For the Love of Hiking – Get Started Anywhere!

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For the Love of Hiking – Get Started Anywhere!

best hiking in the world

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin? – Foo Fighters, Walk

This was our favorite song during our 6 month road-trip we made in New Zealand.  During this trip, we did 6 multi-day hikes, at least one or two day hikes each week and a lot of mountain biking and kayaking. It was a very active trip but never too exhausting. We love the outdoors and enjoy being active. However it hasn’t always been like that, especially for me as I never used to care about exercise and/or nature. Being a backpacker changed my point of view and made me realize that some of the most beautiful places can’t be seen from the road, you will have to go there by foot.

Hiking can be done anywhere. Yes, anywhere! You just need a pair of decent boots and off you go. Walking is involved in my daily life. Every lunch break I head out into the local park with a colleague to breathe some fresh air (I work in an office) and my boyfriend and I try to make one long hiking trip every other weekend. We pick our travel destinations with care and choose places that have many hiking trails that you can do by yourself. I can tell you a lot about hiking, how to prepare and what to do in case you can’t continue anymore, for example. But for now, I’ll tell you about some of our favorite hiking destinations. Just to get you in the mood…

hike from anywhere

 


 

Europe:

This is where we live and go hiking most of the time. A general misconception is that hiking always has to be in the mountains. We live in The Netherlands and our highest mountain is 325 meters and, unfortunately, we have to share it with Germany and Belgium. Yet we get out pretty much every other weekend. Some of our favorite places for hiking are the Veluwe, a giant natural area right in our back yard and Zuid-Limburg, a characteristic hilly province in the south of our country.  Another great place for hiking is Germany, they have a really extensive long distance trail system. We’re currently half way done doing the Rothaarsteig in the mountain range Rothaargebirge. Of course, the Austrian Alps are awesome too, we try to go here at least once a year. Other favorites include Scotland (esp. the area around Glen Coe and Fort Williams) and Iceland.  However that latter one may not be suitable for the beginner hiker as it usually involves river crossings that can be quite scary at times.

hiking from anywhere

 


 

North America:

Our first real hiking trip took us to the Canadian Rockies where we walked around Whistler, Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise. The most epic trail is the Plain of the Six Glaciers, although we had to cut it short because of the poor weather. In the US, our favorite trails include Hanging Lake Trail in Colorado, Maroon Bells in Aspen and Angel’s Landing in Zion. We also loved hiking in Arches National Park. If you go a bit further up north you will get to Yellowstone and Grand Teton: plain hikers paradise. Make sure to be bear aware here though, we had an encounter with a black one which was quite scary (we are from Europe – we are not used to wildlife at all). If you really want to warm your butts, then make it over to Alaska and do the Exit Glacier Trail to Harding Icefield. One of the most epic hikes we’ve done!


 

South America:

Our favorite place for hiking in South America is definitely Patagonia. This is where the fun begins, where much of the land is covered with glaciers and glacial lakes. In Argentina, make sure to head out to El Chalten in Los Glaciares National Park. If you’re in Chile, you can’t miss out on trekking in Torres del Paine. The W-trek is one of the most famous in South America. Another great trek in South America is the Inca Trail. Yes, I know that it’s crowded and busy but then again, where isn’t it nowadays?

hike from anywhere


 

New Zealand:

Our fave place in the whole wide world for hiking is New Zealand, simple as that. New Zealand has more than 1.000 mountain huts and an extended network of hiking trails. They vary from easy to extremely demanding and anything in between. There are 9 so called “Great Walks” that make for some pretty spectacular scenery. We did 5 of them during our last visit to New Zealand and are already saving money and vacation time to go back to the other 4. The best ones we did were the Routeburn Track, the Kepler Track and Tongariro Northern Circuit. Other great places for hiking include Nelson Lakes National Park and the Marlborough Sounds. Generally, the trails are well marked and not too hard to follow. Mountain huts vary but usually are incredibly good. In New Zealand, they call hiking “tramping” by the way…

hike from anywhere

So – what are you waiting for? Put on your boots (or sneakers if you have no hiking boots), pack a rucksack and take your camera. Pick a trail or just start walking from home. Remember, hiking can be done from anywhere. Enjoy!

Antonette is the female half of we12travel, an outdoor adventure blog. She loves to go on trekkings all over the world and enjoys camping in nature. When home, she’s an office worker at a tour operator and travel writer for her own blog and various Dutch travel websites.

