Bay Of Fires Trail – Tasmania

Part of Hiking.org – Hiking trails around the world – see all trails here

The Bay of Fires – Coast trail in Tasmania ( Australia )

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Bay of Fires Coastal hike is a short 20 miles / 33 km. walk along the shore of Mt William National Park in north-eastern Tasmania – a coast with varied beach, rocks and narrow trails. Easy walk, but remote location

Watercolor of the Bay of Fires hike with two hikers, painting by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Coastal hike along the beaches of the Bay of Fires is a 3-4 days easy hike

Research links

Wikipedia: Bay of Fires in Wikipedia

Example: tour company: Tasmanian Tour Co

Tour de Mont Blanc Trail

Hiking.org trails around the world collection – See all the hiking trails here

Hiking Mont Blanc – Highest mountain of Europe

Text and watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The hike around the highest mountain of Europe, Mont Blanc,  ( Hight 4808 m. / 15774 feet ) in the Alps, is a well-worn trail and hike that goes through both France, Italy and Switzerland and has an approx. length of 105 miles / 170km.  The hike to Mont Blanc takes around 10 Days

Best time of year to do the Tour de Mont Blanc  is between July to mid September.

Watercolor of tour de Mont Blanc, painting by Frits Ahlefeldt
Tour de Mont Blanc, 10 days hiking trail by the highest peak of Europe

Research links: 

Wikipedia: Mont Blanc

Huffington Post – Hiking Mont Blanc trail Article

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche

Hiking.org portraits of hikers – Read all Hiking.org portraits here

Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher wandering both in philosophy as in life

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche ( 1844 – 1900) was famous for his wild thoughts, long walks and fragile health. He was walking to think, writing his thoughts down in small notebooks, spending the days, when-ever his health permitted it, on foot wandering along narrow mountain trails, along lakes or through the small Italian towns, where he often stayed

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche on a mountain trail. German philosopher. Ink drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Friedrich Nietzsche spent as much time possible on the trails, walking while exploring thoughts and paths of understanding as far as he could

Walking to think

Nietzsche believed that thoughts not created on foot was not to be trusted, but it didn’t matter that much if a walker would walk in new places or along the same paths again and again – as long as thinking was done by walking, outdoors in fresh air

A lot of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche was an alternative to the classic but according to Nietzsche,  a bit one-eyed Greek philosophy after Socrates only seeing the need for Apollonian man, the ordered, rational, lawful strive, and less the need for understanding the Dionysian rebel, the mad crazy and ecstasy driven twin of order.

Both accepting and diving into order and chaos,  as a tree both heading up towards the sky and down into the soil with its roots was one of the images Nietzsche used to explain why we humans need both worlds.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Watercolor portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche by Frits Ahlefeldt
Friedrich Nietzsche – German Philosopher and wanderer ( 1844-1900) – Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

Nietzsche took thoughts to the edge and sometimes beyond, in 1889 he went further than ever before, and was seen clinging himself to a horse in Turin ( Italy), either trying to escape from, saving it or becoming one with it ( or all three) in this strange turning point of his life, where Nietzsche was said to have lost his mind, stepping over, into a world he never returned from.

Ink illustration of the Philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche clinging to a horse. Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Friedrich Nietzsche clinging to a horse in Turin in 1889

Research links:

Wikipedia on Friedrich Nietzsche

HistoryGuide.org: Nietzsche, Dionysus and Apollo

A philosophy of Walking (Book by Fredric Gros )

Appalachian Trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Appalachian Trail (USA)

Text and illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The 3500km. / 2200 miles long well-marked Appalachian trail along the east side of the USA takes around 6 months to hike and it is among the best known hiking trails in the world. Most people hike sections of the trail, but every year just below 3000 hikers hike the whole trail in one through-hike lasting around 6 months

Mostly a forest trail

The almost 100 year old Appalachian Trail is the grand old trail in the USA. It is a footpath only and  goes mostly through forests along the Appalachian mountain range on the east side of the USA.

Hikers around a shelter in a forest with the text Appalachian trail in front, Watercolor illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Appalachian trail has more than 250 shelters along the route, where hikers meet at the end of the day

Social life and volunteers on the AT make it legendary

The Appalachian trail is considered a very social trail, with more than 250 shelters, and also many small villages, huts and other places where the hikers get together in the evening, sharing stories, giving each other trail-names and helping each other. Many hike the Appalachian trail because of its added social life.  And around 4000 volunteers, organised by the AppalachianTrail.org spend 175.000 hours a year keeping the trail and facilities in good shape.

Paul's boots walks on, at the beginning of the appalachian trail. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
One of the examples of how hikers get together on the Appalachian Trail, to carry the boots of a hiker, who dreamed about hiking the AT, but didn’t make it. ( Link: Paul’s Boots )

One of the world’s most famous hiking trails

There are a number of books and films about the Appalachian trail ranging from hard-core guidebooks, to hiking stories to fiction.

One of the stories adding to the Appalachian trail’s fame most lately is book “A walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. The book was made into a film by legendary filmmaker and actor Robert Redford, also staring as the main character, together with the also famed actors Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. (YouTube link to trailer)

Research Links:

: Appalachian trail on Wikipedia  Wikipedia about the Appalachian Trail

AppalachianTrail.org  Official AT organisation: Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)

US. National Park Service about the AT ( They own 99% of the Appalachian trail land)

TheTrek.co AT Trail Website with section dedicated to Appalachian Trail

 

Camino de Santiago

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Pilgrimage trail Camino De Santiago ( St. James Way ) Spain

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

One of the world’s most busy pilgrimage and hiking trails are the 780km. / 585 miles long Camino de Santiago, ( The French way route ). The trail runs from Pyrenees at the border of France and south-west to the city Santiago de Compostela in the western Spain, this originally Catholic pilgrimage trail was one of the most important ones for Christians during the middle age. The Camino de Santiago trail continues for another optional 88 km. / 55 miles to Cape finisterre, ” The end of the World, where the sun dies, as it dives into the Atlantic every night. – or so it was believed – the Camino De Santiago is often seen as a very spiritual hike. 

 

Denmark-Coastal-Hike-Watercolor
The Shell is the official symbol of the Camino de Santiago

A system of pilgrimage trails

The classic, modern Camino hike is the 780km. / 585 walk through Spain along the French way, but the traditional pilgrim started walking from his house or where he lands in Europe and there are legs of the Camino de Santiago trail all the way up through Norway, ( connecting to the St. Olav way ) But also in Poland, UK, Greece and Portugal among other places that have their shell-marked trails, all pointing towards Spain. And especially France has a whole path network connecting to the Camino.

