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17 June 2021

Adventure Blogs Adventure Blogs
  • What Is Type Two Fun and Why Is It Good For You?
    17 June 2021
    When it comes to the outdoors, there are two types of fun: type one and type two. The latter leaves you with lessons and memories for a lifetime.

    It’s day five out of my 14-day backpacking course in the Colorado Rockies, and the rain has no sign of letting up. My feet have been soaking wet for so long I almost forgot what it’s like to be warm and dry. Not only that, but I’m sore from hiking, sunburned, salty and very hungry. In moments like these, I ask myself: Is this even fun anymore? But, like clockwork, just a few days after I return from an outdoor excursion I’m ready to get back out there. 

    However you choose to recreate in the outdoors, there will always be times when the weather changes on you, a critter chews through your food bag, you forget to bring something crucial or things generally don’t go as planned. I find that there is something so frustratingly beautiful about when adventures turn into misadventures. These are the moments when I learn the most about myself, when I discover my resiliency and when I learn to appreciate when things are good.

    The Two Types of Fun

    On outdoor courses, I like to bring up the concept of the different types of fun with my students. Yes, there are multiple kinds of fun, and I find it helpful to talk about them in an attempt to explain my unending hunger for uncomfortable backpacking trips.

    Type 1 Fun is what we all seek out when hitting the outdoors: it’s a good time, we enjoy ourselves and it’s simply just fun.

    Type 2 Fun, on the other hand, is not actually fun in the moment, but it’s fun to reminisce about later. Consider the feeling of doing a very difficult hike straight up a mountain pass, dangling up high on a ropes course when you’re afraid of heights or being eaten alive by mosquitoes in your tent. These aren’t necessarily fun activities, in fact, they’re pretty uncomfortable, but they’re part of what makes an adventure. The lessons and stories that come out of Type 2 Fun are what make it all worth it. 

    Photo was taken on a Sangre de Cristo Alpine Backpacking expedition by Jack Klim.

    If you can’t tell already, I’m sold on the fact that discomfort is a good thing. It’s taken me over a decade of backpacking to realize this, and yet I still need the reminder when things get tough. With some reflection, I’ve identified three reasons why being uncomfortable can be good for you.


    I previously identified examples of mostly physical discomforts, being cold, wet, fatigued, mosquito-ridden, etc., but I want to emphasize that discomfort in the backcountry often lies in our mental and emotional realms. While most of us can agree that setting up a tent in a downpour isn’t the most pleasant experience, we all possess unique limits and fears that get challenged at different times. This is where Outward Bound comes in.

    Outward Bound courses are designed to push students in a way that gets them acquainted with their growth zone—that sweet spot between comfort and discomfort where learning can take place. By getting uncomfortable, and having some Type 2 fun, we are offered a special opportunity to learn about ourselves. Having these often humbling experiences is like holding up a mirror and watching how you yourself would meet the challenge. Here we can find the borders of our comfort zones, and oftentimes prove ourselves wrong about what we’re capable of.

    Photo by Rikki Dunn


    Resilience has been my favorite word this year. It seems apt as we collectively move through the multifaceted challenges brought on by the pandemic. Resiliency manifests itself as the ability to bounce back, the power to overcome an obstacle and the attitude needed to forge ahead. When I find myself frustrated at the weather or spooked by the steep canyon I’m about to cross, I note that there is a choice to be made. I can choose to own the situation and make informed decisions based on my limits, or I can freeze and let my fears get the best of me. In these situations, leaning on my community by asking for help is one of the most important things I’ve learned to do.


    Experiencing time outside of your comfort zone is a practice in perspective. Not only might you uncover new information about yourself and your capabilities, but experiencing discomfort encourages a mindset of compassion for others. Over the course of a backpacking expedition, I have witnessed a student find their growth zone while rock climbing and another find it while dealing with homesickness. These students ended up encouraging each other with supportive words in those moments of discomfort because they could empathize with each other’s experiences.

    “Discomfort is a key ingredient for growth. Whatever form it takes, it calls you in to meet it, to be present with it and to learn from it.”

    Finally, embracing discomfort leads to the sweet appreciation of when things are going well. A healthy dose of perspective is raising your head up high and feeling sincere gratitude for the things that are going right. I’ve found some of the most rewarding experiences in the backcountry to be moments after my group and I pushed through a difficult day that ended with breathtaking sunset views, hot cocoa in hand and the sound of loud, belly laughs. 

    Photo by Rikki Dunn

    Discomfort is a key ingredient for growth. Whatever form it takes, it calls you in to meet it, to be present with it and to learn from it. Discomfort encourages you to discover the borders of your comfort zone, hang out there for a while and see how you can grow. Sure, Type 1 Fun is important to have on a trip, but it’s really Type 2 Fun where the best stories are made and growth developed. Hands down.

    About the Author

    Eva (she/they) currently lives in the foggy landscape of the Bay Area. Originally from Colorado, Eva practically grew up with hiking boots on her feet and climbing chalk on her hands. After graduating with a degree in environmental studies, Eva went on to work for Outward Bound in both Colorado and California as a field intern, trip logistics coordinator and blog writer. This year she’s planning to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail to raise scholarship money for Outward Bound California’s LGBTQ+ course. Visit her fundraiser page to follow her journey and support the cause!

    The post What Is Type Two Fun and Why Is It Good For You? appeared first on Outward Bound.

  • 25 Things to Do in Patmos Greece: Best Selections
    17 June 2021
  • Hiking in the Remstal: through vineyards and silent forests
    17 June 2021

    Have you ever heard of the Remstal in Baden-Württemberg? This beautiful valley in the south of Germany has shaped around the river Rems and is filled with rolling vineyards, deep forests and beautiful views from everywhere. But … without the crowds that you may typically find in the Moselle or the Eifel regions, for example. In collaboration with Baden-Württemberg Tourismus and Stuttgart Tourismus, I made a short hiking trip in this region. In this blog article I will tell you why a visit to and a walk in the Remstal should definitely be on your bucket list! And psst …. that’s not just for the excellent wines that are produced here!
    Hiking in the Remstal  

    About the Remstal

    The Remstal is located from west to east between Stuttgart and Aalen in the south of Germany. Their motto is ‘Natur, Kultur, Wein’ and that is exactly how I experienced the Remstal myself. In the valley, the hills are covered by steep vineyards and you can really enjoy the good life here. In addition, there are many historic villages and towns, such as Schorndorf and Strümfelpbach, where you will find beautiful old half-timbered houses. In this short video you get a quick impression of the area:


    The good thing about hiking in Germany

    I’ve been coming to Germany for their excellent hiking trails for years now. To me, Germany is a perfect hiking destination where I can step onto the trail carefree during the day and enjoy a good meal and a nice glass of wine in the evening. Since I’m traveling by train from my hometown in The Netherlands this time, I’m taking walks that can easily be done by public transport. This is super easy, as a train runs through the Remstal and the villages that are not along that line can be reached by bus. Depending on the number of days you use public transport, you can buy a pass for several days, with which you can use all regional trains and buses.

