Backpacking

Lessons Learned from My Long Trail Thru-Hike Attempt

Earlier this fall I spent twelve glorious, painful days out on Vermont’s Long Trail in an attempt to complete an end-to-end (the Long Trail’s term for a thru-hike) as my first-ever solo backpacking trip. If I had the chance to time-travel back to my naive pre-trail self, here’s what I’d tell past-me to do differently, and what I’d tell her to keep the same.

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Appalachian Trail Section Hikers: Share Your Experiences with Us!

ppalachian Trail section hikers…we want you!
If you’ve taken on the Appalachian Trail in pieces, whether you intend to finish the complete trail or not, we want to highlight your experiences in our forthcoming Appalachian Trail Section Hiker Survey roundup.
This year we ask that people only participate who are hiking the Appalachian Trail IN SECTIONS (not as a thru-hike). The main purpose of this survey is to educate and assist future Appalachian Trail section hikers. ...

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Good Guides – The Mountain Company

Guest post: The Mountain Company is based in the UK although we spend the peak trekking seasons staying in Kathmandu (Nepal). We organise trekking holidays and expeditions to the Himalaya and Karakoram. We specialise in exploring very remote areas of Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India. Roland Hunter is owner and founder. Roland has a lifelong …

Top of Georgia Hiker Hostel to Reopen as Around the Bend

The iconic AT hostel Top of Georgia, which closed its doors in May 2019, is reopening under new ownership with the name Around the Bend. Gordon and Lisa Simmons purchased the hostel in January 2020 and have been renovating it ever since. 
Around the Bend is open now in a partial capacity. Guests can stay in one of two private bedrooms with shared common areas or rent the whole house through Airbnb. The Simmonses plan to have additional cabins and guest rooms available by March 2021 in time for hiking season.  ...

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iQ Hotel Milano: A Smart Hotel with Spa in the Heart of Milan

I spent three days in Milan last year on a business trip.

My company booked a modern double room at the iQ Hotel Milano, which I did not know but surprised me in a very positive way!

 

Let's start with the location...

The 4-star hotel is located a few minutes’ walk from the Milano Centrale train station, a great thing if you travel by train.

After the check in, I discovered the many comforts of my room, in particular the very soft mattresses specially designed for a deep rest, as the staff explained to me.

What about the staff? All very kind, with sincere smiles and always ready to help, with precise directions, maps or suggestions from locals about the city.

On the top floor of the iQ Hotel, there is a modern and cozy bar, with a lounge area and lots of spaces to relax or work, meet people or be on your own. Here, at the LiQuido Rooftop Bar you can enjoy tasty finger food with excellent cocktails and the view over the city is amazing!

 

Another service I particularly loved was the spa:

It is not easy to find a hotel in the heart of the city with a private spa, a real luxury. After days of exhausting work commitments, I used to return to the hotel and pamper myself to an hour of wellness, with a panoramic view of the city. A truly unique experience!

On my next trips to Milan, for business or pleasure, my hotel will always be iQ Hotel Milano.

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Hiking in Hong Kong: Easy & Beautiful Trails

Despite being a large, bustling city, Hong Kong is an excellent place to get outdoors in nature!

Since ~70% of Hong Kong’s land is covered in greenery and country parks, hiking is a popular activity for locals and expats. Often the trails have gorgeous views and lead to some spectacular destinations.

On your next Hong Kong trip, I highly recommend trying a hike to experience Hong Kong’s outdoors and see some beautiful nature.

 

Here are three easy, yet beautiful trails to get you started!

1. Quarry Bay Tree Walk

Distance: 3.2 km / 2 miles

The Quarry Bay Tree Walk is an easy trail through the forests behind the Quarry Bay neighborhood on eastern Hong Kong Island. Start at the Taikoo MTR station (exit B) then walk west on King’s Road. Turn onto Greig Road and walk up until you reach the Tree Walk.

The trail is mostly paved and has a slight elevation gain (124 m/406 ft). Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the Wartime Communal Kitchens (listed as Wartime Stoves on Google). These kitchens were used during the second world war in Hong Kong as an influx of refugees after the fall of Canton led to increase of food demands.

Continue along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk until you reach Mount Parker Road. At this point, you can turn and head back down towards Quarry Bay or choose another trail for a longer hike.

 

2. Dragon’s Back Hike

Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 miles

The Dragon's Back hike is a meandering ridge trail located in Shek O Country Park in southeastern Hong Kong Island. Because the trail is on a ridge, you’ll have spectacular views of the sea and Hong Kong’s south side as you hike.

To get there, ride the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station (exit A3) then take the number 9 bus to the trailhead. The first part of the hike is a gradual climb up to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be able to see Shek O Beach off to the right and Tai Tam Bay on the left. The trail undulates across the “dragon’s back” for ~2 km (1.25 mi) and offers amazing views. Some days you’ll find paragliders setting up for flight on the hillside.

Once you’re finished the ridge, you’ll descend into a forest and have a flat and shady walk for the remainder of the trail. At the end of the trail, turn left to head back to the road to catch the bus.

If you’d like a longer hike, turn right and continue on to Big Wave Bay (~2 km extra). The descent to Big Wave Bay is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs.

 

3. Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung

Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 miles

Although it’s a bit difficult to get to this hike, the views and secluded beaches along this hike make it worth the effort!

The hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach is located in Sai Kung East Country Park in New Territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a combination of MTR and bus to Sai Kung town. Once you arrive in town, you can take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavilion.

The trail begins along the stunningly turquoise High Island Reservoir. Even on a cloudy day, the color of this water never ceases to amaze me. Most of the first part of the trail is flat or downhill until you reach Sai Wan Beach – the first of four gorgeous beaches in Sai Kung East Country Park.

At this point, you could stop your hike. I prefer to continue to Ham Tin Beach – the second beach – which is larger and even more beautiful. Both beaches have restaurants, toilet facilities, beach equipment for rent, and places to purchase boat tickets to return to Sai Kung town.

 

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about hiking in Hong Kong or these three beautiful hikes? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for other Hong Kong hikes or tips on traveling to Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Becky Exploring blog.

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Bushwhacking Bartlett Haystack Mountain

I’ve had Bartlett Haystack Mountain on my radar for a few years, but never made the time to go climb it. It’s a trail-less peak off Bear Notch Rd, which is closed in winter, usually from November thru May or June. With Autumn in full swing and fishing season over and the trails crowded with …

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Just Your Typical Appalachian Trail Gear List

Everyone loves gear lists, right? Hikers are gear junkies! I didn’t think I’d become one to post about my gear, but here I am, doing exactly that. No shame, no shame. 
But for real, I’m actually intrigued, because I had never made a gear list before I left for the AT, nor had I when I finished. I’m interested to pile everything into a list so I can take a look at it all as a whole and start figuring out what new gear I want to invest in!  ...

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Just Your Typical AT Gear List

Everyone loves gear lists, right? Hikers are gear junkies! I didn’t think I’d become one to post about my gear, but here I am, doing exactly that. No shame, no shame. 
But for real, I’m actually intrigued, because I had never made a gear list before I left for the AT, nor had I when I finished. I’m interested to pile everything into a list so I can take a look at it all as a whole and start figuring out what new gear I want to invest in!  ...

The post Just Your Typical AT Gear List appeared first on The Trek.

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