The path of the Milky way of Stars aboves

Nobody know exactly how old the Camino is, the place Santiago de Compostela goes back to the Roman Empire around 2000 years ago or earlier, known as the city at the end of the stars. The name might reflect that walking the path at night feels a bit like walking along the milky way of the galaxy, as a broad stripe of stars make it look a bit like a path above.

The Camino has been nick-named the Milky way in French (Voie lactée) for centuries, and a bit funny, the other way in Spain – the Milky way is sometimes called the Camino de Santiago in Spanish.

St. James – One of the 12 Diciples in Christianity 

Santiago de Compostela is a very holy place in Christianity, named after St. James the Great (Died 44 AD, More on Wikipedia). One of Jesus 12 Disciples. St. James is buried in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, according to the legend, and his grave is the end point of all the different Caminos de Santiago.

More than 250.000 hikers and pilgrims a year on the trail

The Camino De Santiago is today Europe’s most crowded and famous hiking trail, with close to 300.000 hikers walking it alone in 2016 ( according to Wikipedia) So expect to share your daily hike with around 300 – 1000 other hikers – on your stretch of the trail, depending of the month you walk. ( if you are on the traditional French way trail, like more than 60 percent of all those who walk the Camino )

The feel of the trail( s) 

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage trail, where the hikers walk through a lot of ancient places. The whole trail has been dedicated a UNESCO world heritage site and a designated EU “European Cultural Route” actually the Camino was the first of these and sparked the whole European Cultural Route movement now numbering 32 trails or more.

Camino de Santiago is an easy trail to walk, but long. it is way marked all the way and there is no need for packing heavy stuff as the trail has plenty of hotels, refugios, restaurants, super mercados, cafes  and other options for sleeping and eating in all, but the lowest, price-classes along the path. (  The French way )

Jubilee years: 2021 next year to better the odds of being forgiven all your sins

The Camino de Santiago is especially crowed every year around the birthday of St. James on the 25 of July. And in the years this date falls on a Sunday, pilgrims reaching Santiago de Compostela after walking at least 100km. / 44km. has a chance of being forgiven all their sins, getting  plenary indulgence  (click for Wikipedia details)  next time is 2121, 2027 and 2032 and then on in every jubilee year along the trail

The Camino as a EU funded development and tourist project

In 1987 a wast and very, very expensive EU tourism cultural trail project sparked new life into the Camino de Santiago trail by investing what could be more than 100 million Euro ( 120 million USD ) into marketing, wide trails, gigantic, reflective signs and the  whole infra-structure including trails and a lot of other facilities that has been build as a regional development project around the story of the trail. There is good reason to think it paid off, as more and more people walk the trails, turning unknown, forgotten places into tourist centers, attracting almost 300.000 hikers a year, many spending up to a month on the trail, with budgets around 2000 USD or more, supporting local shops, hotels, guides and crafts. The Camino de Santiago is not only a spiritual trail, it is also big business.

Authors who made the Camino famous

A number of popular writers wrote stories from their walks on the Camino De Santiago trail speeding up it’s fame, especially Paulo Coelo  – who wrote “the pilgrimage” (1987) about his walk and the actress  Shirley Maclaine who wrote her: A Journey of the Spirit  (2000) boosted the Camino de Santiago trail to the stars of spiritual walking.

Watercolor of the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage trail, painting by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Camino De Santiago, cultural pilgrimage hike ( most walk around a month) in Spain

Research Links:

Wikipedia:

Camino de Santiago on Wikipedia

The French Way on Wikipedia

European Cultural Routes

 

Torres Del Paine

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

Circuit Trail around Torres del Paine in Patagonia – Chile, South America

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, Hiking.org

The hike along the Torres del Paine W. Circuit trail in Patagonia, Chile last around 6-9 days and are approx. 130km. / 80 miles. in one of Chile’s largest and most visited national parks Torres del Paine

The Torres del Paine National Park

three tall up to 2500m. / 8,200 ft granite peaks are one of the main attractions in the huge, (181 ha / 448 Acres ) National park. The park has both glaciers, forests, lakes, waterfalls and a lot of other things that has made National Geographic call it the fifth most beautiful place on the planet. More than 250.000 visitors enter the park each year and more of half are foreigners. The Torres del Paine is on many “Must see before you die” bucket lists.

Watercolor of two hikers at Torres del paine, with the text Torres del Paine Circuit. Painting by Frits Ahlefeldt
Circuit Torres del paine hike, approx. 130 km. / 80 m. hike in Patagonia, Chile. One of the world’s most celebrated ( and remote) National parks

The Circuit del Torres del Paine trail

The Circuit Torres del pain Trail takes the hike through many of these places. But after a series of gigantic wildfires, some destroying more than 150 km2. 50 sq mi. of the fragile biodiversity in the park. As all these wildfires was started by hikers cooking or making campfires, the access to the park for visitors is now restricted to the trails and sleeping needs to be in the designated hotels, refugios or campsites. Hikers also need a permit to enter and book sleeping places, as the amount of hikers permitted on the Circuit del Torres del Paine trail a day is limited to less than 100, and the hiking season is only from approx. Sept – April.

Research links:

Wikipedia: Torres del Paine National Park on Wikipedia

Official Website ( also in English ): Parque National Torres del Paine

Flickr.com – great photos from the park: Flickr: Torres Del Paine images

Yeti adventure films YouTube: Good 6 min. reportage from hiking the TDP by Yeti Adv films

The National park is run by CONAF, Ministry of Agriculture in Chile ( conaf.cl )

 

Guides and how-to

Backpacker Steve: how to and trek description on Back-packer.org

Mountains of the Moon trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains Uganda – Africa

Text and Watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org 

The Mountains of the Moon also called the Rwenzori Mountains is an up to 5,109 meter (16,762 ft) high mountain chain between The Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in mid Africa. The Rwenzori mountains are among the highest in Africa, with Africa’s third highest peak among them. A hike to the mountains can take 8 days or more

The Trail through the Rwenzori mountains starts in the dense tropical rainforest and moves up through in all five different vegetation zones, including different types of cloud forests and to more bare landscapes, to finally reach the snow covered high mountains. Local guides works as trail-finders help hikers navigate between the camps and huts often situated at day distances along the different routes.

Watercolor illustration of hikers in the Rwenzori mountains with the text Mountains of the Moon written in front. Painting by Frits Ahlefeldt
Hiking the Rwenzori mountains is a trek through five different and biodiversity rich zones from tropical rainforest to +5000m. / 16,000ft. high peaks.