    A city walk in Schorndorf

    We start our visit to the Remstal with a city walk through Schorndorf. This is Gottlieb Daimler’s hometown. I’m not that much into cars and automobile history, but if this seems interesting to you, be sure to visit the Gottlieb Daimler Geburtshaus on the Höllgasse. At first we try to follow a city walking route, but soon we decide to leave it and just stroll through the narrow streets at our own discretion. We sit down on the terrace, take pictures and shelter from the downpour. Despite the rain it is nice to be back in Germany.
    We stay overnight in the charming Boutique Hotel Pfauen, right in the center of Schorndorf. It is a half-timbered house with a rich history, next to the birthplace of Gottlieb Daimler. The current owners have recently completed an extensive renovation. The small-scale and historic character has been preserved, but the rooms are spacious and comfortably furnished. There is an espresso machine and a fruit platter ready for us to start the day with. The hotel restaurant is currently closed, but if I can believe the reviews, this restaurant alone is a good reason to return to Schorndorf again.
    Boutique Hotel Pfauen SchorndorfSchorndorf  

    Hiking the RemstalWeg

    The RemstalWeg is a 215-kilometer long distance hiking trail that starts in Fellbach and ends in Remseck am Neckar. There are a total of 11 stages that vary in length between 11 and 25 kilometers, but can be shortened or extended at your own choice. Along the way you regularly pass through villages where you can spend the night and/or take public transport back to your starting point. We walk from Strümpfelbach to Winterbach, a distance of about 20 kilometers. The official stage runs between Strümpfelbach and Schorndorf and is 22.3 kilometers long. However, a thunderstorm was coming and we decided to shorten it.
    View over the RemstalOrchards along the RemstalWeg  

    Between vineyards and orchards

    The RemstalWeg is marked in the landscape with yellow signs. We pick it up effortlessly in Strümpfelbach and soon rise above the village, into the vineyards. The trail is simple: we follow the paved road that winds through the vineyards. Once at the top we have a beautiful view of the surroundings at the Karlstein. We descend to Schnaitt through orchards and along narrow forest trails. Immediately after the village the trail goes steeply up again. This time it is the middle of the day and super warm, there is a water hose at the top and we like to use that to cool ourselves.
    After Schnaitt we enter the forest and cross the Nonnenberg. Around us dark skies gather and rumble. We arrive on top of the mountain, where the small village of Manolzweiler is located. Here we will have a break until the rain is over. As it remains dark and threatening, we eventually descend via Engelberg to Winterbach, where we board the train back to Schorndorf. Arriving here it starts pouring down from above and we decide to drink the bottle of wine that we got for along the way in the hotel.
    View from the Karlstein over the Remstal  

    Hiking the Remstal yourself? This will help!

    You can pick up a booklet including a route map at the various tourist information offices along the route. The trail is well marked, but we still had to search for signs every now and then. That is why I recommend that you also download the GPX just in case. The start and end of each section are accessible by public transport and along the way you regularly pass through villages where you can spend the night. There are hardly any campsites, so it is mainly a trail that you walk from hotel to hotel (or gasthaus, B&B, etc.). Freedom camping is not allowed in Germany. The trail is quite simple and not very technical yet is has a lot of climbs and descents. A large part of the section we walked was paved, something to take into account when choosing the right kind of hiking shoes!
    Markings of the RemstalWeg  

    The Stuttgarter Weinwanderweg

    The next day it is time for another hike: the Stuttgarter Weinwanderweg. This 12 kilometer circular walk starts at the train station in Obertürkheim and takes you, via Uhlbach and the Rotenberg to Untertürkheim. Here you can get on the train back to the starting point or also walk this last part. Because we only had the morning available (we traveled to Lake Constance in the afternoon) we shortened the route slightly.
    Our walk leaves from Obertürkheim and immediately goes up steeply. Our guide tells us interesting facts and stories about wine making in the region along the way. She points out a few wineries where you can taste wine (which were unfortunately still closed at the time of our visit) and possibly have a nice meal.
    In Uhlbach we stop for a cup of coffee and admire beautiful half-timbered houses. After this it is quite a climb because the Grabkapelle comes into view. This chapel on the Württemberg was built by King Wilhelm I for his wife Katharina, who died only three years after their wedding. The official cause of death is said to be a virus, but she is also rumored to have died of heartbreak. It turned out that King Wilhelm, despite being much loved by the German people, was cheating on her and her heart broke when she found out.
    After our visit to the Grabkapelle we enjoy the special views for a while. Special because the vineyards are a huge contrast with the industry of Stuttgart that are down below us. Still, as locals told me, Stuttgart is a very nice city to live in, simply because you can be outdoors and outside the city in no time and it’s is located in the middle of the green hills.
    Half-timbered houses in UhlbachGrabkapelle Baden-WürttembergWeinwanderweg – view over Stuttgart  

    Wine tasting

    Unfortunately, the local wineries are still closed but will most of them will reopen soon. But we can go to the Rotenberger Weingärtle for a mini-tasting. And for a delicious Käsespäzele: a plate full of cheese and dough but definitely my favorite German dish. In Untertürkheim we board the train to Lake Constance, where our next adventure awaits.
    Would you like to hike the Weinwanderweg yourself? Information panels are located at the mentioned train stations, as well as en route. The trail is well marked in the landscape as well. Would you also like to travel with a guide like we did? On this page you will find all guided walking tours that you can take in Stuttgart and the surrounding area.
    Wine tasting in the Remstal  

    Also good to know

    The Remstal is easily accessible by train. From most places in Germany you can reach Stuttgart within a few hours with the ICE train. Here you can take the train or S-Bahn to the Remstal. When I compare the Remstal with other destinations in Germany, I noticed how wonderfully quiet it was here. Because the Remstal is still relatively unknown for walking, it is especially recommended if you want to go somewhere other than the Moselle, the Harz or the Eifel.

    Conclusion and disclaimer

    I was invited to make this trip by Baden-Württemberg Tourismus. All opinions given are, of course, only my own. I traveled when Germany reopened for tourism. Please research yourself what the current travel restrictions are at the time of your journey.

    The post Hiking in the Remstal: through vineyards and silent forests appeared first on We12Travel.

  • Coffee Outside, After a Wild Swim
    17 June 2021


    Here we are, almost halfway through the year. We’re coming closer to the summer solstice, which for those of us in the northern hemisphere means ample hours of daylight, and warmer days for explorations and adventures. Nature is bursting with the promise of summer, wildflowers in bloom and early morning birdsong to wake us to the day. It’s a very special time of year, this year even more so than usual as it feels like we need this promise, this reawakening. Over the last few months, we’ve challenged you to all kinds of coffee adventures outside. We’ve explored someplace new, taken time and space for solitude in the forest, and paired our cup with creativity and art

    This time around, we’re called to water, and the glorious action of a wild swim (and the coffee that follows). A lake, a river, a bay, the ocean: any body of water will do. A swim, a plunge, a plop, a dip, a leap, a wallow: anything that gets us immersed in the watery world. 

    We’re drawn to these wild places because in the water, we feel a change take place. “Swimming is a rite of passage, a crossing of boundaries: the line of the shore, the bank of the river, the edge of the pool, the surface itself,” writes Richard Deakin in the book Waterlog, an essential read for all wild swimmers. “When you enter the water, something like metamorphosis happens. Leaving behind the land, you go through the looking-glass surface and enter a new world, in which survival, not ambition or desire, is the dominant aim.”

    In pursuit of a wild swim, we leave the known world of land and enter something else entirely. Our bodies behave differently than they do on land, we can float and we can bob, held by the water around us. In the water, we are as close as most of us will get to feeling what it would be like to be an astronaut in space: we’re still obliged to respect the rules of gravity, but in the water, we’re untethered, suspended in a universe made not of stars and planets, but of sea grass and barnacle-covered rocks. Perhaps it’s no surprise that this transition to a watery world helps to calm us, settle us, even encourage us to tap into our creative side. 

    A wild swim offers our bodies the chance to reset and reawaken. Just the feeling of a cold river on bare toes can be enough to wake us up, imagine what happens when we submerge all of us? “For many swimmers, the act of swimming is a tonic, in that old-fashioned sense of the word: it is a restorative, a stimulant, undertaken for a feeling of vigor and well-being,” writes Bonnie Tsui in Why We Swim. The water allows us to feel a sense of wildness in our whole bodies. In fact, when we swim, we are perhaps at our most wild, uninhibited by loads of gear or clothing. At best, we can enter the water silently in nothing but our skin, but even a bathing suit will allow us that close connection to the water surrounding us, wrapping us in her velvety hands. 

    The search for a swimmable spot is also part of the endeavor, part of the adventure. Tracing a map with your finger to find a lake or river you’ve never been in, or exploring your own locale to identify a spot where you can quietly slip into the waves and be one with the sea. If we’re drawn to wild swimming, seeking out a body of water becomes our compass no matter where we go. 

    A wild swim transports us to a different time and place. It’s a refuge and a reset. “Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in,” Mary Oliver writes in a line in her poem “To Begin With, the Sweet Grass,” and even if you’re not swimming in a tidal body of water, you can connect to the sentiment. Rivers and lakes have their own pace too. To be on “water time” is to shift our thinking, shift our being. 

