Transport Methods For Backpackers Backpacking in South Africa

A concern most backpackers will have about coming to South Africa will be on how to get around. Luckily enough transport in South Africa is as easy as it is to travel in your own country. Although there may be the obvious modes of transport they might not always be highly recommended. The best options…

A concern most backpackers will have about coming to South Africa will be on how to get around. Luckily enough transport in South Africa is as easy as it is to travel in your own country. Although there may be the obvious modes of transport they might not always be highly recommended.

The best options to choose from when getting around would be to rent a car, fly or travel on the Bazbuz. With such a great exchange rate to the rand would be budget travelers can benefit from the more luxuries lifestyle than they could back home. Car rental is seen as a great option for friends who come over together. The road infrastructure in South Africa is extremely good and most people will find the wide highways a sheer delight in comparison to tight roads back home. All the main towns and cities in South Africa are linked. A great advantage of renting your own car is that you get to see and do things in your own time. Trips and detours can be made spontaneously adding to the adventure of your holiday. Motor vehicles are often targeted by criminals for their quick cash return so make sure to keep it locked up at night and do not leave valuables in eye sight when you leave the car unattended.

Flying around is great if you are only on a short visit. Most cities with an airport will have a car rental but a serious disadvantage would be that you miss out on everything in between the major cities and when it comes to a country like South Africa that can be a lot.

The Bazbus option is a great option for budget backpackers as this is a hop on hop off service that is linked to pretty much every backpacker's. The nice thing about this is that you are picked and dropped off outside the backpacker's hostel. This way you do not have to worry about getting lost in cities you've never been too. There is no extra tax fare involved to find the hostel and you will get to meet loads of people in the same situation as you. The Bazbus service operates throughout the country so an open season ticket will get you to see everything there is to offer.

There are also many smaller mini bus companies that operate between towns for backpackers not wishing to plan their visit. If traveling by a national coach service make sure that when you make your booking that you will arrive during the day and that there will be someone there to pick you up on the other side. There are many opportunists in South Africa and if they notice you aimlessly wandering around you could find yourself in a stick of trouble.

Robbery While Backpacking in China

Some years back I traveled in February in north China through the Gobi desert. It sounds worse then it was, I traveled by train despite an outside temperature of minus 10C at daytime. It was amazing to see the Gobi desert in the snow. During that journey I was in cities like Hohot, Lanzhou and…

Some years back I traveled in February in north China through the Gobi desert. It sounds worse then it was, I traveled by train despite an outside temperature of minus 10C at daytime. It was amazing to see the Gobi desert in the snow.

During that journey I was in cities like Hohot, Lanzhou and later in Xining. From here my plan was to travel south into a primarily Tibetan and Muslim area. The idea was to have my first stop in Linzhia, and then to Xiahe where there the famous Labrang Monastery, one of the largest Tibatan monasteries in China, but outside Tibet and then further to Langmusi, Zoige, Songpan and finally Chengdu.

In the morning I went to the bus stop, bought a ticket and looked for the bus. There was only one bus ready at this small bus station.

Luggage goes always on top of the bus, with a piece of plastic covering it for rain, snow and other weather elements. So I dropped my pack over and made sure it was wrapped properly so I would not loose it. Satisfied, I got my seat in the bus, waiting for leaving, which should be any minute.

I looked out of the window and … saw someone walking away with a black / purple backpack. It could not be mine, could it? I went out of the bus and saw my pack was gone. And so was the guy who took it.

My backpack contained almost everything I had with me except money, camera, dairy which I had in a small day pack, plus, of course the clothes I was wearing. All my film rolls were gone too (that's why I can not offer a photo of Xining, I do not have any from that trip). Nothing from the beautiful Gobi desert, Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and other sights I saw earlier that week in and around Beijing.