Climate change and the Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori mountains is said to have lost most of their snow cover due to climate change and just in the last hundred years the look of the high Rwenzori mountains have changed a lot as most of the snow has now disappeared. Climate experts have followed this this fragile and biodiversity rich Unesco World heritage site closely since the 1980’s to better understand how climate changes is working and what consequences it will have, not only in the Rwenzori Mountains but in the rest of the world too.

Links

Wikipedia: 

Historical info on the Mountains of the Moon on Wikipedia

The Rwenzori Mountains – Uganda on Wikipedia

Blogs

Blogs – Hikers writing about the hike to the Mountains of the Moon ( Rwenzoris Mountains)

 

YouTube:

20 minutes film from the Norwegian Adventurer Jørn Eriksson – 8 days trek in the Rwenzori Mountains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpBC610co8E

Tour and local trekking companies research: 

Research link: Rwenzori Trekking Service: Website

 

Kungsleden

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Kungsleden Hiking trail – Sweden

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Kungsledan Mountain hiking trail ( 270 miles – 440 km. ) in Northern Sweden from Abisko in North to Hemavan in South. Kungsleden trail is both open summer and winter, where it is a skiing trail.  It takes about a month to hike the whole Kungsleden Trail, but most just walk the first week.  Recommended time for hiking Kungsleden is mid-June – September ( February-April for skiing)

The feel and landscapes of Kungsleden

Kungsleden is a well-marked and very popular hiking trail almost entirely above the tree-line in Northern Sweden going through an mostly open and flat tundra landscape. The trail never reach higher than 1,150 m (3,770 ft) in altitude. The Kungsleden trail goes through a classic North Scandinavian mountain (“fjell” landscape, with wide views and panoramas. More of a challenge is the many streams and small rivers the trail cross, but there are good facilities in place in many places.

illustration of Kungsleden Sweden with two hikers crossing a wet area on wooden plank
The Kungsleden trail in Sweden goes through a classic Northern Scandinavia landscape and work has been done to get the trail across wet areas

Especially the most Northern part ( first 110km. / 70 miles ) is very popular with hikers from around the world and it is also the part of Kungsleden recommended by most.  It is also the most safe part to solo-hike, as other hikers will often be near by for help, at least in July and August.

Mountain huts along Kungsleden

Kungsleden is often mentioned as one of the famous hiking trails of the world, it is free to hike and it is also free to camp in most places. There are also small mountain huts along the trail, situated at day distances. (a bed: 60-80 USD/night/adult). It is possible to pinch a tent by the huts and use the facilities (toilets and cabin at day-time) for a smaller fee.

But even when relying on the huts for sleeping, a tent or similar is still recommended in case of emergency or bad weather, preventing one from reaching the next hut along the trail in the isolated tough cold climate of Northern Sweden.

History of Kungsleden

Kungsleden is one of the classic Scandinavian hiking trails, it is both one of the oldest, dating back to before the Second World War, and still today it is also one of the most popular ones. The name “Kungsledan” means The King’s trail, a name nobody really know why the trail was given as there was no ceremony, and the Swedish king had apparently never walked or known about it.  But the name helped make the trail more popular in the old Kingdom, and made it easier to raise money for the trail, facilities and mountain huts along the path.

Research links:

Wikipedia: Kungsleden

TrailDino – Good info and maps: Kungsleden online maps and description

Swedish Tourist Org. Owns 16 huts – little info but: here is the link

Articles: 

Practical info: Article: Aaron Teoh

Corsica Gr 20 Trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Corsica Gr. 20 Hiking trail across the French island of Corsica

The Gr. 20 is a 180km. / 118 miles long cross-island mountain hiking trail across the high, often steep and barren mountains of Corsica. Corsica is a French island in the Mediterranean sea, with a mixture of both culture and nature along the coast, but inland Corsica is wild and dominated by steep 1-2km. ( 3250-6500ft.) high mountains The hiking trail is marked all the way and sleeping can be done in the small mountain huts for hikers: “refugees” while zig-zagging the narrow paths across the mountains of Corsica. The hike takes around two weeks, but the speed record is 31 hours ( by UltraRunner Francois D’Haene )

The Gr20 Hiking trail across Corsica is part of the European “Grand Randonee” hiking trail system, one of the most well designed and elaborate hiking trails systems in the world. The way-marking, sleeping and organisation are kept to a  standard according to the GR System of Hiking Trails – alone in France are 60.000km. / 37.000 miles of Gr. hiking trails

The Gr. 20 Trail across Corsica

The Gr. 20 is considered one of the more physical challenging European mountain trails with many descents and accents. Still there are plenty of hikers on the trail and sleeping is either in the small huts ( Gite d’ etapes ) or in a tent in campground by them. Camping other places is not permitted. Food and beverages can be bought at the huts, but some people prefer to bring their own.

Gr. 20 Corsica hiking trail watercolor of trail with hikers, by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Gr. 20 Trail runs mostly in high mountains, but sometimes also in wooded valleys

Research Links

Wikipedia: Gr20 on Wikipedia

TheHikingLife.com: lots of practical info about the Gr. 20 trail

The Guardian article: Europe’s toughest Trek Gr. 20

ForHikers.com: Maps and intro to Gr. 20

TrailDino.com: Gr20 on TrailDino with maps

Blog: Gr20Corsica.Wordpress.com

Film about the Gr. 20 Corsica:

55 min. video about the Gr.20 hike by Vimeo: Red Alert

4 min. time lapse from the Gr. 20 Corsica trail by HugsforHikers

Michele Custodero

Hiking.org – people in hiking portraits:

Italian Michele Custodero Filming on the Gr.20 Corsica trail, among other places

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Hiking reportage – documentary film maker, make +50 minutes long, impressive films solo, from his hikes to the Gr 20 trail in Corsica among other places

Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
Watercolor sketch of Italian long-distance hiker and Film maker Michele Custodero

Researching the 180km. / 112 miles trail crossing the mountains of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea I came across the films and website by the Italian long-distance hiker Michele Custodero – Great films made with an minimum of equipment: check out his work here:

Links

Michele Custodero’s website about the Gr. 20: Gr20Corsica.wordpress.com

Vimeo channel: Michele Custodero Vimeo name: RedAlert on Vimeo

 

Inca Trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu –  Peru, South America 4-6 Days

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Inca Trail in the Andes Mountain range in Peru. The trail follow ancient Inca trails for part of the way to reach the famous Inca ruins from the 15th. century at the end of the trail. The Inca trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in South America. the classic hike takes the hiker through a varied landscape and last around 4-5 days. The most popular trail options are around 80km. / 50 miles long. But both shorter and longer variants of the Inca trail hike exist

The Inca trail starts at various points outside the town of Cuzco. From here the Inca trail accents to reach a maximum altitude at 4,215 m (13,829 ft), before it descents down towards the Inca ruins at Macchu Picchu at 2430m / 7970ft.  Some hikers on the Inca trail experience Altitude sickness, especially on the highest parts of the trail. So it is recommended to spend some days in Cusco before the hike to adapt to the thin air ( altitude 3200m. / 10500ft. )

A permit is needed to hike the trail and there is only a limited amount of trail permits as the access to the Inca trail is limited to 200 hikers a day. The Inca trail is closed for maintenance in February every year.