    This is a month of long days. The water welcomes us early in the morning and late into the evening catching the reflection of summer sunrises and sunsets. If you need more swimming inspiration, the Outdoor Swimming Society is hosting a global event on the summer solstice: The Longest Swim on the Longest Day of the Year. The “longest” really is up to interpretation, any kind of wild swim will do whether it’s a two minute chilly plunge, a hearty 5k, or maybe just a little longer than what you usually do. 

    How you do your wild swim is up to you. But we hope that you pack your thermos of coffee, or bring your brewing kit to set up on the banks of the river or the shore of the sea. We  happen to love the taste of coffee after a swim, maybe even a little treat to pair with it, spread out on the ground next to our towel. We wriggle out of the bathing suit and pull on a warm layer. Or if we’re lucky: we sun dry in the warm air. We find a spot on the shore to sit, and let our take in the body of water that we’ve just been in. The sensations of a wild swim pulse through us, committing themself to muscle memory. No matter where we are, we always enjoy a cup of coffee outside to soak up the surroundings, and after a wild swim we can tap into that moment of presence, when every cell in our body tingles with the sense of being alive. 

    The post Coffee Outside, After a Wild Swim appeared first on Alastair Humphreys.

  • Here’s What Chris Burkard Took For His Winter Fatbike Push Across Iceland
    17 June 2021
    Snickers, you'll be pleased to know, made the cut.
  • Climber Annie Smith Peck Shocked the World—By Wearing Pants
    17 June 2021
    "My next thought was to do a little genuine exploration, to conquer a virgin peak, to attain some height where no man had previously stood."
  • A Hiker Had to be Rescued Just 3 Miles into an Epic Long-Distance Trek
    17 June 2021
    Long distance hiking has always held a significant allure with outdoor enthusiasts, offering both a great adventure and the chance to reconnect with the natural environment. But during the pandemic, long distance backpacking has only soared in popularity as many of us have sought solitude and serenity on a remote trail. This has proven to... Read more

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  • The 9 Best Bikepacking Panniers of 2021: What You Need to Know
    17 June 2021

    Looking for the best bikepacking panniers for your cycling adventure? Check out this guide to our top 9 favourite panniers:

    You can read the original article here: The 9 Best Bikepacking Panniers of 2021: What You Need to Know. Monkeys and Mountains | Adventure Travel - Trekking and Hiking Tours in Europe | Mountain Hiking | Adventure Travel Blog

  • The Very Best Things to do in Montreal, Canada
    17 June 2021

    Looking for things to do in Montreal? Keep reading, because we’ve got you covered. Montreal is one of Canada’s most romantic and beautiful cities. This remarkable urban centre is home...

    Read the original post The Very Best Things to do in Montreal, Canada on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

  • Photographing a Rappel Beneath The Blood Moon
    17 June 2021

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17 June 2021

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  • Pennine Way Day 9 - 16 June 2021
    17 June 2021
    Tan Hill Inn to Middleton in Teesdale
    Walking 6.50am to 4.30pm
    Distance walked 17 miles
    Distance remaining 129 miles

    Within a minute of leaving Tan Hill went through the gate in to Sleightholme Moor. Wainwright, in his Pennine Way Companion, says, "At the best of times, even in sunshine, Sleightholme Moor is like walking in porridge. After heavy rain it is like walking in oxtail soup." I've been across it before when it has been an absolute squelch-fest, like walking on waterlogged mattresses. Today it was quite charming and damp in only a few places and these were easily avoided. Navigation was as tricky as ever but helped by the sporadic white-topped posts. 

    At Jack Shield's Bridge I stopped to pass the time of day with a lady outside her home, a converted field barn. Ten minutes later, walking again, I chatted with her husband, out walking the dog. They've only lived here for eight months. Only two neighbours for several miles. 

    At Trough Heads the route splits. Left is the main route which I had decided to take. Straight on is the Bowes Loop (or Bowes Alternative) which takes in the village of Bowes, which has a pub, The Ancient Unicorn, where Charles Dickens is said to have stayed in researching Nicholas Nickelby. There is a house there named Dotheboys Hall. Also the sparse remains of a castle. Emily, who I walked with yesterday and who stopped at Keld, was planning to take this route and overnight here so she'll be a day behind me. 

    A little way past the so called Ravock Castle (a pile of stones, I think, as I didn't notice it, I stopped at a shooting hut to brew coffee. One end is always kept open as a shelter although it was too warm inside today. From the graffiti on the wall, it's provided a refuge in bad weather for many others. 

    Clove Lodge is still for sale (or for sale again)  I fantasised about buying it and setting it up as some form of pit stop and maybe bunk house for PW walkers as it has been in the past. It's with Strutt & Parker. At Blackton Bridge, at the end of the reservoir of the same name, I reached the half way point of the Pennine Way and stopped for lunch. Passing me by were a couple who were B&B-ing the PW and who I'd seen most days, also a couple of fellows who I'd seen several times. Then came the lovely Hannah's Meadow, a wild flower meadow, named after Hannah Hauxwell who lived nearby until the 1980s at a lonely farm without running water or electricity. The TV documentary about her is on YouTube. 

    At North Wythes Hill Farm, I took advantage of a little Tuck Shop, provided for walkers and downed a can of Coke and refilled my water as I wasn't yet decided where to spend tonight. Soon Middleton in Teesdale appeared as I crested a hill and I began the gradual long descent down a wide and winding grassy slope to the small town. Ascertaining that the Daleview site was still charging a very reasonable £5 a night I decided to stay. It's a good site. 

    After pitching, I walked in to town and met Kevin from yesterday. I'll no doubt see him again tomorrow. I also came across Kyle "Impala" Lintern, a (in the hiking world) well known vlogger on YouTube, to whose channel I subscribe. We chatted and both resupplied at the Co-op but he's heading south on a LEJOG flip flop. I didn't quite get what he was doing though. 

    Yet another day of good weather. I think some rain might come tomorrow. 

    Sent from my iPhone
  • What exactly are the basic navigation skills?
    16 June 2021

    If your favourite outdoor locations are currently feeling the pressure of a pandemic-induced increase in visitor numbers, you might like to consider picking up a few map reading skills. Over years of walking on Dartmoor my observations suggest that a very small proportion of people walk more than thirty minutes away from their starting point.

    Why would I need to map read?

    Put simply, navigation and map reading give you the tools you need to explore further, and find even more special locations. There is, after all, plenty of space out there for all of us, it’s often just a question of having the confidence to find it.

    So where can navigation skills take me?

    When it comes to walking, there are all kinds of navigation. You might want to explore your local footpaths further, investigate the history behind your favourite area, or even climb your first mountain. Each of these has its own nuances when it comes to navigation ability and safety, but success with each starts with the same basic navigation skills.

    We’re talking about reading a map?

    Understanding what the symbols on your map are showing you is an important part of learning to navigate but it’s how you relate the map to other tools that really matters. Namely your compass and the environment around you.

    The environment is a tool?

    Well obviously the environment is more than that but successful navigation depends largely on being able to relate what you see around you to what is written on your map. Navigating successfully without a compass is possible, navigating without a map is more difficult.

    So do I need to know how to use a compass?

    It’s really helpful if you do! Whilst it is possible to use your map to navigate, what a compass does is confirm directions (i.e. north, south, east, west) when the features around you are less clear.

    Do I need to know where north, south, east and west are?

    Sometimes you do. Which means that sometimes you need to know how to use a compass. Here are two examples:

    Without a compass: Your walk has taken you to a river bank, and you need to find a bridge. With a few map reading skills, you’ll be able to work the bridge location out according to the direction of water flow (always down hill), your route to that point, and what you can see around you. You will probably be able to do this without a compass.

    With a compass: You want to walk to a trig point but can’t see it. The land in front of you is fairly flat, with no obvious features (not all trig points are at the top of mountains). You need to walk in a straight line, in the right direction. Unless you are an expert at celestial navigation (trickier than you might imagine) you will need a compass to do this.

    So what would you say were the top five navigation skills?

    There’ll be some argument about this because all navigators work slightly differently. Here’s our top five.

    1. Understanding your map in relation to the ground (what you see around you).
    2. Pinpointing your current location.
    3. Working out which direction you need to go next (with and without a compass).
    4. Working out how far you need to go.
    5. Travelling in the right direction (with and without a compass), for the right amount of time.
    Why is it important to know how far you’ve walked?

