6 Iconic Hikes You Should Do Before You Die

I’ve come to realize a long time ago that hiking from a fun and healthy hobby quickly transforms into a lifestyle and once you get into it, there’s no turning back. For many people, hiking seems like too much work, when in reality it helps you understand that our everyday lives seriously need a pause button from time to time and this is one of the best ways to hit it.

Throughout the years, as my passion for hiking and trekking grew, I found myself exploring new exciting trails all over the world and a bucket list started to form. I’ve had the pleasure to witness the wild beauty that numerous hikes around the planet have to offer but somehow, the list of places I want to see only grows. Here are six of the most memorable hikes that every formidable hiker should conquer if they get the chance to do it.

1.     Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

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You’ve seen it everywhere – on posters, movies, and commercials, but still, witnessing the vastness of Grand Canyon isn’t something anyone can describe, you have to live it. Even if you’re quite new in the world of hiking, there are trails in the canyon you can try out without any fear you’ll overestimate yourself – Bright Angel Point Trail that only takes about half an hour is a good example. If you’re in for more of a challenge, then give Widforss Trail a shot and be prepared to be amazed at the variety of scenery you’ll come across. This round trip trail is 10 mi. long and it takes about six hours to explore it fully, but you will definitely have stories to tell after you come back. Don’t forget to bring your camera because one thing’s for certain – Grand Canyon has nothing if not mesmerizing views and you will definitely want to capture that.

2.     Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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I strongly believe that traveling to Africa is a life-altering experience, not just because the culture and life are so different there, but because the spirit of this continent seeps into your bones. When you become confident enough and decide to get to the highest peak of Africa, know that you will need 7-9 days for the climb, depending on which route you take, as well as your stamina and fitness. While Kilimanjaro is known as a “walk-up mountain”, you still need plenty of time to get used to different climates and ecosystems you’ll go through on your way to Uhuru Peak. You will see everything from rainforests and moorland to cultivated land and snow as you reach the summit. Wild animals, never-ending skies and pilgrimage-like feeling of the hike will stay with you long after you return to civilization.

3.     Mount Fuji, Japan

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Here’s a mountain that has inspired artists from all over the world and today it remains an incredibly famous site only 60 miles from Tokyo. This mountain is made up of three active volcanoes and surrounded by five lakes, and as you approach it, you can’t help but feel the awe. If you’ve got thirst for Japanese culture and hiking, then taking on Fuji is the best “killing two birds with one stone” moment. You can climb this sacred mountain only during July and August every year unless you want to face harsh and unwelcoming weather conditions that can easily threaten your life. Don’t take this hike for granted though, as there are some quite demanding parts, no matter which course you take. Make sure to come prepared, with plenty of hiking food and equipment, though you’ll have plenty of stops along the way, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4.     Mont Blanc in the Alps, France and Switzerland

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They say that Mont Blanc is one of the deadliest mountains in the world and many wholeheartedly agree with this notion. There’s an unyielding allure to places that are notorious for taking lives and King of the Alps is definitely one of those spots, which is why you need to be very, very prepared before you head out into this adventure. The weather is treacherous even during the hiking season from June to September, and you need to be prepared when it comes to hiking and climbing gear. Your fitness levels and agility will also be tested because the White Mountain with its peak at almost 16,000 feet will challenge you in every way possible, but the hikes that lead you through Italy, France and Switzerland will show you the sights and astonishing beauty that can’t be found anywhere else.

5.     Mount Elbrus, Russia

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The Russian Caucasus Mountains hide the highest peak of Europe in their little-explored areas and if you want to reach it, you have to hike and climb your way through Mount Elbrus first. This inactive volcano has been the dream of many ambitious hikers for decades, though more because of the glory of conquering the tallest mountain of the Old Continent. The hike in itself isn’t very difficult, especially because there’s a cable car system that works very well and will take you to 12,500 feet. From there you can take the Standard Route that is quickest and most secure and will take you to the southern slopes of Elbrus, all the way to the top. If you want to explore Elbrus and give it your best to get to the very top, going anytime from May to September is the wisest decision.

6.     Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

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Iceland has been tucked away on the edge of the world map for a very long time, but more and more tourists discover its unexpected and completely unique beauty all the time. Laugavegur Trail is one of the most popular things to in Iceland, which is why hikers from all over the world come here. This scenic trail has it all, including ice caves, hot springs and a lavish waterfall at the end of your hiking experience as a reward. Very few places on Earth have such astounding variety of landscapes on such a small distance, which is why Laugavegur is so attractive even to non-hikers. You can either camp out or book accommodation, which is quite affordable, but no matter what you decide, while you’re exploring Laugavegur Trail, you will feel like you’re in another world.