The end point – Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a mountain castle and terrace built fortress  housing up to around 750 inhabitants, temples, living quarters and a huge network of terraced garden-field. The Machu Picchu was most likely built as a mountain escape for the Inca rulers, and functioned from it was built in around 1450 and for around a century. It was abandoned around 1572  at the time when the Spanish Conquest and new European diseases like small pox reduced the Inca population dramatically and made the Inca culture collapse.

Drawing of the Macchu Picchu Inca citadel with the text Inca Trail written in red - Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
A 4-5 days trek in Peru, South America, around 80km. 50 miles along the ancient paths of the Inca culture to Machu Picchu. 15 th. century Inca mountain fortress

The Machu Picchu site is build in classic Inca style with huge solid stones, cut and put together carefully without mortar in the most impressive way, and the site is not only a UNESCO World heritage site, but also one of the main tourist attractions of South America and considered one of the “new seven wonders of the world”.

The now famous historical site of Machu Picchu was only rediscovered by the world in 1911, though it was known by the locals all the time.

Research Links:

Wikipedia:

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu on Wikipedia

Machu Picchu on Wikipedia

Other research links:

Practical info and operators / guides: IncaTrailPeru.com

Kilimanjaro Trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

Trail to Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa – Tanzania (5895 m. /  19.341 feet)

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Kilimanjaro Trek(s) takes around 7-10 days to hike it and leads up to the summit of the highest mountain of Africa: The Volcano Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There are a few different trails and around 20.000 people each year do the hike to the top of Kilimanjaro

The Kilimanjaro trek is considered a challenging hike to one of the highest mountains on Earth. And it is the African mountain challenge on the “Seven Summit challenge” to climb the highest mountain on each continent on Earth.

The thin air and the cold temperature on the top, almost 6000m. / 20.000 ft above sea-level is a large part of the challenge climbing Kilimanjaro.

Most people dying on Kilimanjaro lose their life due to altitude related diseases and only a bit more than 60% of those attempting to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro reach it.

Some adventurers with an even more challenging starting point has succeeded in climbing Kilimanjaro, including Bern Gosen in wheel chair (Bern Gosen in six days 2007 ) and Kyle Maynard without legs or hands ( Kyle Maynard unassisted 2012)

Mount Kilimanjaro with two elephants watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
The trek to the top of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa, takes around 7-10 days

Research Links:

Wikipedia: Mount Kilimanjaro on Wikipedia

 

Mount Everest Base camp Trail

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

Hiking trek to the Base camp of Mount Everest – Asia, Nepal or Tibet, Himalaya

Text and Watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

There are more than one hiking trail leading to the Mount Everest Base camp, as there are more than one Everest Base Camp. Both Nepal (South Base Camp ) and Tibet ( North Base camp ) has Base camps at different heights around Mount Everest, and in principle any camp, that function as a base for climbing the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth ( 8848 m. 19029 ft.) can be called an Everest Base camp.  Most of the hikes to Everest Base camps  heads out from either Kathmandu (Nepal) or Lhasa (Tibet)  and the hikes take approx. 15-20 days to hike in all. 

Mount Everest Basecamp Watercolor illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The trek to one of the Everest Base-camps takes around 15-20 days and is a high altitude trek in either Tibet or Nepal

Time of year to hike the Everest Base camp trek: March-May or September-November

Research Links:

Statistics on Climbing Mt. Everest incl. 2017: AlanArnette.com Everest by Numbers 2018

Wikipedia:

Mount Everest: Mount Everest on Wikipedia

Everest Base camp: Everest Base camp on Wikipedia

Examples of arranged hikes to Everest Base camp: 

National Geographic: From Nepal, Kathmandu: Everest South base camp trek

TibetTravel.org: ( From Lhasa, Tibet) : Everest North Advanced Base Camp

 

Nidaros Pilgrim’s route Trail (Norway)

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Pilgrimage path to Nidaros – Norway, Europe

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Norway has re-opened and trail-marked the around 643km. / 400 miles ancient pilgrimage path mainly going through cultural land, between the Capital Oslo and Tronheim, a major Viking town 1000 years ago. Tronheim has as their main church one of the most important Scandinavian  churches, The Nidaros Dome, the most northern Cathedral in the world and also the destination of this Scandinavian pilgrim’s route

Watercolor of the Nidaros Cathedral, dome, Norway. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
The huge Nidaros Cathedral was build 1070-1300 over the burial site of Saint Olav, a fallen viking king, that became christian, and the Nidaros Cathedral is the destination of most of the North bound Scandinavian Pilgrimage trails.

Read more about the Nidaros Cathedral on Wikipedia here

The Nidaros Pilgrim’s route is part of the European Pilgrimage network, that now also stretches through Sweden and Denmark and again connect further South, East and West through the European network of Pilgrimage trails, with places like Rome (Italy), Canterbury (England) and Santiago (Spain) , connected through Pilgrimage path, now also to the Nidaros Dome in Norway

The Norwegian locals

Today Norway is considered one of the absolute wealthiest and highest developed countries in the world. Mainly because of an gigantic income from oil in the last fifty years or so, that has been invested into the whole Norwegian society, according to the classic Scandinavian welfare system.

Many Norwegians consider themselves direct descendants from the vikings and pride themselves for their outdoor lifestyle and strong survival skills.  Survival skills in a harsh climate is a part of the Norwegian culture because for many centuries Norway was a poor coastal mountain country living mainly from fishing, mining, forestry and a bit of farming in the lover parts. Norway is a northern country with long, dark tough winters and short not always good summers.

As a result of always needing to be able to live of the land, outdoor culture in Norway is still today very strong and some very well-known explorers has been Norwegian. One of the absolute archetypes, also looking quite Norwegian is the adventurer, humanist and scientist Fridjof Nansen – becoming a zoologist, just to get a chance to be outdoors as much as possible. Looking for images of the classic Norwegian character his picture came up as the archetype of the Norwegian. And with some luck one might meet his grand kids still hiking in the mountains of Norway.