    That’s an easy one to answer. We’ve seen far more people get lost because they walked too far in the right(ish) direction than because they’ve walked in the wrong direction.

    So is it easy to learn these skills?

    Not without help! But once you find the right teacher, learning to navigate can happen more quickly than you think. Like so many great things in life. Excellent navigation skills come with practice.

    How can I find the right navigation course for me?

    These days there are lots of people teaching navigation skills. Which means you have lots of choice, which means it is possible you might choose the wrong instructor. Here’s our list of what you need to look out for.

    1. Navigation and group leadership qualifications (look for someone with Mountain Training England’s Mountain Leader or Hill and Moorland Leader qualifications).
    2. Navigation and group leadership experience (it’s worth remembering that the above training and qualification programmes don’t actually require candidates to lead groups).
    3. Positive comments from previous trainees (these are really important).
    Can I learn to navigate with the Two Blondes?

    Yes! We love teaching navigation but spaces are filling up for our final beginners’ course this summer. Don’t hesitate to get in touch though if you have any questions or fancy some bespoke learning.



    The post What exactly are the basic navigation skills? first appeared on Two Blondes Walking.
  • Pennine Way Day 8 - 15 June 2021
    16 June 2021
    Hardraw to Tan Hill Inn
    Walking 7.40am to 4.30pm
    Distance walked 16 miles
    Distance remaining 146 miles

    Yet another day promising good weather. The walk started with a long gradual ascent leading to open access land from where began the long but easy three mile ascent to Great Shunner Fell. Superb views all around. Then came the long descent the other side. Just before Thwaite I was caught up by Emily who was at last night's site and who I'd met along the way yesterday (18, just finished A levels and hoping to start university soon to study aerospace engineering) and Kevin, a Geordie, who was doing the PW carrying what appeared to be nothing more than a day pack. 

    In Thwaite we called at the Kearton Country Hotel tearoom for refreshments. The three of us then walked the long two miles to Keld where Emily went to find her campsite, I stopped for lunch by the falls and Kevin went on. Whereas when I sat down there was virtually no-one around, soon people appeared with cameras out to photograph the falls, a few of which almost stepped over me to get that special shot. I was glad to move on. 

    After a long ascent, it was an easy high level  four miles to Tan Hill. I have a lovely quiet pitch with far reaching clear views towards Northumberland over lonely moorland. 

    Sent from my iPhone
    15 June 2021

       Wednesday, 9th June.    11 miles.

      From the terrace of the YHA the hills I would be traversing were all too obvious, it would be a day of ups and downs. The weather just got better and better as the day wore on.

      A gentle walk up the lane brought me to Redheugh, a cluster of houses, Isaac Holden was born here in 1804 and baptised at Ninebanks church in 1806. The way followed a ridge across fields and through the remains of Keirsleywell lead mine, where he worked with his father and brother in the 1820s. At the road  I walked alongside the low Mohope Beck watching Sand Martins coming and going.


    Keirsleywell Spoil.


    Malakoff Bridge.

    Mohope Beck.

    The bridge in Ninebanks crossed the larger West Allen River. Some steep steps came out on the higher road, where I diverted to visit some buildings of interest. First was the old Hearse House, built in 1856 after fundraising by Isaac. It wasn’t long after that Isaac died and was carried on the hearse to be buried in Allendale. The little museum was filled with an eclectic collection of objects relating to mining, funerals and tea. A great deal of information was displayed about the Holden family. Not to be missed if you are walking the trail.

      Along the lane is a terrace which was once Ninebanks school and Ninebanks church, St Marks, dating from 1764. A peaceful place for a short break.

      From then on I used ancient tracks through rough farmland, there were lambs everywhere. I crossed two old bridges below Dryburn which would have been used by lead carriers with their string of ponies going to the smelt mill in Allendale. Most of these old bridges have been washed away in floods.

      A road was crossed alongside High House Wesleyan chapel, now a private residence but the graveyard is still there. I had difficulty finding the path in the next group of fields, but received a friendly reception from a farmer’s wife and dogs when I wandered into their yard. She showed me a way and complained that the RofW hasn’t been maintained.

  • Pennine Way Day 8
    15 June 2021

    Home tonight at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in the British Isles at 1,732ft
  • RAWW (Virtual)
    15 June 2021

    This coming weekend should have been the gruelling Rotary Across Wales Walk. I completed this back in 2019 and it nearly killed me – they know how to do hills in that there Wales !

    With the coronavirus restrictions still in place, the organisers have decided to go virtual this year (LINK).

    With distances of either 8, 13, 26, 32 or the full 47 miles and a full three days to complete your chosen distance, I thought that I’d take a punt.

    The Plan calls for two miles on Friday, eighteen on Saturday and eight on Sunday giving a planned total of twenty nine miles so I plumbed for the third two mile distance.

    I have paid my fee (£10) and on completion I shall receive my first medal of the year.

    I am playing trains on Sunday in Welshpool so I’ll plan on a few extra Friday leaving, perhaps, a couple of dog walks for Sunday.

    15 June 2021

      Tuesday, 8th June.     9 miles.

    I wandered around the quaint cobbled streets and alleyways of Alston in the morning sunshine. There are a variety of small shops, some are aimed at the arts and crafts end of the market, but thankfully there are grocery and bakery outlets so I was able to buy a picnic lunch.

    Town Hall.

    St. Augustine’s Church where Isaac’s parents married in 1796.

      The Tea Trail follows the Pennine Way out of town but I decided on a different route, The South Tyne Trail which runs alongside the South Tynedale Railway. This narrow gauge track once linked Alston to Haltwhistle and the rest of the network. It has been partially restored for tourist trips. I therefore headed to the Station just out of town. The café was just opening and volunteers were busy with odd jobs, but alas no trains were running today. I had to be my own pretend train as I followed alongside the single track a couple of miles to Kirkhaugh Halt, where I picked up the official Tea Trail once again. It had been a pleasant diversion alongside the South Tyne.

      The path dropped to the South Tyne and a new footbridge replacing one washed away in 2018 floods. This one looks built to last, confirmed later by a local resident living next to Kirkhaugh Church who had watched the whole progress. The church was where I was heading next.

    Note the church steeple.

      To give its full title – The Church of the Holy Paraclete. (Holy Spirit- I had to look it up.) The church has symbols of the dove inside, there are nine to seek out, I managed a measly three. Isaac married Ann Telfer here in 1834. The church was subsequently rebuilt in 1869 by the Rector Octavius James, inspired by Bavarian churches – hence the needle steeple. A bench outside was ideal for an early lunch.

      The stretch of minor road running back along the S Tyne was tree lined and the habitat of red squirrels but I didn’t see any. I left the road near Randalholme,  and climbed steeply through fields to reach the few houses named Ayle, a remote spot. Some flower filled meadows followed before a steep drop through hawthorns came to a footbridge over the gentle Ayle Burn, another bridge replacing one washed away in 2002.

  • Pennine Way Day 7 - 14 June 2021
    14 June 2021
    Ling Gill Bridge to Hardraw
    Walking 9.15am to 1.40pm
    Distance walked 11 miles
    Distance remaining 162 miles

    The midges eventually went away last night and I had a really good night's sleep. The walking was absolutely straightforward and quite high most of the way to Hawes. Good views all the time but sometimes quite windy. My morning coffee is now becoming a ritual at around 11am, I just don't have to grind the beans. 

    Arriving in Hawes, I decided to have a short day. I had intended to spend some time in the Wensleydale Creamery cheese sampling room and treat the numerous morsels of cheese for lunch but there was a queue that didn't seem to be moving so I gave that a miss and had lunch on a bench in the town. Spar came next for resupply. I bought some Wensleydale and was told it was cheaper than at the Creamery even though made there. 

    I also bought a midge net and repellant at an outdoor shop. Then went to a campsite Bainbridge Ings) I've used before but they were only open for prior bookings. Anyway, it was a bit too upmarket for me so I walked 1.5 miles to Hardraw to the campsite behind the Cart House Tea Room which is more to my taste. It's very midgy but my head net is good. Not so sure yet about the spray. 