The driver was upset too. The police came, and I found someone to help me out with the translation about what happened. The bus was scheduled to leave at 8am but at 11 the bus was still there. At a certain moment the bus driver came to me and asked if it was OK that the bus would go on it's journey. After discussing with the police, I agreed the bus could go without me (although I would not get my ticket back).

The agent turned out to be a very friendly and helpful guy who put my story in Chinese on an official paper, which was then translated by a very helpful lady who spoke English (she was an English teacher although I doubted her students would learn to speak proper English from her as her English was very basic).

After all the police work, I got the paper for the insurance. It was written on very thin paper but it made the journey home and I got a refund for my goods from the insurance company. But as it goes, you can reply materials, books, even a camera, you can not replace a photo made at a specific time.

The lady asked me to join her and her family for dinner. She told me she was embarrassed with the behavior of her fellow countrymen. I told her this behavior can happen everywhere, just bad luck it happened here and now.

The dinner was held in her own house, which is rare in China. Usually your Chinese friends bring you to a restaurant. However, this was my first experience of the Chinese hospitality. The family was not rich but special for the occasion they had bought chicken feet (my first experience with chicken feet) and other great food. After the pain of the loss of my backpack, this was giving the day a good end.

What is left is the memory of those early days of my first journey in China. What was more important is the memory of a theft and the help you get when you really need it. I have always been grateful for the people who helped me out that day.

Later that journey I had a small Chinese military backpack, which never had to be on top of the bus. However, some months after I cam back in Holland, I went again to China, and again with a backpack. And again, I had most of the time the pack on the roof of the bus. Most of the time there was simply not enough space in the bus to have a big back in anyway. That day in Xining was the only time my backpack was stolen. Bad day maybe, and in many ways I learned a lesson. But I got help in solving the problems, yin and yang, you loose some, you win some. Trust me, I did win quite a bit that day.

Since those days I have traveled, mostly on bicycle, many places including several years in China, but I never went back to Xining.

New Hiking Trails in Kielder

Have you ever seen Mars, Venus or Mercury? Sure, through a telescope, but have you seen them with your naked eye? At the Kielder Observatory, you can see all those and more. They dangle in space, inline next to the forest track that leads to the observatory. These planets rotate and rock to the whisper…

Have you ever seen Mars, Venus or Mercury? Sure, through a telescope, but have you seen them with your naked eye? At the Kielder Observatory, you can see all those and more. They dangle in space, inline next to the forest track that leads to the observatory. These planets rotate and rock to the whisper of the wind. You would probably find yourself very surprised to run across these celestial bees spinning in the fingers of the wind should you be on any other mountain trail, but this trail leads to Kielder. Kielder is not like most observatories; it's not a big white dome sitting atop a rocky crag. It's more of a modern building that you would not expect to house an observatory.

Further along the track, you will come across another structure that is etched into the side of a crag. If you decide to explore, you will go through a tunnel and into an area you might think to have housed a medieval dungeon. This structure is cone shaped and it contains no windows to allow the light of day entrance. At the apex, you will find a hole to which the heavens seem to press. This weird structure is named Skyspace and is the creation of California artist James Turrell.

If you are planning on taking the jaunt up to Kielder, be prepared for a long trip new trail skirts England's most remote body of water and is shrouded in some of England's densest forest. You'll want to bring some supplies with you, as you will be quite a ways out into the countryside. If you drive up by way of Bellingham to Hawkhope, your eyes will be appreciated to some of the most gorgeous countryside you can imagine. From dark rivulets of water stretching for miles, to the density growth of tall sturdy conifers, the wind will not be the only thing that takes your breath away. The lake is bordered by Kielder Dam, which holds the dark waters at bay. The conifers march in line around the edges of the lake in an orderly fashion, testimony to the hands that planted them. Lakeside Way is constructed of stone and cinders to accommodate not only boots, but also bikes and mobility scooters. It winds around the reservoir for twenty seven miles and has been host to the footfalls of many awestruck tourists for the thirty years it has been in existence.