15 Comments

  1. antonette - we12travel

    July 16, 2014 at 12:43 AM

    Thanks for sharing 😉 now I’ll just get my boots on and start walking.

  2. Hannah

    July 16, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Great post. I love all the photos of when you reach the top and are awarded with incredible views- makes everything worth the work and the sweat!

  3. Margherita @The Crowded Planet

    July 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Oh Anto and Ashley, if ever there was a post that made me want to pick up my boots and go, this was it. So inspiring! I’ve done a fair bit of hiking but there’s so much to do. I totally agree when you said that hiking can be done anywhere. Today we had to travel from Bristol to Bath and decided to go on foot! It took the whole day instead of 15 mins on a train but it was totally worth it. We saw otters, a train graveyard and other wonderful stuff!

  4. Chris Boothman

    July 16, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    This is definitely the beauty of hiking on a global scale, you can pretty much do it anywhere and anytime you want to! I like how Anto has broken this down into specific locations that she has focused on, I personally would love to do a lot more hiking in North America and Europe.

    The beauty of the North American landscape (and Europe of course also!) is that there are so many unique and diverse hiking opportunities out there. If you want to explore the Rockies or Great Smoky Mountains for example or maybe you just want to remain on flatland type terrain such as in Oklahoma and Arkansas, there is pretty much something for everyone.

    But I will save my last comment for what I am really looking forward to – NEW ZEALAND! That is my ultimate dream destination right now so hiking there around Tongariro and Milford Sound would be awesome!

  5. Rob Weir

    July 17, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    Many thanks for the comments about New Zealand – as a New Zealander I love to see that. I would add that if you want a day walk -the best one to do in New Zealand is the Tongariro Crossing (Volcanic activity permitting). Fiordland is a great area for tramping (had to get it in) and for Chris – the Milford track is certainly a good one to do.

    I would also suggest adding Nepal on to the list and would note that Tasmania also has good tramps – with some similarities to the South Island of New Zealand.

  6. Annika - Live Laugh Explore

    August 10, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    I found your blog just today through the Sunday Traveller and I really like it! It’s my kinda blog, I like lots of outdoorsy stuff too 🙂 Hiking can definitely be done anywhere..I did my first long distance hiking this summer on the Tour du Mont Blanc and it was absolutely stunning!! I think I’m hooked now. Can also vouch for Glen Coe, it’s really beautiful there. New Zealand is on my list…Hopefully not for too long!
    I liked your FB page, I would love to invite you to check out my blog/ FB page too if you have a minute 🙂

  7. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer

    August 16, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    It looks like you have done a lot of hiking. I generally do not like the climb up, but I love the surrounding views and the feeling of accomplishment when I make it 😀

  8. Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    August 17, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    Great post. I’ve just come back from Iceland where we did some fab hikes and I live in an area surrounded by excellent hiking country (Côte d’Azur, you should come here and try some of our hikes!) We too try and get out as often as possible but with young kids we don’t do the long hikes that take several days. I can’t wait till they’re old enough and we can do that with them. Very jealous of your NZ experiences.

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  10. Mandie @ RamblingMandie

    August 17, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    The Routeburn and the Kepler Track are on the top of my hiking bucket list! I would love to hike in New Zealand but for now I’ll have to settle for North American tracks. 🙂

  11. Angelica @BkChickTravels

    August 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Hiking is a great activity and it really makes exploring different rather than sticking to city streets or beaching. I want to work my way up to hiking a lot more and higher lands.

  12. Adelina // Pack Me To

    August 18, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    I wish I liked hiking. I want to like it, but I’m pretty indifferent. I’ve never been too much of an outdoors person. I like walking on easy paths, but climbing up and down mountains? Too much work for lazy ol me.

  13. Christa Thompson

    August 19, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Hello, on behalf of Christa, host of The Sunday Traveler, I was stopping by to check out your article. Amazing! My sister enjoys hiking and I can see why. One of the thinks I LOVE about it is in the busy world we all live in today it’s one of the oldest and simplest forms of adventure and spending some quality time. Also it pulls you immediately out of ‘the rat race’ and into a slow steady pace where time seems to last so much longer without the static which everyday life can bring. Spectacular pictures and views too.

  14. Marissa

    August 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    I love hiking! And love that you posted this! Will definitely be bookmarking this for future reference 🙂

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    June 24, 2016 at 8:29 PM

    Nice article, It was inspiring.

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