    Sent from my iPhone
  • Pennine Way Day 6 - 13 June 2021
    14 June 2021
    Above Malham Cove to Ling Gill Bridge
    Walking 6.45am to 6.10pm
    Distance walked 18.5 miles
    Distance remaining 173 miles

    Quite overcast to start with but the forecast was good. At the top of the ascent from the Dry Valley the PW was signposted sharp right, which I took, but I must have missed a sign further in as I emerged onto a bridle way but it was easy to regain the PW so no time was lost.

    At Malham Tarn House activity centre I came across a young fellow and prevailed upon him to allow me access to a water tap to replenish my supply which was fortuitous, although there was a decent stream, Tennant Gill, about half a mile past the farm of the same name.

    Up over Fountains Fell and then the long descent the other side. I stopped to chat with a north to souther. There was a clear view of Penyghent which I don't believe there was the last time I came this way in 2017. That time and the time before the weather has been an excuse not to ascend Penyghent but, it being a fine day, I went up and had a lunch break at the top. Well worth the effort.

    I went straight through Horton- in-Ribblesdale. The Penyghent cafe seems to be permanently closed. I stopped at the far end of the village at The Crown for a chilled pint of lime and soda before the long ascent and then level walk of about five miles in all to my wild pitch at Ling Gill Bridge. There was one other (cycle) camper there and later a father and son turned up on bikes. It was warm and still and the midges were out in force. I realised that my head net might be proof against mosquitos but not against midges.
    Sent from my iPhone
    13 June 2021

    Monday, 7th June.           7 miles.

      I pull off the motorway at Tebay services, it’s chaotic. There is virtually no parking space, the whole area is like Blackpool front on a Bank Holiday. So they were correct when it was hinted that all the Benidorm crowds would be let loose in the British countryside.  Not that I have anything against Benidorm. I wasn’t going to queue to spend a penny, so I drove out and headed  for what I thought would be a quieter area of the country – the Northern Pennines as they are signed off the motorway at Penrith. Nenthead was my starting point for a few days walking Isaac’s Tea Trail

      Nenthead was a major centre for lead mining from 1750 to the end of the C19th. The London Lead Company was founded by Quakers, and they built decent houses  (considering the period) for the workers, complete with a free lending library and schooling for the children. There was a brief spell of reworking the mines for zinc, but that ceased in 1940. The village clings on as a quiet backwater with little to attract the tourist.

      It is however on one of the c2c cycle routes and there in the centre of the village is the bicycle repair man. He is tinkering with the gears on a lady’s bike. I stop to ask him where it might be safe to leave my car for three nights. He points across the way to the  mining museum, which looks closed, but there is a large car park with no overnight  restrictions, so that is where my car is I hope. I leave Nenthead as quickly as I arrived, I’ll look around when I return.

      From the village centre an Isaac’s Tea Trail finger post points along an ordinary looking street but at its end I’m surprised to see a model village of Nenthead with added features from around the world, obviously the lifetime’s work of a local. Along the riverside path, presumably the Nent, I meet a man walking his dogs, I notice one is attached to a harness and wheels. Apparently he has a form of a neurological disorder where they lose the use of their back legs before even worse symptoms develop. The owner is giving his dog some sort of life for now.

      The whole area has signs of past mining with the spoil heaps now reclaimed by nature. There are lime kilns and mine entrances scattered across the hillsides. The soft sand from reworked spoil heaps is riddled with rabbit holes. Apart from the grazing sheep, I come across a group of alpacas.

      The path is well signed as it crosses from field to field along the valley side on stone stiles. There are a few farms still working, but many have fallen into ruins. At one time up here was a thriving village, Nentsberry, with pub, chapel and school. An old man out walking looks as though he comes from that period, they are probably bred tough up here.

      Down some steps the road is reached at a bridge. The Hare and Hounds is ruined, but a once blacksmith’s shop is still standing. Across the bridge is Nent Hall built from the proceeds of the rich Hudgill mine and now a country house hotel.

      I meet a woman coming along the riverside path and she warns me of a closure farther along due to flood erosion repairs. So my brief spell by the water comes to an end at the Path Closed sign. I suspect that people are still using it, but I decide to be sensible and follow an alternative FP up past the neglected Lovelady Shield Hotel. I  climb steeply up the hillside to meet a quiet road and then a rough mining track contouring the valley. There are a few farms up here, but most of the surviving properties are holiday lets. All around are signs of past mining, I’m getting good views of the valley and stride out purposefully.

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Australian Hiking blogs

Australian Hiking Blogs

17 June 2021

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  • $50 No Spoil Sheep Hay Feeder
    17 June 2021

    Being rather tired on account of all the work clearing up after our disastrous Gippsland storms/floods I first typed ‘sheep hat feeder’ which sounds pretty good too – maybe I should have left it like that? During the ‘lean’ times of late winter/high summer stock will always ‘do’ better if they have access to some …

    $50 No Spoil Sheep Hay Feeder Read More »

    The post $50 No Spoil Sheep Hay Feeder first appeared on The Ultralight Hiker.
  • Droughts and Flooding Rains
    17 June 2021

    I guess if you are anywhere near my age (worse luck for you!) you will know Dorothea McKellar’s famous poem, ‘My Country‘ by heart, at least this part: “I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her …

    Droughts and Flooding Rains Read More »

    The post Droughts and Flooding Rains first appeared on The Ultralight Hiker.
  • Training During Times Of Stre
    17 June 2021
  • Best hiking watch for your next outdoor adventure
    16 June 2021

    Technology in the outdoor adventure space has been evolving at a rapid pace. It used to be easy to find the best hiking watch out of the few watches on the market but, now, there are dozens of potential options.

    Hopefully, equipped with this guide you’ll be surprised at how easy the process can be. Pay close attention to the features and compare price tags with functionality, and you’ll be able to narrow down the best watches for hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures.

    Features to Consider When Searching For The Best Hiking Watch

    You cannot determine the best watches for outdoors use just by looking at them. Some watches may look like they have everything you need, but that might not be the case when you put them to the test.

    Before you hit the buy now button on any new watch, factor the following information into the decision-making process.

    Battery Life

    One of the easiest ways to determine the best GPS watch on the market is by finding out about its battery life. GPS technology can weigh heavy on even the highest-quality batteries.

    With that in mind, it can be worth looking at various watches and their battery lives to establish the “average”. Some require charging every night, while others may only last a few hours. Some of the best watches for outdoor adventures are also those with few features that last upwards of months or even a year on a single battery.

    Weather Resistance

    Even if you live in the driest climes, purchasing a hiking watch with some level of weather resistance is going to be worth your while. Remember, it’s not only the rain you have to worry about, but rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water.

    Some watches are showerproof, while others are water-resistant up to an incredible 300 meters or more. More often than not, the price tag is reflective of the weather resistance.


    Whenever you buy anything for your outdoor adventures, comfort is a factor you consider. Even if you have to spend a little more, you’d much rather a watch, clothing, and bedding that you can feel comfortable using.

    Look for watch bands that won’t irritate your skin, are soft, promote airflow, and are lightweight. The more of these boxes your preferred watch ticks, the more comfortable you will likely be.

    The Interface

    Surprisingly, the interfaces of GPS compass watches and hiking watches can differ significantly. Some come with buttons, while others have touch screens. Both have their pros and cons. Touch screens can be easier to navigate if you’re already used to having a touch screen phone.

    However, button screens may be better for people who don’t want to worry about pushing the wrong button, having a wet screen, or removing gloves.

    Bonus Features

    Before you narrow down the adventure watches you believe will suit your outdoor needs, consider what other features they have – above and beyond what you specifically wanted. You may be surprised at how many unique features there are available, such as:

    • Music
    • Compass
    • Heart rate monitor
    • Thermometer
    • GPS
    • Barometer
    • Altimeter
    The Best Watches For Hiking
    As challenging as it can be to find the best hiking watch to accompany you on your next hiking adventure, it’s not impossible. Below, you can learn about what some people have described as the best outdoor watches for various activities.
    Fitbit Versa & Versa SE
    The Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Versa SE may not be the best GPS watch for hiking, given their reliance on smartphones. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a must-have accessory for hikers, runners, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

    These one-size watches with interchangeable straps are packed full of convenient features for fitness and fun. They come with heart rate monitors, smartphone notifications, an activity tracker, music, SmartTrack technology, and more. You can also make use of the GPS feature via your smartphone.

