As being somewhat adventurous and in love with hiking, I would not just fly to Christchurch to visit the concert. So, the plan was to take a night bus from Auckland down to Wellington, hop on a ferry to the south island, and meet up with a good friend, Jakob, to hike the 71-km-long Queen Charlotte Track in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. After the hike, which would take four days, we decided to make our way to Christchurch, visit the concert, and afterward, I would fly back to Auckland for work.
When I took a closer look at the map, a relatively big island caught my eye: it does not only work as a barrier between the Gulf and the open Pacific, but it is also, appropriately, called Great Barrier Island. And apparently, there is also a hiking trail. The Aotea Track is a 25 km long trail that loops around the island’s rugged interior and climbs up to the island’s highest peak, Mount Hobson/Hirakimata (627 m). After doing some further research on the island, I learned that it lies about 100 km northeast of Auckland, is about the same size as Auckland, but only has a bit more than 1000 inhabitants (Auckland, on the contrary, has over 1.6 Mio inhabitants). Life on the island is often described as being “life in New Zealand many decades back “.
I always liked Arizona quite a bit. I love the heat, the dry and the desert-like country. Ever since I was in Flagstaff to visit Gran Canyon NP after finishing my Pacific Crest Trail hike in 2017, I have wanted to return. On a road trip, I crossed the state by Amtrak on one of my cross country trips by train.
Yes, indeed – plural! Many people escape the cold winter weather in Europe and fly to one of the Canary Islands for a vacation and do some day hikes in fantastic weather. But we decided to escape the cold and miserable winter weather, especially in Germany, and hike the length of the GR131 hiking trail that covers almost all of the Canary Islands. Ever heard of these islands? They are a region of Spain, that politically and economically belongs to Europe but is only about 60 miles off the western coast of the African continent.
The great thing about hiking is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to actually do it. The great thing about living temporarily in the countryside is that even during a pandemic you can go out and hike without having to worry about meeting too many other people.
Season’s changing! Probably one of the best times to visit Shenandoah National Park is fall. The air is crisp, the humidity that usually lies sticky and heavy on your skin is mostly gone, and the leaves change their color.
Endlich! … Von der Elbe herauf kommt eine kühle Brise, die den Schweiß der letzten Stunden auf meiner Stirn trocknet. Die Steine der Sächsischen Schweiz hatten viel Energie und Kraft gekostet. Die Sonne, die heute heiß und unerbittlich vom Himmel brannte, hatte in der baumlosen Landschaft zwischen den kuriosen Steinsäulen und -plateaus leichtes Spiel.
A thru-hike is only a thru-hike if you actually thru-hike. That’s why we headed back south to finish hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Appalachian Mountains. Unfortunately in April we had to leave the trail about half way in as John injured his back.
Bye bye Mendoza, bye bye Argentina. I am leaving South America by hopping from country to country, airport to airport, slowly making my way north – can’t think of ever having had such long and circuitous journey to a destination: Mendoza, Santiago de Chile, Lima, Mexico City, Los Cabos, and eventually Los Angeles on the way back to the East Coast where I’ll fly out to two days later.
Even though Sydney is a great city I decided 2 days are enough and boarded a regional train to Katoomba. This little town is the major hub for exploring the Blue Mountains.