If you would like to digest a little art along with the landscape, you can manage that here too. The latest architectural tasks to make their way into the forest are six new Shelters that are nestled into the countryside next to Lakeside way. Stell is an isolated stone sheepfold that, as you get closer, you find is actually a sitting spot that sports lacy ironwork cushions. Silvas Captalis is a huge timber head, mouth open to the forest floor. If you are brave enough to enter the mouth of this giant head, you can climb to a point inside where you can look out through the eyes of this huge forest tenant. This beautiful area has no shortage of creation to view, be it nature or by the hand of man.

Explore the Chilling Experience of Trekking in the Lap of Nanda Devi

Amongst many blessed countries, India is the one that is highly blessed to have so many beautiful places in her lap. Sited amidst mountainous terrains and scenic grandeur of Garhwal Himalayas, Nandadevi is one of the beautiful and massively visited tourist destinations in India. Nandadevi is proudly counted amidst few places owed the two peak…

Amongst many blessed countries, India is the one that is highly blessed to have so many beautiful places in her lap. Sited amidst mountainous terrains and scenic grandeur of Garhwal Himalayas, Nandadevi is one of the beautiful and massively visited tourist destinations in India. Nandadevi is proudly counted amidst few places owed the two peak massif of Nanda Devi, which is the highest mountain in the Garhwal Himalayas and the second highest (after Kanchenjanga) in the country. Such proud possessions have managed to attract the fun enthusiasts and adventure lovers from all over the world. The steep roads that are surrounded by forests of rhododendron, offers exciting trekking routes as well as a fantastic way of connecting to nature.

The description of this trek on papers is complex and would be unjustice to the scenery that unfolds in front of the eyes of the beholder. Snow-clad mountains like Bithartoli-Himal (6354 m), Nanda Ghunti (6309 m), Ranthi Peak (6003 m) to name a few proffers a perfect alternative for people in search of an escapade. Moreover, trekking in Nanda Devi offers the tourists, a chance to have a view of ethereal beauty of Auli bugyals, Urgam valley and Lata village and forests of Rhododendron, Birch and Fir. So if you are one of those, who are in search of an exhilarating trekking experience, Nandadevi is the justified destination for you.

Some of the fantastic trekking routes in Nandadevi are:

Nanda Devi Trek

Scaling heights and all clad in beautiful valley of rhododendron flowers, Nandadevi is an apt choice for satiating your craving for adventure and fun. The trek takes a couple of days and along the route encompasses a whole lot of places that are paragon of beauty and splendor. Some of these places are Bageshwar – Munar – Mikila, Mikila – Rajkharak, Rajkharak – Namik village, Namik Village – Thalthok, Thalthok – Sudamkhan Pass – Bhuyadabli to name a few. During the trek, the trekkers also get the opportunity to experiencing the fun-filled base camps in Lwan – ND East Base camp, ND East Base Camp – Martoli being few of them.

Milam Glacier & East Base Camp

Based in the Himalayan region of Kumaon, Milam Glacier & East Base Camp is an ultimate region to quench your hunger for thrilling trekking experience. Encapsulating several beautiful paces along the way, the Milam Glacier also encompasses the splendor of the Mt.Trishul (7070m), which stands tall outshining everything in the locality.

Namik Glacier Trek

Rarely trekked route, Milam Glacier & East Base Camp is located in the heart of the Himalayan wilderness surrounded by the largest peaks – Nanda Devi (7848 m), Nandakot (6861m), and Trishul (7120 m). The route covers glimpses of villages that are rich in heritage from the Indo-Tibetan trade route and particularly the two villages of Gogina and Namik. Some of the places of interest are Kathgodam – Chaukori, Senar Gad – Dhaldauk, Sudamkhan – Hiramani Glacier and Gogina – Liti to name a few.

