Preparing for a hiking adventure

8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer


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Preparing for a hiking adventure

“Am I too out-of-shape for an adventure trip?” It’s the number-one question we’re asked by so many travellers inquiring about our trips.

It’s the nagging worry that especially keeps 50+ adventurers from taking the plunge on the vacation of their dreams – and that’s a shame, because anyone who loves the outdoors is a good candidate for an adventure tour.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to prepare before your trip to make it more enjoyable. A little investment in your overall fitness before you go pays big dividends in terms of what you can accomplish out on the trail.

That doesn’t mean you have to join the gym or punish yourself with a triathlon-level training regimen. There are a lot of common sense steps you can start right now to get yourself ready for the adventure of a lifetime. So if you’re a 50+ adventurer and wondering where to start, try these eight fitness tips to give yourself the confidence to achieve your personal goals.

 

1. Give yourself time to prepare.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

In general, it can take your body from three weeks to three months to really see a significant improvement in your fitness level and to respond to a change in routine. So if you’ve already booked your trip, you’d best get started now!

 

2. Focus on your cardiovascular fitness.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week for people 50+ with at least 30-minute sessions at a time.

The best aerobic activities for mature athletes are swimming, cycling, brisk walking or jogging—all of which are great preparation for an adventure like exploring Peru and Machu Picchu.

Even if you can’t get outdoors or make it to the gym, there are lots of great cardio exercises you can do at home to get your heart pumping. Jumping jacks, half-jacks, squats, leg raises, hops, and even plank-jacks are great bodyweight exercises that require no special equipment or skill.

If you’re doing a hiking adventure (like Mt. Everest perhaps), high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is particularly beneficial because it improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness and prepares your body for the bursts of strength you’ll need on your climb.

HIIT sounds more complicated than it really is – it’s simply adding a short period of more strenuous exertion into your daily walking, jogging, swimming, or biking routine. For example, if you take a 45-minute brisk walk, try to jog for 30 to 60 seconds every 5 to 10 minutes of your walk. Same if you swim or bike – add a few sprints during your usual routine.

A note of caution for you mountain adventurers: Even if you’re in pretty good shape, it’s important not to push yourself too hard at higher altitudes. Exertion is a key driver of altitude sickness.

 

3. Focus on leg strength.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

Strength training is generally a good idea for athletes of all ages, but for hikers, leg strength is essential for an enjoyable experience. Your legs are doing the bulk of the work, after all.

Lunges, squats, and calf-raises are all good exercises you can do at home. Try slowly stepping on and off a step or exercise platform, gradually increasing the height as you progress.

Setting your treadmill at a higher incline is also great preparation – or just walking up a few hills on your evening stroll.

 

4. You need a strong back to carry your pack.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

Your adventure pack and a few bottles of water are a portable gym to help you get in shape just about anywhere. Strap on your pack and practice “step ups”. This will really get your calves and back ready for the weight you’ll be carrying on a hike! Walking up and down the stairs with your pack is also great training.

Push-ups and planking with a loaded pack build up essential muscles in your core, shoulders, and upper body that you’ll need on longer hikes. Here are some good exercises you can do with your pack to strengthen your back.

 

5. Don’t neglect your core.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

Your core muscles are your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and the muscles in your pelvis and they give you balance and flexibility – and underpin just about every other physical activity you’ll do on an active adventure.

Crunches, bridges, and planks are some of the best exercises to build a strong core. You can tune up your core by sitting on an exercise ball while you read or watch TV at night; step up your core fitness game with these stability ball exercises.

 

6. Keep it balanced.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

This sounds too simple to mention, but a few minutes spent improving your balance can prevent injuries on your trip and give you more stability when you climb. Walking heel-to-toe with your arms out at your side and your eyes looking straight ahead is an easy and effective balance exercise. So is simply standing on one foot for 30-60 seconds at a time (longer if you can manage) before switching to the other foot.