Watercolor portrait of Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen, Painting by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig
Fridjof Nansen, Norway ( 1861-1930) was a very classic Norwegian looking famous arctic explorer and scientist. He might be seen as the classic Norway outdoor type.

Read more about the long distance explorer Fridtjof Nansen, among other thing the first to lead an expedition to cross huge ice-covered Greenland. Fridjof Nansen on Wikipedia

The St. Olav Trail

the St. Olav trail is easy to hike and goes mainly through lowland and cultural parts of Norway, but it gets wilder as the trail heads north past the city of Lillehammer, around half way up. Compared with most other hiking trails of Norway ( and there is a lot )  the St. Olav Pilgrim’s way is a cultural trail, where it is most often possible to sleep in a bed and enjoy Norwegian food, culture and hospitality.

The St. Olav Way ( “Pilegrimsleden” in Norwegian ) is a hike through one of the richest, safest and best hiking countries in Europe, but also one of the most expensive ones, where a single beer costs around 10 US dollars and a simple pizza 20-30 USD.

Good thing is that in most places you can pitch your tent for free, and there is no fee on hiking the St. Olav Way in Norway 🙂

Watercolor of hiker walking along the St. Olav Way in Norway, a stone showing the trail mark beside him
The St. Olav Way is more and more becoming a network of culture hiking trails all leading up to the ancient ( begun year 1032) viking city of Tronheim, far up in Norway. The main trail is from Oslo and around 400 miles / 643km.

Research Links:

Official Norwegian trail website: The Nidaros Pilgrim’s route in Norway

Wikipedia: The Pilgrim’s Route to Nidaros on Wikipedia

Kalalau Trail – Hawaii

iking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Kalalau Hiking Trail – Hawaii, USA

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

This coastal hiking trail along the North shore of the island Kauai is only 11 miles / 18 km. long but done as a round trip most hikers do the 22 miles in 2-3 days. The Kalalau trail is considered very difficult, despite its short length

Watercolor painting of the Kalalau Coast Trail, tribal look, illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Kalalau Coast Trail, Hawaii, a short coastal hike, but considered among the best in the world

Links:

Wikipedia: Kalalau Hiking Trail Hawaii on Wikipedia

YouTube:

I Recommend this short 6:41 minutes intro to the Kalalau Trail by William Jans:

YouTube Video: Kalalau Trail by William Jans

But check out the rest of the Youtube videos about the Kalalau trail too:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kalalau+trail

 

Snowman Trek

Hiking.org focus:  Hiking trails around the world

the Snowman Trek Hiking trail ( Bhutan – Asia )

Text and Watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Snowman Trek ( +200 Miles / 320km. is considered one of the hardest main high-altitude hiking trails on the planet. The trail goes through no less than 11 passes. It takes around 20-25 days to hike the Snowman Trek and it is best hiked in a short window, in the beginning of October

Bhutan is a tiny, ancient mountain country and kingdom between India and China high up in the Himalaya mountains. There live less than a million people in Bhutan, and it is considered one of the happiest, most peaceful countries in the region.

The Snowman trail is Bhutan’s most famous hiking trail, tough to do, with most of the trail situated higher than 12000 feet / 4000 meters in altitude, going between some high peaks and along at least 9 mountain passes with long stretches of snow, but also visiting ancient monasteries, local forests and villages along the way.

Three hikers on the Snowman trail - watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Snowman Trek ( Bhutan – Himalayas ) One of the toughest high altitude hiking trails in the world
Watercolor of Paro Taktsang in Bhutan
The Paro Taktsang Buddhist Monastery (Also known as tigers Nest) is an ancient monastery situated dramatically on high cliffs in connection with a number of sacred caves. The history of the place goes back to the 8 Century

Read more about the Paro Taktsang Monastery on Wikipedia

 

Meeting the locals in Bhutan is part of the hiking experience most places in the world, here are a few research sketches around the Snowman Trek of locals:

Watercolor of Layjap woman with conical hat
there are only around 1000 left of the Layap semi-nomadic indigenous people, mostly in the village of Laya. The woman wear special conical hats and they have a quite special cultural structure.

Read more about the Layap people on Wikipedia

Bhutan woman Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
Watercolor portrait of mountain girl from Bhutan

 

Research Links: 

Wikipedia: More about Bhutan on Wikipedia

Articles:

National Geographic: Speed record on Snowman Trek

Telegraph UK: Snow-leopards on Snowman Trek

Travel descriptions from Travel agencies: 

MythicalBhutan.com:  The Snowman trek

HimalayanExpedition.com: The snowman trek tour

 

Paul Salopek

American Journalist Paul Salopek – Ultra long Out of Eden Walk

Text and illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The American journalist and ultra hiker Paul Salopek is walking and writing his way around the world on his 21.000 miles ( 33.800km.) multi year Out Of Eden walk – to document and follow in the footsteps of human migration in prehistoric times, across the planet.
The Out of Eden Walk project is supported by by National Geographic

Follow Paul Salopek’s walk and often daily writings and updates on National Geographic:

Paul Salopek – National Geographic – Out of Eden Walk

Hiking and the Common Good

Hiking as a way to relate to the Common Good

Thoughts, text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

As hikers we are both visiting and connecting to the landscapes in different ways from the way people who have the ownership to an area do. Hiking might be more about connecting like the nomads used to do. But The Common Good seems to be much more than that… today I’ve been drawing up ways to look at The Common Good, ways to look at sharing, and at wealth…

The Common Good as Defense structure against the unknown

Most communities traditionally had some kind of frame or defense structure protecting them, that worked as a membrane between the community and the surrounding environment. The ancient gigantic defense walls of some European, Asian or South American Castle cities are just a few examples. The whole community went together to build and maintain these structures, sometimes over centuries.

Drawing of a common good defense wall, a small city and gigantic waves of a storm surge
The Common Good might be seen as a defense wall and protective frame around a community –  Here against the monster of climate change

And it was much more than only a defense structure, it was also an identity barrier, defining the locals as Bourgeoisie, – people inside the castle or walls of the city, as separate from the outsiders.

Today such defense structures against other tribes has become obsolete, but a new kind of Common Good structures are becoming more and more urgent. The defense structures defending coastal cities and communities from climate change. Cities like Shanghai in China, Amsterdam or New York are designing even larger defense structures at the moment. The need to protect the Common Good is as urgent as ever.

The Common Good as foundation for rules and competion

Drawings of two sports-teams playing on the foundation of the Common Good
The Common Good as foundation for debate, competition and sports

The Common Good might also be seen as the structures that makes rules possible, frame competition and makes anything from Sportsgames to Parliaments, debate and discussions possible, by creating a shared foundation for all.