Nanda Devi Base Camp Trek

The Nandadevi Base Camp Trek tracks route through the Jauher valley, which is the center of ancient Indo Tibetan trade route. The valley is located on the outskirts of Nandadevi Sanctuary and wraps up the resplendent glimpses of famous peaks such as the Nanda Devi and Nanda kot. Passing through ancient villages and grassy meadows, the trek is along the river Gori Ganga. Some of the places of interest are Almora – Munsyari, Lilam – Bugdiar, Rilkot – Ghangar and many more.

Panchachuli Base Camp

Panchachuli Base Camp is one of the exciting base camps that set out its marquee in a 40-kilometer trek starting from Sobla to Panchachuli Glacier. The route to the glacier flourish in enthralling scenery, snowcapped mountains, gushing Alpine meadows and a rich variety of flora & fauna. Some of the places of interest are Almora – Dharchula, Dhar – Sela, Baaling to Duktu / Dantu and many more.

Panchachuli Glacier & Darma Valley Treks

Touted as one of the most frequently visited trekking glaciers, Panchachuli Glacier & Darma Valley Treks is the ultimate destination for adventure lovers based all over the world. Situated in Eastern Kumaon Himalaya, the trekking route forms the watershed between the Gori Ganga and Darma Valleys. Moreover, the eastern part lies through the Sona and Meola Glaciers and the Uttari and Dakshini Balati glaciers guard the western approaches. The starting point of the route is the Wayfarer Mountain Resort at Munsyari from where drive by jeep is for around 95 kms. to the Indo-Nepal boarder town of Dharchulla. From this town a further drive of 35 kms along the banks of the Dhauli Ganga River approaches the village of Sobla.

Sunderdhunga Base Camp

The Sunderdhunga Base Camp is another exciting trekking destination that manages to attract mass in all the seasons. Some of the places of interest are Almora – Loharkhet, Dakhuri – Khati, Jatoli – Kathalia, Kathalia – Maiktoli Top, Dhakuri – Loharkhet – Song – Bageshwar and many more.

Nanda Devi Sanctuary Trek

Nandadevi Sanctuary Trek is one of the attractive destinations that manage to attract wildlife as well as adventure lovers all over the world. The route to be followed was used by Shipton and Tilman on their amazing journey to the Nanda Devi basin. During the trek there are many views of the surrounding peaks and the Kuari Pass (3658m) itself has an unrivaled panorama of the Great Himalayan peaks including Nanda Devi (7816m), Changabang (6864m), Doonagiri (7066m) and Kamet (7756m).

Today, people from all across the world come to the Nandadevi for different purposes. Some people come to view the ethereal beauty of the nature and some for vacation and holidays. Reasons do not hold much importance, as the Himalayas foothills are just the perfect alternative to experience adventure and get freedom from monotony. Appreciated much for her splendor, Nandadevi encapsulate numerous breath-taking routes to offer you the real sense of adventure that you have been longing for.

Keys to Safe Hiking and Backpacking

Hiking and backpacking are great ways to enjoy the great outdoors and get excellent exercise at the same time. They allow you to get away from the rat race and cast off the stress and pressures that come with it. The peace, solitude and fresh air are great for relaxing the body and the mind.…

Hiking and backpacking are great ways to enjoy the great outdoors and get excellent exercise at the same time. They allow you to get away from the rat race and cast off the stress and pressures that come with it. The peace, solitude and fresh air are great for relaxing the body and the mind.

Unfortunately, the peace and solitude hide the fact that the great outdoors can also be a cruel and unforgiving place for the unprepared. Every year the news reports of hikers and backpackers who met with disaster because they either underestimated nature or overestimated their abilities. Whether it's a short day hike or an extended backpacking expedition there are a number of things you need to do to ensure your outing is safe and enjoyable.

Pre-Trip Planning

Research and select a route that matches your condition. If you can not determine how difficult the trail is, ask! This is critical if you are new to the outdoors or returning after a long layoff. It is easy to underestimate the difficulty of a trail especially if it is new to you. Alternately, we all have a tendency to overestimate our physical abilities. This is especially true as we get older. Be totally honest with yourself. A dark, cold mountainside is not the place to admit you are in over your head.

