Life Altering Hikes
Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humour, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your first trip on the trail will never be your last and once you start pathfinding you will never go back.
Travel deals out life lessons to fill your backpack with. Here are three life-changing hikes to consider.
The South Coast Track
By the time you witness the raw remoteness and sheer size of the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Site you are already bundled into a prop plane and it’s too late to turn back. You’re going to want to change your new high tech gore-tex undies when you land.
Unlike Tasmania’s most popular hike, The Overland Track, the South Coast doesn’t provide comfy huts to hunker out of the elements. For the more experienced hiker, this trek is going to require the perfect balance between minimalism and taking the camping store with you.
Fly into Melaleuca to begin the 8-10 day journey to Cockle Creek along some of the world’s most remote and wild coastline and the closest you can get to Antarctica in Australia. Brrr. If you aren’t sold on the challenge then think tall tangled rainforests, waddling wombats, wild white beaches and the orange-bellied parrot, one of the world’s rarest birds. This hike is one for the solitude seekers and will be a wilderness experience in the truest sense of the word.
Camino De Santiago
France - Spain
You don’t have to be on a spiritual journey on this ancient pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, but be warned, you might encounter the metaphysical side of yourself you didn’t know existed.
To the surprise of many want-to-be peregrinos (pilgrims), the Camino is actually an ancient pagan pilgrimage to the sea. There is no true starting point. Typically a pilgrimage begins from your front door. Today, the route has common starting points throughout Europe, the most popular being from St Jean Pied-Du-Port, just on the French side of the Pyrenees. This route, known as the Via Frances, spans 800km through mountains, vineyards, farmland, ancient cities, foothills and hamlets. The Camino is not a technical hike, in fact, it is more of a very, very long stroll. This is the hike for those with little hiking experience - in fact, it's perfect for gaining it. For the Camino, mental endurance supersedes the physical, but there are plenty of little pleasures to assist you. Sip Spanish wine in Rioja or sample pinchos eats in the Basque country, listen to your favourite podcast in solitude or find new friends for lifelong company.
Langtang National Park, Nepal
Once a popular trek into Nepal’s Himalayas, Langtang was devastatingly crushed and buried beneath a 2015 avalanche, killing many locals and some hikers as well. But as fears are easing the trail is now receiving a growing number of returning hiking boots.
The hike climbs up the Langtang valley surrounded by soaring 6000 and 7000m snow-capped peaks. Pitch a lightweight hiking tent or stay in one of the many teahouses set up by locals along the way.
You will pass through vaulting forests, peaceful Alpine meadows and the great shaggy monsters known as yaks. The trail leads up to heaven piercing peaks and offers stunning views of the surrounding glacial landscape but don’t forget to whip out your hiking stove, boil a pot, and take time to witness the panoramic valley views behind you.
The Langtang trail begins at Syabru Besi and culminates at Kyanjin Gompa (a Buddhist monastery) before returning down the valley. But for the willing and able, a day trip to the summit of Kyanjin Ri (4773m) where you can reach out and touch the sky, and contemplate the valley’s loss below, is heartrendingly beautiful experience you will take home with you.
So get into Freddy’s to stock up on your hiking needs or simply get walking - it will change your life.