    The icing on the cake is that they take just two hours to charge yet provide you with upwards of four days of battery life.

    Materials: Anodised aluminium body, Gorilla Glass lens
    Features: Heart rate monitoring, smartphone notifications, activity tracker, music, GPS via smartphone, SmartTrack technology
    Battery Life: 4+ days
    Charge Time: 2 hours
    Price (at the time of writing): $330

    Suunto 7 Outdoor Smart Watch
    With a charge time of 100 minutes and several days of potential battery life, it’s not hard to see why people consider this the best Suunto hiking watch. The Suunto 7 Outdoor Smart Watch is leagues ahead of its competition in many respects.

    It’s designed tough for outdoor use and comes packed full of convenient features for almost any adventure. Enjoy complete connectivity with Bluetooth, USB, and Wi-Fi, and keep track of your fitness with Google Fit. You can even take advantage of 70+ sports modes, music, offline outdoor maps, a compass, GPS, and more.

    The Suunto 7 Outdoor Smart Watch also features premium materials like Gorilla Glass, stainless steel, and silicone. It’s hard to look past this Suunto, Qualcomm ® Snapdragon and Google masterpiece.

    Materials: Reinforced polyamide case, silicone strap, Corning Gorilla Glass lens, stainless-steel bezel
    Features: GPS, barometer, offline outdoor maps, compass, weather, Google Fit activity tracking, 70+ sports modes, Bluetooth, touchscreen, Wi-Fi
    Battery Life: 40 days (traditional watch mode), 2 days (smartwatch mode), 12 hours (GPS sports mode), 8 hours (streaming music)
    Charge Time: 100 minutes
    Price (at the time of writing): $599.99

    Suunto Traverse Alpha Outdoor Watch
    An accurate, high-quality GPS compass watch can be pretty hard to come by. Still, Suunto is proving that it’s not entirely impossible. The Suunto Traverse Alpha Outdoor Watch is the hunter and fisher’s best friend.

    This watch has been tested to military standards and handles extreme wear and tear well. It comes with a stainless-steel bezel, composite case, textile strap, and a sapphire crystal glass lens. Wearers love its long battery life of up to 14 days in time mode and how it takes just 2-3 hours to charge.

    What’s more, it is designed to have everything you need for your outdoor hunting or fishing trip. It has GPS/GLONASS navigation, compatibility with night vision goggles, a red backlight, topographic maps, weather trends, shot detection, and more.

    You can even set it into activity mode, with yearly tracking of your steps and calories. The Suunto Traverse Alpha Outdoor Watch means business.

    Materials: Stainless steel bezel, sapphire crystal glass, composite case, textile strap
    Features: GPS/GLONASS navigation, night vision goggle compatibility, red backlight, storm alarm, weather trend, topographic maps, mobile notifications, activity tracking, sunrise alert, moon phase calendar, shot detection
    Battery Life: 14 days (time mode)
    Charge Time: 2-3 hours
    Price (at the time of writing): $499.99

    Suunto Core Outdoor Watch
    Sometimes, the best outdoor watch isn’t one with every single bell and whistle you can think of. Instead, it can be a straightforward, high-quality watch designed to withstand everything mother nature can throw at it. And that’s where the Suunto Core Outdoor Watch comes into the picture.

    This simple yet striking watch is one that’s designed to go with you anywhere. You can take it snorkelling to depths of 30m, with water resistance and a depth meter. You can even find out when sunset and sunrise times will be and when a storm is about to kick off.

    This watch keeps you up to date with everything happening around you, and if that doesn’t say best outdoor watch, we don’t know what does!

    Materials: Aluminium bezel, mineral crystal glass, composite case, elastomer strap
    Features: Compass, storm alarm, replaceable battery, depth meter, 30m water-resistance
    Battery Life: 12 months (time mode)
    Charge Time: Replaceable battery
    Price (at the time of writing): $239.99

    Polar Grit X HR GPS Multisport Watch​
    If fitness is your passion, you’re going to want to check out this watch from Polar Grit. The Polar Grit X HR GPS Multisport Watch is any athlete or fitness fan’s best friend. Not only is it a quality watch with superior materials, but it boasts an abundance of features with a sports person’s needs in mind.

    From route guidance and energy sources to training session recommendations and sports profiles, this watch has something for everyone. It can also automatically detect your heart rate, rest times, swimming style, and more.

    Enjoy the GPS function, weather forecast, and comfortable silicone band. This sports-style watch from Polar Grit is a game-changer in the fitness scene.

    Materials: Gorilla Glass lens, stainless steel bezel, glass fibre reinforced polymer cover, stainless steel case, silicone band
    Features: Heart rate monitor, GPS/GLONASS, weather forecast, sports features, Bluetooth, water resistance
    Battery Life: 40 hours (training mode), 7 days (watch mode)
    Charge Time: N/A
    Price (at the time of writing): $598.90

    Coros VERTIX Adventure GPS Multisport Watch
    The Coros VERTIX Adventure GPS Multisport Watch is the crème de la crème of outdoor adventure watches. Therefore, if you’re after the best GPS watch for hiking, or even one for swimming or cycling, you can rely on the Coros VERTIX.

    This watch comes with a 150m waterproof rating, blood oxygen monitoring, a heart rate monitor, and superior GPS technology. It’s also packed full of tracking and activity features for a variety of sports like running, swimming, cycling, and multisport. If you want the best of the best and nothing else will do, this feature-loaded weapon could be the answer.

    Materials: Titanium cover and bezel, sapphire glass lens, braided nylon strap
    Features: Heart rate monitor, activity tracker, 150m waterproof rating, blood oxygen monitoring, digital knob, seven sensors, GPS/GLONASS/BEIDOU satellite connection
    Battery Life: 45 days (smartwatch mode), 150 hours (UltraMax mode), 60 hours (full GPS mode)
    Charge Time: < 2 hours
    Price (at the time of writing): $1,024.90

    Casio G-Shock Master of G Triple Sensor Mudmaster (GWG1000-1A3)​
    The Casio G-Shock Master of G Triple Sensor Mudmaster (GWG1000-1A3) is not a watch for the faint of heart.  This monster piece of technology covers all bases when it comes to outdoor adventures in some challenging conditions.

    It features high-quality materials like resin, carbon, and sapphire crystal glass and comes with a rechargeable battery capable of lasting up to 25 months. You’re also bound to appreciate the variety of helpful features like a digital compass, world time, countdown timer, altimeter, barometer, and more.

    Materials: Carbon case and bezel, resin band, sapphire crystal glass lens
    Features: Digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, world time, countdown timer, battery level indicator, vibration resistance, mud resistance, shock resistance
    Battery Life: 6 months (rechargeable battery, normal use), 25 months (rechargeable battery, power save function and stored in darkness)
    Charge Time: N/A
    Price (at the time of writing): $1,299

    Casio Pro Trek Smart Watch (WSD-F20X)
    Anyone searching for the best outdoor watch or the best hiking watch won’t be able to look past the Casio Pro Trek Smart Watch (WSF-F20X). This advanced watch featuring resin and plastic is easy-care and designed for resilience in the great outdoors.

    It comes with exciting features like a digital compass, tide graph, activity app, altimeter, barometer, and more. Its battery can also last for up to a month, with charging taking just two hours. It might be worth checking out this watch for yourself.

    Materials: Resin case and bezel, plastic band
    Features: Altimeter, barometer, digital compass, tide graph, activity app, location memory app, fishing timer, microphone
    Battery Life: 1 month (timekeeping mode), 24 hours (normal use), 48 hours (low GPS use), 25 hours (high GPS use), 9 hours (high GPS use with accuracy priority)
    Charge Time: 2 hours
    Price (at the time of writing): $650

    Casio Pro Trek Triple Sensor Compass Watch (PRG240)
    With a list of features as long as your arm, it’s no wonder people refer to the Casio Pro Trek Triple Sensor Compass Watch (PRG240) as being the best outdoor watch. This accessory is well made with resin and mineral glass and packs a punch with its triple sensors, solar power, digital compass, and more.