Sharing and securing the flow of resources from the Common Good

Drawing of a water dam above a small city. with the text Common Good on it.
The Common Good as control with shared resources

Shared resources and how to prioritize, maintain and optimize them has also traditionally been a part of the Common Good. All citizens had a mutual interest in securing clean water, electricity and other resources. The hydro-dam high above the small city, securing a regular supply of water throughout the year, to be used for different purposes was very important, especially before the invention of fossil fuel driven machines.

Balancing the many different needs of the Common Good

Drawing of a beaver wanting to put down a tree with an owl family in it.
The Common Good challenge of prioritizing between different interests and uses has always been difficult.

How to use and maintain the Common Good has been a challenge to most communities, throughout history. Some uses would make other uses more difficult. And most Commons are balanced between a lot of different individual and community interests, from food growing, to defense, to leisure, to climate buffer zones.

Free-riders and the Common Good

Drawing of a masked figure sneaking in to tap resources from the planet
Free-riders and unauthorized use and exploration of the Common Good is still a huge challenge

Resources are more often than not limited. Even resources we used to think was unlimited, literally as plentiful as fish in the ocean, are collapsing really fast today.

At the same time free-riders, not paying tax or giving anything back to the society is finding still more sophisticated ways to secure their own profit, using things like tax avoidance schemes, sending money forth and back to small far-away islands with the help of corrupt government officials, large banks and huge consultancy companies.

The planet’s resources are finite and we humans might face one of our most difficult challenges ever in the next few years, as we already today are using much more than the planet can supply. But how to regulate and secure global resources of the Common Good has been almost impossible for us up till now.

The Common Good and the growing gap between the Super Rich and the poor

Illustration of a golden air balloon with a few very rich people, flying high over the craving crowd
The gab between the Common Good and the privilege of the few, to fly higher and be out of reach, is seen all over the world today.

The 1% of the richest people in the world owns more than half of the resources of the planet today, and their share is only getting larger every day, according to the estimates from the last around 30 years or so. This gap between who owns what might be seen as a collapse of the Common Good into billions of very poor people on the ground and less than a hundred very, very rich people, in control of most of the technology, resources, land and values. People that has risen above any national and international law, almost like they where living in the clouds.

 

The long hoped for drip-down effect to the poor is not often seen

Drawing of a businessman with a tied up golden cloud over his umbrella, raining down money, dripping out to the poor
The Drip-down effect of economics is not very well documented, but used a lot. The challenge is that not only the channel, but even the clouds are today controlled by a few

there has been a lot of hope attached to the theory that the wealth of the few Super-rich would somehow drip down to the rest of the world. And in this way their wealth could benefit the Common Good. Unfortunately there is not much data supporting that this is what is happening today.

It seems like the theory is relying on “free clouds”, but today the clouds are anything but.

The concept of a Common Good Market

Drawing of businessmen checking out goods of the Common Good
The Common Good Market is a new concept, where the logic of monetary transactions is viewed as the underlying solid foundation, more than the interest and shared needs of a community of people

One huge change that has made the shift of ownership to the few possible, is that today the Common Good seems more to be understood as to be about how to liberate money transactions and the flow of stocks and bonds, than to be about the classic material and land-based resources, that are more stable in weight and value.

Monetary transactions and estimates fluctuate wildly in value and are also much more easy to manipulate on a global scale, especially by huge, international companies and other heavy players. The digitization of value might even have accelerated this tendency more, as huge amounts of goods and stocks can be traded around the globe in seconds today, no papers signed, humans involved or permissions needed.

Deciding who should benefit or contribute to the Common Good is difficult

Drawing of a beggar asking for money from a many headed community figure with a tall hat
As the Common Good gets more fractured it becomes harder to figure out who should benefit from it, and who should not

A traditional community will take care of its citizens and its members, but today in a globalized, digital reality, it is getting more and more difficult to define who is who in a community or society. And also who should benefit and – or contribute to the Common Good.

The Common Good when structures and knowledge become digital

Drawing of a man burning books about how to make fire, to keep warm, while a man in a library looks on from a distance
Burning the books and traditional understandings in a new digital based reality

The structures, books and logic that has kept our civilization on a steady, but maybe not optimal course for centuries, are  today being replaced by new, non-material, bits-based structures, with their own ability to think and create both their own reality, overview and priorities. All this is so new and the speed it is happening in so fast that nobody today has any clear idea what all this will mean. Either to us, to the planet or to the Common Good.

Can Hiking be a compass for re-connecting us to the Common Good?

For hundred of thousand of years we have been living together in small communities,  telling stories and wandering the planet. Hiking has not changed very much, it still has the appeal and timeless feel of connecting through being together and walking together under the stars on a small planet, flowing through deep space.  We are hard wired to live here and to make our understandings as good as we can, as we move through the landscapes.

Drawing of hikers meeting at a small shelter out in the woods.
Hiking as a compass of what it means to be human

Hiking can be a compass, re-connecting us to this reality and helping us to what being human can mean, human beyond and outside our new digital, screen-based reality. A life in a backpack is a less materialistic life, where hikers only bring the most essential for their well-being.

And it is actually a bit of a strange paradox, that the same digital revolution, that can now take care of so much, from connecting us along satellites, to updating our every breath to social media, to monitoring our well-being, and securing our health, should we fall or get lost. The same digital tools just might help us rid ourselves of the lock-down, non-nomadic lifestyles we have been forced to live since we started farming a few thousand years ago, and stopped wandering. Robots, self-driving machines and GPS controlled harvesters can now farm much better than us.

Maybe, just maybe, our smart technology, can be more than a path to a new virtual screen-based reality.

Maybe it can be a way to better help us reconnect to each other and to the planet again through a more minimalistic, nomadic lifestyle, inspired by hiking.

Story, text, drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

 

North Sea Trail

The North Sea Trail – A huge existing, but challenged 6000km / 3700 miles North European Coast Trail project

Text and watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The North Sea Trail is a huge and very ambitious Eu and local supported long distance hiking trail project following the coastline of the North Sea around between United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. At the moment the destiny of the whole North Sea Trail project is unknown, as the EU funding period and money has ended and on some distances the signs and trails are not being maintained. The official North Sea Trail website: NorthseaTrail.org has been down for an extended period of several months in 2017 and is of this writing still down but a copy can be seen here

As a large scale coastal trail project the North Sea trail is very interesting in a number of ways. What exactly is happening with the trail is not known at the moment, and its destiny likely not yet decided

Many good reasons to keep the North Sea trail alive

For hikers and for all the work that has gone into it so far, it might not be considered to difficult to re-establish the North Sea Trail. Maybe in a new version that takes into consideration the knowledge from the first version and works to make a NorthSeaTrail 2.o version.