There are many other iconic hikes to talk about and only a book would suffice to write about them, but this list is a good start. Depending on your preferences and hiking experience, you can pick and choose where you want to go and make memories. The sky is not the limit, and that is never as clear as the moment you get to a mountain’s peak and reach for the clouds. – Tyler Michaelson

 

Tyler is a man of adventure. Loves spending time outside, and “luring” others to do so as well. Besides that, his main hobbies are writing, working out, photography and movie nights. He is also one of the main contributors to prosurvivalist.com.

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Discover Ghana: The Road Less Travelled

First-time travellers to Africa tend to pick the continent’s northern parts for their holiday destination. But if you truly want to experience the spirit of Africa at its finest, Ghana is probably the best place to start your explorations of this wild land. Although its tourism infrastructure is rapidly developing, Ghana has not yet earned a reputation among international globetrotters. Its holiday resorts are marked by few tourist crowds and the prices are much lower than in other more touristy African countries. Still not convinced? Here, take a quick peek at these five arguments in favor of spending your next vacation in the Ghanaian lap: you will never know just how much Africa you are missing until you give this amazing country a go!

1. The culture

Ghana is nowadays home to over 100 different ethnic groups, and the largest communities include Akan, Moshi-Dagbani, Ewe, and Ga people. Though local dialects are highly diversified, the official language in Ghana is English, so you will have no major problems haggling at the markets and finding your way around town. Ghanaians are known for their love of traditional crafts and music, so be prepared for a refreshing audio-visual cultural shock as soon as you land. Markets here are brimming with merchants selling paintings, fresh fruit, wooden statues, masks and handmade clothing, and upbeat tunes, drumming and hip life beats are flooding the streets.

2. The festivals

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Ghanaians are a merry nation and their positive mindset is reflected in the abundance of festivals that span the calendar. In January, the Rice Festival features music, dance, drumming sessions and gastronomic treats and takes place in the Volta Region. Make sure you check it out if you are travelling to the area at the time. If you prefer water-borne thrills, head over to the Elmina Region in July for theBakatue Festival and see local fishermen celebrating the beginning of the fishing season on their bright-coloured boats. Or, book your accommodation in Accra for August via one of real estate portals such as meQasa and attend the Odambea Festival which honours Ghana’s rich cultural heritage and ancient traditions.

3. The beaches

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When in Ghana, make sure you soak in the sun at one of the country’s pristine beaches such as Labadi, Kobrobite and Cocoloco. While Accra’s Labadi is an excellent sunbathing spot for beach sports lovers, Kobrobite is a better option for reggae fans, craft lovers and hippies eager to meet like-minded locals and tourists. Nature lovers should definitely pay a visit to Cocoloco for a dash of Ghanaian wildlife starring sea turtles and numerous wild bird species.

4. National parks

Although it is a relatively small country, Ghana takes pride in as many as 21 protected areas, 7 of which are national parks. Over in Western Ghana, Bia National Park is where you will find 62 different mammals and over 160 bird species. In Mole, north-west Ghana, you can hope to encounter buffaloes, elephants, hippos, crocs, baboons and colobus monkeys. For sightings of large feline predators such as leopards, try Kakum. You’ll also be able to take a daring walk across a shaky 40-meter high canopy bridge in the heart of virgin rain forest.

5. Friendly locals

Ghanaians are known for their whole-hearted hospitality, so you will soon feel like you have found long-lost relatives in this African paradise. Locals greet foreigners by a wide smile and they will do all they can to help you and teach you about their culture and history if you show interest in their ways. Don’t be surprised if you hear the word ‘oberoni’ shouted to you now and again – it means ‘foreigner’, and the person addressing you in the manner does not aim to insult you, they are only trying to strike up a conversation. Ghana is always a great destination to visit with your family.

Ghana is a true Western Africa jewel: with vibrant culture, friendly locals, colourful markets, clean beaches, impressive wildlife and a lively music scene. This country truly has everything it takes to live up to your highest vacationing standards. Are you ready for a first-hand encounter with a wild yet cordial face of Africa?

About the author

Amy Goldsmith is a business assistant from Melbourne. Her job allows her to travel a lot, which also happens to be one of her greatest passions. Find out more about her travels on Twitter.