Make sure you have enough time to reach your destination while it is still light. Even an easy trail can become treacherous once darkness falls. The difficulty of the trail, your physical condition and the physical condition of everyone in your group is all part of the equation. If hiking in a group, remember to plan for the lowest common denominator. The slow person in the group will determine your pace.

Acquire a topographic map or a hiking guidebook that covers your route and know how to read it. There are books, software and classes that will teach you how to read and navigate using them. Practice map navigating on short hikes so you will know how to on longer trips. Also, check the weather forecast before you head out and be prepared for any kind of weather.

Always let someone know your trip plans. This can not be emphasized enough. How many times have you heard of the lost hiker who took off on their without letting anyone know where there were going or when they would be back. They were asking for trouble.

Let someone know in writing where you are going, when you will be gone and when you plan to return. Be specific. Provide dates, the name of the trailhead and trail, the specifics of the route and when you expect to return. The more detailed you can be the better. Once you have your plan stick to it. Varying from your itinerary can be dangerous should something go wrong and you need to be rescued.

The first rule for hikers and backpackers should be “Never go out alone”. I know there are a large number of solo hikers and backpackers out there and, I am sorry if this offends you, but solo hiking and backpacking is stupid. We've all heard the horror stories of solo hikers and packers suffering injury or dying in the wilds alone. The famous story of Aron Ralston alone should be enough to dissuade you from going it solo.

Line up a hiking partner, if possible. While it is best to avoid hiking alone, if you must go it solo, be smart and choose well-traveled trails where you will likely encounter someone should you run into trouble.

On The Trail

First, make sure you are properly dressed. Dress in layers and always be prepared for changing weather especially in mountains or canyons where bad weather can come upon you with little or no notice. Make sure you have some form of rain gear and cold-weather gear, if appropriate. Avoid cotton clothing, which when wet insulates poorly and dries slowly. Wetness and hypothermia go hand in hand and can be a deadly combination.

Wear proper hiking footwear and that fit properly. This is not an area to scramp on. Quality, well-fitting boots can make the difference between a great hike and a miserable one. Never wear a new pair of boots on a long hike as sores and blisters are kindly. Break them in slowly by testing boots on shorter hikes or walking around your neighborhood.

Always carry a compass and a topographic map of the area and know how to use both. Pay attention to flags on the trail, and check your map often even on an obvious trail. Mark landmarks on the map as you pass them. It is a good idea to turn around periodically to see how the trail looks when you are heading in the other direction. This will help make finding your way back easier.

Do not get separated from your partner or group. Never lose sight of them and wait for stragglers at any trail junction. Never change directions without the entire group being together. Carry a whistle within easy reach. Three blasts of a whistle is the universal signal for help. Do not keep it in an out of the way place in your backpack. Should you be injured you may not be able to reach it.

Carry plenty of water and drink often to avoid dehydration. Dehydration is a prime enemy of hikers and backpackers. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If you do, you are already becoming dehydrated. Also, do not drink water from ponds or streams unless you have rated it first by boiling, filtering or using purification tablets.

Always have a fire starter and matches. If you get lost and need to spend the night outside a fire can help prevent hypothermia and signal for help.

Be sure to carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. It is a good idea to take a first aid course. Read up on common trail injuries especially and how to treat them. Be sure to carry moleskin or band-aids to help with blisters.

Bring along a knife or other multi-purpose tool. Make sure it is of good quality and that the blades have sharp edges. Something along the line of a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman tool are great for emergency repairs of all sorts.

Be sure to pack a flashlight or other form of hiking torch. It will be invaluable to you do not make it to your destination before it gets dark.

Use a hiking pole or walking stick. Using hiking poles and walking sticks will help steady your balance on uneven terrain. Additionally, they help ease the stress on your legs, feet, and, especially, knees. They also can be used as emergency Shelter supports, to carry things and as defensive weapons should it be necessary.