The England CoastPath will be ready in 2020 and this long-distance trail is a very good indicator that huge coast trails can be created and it can be and the English coast path might be great inspiration for the next generation of the NorthSeaTrail

Drawing of the North Sea map in watercolor. artwork by Frits Ahlefeldt
The North Sea Trail a huge partly EU financed project with an uncertain future

Wadden Sea Trail

The Wadden Sea trail – Project for a long distance Coastal hiking trail

Text and Watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Wadden Sea Trail project is a coastal trail project for a  500 km. / 300 miles coastal hiking trail along one of the world’s largest tidal formed, wetland areas, following the coast of The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, along the North Sea, in the part called The Wadden Sea. Most hikers will spend between 2-4 weeks hiking the Wadden Sea trail, depending on physical shape and time of year 

Watercolor illustration of the high and low tide of the Wadden sea trail. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Wadden Sea landscape change continuously between high tide and low tide

The Wadden Sea is a unique and protected coastal tidal sea area of great importance for both spawning fish and migrating birds. The coastal area along the Wadden sea is a rich historical area, altered by humans for more than 1000 years. In the last few hundred years huge dyke projects have dramatically formed the landscapes at the edge of the more natural and dynamic tidal sea landscapes, shaped by the sea through thousand of years.

The Wadden Sea hiking trails follows this edge between man made and natural, in close contact with the Wadden Sea and its ever changing periods high and low tide, like the whole landscape is breathing…

Animation of the Flow of the tide along the Wadden sea on the Wadden Sea Trail, illustration in watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
Walking along the tide of the Wadden Sea it is like the landscape is breathing

The Wadden Sea is a World Heritage Under UNESCO and a very nature rich area, famous, especially for the huge amount of migrating birds that pass along this huge wetland area in the spring and autumn.

 

Read more about the Wadden Sea on: Wikipedia WaddenSea

 

Adriatic Coast Trail

Hiking.org Project for a coastal trail around the Adriatic Sea

Text and Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Hiking.org Adriatic Coast Trail Project is a project for connecting all the local coast paths around the Adriatic Sea, to a +3000 km. / 1800 miles long coastal hiking path. The Adriatic Coast trail will follow along all the countries around the Adriatic Sea: Italy, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The vision is to make it possible for long distance hikers to walk for 6-12 months.  All the way along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, visiting places, seeing the landscapes and enjoying the ancient cultures, architecture and many layers of history, that is present all around the Adriatic coastline and on most of the 1300 islands, that makes this narrow part of the Mediterranean Sea a very unique place to hike.

The Adriatic Sea trail is never really cold, but can get quite hot in summer. Countless cities, villages and harbors along the trail  makes this hike quite easy to do with little luggage

hand-drawn illustration of the Adriatic Sea with the Adriatic Coast Trail written. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
Map of Adriatic Sea – Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The Adriatic Coast Trail project is in research phase

The name: AdriaticCoastTrail.org has been reserved for the project

Baltic Coast Trail

Coast trail around the Baltic Sea project. Connecting the coastal paths around the Baltic Sea

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Baltic Coast Trail is a Hiking.org project about connecting all the local coast paths around the Baltic Sea into an +8000km. / 5000 miles long distance hiking trail, that can help to connect locals and hikers around the Baltic sea. It will be a hike that can be hiked in around a year, or as sections. For the locals it will be an all new experience to see long distance hikers. Often taking off from where they live, in one of the many cities or places along the Baltic Sea, to walk till they come back from the other side

The Baltic Sea is the world’s largest brackish water sea, with a unique, but also very challenged ecology. The Baltic Sea is situated in Northern Europe, between Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden

The Baltic Sea has a lot of rivers feeding it, and it has a fragile eco-balance with the salty Atlantic Ocean, that also lead waters into the Baltic Sea through the narrow straits of Denmark.

The coastlines around the Baltic Sea all have more or less connected coast trails today, that might make it possible to wake all around the Baltic Sea along beaches, trail and small roads, cliffs and rocky shorelines.

The Hiking.org Baltic Coast Trail project is looking at this as a future long distance hiking trail, passing through nine countries and many different landscapes and cultures

map of the baltic sea illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt, Text on the map Baltic Coast Trail
Map of the Baltic Sea Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The Baltic Sea Trail project is under concept development in 2017

The name BalticCoastTrail.org has been reserved for the Baltic Sea Trail project

Indian Ocean Trail

Project for long distance coastal hiking trail around the Indian Ocean

Text and watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean, between Africa, Asia and Australia . The Indian Ocean trail is a project to connect local / national coast paths to create one coastal trail, running all the way from South Africa and along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean, over South Asia and out to Australia. It is a walk, following in the footsteps of the first humans thousand of years ago. It is also what could be the most amazing hike of a lifetime through a lot of different cultures and local communities and traditions. A coastal hike and walk on the beach that might take around 2-3 years or more

The Indian Ocean trail will likely be more than 25.000 km. / 15.000 miles long  and countries that the hiker will pass through along the Indian Ocean coastline includes among others:

South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, United Arabian Emirates, Asia: Iran, Pakistan,India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia,Papa New Guinea and Australia

Indian Ocean map watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt, with the name Indian Ocean trail written on it
Map of Indian Ocean. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The Indian Ocean Trail idea is under development and needs funding.

The name: IndianOceanTrail.org is reserved for the project.

Pacific Coast Trail

The Pacific Coast Trail page – Coastal trails along the Pacific Ocean

Drawings and text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Pacific Ocean is the planet’s largest ocean, and along its shores are local coast paths in most countries – this is a project about getting an overview of all these coastal hiking paths to create an ultra long distance coast trail around the Pacific ocean and making it possible to walk along all the places, communities, cities and dynamic challenges and changes where the waves of the Pacific Ocean meets land.

A coastal trail can help to meet things from climate change, to pollution, erosion, endangered fish and wildlife.