Here’s a great video with some easy exercises to improve your static and dynamic balance (and you’ll need both on the trail).

 

7. Don’t forget the practice hikes.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

Now’s the time to put all those exercises to work for you with a few practice hikes. Look for places with variable terrain and elevation so you can get the feel for how your body responds to the stresses – and areas where you may want to improve.

Remember to wear your pack and toss in a few water bottles, adding more as you progress, so you get used to handling your body with a weighted pack.

The practice hikes are essential for one more extremely important reason: You’ll get a chance to break in your boots – or buy a new pair if the ones you have aren’t supporting you correctly. There’s nothing worse than hitting the trail with a pair of painful, poorly fitting boots.

Remember that new boots rarely feel great right out of the box. The lighter models may break in with just a few hikes, but some of the sturdier leather ones may take weeks to really conform to your feet. Keep that in mind if you’re considering a new pair of hikers before your trip.

 

8. Mental preparation is important, too.

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

Fear is the enemy when it comes to trying something new. Combat it with physical preparation – knowing you’re doing positive things to get your body ready for the trip.

Focus on the “why,” the personal benefit you hope to attain by completing an adventure: “I want to hike the Inca Trail because I will _______________________.” Keep that benefit firmly in mind when you’re feeling discouraged, both in your preparations and on the trail.

Finally, visualize success. See yourself standing on the vast Tibetan Plateau or hiking Grey Glacier in Patagonia. Seeing success is the first step toward achieving it.

Don’t be afraid of a little self-doubt – it happens to everyone, even the most well-prepared. But you can combat it by knowing why you’re taking an adventure tour in the first place and what success looks like to you.

Of course, a really knowledgeable and supportive trip leader can make all the difference, too.

 

Final thoughts…

You don’t have to be in the best shape of your life to have a memorable and successful adventure tour. But it helps to give yourself confidence with a little preparation before you go.

Just remember – no matter how you feel when you leave, you’ll return renewed, refreshed, and alive with a sense of accomplishment.

If you’re ready to take the next step and start planning your own active adventure, why not contact us today to talk about your travel goals?

And if you’re not ready to have a conversation, but want to know more about adventure vacations and how to plan and prepare for them, sign up for our free email course today.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination
Multi-day Hiking in New Zealand’s Backcountry, and 8 Reasons Why You Should Go Guided.

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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Weather isn’t helping, but we’re catching fish anyway!


As 2017 was drawing to a close, I had hoped that the good fishing weather we had over Christmas week would hold steady. But on Saturday, 12/30/17, when I fished with Rich Driscoll, Sr. and Rich Jr., joined by son Jack and his cousin, Sadie, sea conditions changed by about mid-day, and got progressively choppier, as the winds changed direction and picked up speed. We had made it out 22 miles from New Pass, and the group used squid and cut-bait to catch and release nearly forty red grouper shorts, along with a few puffer-fish. They had a couple of good battles with shark also, but never got them boat-side, since they broke the line before that could happen. The family boxed a few food-fish, including three keeper lane snapper, some grunts, and a porgy.

Given the choppy conditions of the previous day, despite NOAA’s predictions for two-to three foot seas offshore, I advised Mark Smith, his two young sons, Harry and Charlie, and his father-in-law, Harry Stevenson, to fish inshore in southern Estero Bay on Sunday morning, 12/31. We fished an incoming tide, and the family had good action on live shrimp. They caught nine keeper black drum to 18 inches and a 16-inch sheepshead. They released a dozen shorter sheepshead, a sand bream, and a 20-inch snook.

Chris Pammer, his ten-year-old son, Jack, and his eleven-year-old brother, Jake, fished a chilly and windy mid-morning inshore trip with me in southern Estero Bay on Thursday, 1/4. We allowed the sun to warm things up a bit before we departed at 10AM, but it remained chilly, thanks to this strong cold-front that is visiting us for a few days. The boys had fun using shrimp to catch twenty sheepshead, including four nice keepers to 16 inches. They also released a 16-inch redfish, and a few small black drum.

