The idea of a hiking vacation doesn’t appeal to everyone. For every intrepid soul who dreams of mountain trails and setting forth to conquer the wilderness, there are a whole bunch of others for whom hiking just sounds like hard work. Isn’t a vacation supposed to be about relaxing and having fun? Hiking is all very well, those people might reason, and is surely very worthy and good for you, but ultimately it sounds not just strenuous, but boring with it.
Who wants to spend a vacation walking through difficult terrain every day and sleeping in a draughty tent every night? Well, you should. There are two common misconceptions that put people off hiking vacations. The first is that you have to be in peak athletic shape to attempt them. The second is that they are dull endurance treks for boring, anti-social individuals who’d rather be halfway up a misty mountainside than spend time with other people. Hiking just doesn’t sound very cool.
At the same time, there can’t be many of us who fail to be entranced and beguiled by the often breathtaking beauty of nature. We can all imagine the sheer life-affirming joy of looking out over a vast unspoiled wilderness on a gorgeous day from the peak of a mountain. We can all look at photos of vast blue lakes, rolling hillsides full of wild flowers, and the unbelievable landscapes in remote parts of the world, from New Zealand to the Nordic fjords, and daydream about how wonderful it would be to actually be there.
That is the appeal of the hiking vacation: to actually be a part of the amazing places on our planet, and to have an experience you’ll never forget. Sure, you have to put in a certain amount of effort, but that’s precisely what makes the outcome so memorable. A hiking vacation connects you with nature in a way you can’t expect at a luxury resort or when staying at the heart of a big city. And you don’t have to get away from it all because there are some spectacular man-made sights to be seen on some of the vacations, as well as the chance to experience and interact with the local culture.
You don’t have to be a superhuman athlete to attempt a hiking vacation. It certainly helps if you are reasonably fit and healthy, but guided adventure tours exist for people of all ages and abilities. One thing that is certain is that you’ll certainly feel healthier after the experience.
In order to get the most out of your hiking vacation it’s best to get in shape before you go. All that this means is eating a healthy diet and building up your stamina with simple exercise, including taking a few long walks at home. You should also make sure you’ve got the right clothing and equipment. Most important is a good set of walking boots and socks. Tommie Copper provides a great range of compression socks for women that will help to prevent chafing and strain on your ankles.
Hiking vacations can be the only way to truly experience some of the most amazing destinations on the planet. The Inca Trail in Peru is massively popular despite the grueling nature of the 26-mile trek through mountainous terrain. The incredible views and the arrival at the fabled cloud citadel of Machu Picchu makes it very worthwhile. A less crowded alternative is the 19-mile Ancascocha Trail, which is harder going but possibly even more spectacular.
Another destination on many peoples’ bucket list is Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This 35-mile trek will take you to the peak of Africa’s highest mountain, something that is perfectly achievable for a healthy person with a local guide as a companion. The hike will be an experience you’ll never forget.
There are also many incredible hiking destinations in the US, including the 2180 mile Appalachian Trail that includes passing through 14 American states, and visiting the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park.
Hiking vacations are a gateway to a world of adventure. You’ll see sights and experience nature in ways you never thought possible, as well as seeing indigenous life sometimes very different to our own. Every day brings fresh surprises and moments of wonder, and you’ll make great friends among your fellow hikers, as your shared effort quickly creates a natural bond. Once you get the bug you may never want to lounge around the hotel pool ever again!