    Its battery life is perhaps the most significant standout feature, with six months of life with regular use and up to 23 months on power save mode. It’s also suitable for fitness fans and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike – with features to suit both.

    Materials: Resin..

  • Reducing Cramps While HIking
    14 June 2021
  • Best Backpacking Cookware
    13 June 2021

    The post Best Backpacking Cookware appeared first on BikeHikeSafari.

    When it comes to the best backpacking cookware to take with you into the backcountry there are lots of choices out there. You don’t want your backpack to be too heavy but you still need something to make those warm meals at the end of the day. The best backpacking cookware should be as lightweight as possible and not too big and bulky for your needs. I’m going to show you 10 of my favorite lightweight cookware sets and pieces […]

    The post Best Backpacking Cookware appeared first on BikeHikeSafari.

  • Exploring the history of Cowan Creek
    13 June 2021

    I’ve been invited by Collette and Ron to explore some of the Aboriginal rock art sites along Cowan Creek – as well as more recent European settlements. Cowan Creek (or Cowan Water) is the main waterway in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, extending 12km from Eleanor Bluffs to Bobbin Head and forms the boundary between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai municipalities. Today’s exploration is by boat – the HMAS “Lady Mac” skippered by Ron – which provides access to the many heritage sites located along the creek.

    I’m being picked up at the Apple Tree Bay wharf (near Bobbin Head), where there’s a kiosk (open on weekends), picnic area and a boat & kayak ramp. A few bushwalks start or pass through Apple Tree Bay, including the Apple Tree Bay Loop which follows an old water pipe up to the Mt Ku-ring-Track, and the longer St Ives to Mt Ku-ring-gai trail.

    Cowan Creek was inhabited by the Darramuragal or Darug people, who lived, hunted and fished along the foreshores of the Hawkesbury River and its tributaries. Cowan Creek was one of these tributaries, which remained undisturbed until the late 1880s. The first development along Cowan Creek was in the 1880s when Edward Windybank developed a popular boating business near Waratah Bay, followed about 20 years later by Francis Hall Woodnut who built a boatshed and cottages near Apple Tree Bay.

    Parish of Broken Bay, 1927. Source: Land Registry Services

    Both Windybank and Woodnutt developed thriving businesses catering for tourists who would travel up from Sydney to rent cottages & houseboats along Cowan Creek. Windybank has been credited with introducing houseboats to NSW, at one stage having 11 houseboats that he hired out – the rusting remains of a metal boat hull that was once his home can be visited at Waratah Bay (the Mt Ku-ring-gai to Berowra bushwalking track passes this site).

    Further north at Jerusalem Bay, George Rhodes and his wife Agnes built a house and established another successful boat hiring business in 1895. While little remains of the house and wharf, the tall palm tree at the end of the bay was planted in 1921 by Mrs Rhodes, and quite possibly holds the claim for the most photographed tree in Ku-ring-gai National Park.

    There’s little or no recorded history of when the Aboriginal people were displaced from the area around Cowan Creek (which was recognised as Ku-ring-gai Chase in 1894, well before being proclaimed a national park in 1967). Hundreds of rock art and midden sites along the creek are evidence of this Aboriginal occupation. Some shelters have Aboriginal handprints, mostly in red ochre – although one shelter has adult and children’s handprints stencilled in white. (Aboriginal Elders would leave their imprints higher up on the wall of a cave while younger members’ prints were lower down; the inclusion of wrists and forearms indicated a higher status.)

    Other shelters include Aboriginal paintings in both red ochre and charcoal, with fish being a common motif.

  • Hiking Head Torch, Arlec LED Torch Review
    12 June 2021

    Head torches are a must have item for when you are out on the trail, whether you are hiking in the night or setting up camp and cooking dinner, a good head torch is something to always have handy but what are some of the options out there?

    The Arlec 100 Lumen LED head torch is a cheap alternative to the average expensive hiking torch, this model has most of the features expected from a head torch but avoiding the cost, it includes a three mode light with high, low and strobe which will flash at the same intensity as the high mode. The torch has an adjustable head harness that can be tightened and includes the AAA batteries in the box, the light itself is also weather and impact resistant and has a runtime of 9 hours when left on the low mode. When the torch is fitted nicely on your head you can turn it off and on by using the button on top of the light, to switch through all the modes simply keep pressing the button until you land on the one you want, after you have settled on a mode you can angle the light to focus it on what you want to see using the hinge the light is attached to.

    In my opinion the light works very well in most situations but does fall short in some places, firstly the lack of a red light can make the torch not very useful in some situations like when talking to other people and trying not to shine the bright light in their face. Another limitation is the weight, weighing around 110 grams means that it is quite heavy and not the most suitable for lightweight hiking. Most other big hiking retailers will offer a range of super lightweight options that might suit you a little better if you are trying to reduce weight as much as possible but for the price of just $5 AUD it is not very expensive compared to the big retailers alternatives. This product is best for first time hikers and people on a budget and if you are one of those people I would defiantly suggest it to you, if you're looking for a fully equipped lightweight hiking head torch then I would suggest that you take a look at your local hiking store instead of buying this torch.

    For this review I used the Arlec 100 Lumen LED head torch which costs $4.95 AUD, if you’re looking at buying a head torch first make sure that you will actually need it so you’re not wasting your money. Also make sure to look at other websites and brands to find the cheapest and the best one for you so you are getting what you need, most major outdoors retailers will have their own version so it's important to see what they have got as there might be a torch that better fits your needs there.

    Written by Josh Welch

  • Best Backpacking Pillows 2021
    11 June 2021

    The post Best Backpacking Pillows 2021 appeared first on BikeHikeSafari.

    The humble Bacpacking Pillow is one of the most overlooked items that we take into the backcountry. Most of you might be more concerned about the sleeping mat or sleeping bag for your big trip, but for now let us focus on the lightweight backpacking pillow. In order to survive your entire adventure, the hiking pillow needs to be intrepid enough to withstand the rough and tumble of life on the road. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a flat cushion, […]

    The post Best Backpacking Pillows 2021 appeared first on BikeHikeSafari.

  • Understanding Mobility For Hikers
    10 June 2021

Hiking Podcasts

Hiking Podcasts

17 June 2021

Hiking Podcasts Hiking Podcasts
  • Episode 187-Trail Volunteering
    15 June 2021

    Whether you walk trails only a few kilometres long or are into big trails many hundreds of kilometres in distance the next time you put feet to the ground spare a thought for how the trail gets there and manages to stay in such good condition. While the state governments play a role in both the construction and maintenance of trails much of the work is done by volunteers; those unsung hero's who quietly get on with the job so that we who hike them, can do so in a comfortable fashion.

    In this episode we talk to two trail volunteer groups about the role they play in proposing, building, and maintaining their respective trails.


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    Australian Hiker is a labour of love for Gill and Tim Savage and any money earned goes straight back into helping to make this blog better. Any support that you provide is greatly appreciated! If you wish to support us, even in some small way, it would be greatly appreciated. So why not buy us a coffee? Support Us

  • Episode #108 - Shadi Ganjavian Connor #2 (a Trail Dames story)
    15 June 2021

    Shadi Ganjavian-Connor has an extraordinary talent for inspiring others, fueled quite simply by her sole desire to help the world in any way she can. Shadi has extensive and diverse marketing experience working with companies such as Marks & Spencer, Harrods, B&Q and ID Technology Group leading the marketing strategy, communication and project management for several successful high-profile campaigns. Shadi is also co-founder of the community interest company, SHAPE Hampshire, which has been established to introduce Mind, Body and Education support to Hampshire Schools.

    Over the years Shadi has constantly been involved in kick-starting fundraising and awareness for many community projects such as establishing a community centre in Egypt, raising the profile of The Little Princess Trust by engaging National TV and Newspapers in, what is now a popular national campaign encouraging hair donation to provide wigs to young cancer and alopecia patients. One of Shadi’s most innovative projects to date was to initiate a design project with O’Neil Wetsuits, for a Marwell Zoo resident penguin named Ralph who was in desperate need of a wetsuit!

