A week-end of hiking in Peak District National Park (UK)

It started with a misunderstanding. I had been talking for a few months about going for a week-end to explore the Lake District area, in the UK. Imagine my surprise when unwrapping the paper of my birthday present I discovered a guide of the best hikes in Peak District instead. But it didn’t really matter, I didn’t return the guidebook and instead we book a week-end to celebrate spring and the return of the outdoors season on this maybe less hyped destination. And guess what? Peak District didn’t disappoint me.

For this week-end we choose two hikes that we believe will offer the most dramatic landscapes, they also happen to be among the most popular. But outside of the week-end, you will have the hills for yourself!

Hill walking on Kinder Low plateau (Peak District, UK)

 

Day 1: Kinder Low hike

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Trekking options in Torres del Paine NP in Chile

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Ice as far as the eye can see, granite towers, turquoise waters, forest, tundra, wildlife and more than 150km of trails: Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile has everything Patagonia has to offer to explore. With 8 days and 8 nights of adventure  on one of the most beautiful trails of the planet, our South American exploration ended up in apotheosis.

In this article, I tell you all you need to know about this magical place. You will get:

  • an overview of the trekking possibilities in Torres del Paine National Park,
  • some tips to navigate between the different options,
  • a zoom on the “circuit” trek
  • some advices for the hike,
  • all the online resources I used myself to prepare my trek.

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Adventures in the Gorges du Verdon, the Grand Canyon of Provence

“Provence”. The name probably makes you picture cute villages and lavender fields, but did you know that it is in this area that you can find one of Europe’s most grandiose canyon?
It looks like that:

 

gorges_du_verdon_panorama

A million years back, during the last ice age, the river found its way in the rocks, creating the Gorges du Verdon.

 

Difficult to seize properly the dimension of the Canyon on a picture… Try to imagine that the limestone walls are 700 m (higher than 2 Eiffel towers on top of each other!) and that the emerald river Verdon runs in the canyon over 25 kilometres, creating a fantastic playground for outdoor lovers.  By foot, by car, by canoe or climbing, discover in this article the many ways to explore this jewel of Provence.

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Hiking around El Chalten (Argentina) – a 3 day trek by Fitz Roy

After 22 hours of bus, on a straight road in the middle of flat and boring steppes land, we saw its silhouette in the distance: the famous Fitz Roy chain. Slowly, the silhouette becomes sharper and bigger, until revealing a fantastic mountain range like created from shark tooth, surrounded by a beautiful grey laguna and several glaciers. We arrived to the promised land of El Chalten, self-proclaimed capital of trekking of Argentina.

El Chalten_Fitz Roy

The dream starts at the end of a 22h bus ride.

El Chalten offers plenty of hiking possibilities: you can easily take day hikes but why not going for a mini trek for a more immersive Patagonia experience?

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In my backpack – Hiking equipment

Packing for a travel is never an easy process, but when you are heading out into the wild with no option to buy missing items, it becomes even more critical to give it some good thoughts.
What to pack and what to leave home? How to make sure you can keep going even if the weather change? I am sharing here my packing list for the happy trekker along with a few learnings and tips, acquired kilometre after kilometre.
So, what's hiding inside the backpack?

So, what’s hiding inside the backpack?

Packing list for going trekking

If you want to be a minimalist packer, any item that goes into your backpack should answer one of the 3 essential goals of a hiker: stay dry, stay warm, stay clean. This, and some good food of course, will ensure you remain a decent human being even if you are trekking for more than a week without showering (think it’s too gross, it is still time to move to another post ;-)?)

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Kungsleden, a 7 days trek above the Arctic circle

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Kungsleden, “the royal trail”, it’s a 450km trail running into the swedish mountains of Lappland, above the Arctic circle. Thousands of hikers come every year in summer to complete a portion  (or all!) of one of the most beautiful treks on the planet and enjoy full wilderness – not even phone connection! The first part of the trail, between Abisko to Nikkaluokta is a rewarding 5-7 days trek.

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5 ways to get close to glaciers in Patagonia

 Ever since I watched the fantastic documentary Chasing Ice by James Balog (see the trailer here) I have been fascinated by glaciers. I wanted to get close to them, to touch them, to explore them. In Patagonia, my dreams became true.
The glaciers of Patagonia are among the most accessible in the world. Did you know that the Southern Patagonian ice field is actually the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water? It stretches between Chile and Argentina, over 12.000sqkm. It feeds more than 40 glaciers in the area among them the famous Perito Moreno (El Calafate,  Argentina) but also glaciers Viedma (El Chalten, Argentina) and Grey (NP Torres del Paine, Chile) , all really accessible to the active traveler.
Getting close to glaciers is the number one  on the list of my must do in Patagonia.

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How much should you pay for your trek to Machu Picchu?

Arrival at the camp on the first day of the Salkantay trek

Arrival at the camp on the first day of the Salkantay trek

For many travellers to Peru, the trek to the inca site of Machu Picchu is the highlight of their trip to Peru. Many prepare it many months in advance, but many arrive without anything booked. In Cusco, the old capital of the inca empire and departure point for the mythic ruins, trying to choose a tour operator for what shoud remain as a once in a lifetime experience can be quite overwhelming. Hundreds of agencies are lined up on the streets and where you can’t walk around without being shout at by some dynamic “Machu Picchu? Tourist information?“. The situation gets even more tricky once you realize that, for what seems to be the very same experience, prices of a trek can vary from $195 to $600 (or even $2000 if you don´t want to camp). In this jungle of offers, how to choose?

 

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Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu: it’s like Peru in a nutshell

With this 5 days trek, you leave from bursting Qosqo (Cusco) to start hiking into a fantastic valley, you will pass amazing snow y andean peaks, admire glaciers and lakes, cloud forest and humid jungles before ending up at the amazing archaeologic site of Machu Picchu.
The trek brings you in the steps of the chaskis´ steps, the inca messengers. Thanks to a vast network of inca trails which was connecting Cusco, mountains and the jungle and a system of relay, a message could reach Machu Picchu from Qosqo in only 5h. For you, it will be in 5 days, on one of the world´s top 25 treks, according to National Geographic.

salkantay_trek

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Under the charm of Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia (Chile)

If you are following our trip “live”, you may have noticed we have been silent for more than a week. No posts, no tweets, no Instagram pictures. So what did we do the last 8 days? We walked. 151kms to be precise, for more than 47 hours of hiking, over 8 days and 8 nights of camping to explore one of the jewels of Patagonia: National Park Torres del Paine (Chile). I am now sharing the magic of this place in 14 pictures captioned with extract from my travel diary. Enjoy the trip!

 

1. Kilometer 0, day 1: the starting point of the “Circuit” trek

Fresh and excited. Note that we are doing the trek in autonomy and carrying around 30kg of equipment between us 2: tent, mattress, sleeping bags, food for 8 days.

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