Friday morning, 1/5, was another chilly, windy one. Isaac Wengerd treated his eight-year-old son, Henry, and four-year-old son, Gus, to a backwater fishing trip in southern Estero Bay. The boys bundled up, and had fun using live shrimp to catch seventeen sheepshead, including five keepers ranging in size from 13 to 16 inches. They also caught a 16-inch black drum, and they released a 16-inch snook and one mangrove snapper short.

Seas were pretty rough throughout the weekend and first part of the next week. Thursday was finally calm, and long-time customer, Ron Musick, was ready for his first offshore trip of the season, joined by friends, Eddie Alfonso and Richard Arnett. The guys fished in various spots from 18 to 22 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. They boxed twenty-five grunts to 14 inches, along with five keeper lane snapper and four porgies. They released a dozen red grouper shorts.

Friday, 1/12, was a windy day, just ahead of another strong cold front headed to our area. With four-foot seas offshore, John Thomas, Matt Smith, Craig Sims and Steve McKey traded in their offshore plans for a morning of fishing in the backwaters of southern Estero Bay, where they used live shrimp to catch a conglomerate of over fifty fish. The guys were in town for a conference, and had no need for keeping fish, so they released all, including about forty sheepshead to 15 inches, nine black drum to 16 inches, and several crevalle jacks.

The photo shown below is of John Thomas with a 16-inch black drum, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay.

It was tough fishing in Estero Bay on Monday, 1/15, with the cold front having sucked the water out of the backwaters, and extreme low tides, even at their highest point. Jack Oberlin and friend, Perry, were not interested in keeping fish, since they were on a short stay at an area hotel, so, we’d planned on a catch-and-release trip. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen sheepshead to 14 inches, and that was the only species biting, so they didn’t get much variety, but at least got some action!

Another cold front arrived on the heels of the previous one, with high winds and seas accompanying it, as well as some pretty frigid temperatures for SW FL! Lokoks like conditions will normalize for the weekend, so I’m looking forward to a planned offshore trip for Saturday.

The photo shown below is of Mark Huneke with a 36-inch blacktip shark, caught on cut-bait on a recent offshore trip.

You can view our fishing action videos at http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html



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7 Survival Benefits of Cinnamon

7 Survival Benefits of Cinnamon


Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

When you hear the word cinnamon, I bet you’ll automatically think of a decadent sweet treat, but you might be surprised to know there are a number of benefits of cinnamon for survival!

Cinnamon is one of the most well-known spices around the globe, used in many recipes and drinks. But, preparing delicious desserts is not the only thing you can do with cinnamon. The next time you stock up on cinnamon in your kitchen, you might want to put some in your bug-out bag as well. Why? Well, there are a lot of benefits of cinnamon which can be practical for your survival outdoors.

1. Reduces High Blood Pressure

Reduces High Blood Pressure | Benefits Of Cinnamon For Survival


When you have hypertension, your blood pressure might shoot up while you’re outdoors. What you can do is get a cinnamon stick and add it to the food you eat or infuse it with water. Cinnamon can also help in regulating one’s blood sugar.

2. Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidant Properties | Benefits Of Cinnamon For Survival


Cinnamon contains antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and phenolic acids, which gives an anti-inflammatory effect. When you consume cinnamon, it lessens inflammation in your body, resulting in a reduced swelling. This spice can also help in repairing tissue damage and relieving muscle pains.

3. Weapon Against Infections or Viruses

Weapon Against Infections or Viruses | Benefits Of Cinnamon For Survival


There are organic compounds found in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde and eugenol which help ward off different kinds of infection. There’s a study regarding the antibacterial effect of cinnamon, stating an effective treatment for respiratory tract infections as well as greatly reducing the growth of dangerous bacteria like salmonella.