Take along sunglasses and sunscreen. This is especially true if you will be hiking above the tree line where a thinner atmosphere blocks fewer UV rays and where snow glare can cause snow blindness.

Should you get lost, do not panic. If you're not in a dangerous situation, sit down and take a break. Have a snack, take a drink and then assess the situation. Take a look around for any landmarks near known locations. If you can navigate safely back to it, then do so. If not, stay put. It will be easier for rescuers to find you than if you wander further off the trail into the wilderness. The closer you are to your original route the better.

In Closing

Taking the time to plan your trip and prepare properly can help ensure your trek is safe and fun. Should something go wrong, God forbid, your advance planning and preparation could just save your life or the life of someone else. Take the time not become a statistical.

Choosing the Right Travel Companion When Backpacking

Sure we all have that little niggle at the back of our minds when we set out to travel with friends, what if we fight, or what if we can not stand each other after a week !? Well here are some tips to help prevent nasty split ups along the way. Most of us…

Sure we all have that little niggle at the back of our minds when we set out to travel with friends, what if we fight, or what if we can not stand each other after a week !? Well here are some tips to help prevent nasty split ups along the way.

Most of us will at one time travel with a friend or friends, if we are avid travelers. Solo travel is fun, but having a buddy there to share all those amazing moments, and talk about it when you get home is pretty special too. We all have a bad habit or two, and of course our friends generally have their own little idiosyncrasies as well. Having traveled quite a lot with friends, been a tour guide and having to get along with many different personalities, I am here to attend some basic wisdom to help you and your friend have a smoother holiday. It's all up to you in the end.

Tip one: Space, sure we love being in each other's pockets, it's all very exciting, but if you do not give yourself and your friend at least one day of free me time every so often than things may get stuffy. Remember you both may want to do something the other does not, this is the perfect opportunity to get out and do something solo, one may want to take a bike ride along the coast, and the other may want to sit back and relax in a day spa getting a massage and mud bath. Do not procrastinate about it if you can not agree, take the day off from each other and go do something separately. You'll find you have loads to talk about on your return and you will not be frustrated you missed out.

A separate room now and then can also work like magic. If you're having trouble sleeping, or your friends a bit messy and you're a neat freak. Actually discuss the idea with your friend before heading off, most times you will share to conserve money, but every now and then splash out as a treat and have a room to yourself.

Tip two: Accept your differences. Yes we are all guilty of it, screwing up our noses at our friend's choice of dress, dining spot or chosen activity for the day etc. You're not going to make it through the trip if you can not shake off your judgment, your friend has the right to be who he or she is, and getting worked up over what he or she is not doing, or is doing , is only going to make both of you frustrated and your holiday stressful. Always have a good book with you, or an inquisitive mind, if it's all too much then head off down the beach to read alone, or explore the alley shops.

Tip three: Speak up. Your friend is not a mind reader, you know why you're frustrated, but they probably do not. A scheduled 'how is the trip going so far' chit chat would go far, bringing up what's irking you and giving them the opportunity to speak up as well. It's not all about you after all. Try to work out a solution. Make sure if you are simply just feeling down or homesick, they know it's not them, because they probably will think they have done something wrong if you're just feeling blue and not explaining the reason, even if it's just a brief one.

Tip four: Enjoy each other's company and compromise. You must have traveled together for a reason, try to remember you are great friends after all the emotion of travel if scrapped away. Keep in mind that senses are heightened while traveling; things seem bigger than they actually are, and small issues can feel humungous. Try to peel back everything and look at it for what it is. Try to compromise an activity, your friend may want to do something that you do not really and vice-versa. You may actually find you get something out of it, so give it a go, and do not be a drag and go out of your way to show you not into it, this is their holiday as well and they have the right to choose a few activities for you both to do, they in turn will come along with you on your ultimate choice of things to do for the day.

