Start Hiking Today

Talk about fresh air and great scenery while getting some exercise.

Whether you are looking to clear your head, reduce stress, lose weight, or just have some fun, hiking, trekking or bushwalking may be the sport for you.

Hiking is a recreational activity that is great for your general well-being. It is economical and convenient since it doesn’t require any special equipment.  There are no rules, and as long as you are healthy and can walk, you can hike.

There is no age limit when it comes to hiking. This is an activity that can be enjoyed by toddlers and the elderly. You can hike almost anywhere provided; it’s not a prohibited area.

Brief Hiking Stats

Hiking is probably the oldest outdoor activity, it started about half a million years ago during the Stone Age when man learned how to stand upright and walk. Back then, people hiked out of necessity to hunt and gather food. The oldest hiking milestone was in 1874 when Gardiner, Grove, Knubel, Sottajev, and Walker conquered the summit of Elbrus the highest mountain in Europe. One of the most recent was when Karel Sabbe smashed the Appalachian Trail record by four days. Some of the finest hiking trails in the world include;

·      Appalachian Trail in the United States

·      Pennine Way in the United Kingdom

·      Balkans, Montenegro and Albania

·      Tahoe Rim trail in the United States

·      Camino de Santiago trail in Spain

Hiking as a Social Activity

Though some people prefer to hike by themselves, hiking can be more fun in a group. This can be your family, friends, workmates, or even a hike with your partner for some special bonding. This is a recreational activity that can improve your social skills and bonds as well as help you make new friends.

Hiking for Health

Hiking is an excellent sport for people who want to exercise and can’t afford gym membership. It is also great for those who are living a sedentary lifestyle, and want to begin working out.  The elderly can also hike comfortably, especially if they can’t engage in vigorous exercise. Hiking not only gives you a good workout, but also allows you to interact with nature, therefore, refreshing your body, mind, and soul.

Hiking Events

If you wish to hike competitively, you can enroll for the Hiking World Championships. You can also join an organization that encourages hiking for a cause. For instance, The Wilderness Society that routes for the preservation of rights of way in parkland, foot, and bridle paths. It also protects recognized natural spaces from encroachment.

To start hiking, you only need the best hiking shoes. All you need is to invest some time.

What You Need to Know to Visit The Big Almaty Lake

It is a beautiful fall morning in the mountains.

The day is warming up nicely as your taxi deposits you at the mouth of the trail. Energized by the lingering effects of the traditional sweet coffee you had at breakfast, you start your hike. Rounding the bend, the vision in front of you takes your breath away: the intense turquoise blue of Big Almaty Lake.

How to Get There

Your story begins when you visit this picturesque alpine lake located just outside of the Kazakhstan city of Almaty in the Ili-Alatau National Park. Both nature enthusiasts and Instagrammers alike flock to the site to photograph the intense hues of the reservoir that serves as its namesake city’s water supply. To get there, have the hotel arrange a taxi or use the Yandex app to schedule your own.

Things to Know

Planning ahead will make your trip much more comfortable and drama free. Some things you will want to consider:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for hiking up and down mountain terrain
  • Bring your passport in case you are stopped at a security checkpoint
  • Pack snacks and water as there are no concessions in the park
  • No swimming is allowed
  • You may need an International Driving Permit if you choose to drive yourself

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, trails leading to the Kyrgyzstan border have been closed, but many others are open to adventurers. A short hike from the lake reveals a fantastic waterfall. Pack a picnic if you’d like to spend more time on the mountain.

Safety and Security

Travel in Kazakhstan is generally safe. However, like any city in the world, travelers can be targeted by thieves. Use common sense security measures such as keeping your valuables out of sight and refraining from walking alone after dark. 

Gippsland Lakes Bioluminescence

Located in Victoria, Australia, the Gippsland Lakes are a network of connected inland waterways that stretch over 250 square miles.

The three main lakes in the network are Lake King, Lake Victoria, and Lake Wellington. Everything you could ever want to do on a lake can be done here from fishing and boating, to swimming and kayaking.

However, in 2008 something really spectacular occurred here: a bright blue bioluminescent bloom.

What is Bioluminescence?

Bioluminescence is a quite simply light created naturally in a living organism. Fireflies are an example bioluminescence found on land, however most bioluminescent organisms live in the sea or in brackish water. Bioluminescence can be found primarily in jellies, bacteria, and fish.

Curious travelers can find bioluminescent kayaking and boating tours in areas where bioluminescent algae blooms occur regularly. Kayaking is a great option for seeing bioluminescence because the rowing of the oars activates the algae, surrounding you with a brilliant blue glow. Clear kayaks are especially popular for these experiences for obvious reasons. 

Bioluminescence at Gippsland Lakes

According to the reports of travel blogger and photographer Phil Hart, in the summer of 2008 something peculiar and wonderful occurred at the Gippsland Lakes. Due to a series of events including raging brush fires and extensive flooding, a mix of soil nutrients and an excess of salt water entered the lakes. These additions created just the right conditions for the bloom, or population surge, of Noctiluca scintillans. These organisms emit a blue light that are every photographer’s dream. 

Unfortunately, bioluminescence sightings are unpredictable and the blooms at the Gippsland Lakes are no exception. An updated post by Hart revealed that the blooms had returned in 2013 but to a lesser degree than the previous blooms.

Though the lakes themselves are worth the visit, it would be best to check with local experts before planning your whole trip around a chance at seeing this rare phenomenon.