"Walking holidays, such as an Everest trek, have grown in the last decade to become one of the most popular types of activity holiday. The range is enormous, from gentle day walks with cordon bleu lunches, to three week campng treks that leave the modern world far behind. You can stay in luxury hotels, small guest-houses, gites and hostels. You can have supported camping - when all the work is done for you or back-packing when you take the weight. Whichever you choose, walking holidays are a great way to experience a country at first hand, meet its people and come home truly refreshed in both body and mind."
Walking holidays are an ideal way to visit some of the spectacular places of the world without spending a fortune. The satisfaction of spending time in close harmony with nature can refresh the soul, and after returning home one will have a real sense of accomplishment. Anyone in good health can participate in these treks, although some conditioning would certainly be in order to make them more enjoyable. Living close to the land for some period of time will be required, so those with an ability to accept that there will be fewer amenities available for several days will be best suited to enjoy such an outing. In some cases it may be possible to combine day hikes with comfortable accommodations such as bed & breakfast lodgings. Those treks at high altitude require acclimatization. Without this time allowed hikers can become ill and weak, which will certainly compromise the quality of the adventure.
Everest Trek Base Camp, Nepal
This is perhaps the most famour of all the worlds trekking holidays. To undertake an Everest trek you need to have a good level of fitness, because of both the steep ascents and descents and also because of the high altitiude you will be walking at. It take two weeks to do the route safely, finishing at the foot of the worlds highest mountain, standing on the Khymbu Glacier, surrounded in rock and ice. Spectacular! And an Everest holiday that has combined Everest trekking will give you plenty to talk about when you return home.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak, in the country of Tanzania. It is also the tallest “walkable” mountain in the world. This is not to say that it is a simple hike. Three approaches are possible, of varying difficulties. At 19,341 ft, the summit is well above the altitude at which hikers can experience discomfort and medical problems. Planning to make the ascent with time to acclimate is recommended, which will be a 6-7 day trek. Both reputable outfitters and guides can be found, and those who simply wish to hurry people through. Research the options well.
Zion National Park, USA.
Zion National Park, in the state of Utah, United States, offers a variety of hiking venues. The Narrows is perhaps the most unique. The narrow slot canyon winds between sandstone cliffs sometimes as tall as 3500 feet. This can be a accomplished as a long day hike or a two-day backpacking trip. Although the hike is not difficult in terms of elevation, most of the trail is through water over rough rocks, and there is constant danger of flash flooding when rains in the mountains drain. Spectacular photographs of the rock walls with light and shadows playing over them are captured by those willing to carry good equipment into the canyon.
The Chilkoot Trail, USA/Canada.
The Chilkoot Trail from Alaska, United States to British Columbia, Canada follows the route of the 1890's gold rush. This route is rugged with great variety in scenery and is a good 5-day, 4-night backpacking trip. The trail is well-maintained, and can be attempted without a guide by those who are experienced backpackers. A quota of 50 hikers a day is imposed, preserving the wild experience. The trail can be hiked from May to September and is professionally maintained. From temperate rain forest to alpine peaks this trail serves up both challenges and treats.
The Pennine Way, UK.
Hiking the Pennine Way, along the backbone of England, is a 268-mile walking holiday to remember. Anyone can enjoy this pathway, and there are plenty of lodgings, eateries, and pubs along the way. The route begins in Yorkshire’s Dales, crosses Hadrian’s Wall and ends in the Cheviots. The route is so popular that for most of the distance there are services to transfer baggage, so that one can hike with nothing more than a day pack with lunch and emergency supplies. Following the Pennine way can be a camping trip, or more of a lodge-to-lodge outing.
The Inca Trail, Peru.
Peru’s Inca Trail to Machu Pichu is a 25-mile trek at high altitude. Hikers will need to acclimate to the conditions, however, and 10 days are considered a good time frame for this camping adventure. Anyone who is accustomed to hiking should be able to accomplish this route, as long as the acclimatization time is allowed. One will visit the famed Incan ruins of Machu Pichu, and hike through high mountain passes and subtropical jungles. This tour is as much an eco-tour as a hike, since one can usually see rare wildlife– birds, reptiles, and animals. The ecological variety is stunning with both mountain vistas and cloud forest.
The E5 Trail, Europe.
Europe’s E5 Walking Route will take the hiker through five countries, and over the Alps. Beginning in Brittany, on the French coast the trail continues through Switzerland, Austria and Germany and on to Verona, Italy. While few hikers will choose to take on the entire 1988 miles of this route, it is nevertheless one of the world’s most popular long-distance trails. The eastern section, through the Alps, is the most used. Any number of expedition teams exist to guide adventurers on outings of 7-10 days through spectacular valleys, over mountain passes, through meadows, past waterfalls and streams on an unforgettable multi-national trek.
Mt Fuji, Japan.
For an adventure walk holiday of only one or two days, yet providing a spectacular accomplishment, consider Mt. Fuji in Japan. Fuji is an active volcano which last erupted in 1708, and its symmetrical cone has come to be a lovely symbol of Japan. Several routes approach the summit, of varying difficulties, all well supported with huts for resting or spending a night. To see the sunrise on Mt. Fuji is a dream of many adventurers. The season is limited to July and August due to typhoon and avalanche dangers. This is Japan’s highest peak (12,388 ft), and it is recommended that the trek be split into two portions to allow for acclimatization.
The Yellow Mountains, China.
China’s Yellow Mountain region can be visited with tour guides, and a combination of day hiking, and bus touring. Some of the most spectacular scenery in China, different from any other place in the world, can be seen while hiking along the Xinan River, Mt. QiYun, Mount Jiuhua, and also Huang Shan which is so outstanding that it is listed as a World Heritage site. Here, narrow pointed rocks rise from the plains, shrouded in clouds, and graced with strange, twisted trees. A walking tour among these peaks is an experience which can be duplicated no where else in the world.
This sampler of experiences from around the world is only the beginning of a long list of wonderful places where one can explore the planet on foot.
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