    Setting her sights higher and higher (quite literally), in June 2016, Shadi climbed Mont Blanc to raise money and awareness for the Teenage Cancer Trust and in 2017 despite her continued fear of heights and dread of cold weather, embarked upon scaling the infamous Matterhorn mountain. This challenge was aimed at flying the flag on the summit, on behalf of children’s charity The Murray Parish Trust. This huge fundraising project raised over £30,000 towards a £2 Million goal which was reached in November 2018. As part of this campaign, TEAM GC also organized the Make A Difference Ball in May 2018, raising a further £45,000 and shared her experience through several television and radio interviews. These days, Shadi can be found giving a series of talks designed to inspire others that, with self-belief and determination, anything can be achieved no matter what the circumstances.

    Guest Links- Shadi's site -

    Video on Matterhorn climb -

    Shadi on Facebook -

    Team GC on Facebook -

    Connect with Anna, aka Mud Butt, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    You can find the Trail Dames at: Our website:

    The Summit:

    The Trail Dames Foundation:



    Hiking Radio Network:

    Hiking Radio Network on Instagram:

    Music provided for this Podcast by The Burns Sisters "Dance Upon This Earth"

  • Wyoming & Packrafting w/ Snake River Brewery's, Luke Bauer (S3 Ep 21)
    13 June 2021
    Snake River Brewery's Luke Bauer joins the podcast to talk about a hodgepodge of his favorite things, including craft beer, Wyoming hikes, and packrafting.   Luke has worked in the craft beer industry 12+ years, as well as several years in the outdoors industry, specifically with the American Alpine Club and recently, the American Packrafting Association.   Luke is a climber, paddler, hiker, and backpacker, among other things, and he's definitely a friend of the show. As you'll hear in the podcast, he's more than capable of serving as the Wyoming correspondent, as he shares places beyond Yellowstone and the Tetons (although they're amazing too)!  
    11 June 2021

    Welcome to our longest episode to date, the prequel to Return of the Jedi where a guy gets mangled into Bib Fortuna by a werewolf.

    With Gourley And Rust bonus content on PATREON and Merchandise on REDBUBBLE.


    See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Episode 186-Hiking and epilepsy
    08 June 2021

    In episode 163 and 164 we discussed hiking with Injuries and disabilities but where does epilepsy fit into the mix given that around 3.5% of Australians will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives.

    In today’s episode we talk to Carol Ireland, the CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia about her organisation, the impact that epilepsy has on activities like hiking, and provide an overview of their upcoming fundraising hike on the Larapinta Trail that will take place from 16-22 August 2021.

    In addition, we will also be catching up with Nicole who participated in the Great Wall of China Hike for Epilepsy Action Australia in 2014. As someone with Epilepsy Nicole will be able to give us an upfront and personal insight of the considerations and management involved when undertaking a physical challenge such as hiking.


    Australian Hiker can also be found on our various social media platforms

    Australian Hiker Facebook

    Australian Hiker Instagram

    Australian Hiker Twitter

    Australian Hiker Pintrest

    Australian Hiker Youtube

  • Episode #107 Lagniappe - Lisa Best (Savor Life)
    08 June 2021

    We've all had to do it. Our very first time, by ourselves, in the middle of the woods. Lisa Best decided it was time that she got out there and tested herself. In this month's Lagniappe, she tells Anna the impact it had on her and why her trail name is now "Savor Life."

    Lisa has been in education for over 30 years serving in private schools and public schools in the roles of teacher, administrator, and consultant. In October 2020, she was named a Postulant for Holy Orders to the Priesthood in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.

    She has always loved doing things in nature. Growing up, her family spent vacations car camping. That tradition continued as her daughters were born and grew up and as a single mom, she continued vacations car-camping and day hiking local trails. Lisa will be celebrating her 18th year as a breast cancer survivor this year. She became more serious about backpacking when she decided to participate in "Seek-the-Peak" in the White Mountains as a way to celebrate being a cancer survivor in 2012. Lisa and her husband Mark, and their dog Emmie live in York, PA. They have 4 adult children who live relatively nearby and this year they became grandparents.

    Lisa dreams of hiking the Camino De Santigo (Camino Francés route) and thru-hiking the AT.

    Guest Links- Lisa on Facebook -

    Connect with Anna, aka Mud Butt, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    You can find the Trail Dames at: Our website:

    The Summit:

    The Trail Dames Foundation:



    Hiking Radio Network:

    Hiking Radio Network on Instagram:

    Music provided for this Podcast by The Burns Sisters "Dance Upon This Earth"

  • Backpacker Magazine Gear Editor, Eli Bernstein (S3 Ep 20)
    04 June 2021
    Eli Bernstein joins the podcast to talk (nerd out) about backpacking gear. In the conversation, we chat about Backpacker Magazine, how he ended up there, how they review and test gear, and general tips for consumers when picking gear.   Eli has worked as Backpacker's gear editor for four years. He spends most of his time trying to hike, ski, and climb in scenic places with as few people around as possible, all the while testing gear and not trying to fall too in love with it.   I found Eli's enthusiasm and knowledge about gear a really engaging listen, and I think you'll pick up a few nuggets on what you may need to pay more attention to in your next gear purchase. Plus, his trails and ales selection has already been marked on my hiking to-do list.  
    04 June 2021

    Thanos, Hugo Drax, Farmer Vincent.

    With Gourley And Rust bonus content on PATREON and Merchandise on REDBUBBLE.


    See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Trail Show #106: The Loco Trail-Vol 3 (Boulder Colorado Edition)
    01 June 2021

    Show #106 – #timestamp – On this month’s Trail Show the band is back together again in person in the historic beer district, pandemic hikes are still cancelled, a PCT haven is being resurrected, trespassers are warned, plastic clothes are worn, Trail of the Month heads to Boulder, Colorado with tales of snack bags, elderly hiker persuasion and gummi things, we hear from Geode about hikers not hearing, Disco reminisces on time with baby goats, OOO prepares for a long journey, POD sings for you, Speshul pulls his pants down, and we talk about a tent stake that excels at scooping dirt. Under garments are deliberated on Ask-A-Hiker and our monthly donors are renowned.

    Beer O’ Da Month:  Big thanks goes to Lemuel and Pisco for Show 106’s frosty beverages!

    This month’s Trail Show is sponsored by GOODR SUNGLASSES! Sunglasses that don’t slip, don’t bounce, all polarized and all affordable. Head over to and use code TRAILSHOW15 at checkout for 15% off your entire order. Look good, hike goodr! Your face will thank you!

    *Disclaimer: The Trail Show is a comedy podcast that sometimes talks about hiking and always talks about beer, and absolutely nothing we say should be taken at face value or misinterpreted as truth. Enjoy!

    The post The Trail Show #106: The Loco Trail-Vol 3 (Boulder Colorado Edition) first appeared on The Trail Show.
  • Episode #106 - Miranda Peterson (a Trail Dames story)
    01 June 2021

    Miranda was burnt out from a successful yet stressful corporate career, ending a toxic long-term relationship and struggling with an autoimmune disease when she quit her job in 2015. She spent the rest of that year living out of a backpack while: • completing her yoga teacher training in India, • meditating with Buddhist monks in Thailand/Myanmar and • hiking through the Himalayas, Alps and Andes mountains.

    After that, she felt drawn to Asheville, NC; about an hour from where she grew up. Because she personally experienced so much health, healing and happiness through yoga, meditation and nature, she decided to create a similar experience for others to enjoy.

    In 2017, she started experimenting by herself with one trail and a handful of adventurous guests and is now so grateful that the business has grown to become a team of incredible local women that guide hundreds of guests each year to connect with their bodies, minds and with these ancient Appalachian mountains."

    Guest Links- Miranda on Youtube: Miranda on Instagram:

    Miranda on Instagram: Miranda on Facebook:

    Miranda on Pinterest:

    Connect with Anna, aka Mud Butt, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    You can find the Trail Dames at: Our website:

    The Summit:

    The Trail Dames Foundation:



    Hiking Radio Network:

    Hiking Radio Network on Instagram:

    Music provided for this Podcast by The Burns Sisters "Dance Upon This Earth"

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