Pacific Ocean Map in watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt, with the Pacific Coast Trail written on it
Map of Pacific Ocean. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The PacificCoastTrail is a hiking project about connecting national and local trails into one all encircling walk-able line of care, knowledge and respect for the world’s largest ocean – The Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Coast trail page is under development – 2017

( The name PacificCoastTrail.org reserved for the project )

Atlantic Coast Trail

The Atlantic Coast Trail – Coastal path project connecting the coast trails around the shores of the Atlantic Sea

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt – Hiking.org

The Atlantic Ocean is the world’s second largest ocean and it stretches almost from the North pole to the South Pole and back. The many local coastal trails of the Atlantic Ocean follows along the shores of Europe, Africa, South and North America. This project work to get an overview and make it possible to connect all the Atlantic coastal trails and paths into one continuous trail line all along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean

Drawn map of the Atlantic Sea with the Atlantic Coast trail written on it
Map of Atlantic Ocean. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt

The Atlantic Coast Trail project is under development ( 2017 )

The name AtlanticCoastTrail.org is reserved as project name (links to here )

Caspian Sea Trail

Project for a long distance hiking trail around the Caspian Sea

Text and images by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

A coastal trail along the shores of the Caspian Sea will be a 7000km. (4.300 miles )  hike around THE largest lake on Earth.  A hike that could take more than a year to complete

The surface of the Caspian Sea is 28 m.  below sea-level and around it are several countries:  Azerbaijan,  Iran, Kazakhstan,  Russia and Turkmenistan. The hike – if possible will be a hike through one of the oldest cultural areas on Earth, filled with stories of both living and long lost tribes and legends. But also a walk along the huge Asian steppe and in the other end along the Caucasian Mountains

The hike might either be supported from ground or from boats in the lake, having floating support, or from refugio or shelter structures on piers in the isolated and remote regions could be very unique and make this hike possible for more people.

The Caspian Sea trail is a research project under Hiking.org, to see if a continuous coastal trail around the Caspian Sea might be possible to create

Watercolor map of the Caspian Sea, with the name Caspian Sea Trail on it.
Map of Caspian Sea, in watercolor. By Frits Ahlefeldt

The project name: CaspianSeaTrail  CaspianSeaTrail.com

Mediterranean Coast Trail

The Mediterranean Coastal trail project (  10.000+km. / 6.000+ miles )

Coastal path around the Mediterranean Sea

Text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The coastline around the Mediterranean Sea is arguably one of the most intensely cultural paths on the planet. Along the shores huge empires has risen and fallen continuously, strong cultures have competed in building one of the most diverse and busy melting pots of styles, thoughts, architecture, innovations, architecture, gourmet and fashion since around 2000 BC.

The Mediterranean Sea has been one of the most important centers of human thoughts and cultures since the invention of the wheel, and the first melting of metals. Democracy was invented here, so was red wine, mathematics, western philosophy and opera.

A walk around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea is a long walk. More than 10.000 Km. is a quick estimate. A walk that will take the hiker through more than 20 countries, including: Gibraltar (United Kingdom) , Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

No official Mediterranean Coastal Trail yet

It’s a bit surprising there is yet no official coastal trail ( at least EU trail ) around the Mediterranean Sea. The closest one gets is the European Long distance trail network. By combining a number of the European Long distance footpaths it is possible to get more or less around from Spain to Greece:

The network of European Long distance Paths

Watercolor sketch map of the Mediterranean Coast Trail

watercolor map of the Mediterranean Sea by Frits Ahlefeldt

Black Sea Trail

Project for an international coast trail around the Black Sea

Text and images by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

The Black Sea coastal trail project is about connecting the coastal trails in Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine. The Black Sea Coast trail has the potential to become one of  Earth’s most spectacular and do-able long distance trails. To hike around the Black Sea could an adventure of around the 5000 – 6000 km.  ( 3000-4000 miles.) and  might take around 8-10 months all in all.  Most hikers would likely do the Black Sea Trail in sections

Today there is no overview of the coastal trails around the Black Sea, but it seems like there might already be a coastal trail, or it could be possible to create one in most places.

Read more about the Black Sea on Wikipedia

Benefits of a Coastal path around the Black Sea to the Black Sea region

Right now very few international hikers head to the Black Sea to hike, but if they did they could put the Black Sea on the map of hiking in ways that would benefit both the fast growing global community of long-distance hikers and the local communities.

The local communities in the Black Sea Region would benefit both from connecting to the hikers visiting, and also from becoming more known, more visible and more international in one of the most sustainable ways possible. At the same time would a hiking trail also strengthen the shared value of the Black Sea and better biodiversity.

Local guides, local companies and local products would gain a lot of benefits from such a trail. And also the trail might help the different countries around the Black Sea to have a common interest and goal. Connecting along the shores and waters of the Black Sea, that they all share.

Watercolor map of the black sea with black sea trail written, watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
Map of the Black Sea

The Black Sea Coast Trail project is under Hiking.org and awaiting founding

BlackSeaTrail.com is the Project Name

Climate Trails

Climate trails – can a new kind of hiking paths help us towards a more climate resilient future?

Drawings, research and study by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Research project about the challenge of climate change, extreme weather and how knowledge, design, research and cultures around hiking trails can make an important difference for our survival, on a global scale, when facing new and severe climate changes

Climate trails

The idea is to build a strong dyke like, climate defense structure, that can handle and direct extreme weather and rising sea levels in ways that at the same time also strengthen thrive on both a individual level and a community level

drawing of a coastal hiking trail
Concept for a new kind of climate change –
defense trails

 

 

Hiking with wheels project

Wheel hiking innovation project

Research and idea project by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Project about how hikers can put wheels under the gear and luggage they carry with them on the trails. Research about when it is a good idea to do this and how designs could look.  But also about what designs are already available and about the long global history of wheel hiking and how people from all over the world have developed ways to role, instead of carry their belongings

Drawing of different ways to carry luggage with wheels
Archetypes of wheel solutions for backpacks with wheels

One of the first wagons, used for a documented walk around the world (Kunst brothers from USA)

 

For a long time I have wondered if it is possible to figure out a way to avoid putting your luggage on your back when hiking in back country, on good trails, through forests and on the beach…

And for the last couple of years I have been researching and experimenting with ideas for hiking with wheels… I know, as I’ve been told many times, that any serious hiker wouldn’t even dream of dragging her/his backpack along on small wheels, like an old English lady…

But then I started to do research – and realized a lot of extreme long distance hikers actually do “roll” their backpacks along, instead of putting extra weight on their backs and knees.

I am talking about the type of hikers who walk for years, on challenges longer than most continents… when I watch images of them, I have found that many of these hikers have constructed all kind of more or less amazing wagons, to get their gear with them on their endeavors.

Here are three examples of people walking around the world with wagons for a start:

 

Kunst brothers and wagon world walk
Kunst brothers walk around the world

The Kunst brothers (USA) walk around the world 1970-1974

 

Jean Béliveau with wagon
Jean Béliveau 11 years walking around the world with chariot wagon

Jean Béliveau (Canada) World wide walk for peace and children (2000-2011)

 

Christoph Rehage with wagon
Christoph Rehage with Wagon through China

Christoph Rehage (Germany) Walk through China (2007-2008)

This project is about how far the ideas for a backpack with wheels have made it up till now (2017)

 

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