plan to accomplish my death-defying goals.

Everest Movie Poster (2015)

GOAL SETTING

For me, the standards for goal picking & setting is simple.

“If a goal is not crazy enough, it is not worthy enough to be a goal. It better be just a task.”

“A goal must fit into the grand vision of your life. A goal must be a pillar or a brick in the architect of your vision.”

As a couple, our Goal #1 is to attempt to successfully climb all 14 peaks of Massachusetts (for 14 counties) by Dec 2018. County highpoints are generally called CoHP.

Our Goal #2 is to attempt to climb all 50 tallest peaks of all 50 US states by Dec 2020.

Mount Whitney, tallest peak in California

And, this is the most fun part. I won’t be doing this alone. This is something, my girlfriend and I started together and we are now married and we are going to attempt to climb all 50 US highpoints as a couple. If we successfully do this, we will be the first international couple to successfully climb all 50 State highpoints in America.

Our ultimate goal is to eventually climb the Seven Summits and hope to make a Guinness World Record.

Mount Mitchell in North Carolina (great to visit during Fall colors)

Why Highpoint

  1. We will be the first international couple to officially do it. And, it will be a good warm-up exercise for us for later, when we take on higher-elevation and more dangerous climbs.
  2. Most of these places are easy to access (since we live in Boston and the east coast states are smaller).
  3. Therefore, this feat will not cost us a fortune. That would be different if we were thinking of flying to every continent or the Poles. Or if we were to travel from Asia or Europe.
Florida’s highest peak at Britton Hill. As you can see, some are challenging while others are easy.

BEING OFFICIAL ABOUT IT

To make sure what we are attempting is doable and in some way officially verifiable, I reached out to Greg, an experienced climber and the creator & webmaster of Peakbagger.com. I wanted to ask his advice on this. (PS: I highly encourage you all to check out peakbagging.com and peakbagger.com. These websites will inspire you to your core.)

The following is my email communications with Greg.

Hi Greg, My girlfriend and I are into mountaineering and hiking. We have been doing it for years. I recently discovered your website and I was wondering, how do you verify the climbs? As a couple, we want to do 50 peaks of US and would like to do it as part of a book project that I have. My plan is to find out how much and money it would cost for a person or couple to perform such a feat. I was curious; how do I make sure that my climbs are recorded which can later be officially verified. Suggestions, thoughts? Best regards, Sal

Greg’s quick reply to my email:

Hi, Salil, The vast majority of accomplishments reported by mountain climbers worldwide are on an honor system.  Most people don’t make any real attempt to conclusively document their ascents, nor question the climbs of others.  For virtually all hiking clubs in the USA, including the State Highpointers, it’s all about fun and friendship, and if you say you climbed all the peaks, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. In mountaineering history there have been some charlatans claiming ascents they never made, usually first ascents of well-known peaks.  And I know of some elderly people with a form of mental illness who started logging all sorts of imaginary climbs, claiming they were real.  But this is a very small minority. There are also variations of the understanding of what getting to a summit means.  For some, they have to touch the highest rock with their boot.  For others, getting 95% the way up counts, for example, the many guided clients who reach the crater rim of Mount Rainier, do not cross to the highest summit, and call it good. I personally like to take pictures of myself when I have climbed a major peak solo, to prove I was there, but no one has ever asked me for proof.  The whole thing is kind of silly, really.  So I would not worry at all about doing anything formal for verification—just take some photos and sign the register. I have completed the 50 state highpoints.  Outside of Denali, it’s not super hard or super expensive.

The main obstacle is getting enough time off, and doing a lot of driving.  If you need a guide for Rainier, Hood, Granite, or Gannett, that can be a little expensive, otherwise your only real costs are gas, food, lodging, etc.

Denali is another story.  It’s about $10,000 to climb that peak, for the guide service, buying special cold weather gear, airfare, park fees, etc. Cheaper without a guide but still probably $5000. 

Best of luck on your quest,

– Greg, Webmaster, Peakbagger.com

My gratitude reply to Greg:

Hi Greg, Good morning! Yours is the first email I have read this morning and I can’t tell how happy I am. (Honestly, I was not sure, if you would reply or reply quick enough). Whenever someone is willing to be approachable and helpful, it just lights up the whole universe. (Ok, maybe not the whole universe but someone’s world for sure). So, thank you! 

Ok – so pictures and registration/entrance log (if any) is sufficient. This makes this whole undertaking more fun. I have registered on Peakbagger.com and would love to meet and make new adventurer friends. Thank you again! Please keep doing what you love to do!