Remember it is what we make it, so make the most of it, because most people do not get the opportunity to travel the world with a great friend.

Whistler Hikes – Top 5

Whistler has so many excellent hikes to choose from that it's often difficult to know where to start. From gentle, undulating walks through old growth forests, to challenging climbs up to awe-inspiring peaks, there is something for everyone. Here is my top five. Cheakamus Lake – Easy Length: approx 6km round trip Elevation Gain: Minimal…

Whistler has so many excellent hikes to choose from that it's often difficult to know where to start. From gentle, undulating walks through old growth forests, to challenging climbs up to awe-inspiring peaks, there is something for everyone. Here is my top five.

Cheakamus Lake – Easy

Length: approx 6km round trip Elevation Gain: Minimal Starting only 8km south of Whistler this trail is easy to get to. From the parking lot it's a fairly easy, mostly shaded, 45 minute walk through old growth forests to the lake where you are rewarded with a beautiful view and a reliably secluded campsite. You then have the option to either hike further round the lake or return.

Ancient Cedars Trail – Easy

Length: 4km round trip Elevation Gain: 150m You really need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to this trail. Access is via the 16 Mile Creek FSR off Highway 99 at the north end of Green Lake. It's a pleasant trail with some decent views and the 1000 year old cedars at the base of Cougar Mountain are very impressive.

High Note Trail – Easy

Length: approx 5km Elevation Gain: 258m The High Note starts behind the Inukshuk at the Peak of Whistler Mountain and can be accessed by the Whistler Gondola. The views of Black Tusk and Cheakamus Lake are breathtaking, and in August, when the wildflowers are in bloom, the meadows come alive with color.

Singing Pass – Moderate

Length: 23m round trip Elevation Gain: 1000m The Singing Pass trail begins at the bus loop in Whistler village. It's a good single track trail that essentially passes through forest and then alpine meadows. The hike itself is very rewarding with spectacular views of the Fitzsimmons and Spearhead mountain ranges. It's also possible to do a short side trip to Russet Lake from here.

Wedgemont Lake – Challenging

Length 14km round trip Elevation Gain: 1,200 m This hike starts approx 12km north of Whistler village and there is a parking lot at the trail head. It's a challenging hike taking 4-6 hours one way, with some steep and rocky sections, but the rewards are great. The lake is pristine and the surrounding landscape is magnificent. There is even a pit toilet and hut.

Wilderness Backpacking Tips – Stay on the Trail Or Blaze Your Own

When exploring the wilderness on a backpacking or hiking expedition a plan should be in place as to the specific route to transit. Often when well equipped with a GPS, or maps and a compass, the urge to break off the trail and orienteer to your destination will be overwhelming. Usually its when the backpacking…

When exploring the wilderness on a backpacking or hiking expedition a plan should be in place as to the specific route to transit. Often when well equipped with a GPS, or maps and a compass, the urge to break off the trail and orienteer to your destination will be overwhelming. Usually its when the backpacking trail takes an unexpected turn that seems less efficient than the immediate terrain that shows ambitious ambitious hikers to contemplating deviating from the trail. As thrilling as trail blazing may seem my advice is resistant it.

There is a reason for that unexpected turn in the path. Wilderness backpacking trails in the forest started out as game trails and exist because wildlife used and developed them over a very long time. Believe me the forests' natural habitants know best. When you do give in to the urge, and you will, be prepared for some major obstacles such as swamps, boulder fields, thick brush, steep hills and deep canyons. It is quite probable that the shortcut will turn into a physical and mental challenge. The realization that you are not going to make your destination before night fall is very frustrating.

Even more dangerous is when the party slits up because usually the backpacking and camping gear is split with them. The worst case scenario is someone getting hurt. They will not be easily located or assessable because they are off the established routes. I have experienced all of these and am a firm believer that a trail is a good thing. There is a wise adage that states “plan your work and work your plan”. It's an important philosophy to follow when backpacking or hiking in the wilderness.