– Sal, Boston, MA

Mount Greylock, tallest peak in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS COUNTY HIGHPOINTS

  1. Berkshire, Mount Greylock, 3487 ft
  2. Franklin, Mount Crum Hill, 2835 ft
  3. Hampshire, West Mountain, 2106 ft
  4. Worcester, Wachusett Mountain, 1998 ft
  5. Hampden, Round Top Hill, 1781
  6. Middlesex, Nutting Hill (Northeast Slope), 1585 ft
  7. Norfolk, Great Blue Hill, 640 ft
  8. Essex, Holt Hill, 423 ft
  9. Plymouth, Manomet Hill, 395 ft
  10. Bristol, Sunrise Hill, 394 ft
  11. Suffolk, Bellevue Hill, 325 ft
  12. Dukes, Marthas Vineyard High Point, 311 ft
  13. Barnstable, Pine Hill, 306 ft
  14. Nantucket, Sankaty Head, 111 ft 

The reason I am posting this publicly on my blog is so we remain accountable to our goals. The goal completion date is to finish all climbs by or before 12/31/2016.  Here are the United States 51 tallest peaks (including DC). We will do the 48 states + DC first and then attempt Denali and Hawaii in the end.

We have already been to Alaska and it is expensive to go there. Besides, you can see in Greg’s reply to me that there are other expensive costs associated with Mount Denali. Some say that climbers attempting less commercialized peaks, like Denali, are often expected to carry backpacks that weigh over 30 kilograms (66 lbs) and, occasionally, to tow a sled with 35 kilograms (77 lbs) of gear and food. Now that’s a real adventure. That’s challenging, crazy, and fun.

Map of USA 50 States High Points

50 STATES HIGHPOINTS (US)

  1. Alaska, Denali, 20,310 ft
  2. California, Mount Whitney, 14,495 ft
  3. Colorado, Mount Elbert, 14,433 ft
  4. Washington, Mount Rainier, 14,411 ft
  5. Wyoming, Gannett Peak, 13,804 ft
  6. Hawaii, Mauna Kea, 13,796 ft
  7. Utah, Kings Peak, 13,528 ft
  8. New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, 13,161 ft
  9. Nevada, Boundary Peak, 13,140 ft
  10. Montana, Granite Peak, 12,799 ft
  11. Idaho, Borah Peak, 12,662 ft
  12. Arizona, Humphreys Peak, 12,633 ft
  13. Oregon, Mount Hood, 11,239 ft
  14. Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8749 ft
  15. South Dakota, Harney Peak 7242 ft
  16. North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, 6684 ft
  17. Tennessee, Clingmans Dome, 6643 ft
  18. New Hampshire, Mount Washington, 6288 ft
  19. Virginia, Mount Rogers, 5729 ft
  20. Nebraska, Panorama Point, 5426 ft
  21. New York, Mount Marcy, 5344 ft
  22. Maine, Katahdin, 5268 ft
  23. Oklahoma, Black Mesa, 4973 ft
  24. West Virginia, Spruce Knob, 4861 ft
  25. Georgia, Brasstown Bald, 4784 ft
  26. Vermont, Mount Mansfield, 4393 ft
  27. Kentucky, Black Mountain, 4139 ft
  28. Kansas, Mount Sunflower, 4039 ft
  29. South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, 3554 ft
  30. North Dakota, White Butte, 3506 ft
  31. Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, 3487 ft
  32. Maryland, Backbone Mountain, 3360 ft
  33. Pennsylvania, Mount Davis, 3213 ft
  34. Arkansas, Magazine Mountain, 2753 ft
  35. Alabama, Cheaha Mountain, 2405 ft
  36. Connecticut, Mount Frissell (South Slope), 2372 ft
  37. Minnesota, Eagle Mountain, 2301 ft
  38. Michigan, Mount Arvon, 1978 ft
  39. Wisconsin, Timms Hill, 1951 ft
  40. New Jersey, High Point, 1803 ft
  41. Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain, 1772 ft
  42. Iowa, Hawkeye Point 1670 ft
  43. Ohio, Campbell Hill 1549 ft
  44. Indiana, Hoosier Hill, 1257 ft
  45. Illinois, Charles Mound, 1235 ft
  46. Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill, 812 ft
  47. Mississippi, Woodall Mountain, 806 ft
  48. Louisiana, Driskill Mountain, 535 ft
  49. Delaware, Ebright Azimuth, 442 ft
  50. Florida, Britton Hill, 345 ft

Bonus: District of Columbia (D.C.), Reno Reservoir, 415 ft

Mount Elbert, the tallest in Colorado and Rocky Mountains

WHAT ELSE ARE WE DOING?

While doing the US 50 States Highpoints (mountains), we will simultaneously also cover two of our ancillary goals.

  1. A road trip and covering all 50 states of USA
  2. Having the best moments from all 50 states and turning it into a picture-book

Next, we will start with The Seven Summit and with Mount Denali (tallest peak in the North American continent) already covered, we will only have 6 more to do.

Well, this is only a dream for now.

First thing first. The secret to success is one baby step at a time and being consistent.

Please join us in our quest to conquer all 50 States High Points in the USA. We need your support, love, and prayers.

If you are a climber and would love to join us, please feel free to message me. We have a long way to go. So, it’s time to shut down the computer and go to the rocks.

Talk to you soon, my friends!

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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already climbed some of these mountains, please share about your experiences.

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