My hometown, Casper, resides southeast of the Grand Tetons, the Wind River Mountains and Yellowstone Park. A short jaunt to the north sprouts the Bighorn Mountains which were explored by Buffalo Bill Cody, Jeremiah Johnson and Butch Cassidy.

Visit South Africa by Backpacking Your Way Through

Visiting South Africa can be quite an incredible experience if you put yourself into it. The tranquility and peace the country has to offer is quite remarkable. Its landscape is quite breathtaking and the route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth stops at nothing but delivering some of the best natural landscapes the world has…

Visiting South Africa can be quite an incredible experience if you put yourself into it. The tranquility and peace the country has to offer is quite remarkable. Its landscape is quite breathtaking and the route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth stops at nothing but delivering some of the best natural landscapes the world has to offer. There are so many stops in between the distance that it's difficult to know where to stop. If you have all the time in the world it would be good to see as much as possible but if on a time constraint you will unfortunately have to sacrifice some of the natural wonders.

If traveling along the garden route three places that should not be scratched from your list would be Knysna, Oudtshoorn and The Crags. Knysna is a very relaxed atmosphere town which has the famous Knysna Heads as its main attraction. Oudtshoorn has one of South Africa's largest caves, the Cango Caves. A trip to Oudtshoorn would not be complete without an ostrich back ride. The Crags has by far the most to offer. It is within distance to the worlds highest Bungy and has a number of wildlife and animal sanctuaries. So if you want to ride an elephant or get to be close close and personal with monkeys this is the place where it can all be done. Most of your adrenaline rush sport activities can be done in The Crags / Storms River area. White water rafting, bungy jumping and tree-top canopying just to mention a few.

Of course a visit to South Africa would not be complete without a trip to one of South Africa's game reserves. Kruger National Park would be one of South Africa's largest and most famous game park but if you are time pushed you can easily make up for it by visiting one or a few of the smaller game parks. Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape is home to over 300 elephants and is often overlooked by the backpacker. If you do have the time of course the Kruger National Park is not to be missed.

South Africa has a high number of backpacker hostel accommodation all promising to give you an experience you will never miss. A lot of them live up to that promise too. Tours and adventures can be organized from most backpackers. Apart from backpackers being a cheap alternative to luxury accommodation most are setup so you can experience the real South Africa. Offering African food and bringing tourists out to show how the other half life. They are also a great way of meeting new friends.

All Night Trekking on Illuminated Paths With Solar Lights

Before you embark on new adventure especially those involving night or cave trips, make sure you have sufficient lighting with you to illuminate your way through the dark. There are always unexpected events that might happen along such faulty bulbs, missing or insufficient batteries and malfunction due to bad weather. Do you really think you…

Before you embark on new adventure especially those involving night or cave trips, make sure you have sufficient lighting with you to illuminate your way through the dark. There are always unexpected events that might happen along such faulty bulbs, missing or insufficient batteries and malfunction due to bad weather. Do you really think you are adequately prepared for these accidents? If you doubt so or need more information, then you must read on.

Solar rechargeable bike lights are one of the most versatile and toughest lighting that you can find for adventure. These bike lights are built to withstand hot weather and waterproof against raining condition. The built-in LED bulbs ensures the durability and not easily burn out as it can last up to 100,000 hours and do not spoil easily with occasional knocks falls. The above advantage really suits for adventure trips, be it on a pedal or hiking on foot, that it is almost impossible to get damaged under harsh condition. In the day, hang it outside to let it fully charged up by the sunlights. When it is fully charged, it can last up to 48 hours, that is full 2 ​​days. This is the longest solar lights I've ever encountered.

Enjoying your journey with a peace of mind is definitely what most adventurers want. If there is any last thought before you embark on your journey, make it a point to do a final check on your solar bike lights as this may save your life when least expected. Lastly I wish you a smooth and enriching journey ahead.