4. Keeps Teeth Healthy

You may have noticed there are toothpaste brands with cinnamon as an ingredient and you might be wondering why. Cinnamon helps in killing microflora — the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, bad breath, cavities, and mouth infections. You can simply seep cinnamon sticks in warm water, then drink it.

5. Stomach Ache Remedy

Stomach Ache Remedy | Benefits Of Cinnamon For Survival
Image via antoniodiaz/Shutterstock.com

Since cinnamon has antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it can help in keeping the stomach healthy and fight infections causing stomach ache. Just drink water infused with cinnamon for a bad case of indigestion. Doing this can also help settle your stomach when you eat a rare done meat or fish.

survival seed playing cards

6. Antibacterial Solution

Antibacterial Solution | Benefits Of Cinnamon For Survival
Image via Spanglish House

When you’re out in the wild and you forgot to take with you soap for cleansing, you can make an antibacterial solution using cinnamon and water. All you have to do is mix the two and, voila! You got yourself an antibacterial solution to fend off toxins.

7. Bug Repellent

Don’t have an insect repellent with you? No problem! This is my favorite among the benefits of cinnamon, especially when I go out camping in the woods. Cinnamon is great for repelling bugs such as mosquitoes, ants, or bees. It has a distinct scent that insects and animals don’t like, which keeps them at bay. Don’t do this trick when you’re out hunting though because you’ll probably drive away your prey.

Watch this video to know about the health benefits of cinnamon:

It’s amazing how an ingredient of your favorite dessert could save you when you’re out in the wild. With all these benefits of cinnamon, I’d surely recommend you to stock up on cinnamon sticks in your bug-out bag!

What other benefits of cinnamon do you know? Share them in the comments section below!

 

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7 surprising reasons

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination


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7 surprising reasons

Looking for a better way to spend your winter instead of staying inside all season long binge-watching Netflix? No offense to the binge-watchers out there—it certainly has its time and place! But after awhile, don’t you crave something a little more… adventurous?

Sure, you could travel to the beaches of the Caribbean, along with every other coworker in your office. Who wants to lay out on a cramped beach or wait in a long line for a cocktail?

Traveling just a little further south—south of the equator, in fact, takes you to a continent basking in the warm, golden rays of the sun, but also filled with many natural phenomena just waiting to be explored. This place is full of magnificent mountains, wondrous waterfalls, and amusing animals. Don’t believe it? Here are seven reasons why South America is the ultimate winter destination:

 

1. Escape from the bitter cold to a continent with both tropical and temperate climates.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

While those wallowing in winter in the Northern Hemisphere are freezing, South Americans at or below the equator are enjoying warm weather conditions.

Ecuador, while partially in the Northern Hemisphere, straddles the equator, giving the whole country a tropical climate year-round. It’s particularly pleasurable January through May, most of which are cool months for Europe and North America.

Just below Ecuador is Peru, known for its mountains, lakes, and Machu Picchu. November through April is considered the “wet season,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to visit. On the contrary, during these months the trails are much quieter—better to enjoy your scenic surroundings. Conservation work takes place on the Inca Trail during the month of February, but it is still possible to reach Machu Picchu and explore the magic of the ancient site.

Patagonia (made up of Argentina and Chile) is at the base of South America. Here the climate is more temperate during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months, perfect for hiking Chile’s Andes Mountains or kayaking across Argentina’s many lakes and rivers. Peak traveling season for Patagonia is January-March, but if you want to avoid the crowds while still escaping the cold, consider visiting during November or December.

 

2. While everyone back home is skiing, snorkel off the shores of the Galapagos Islands.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

You’ve heard of the Galapagos Islands, right? They make up an archipelago just off the coast of Ecuador famous for century-old tortoises and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

But these islands are more than just pieces of land in the Pacific Ocean—they are teeming with life, both flora and fauna. Want to know an amazing way to see all that these islands have to offer? Climb on a bike! Starting at the top of San Cristobal’s highest point, cycle your way down from the highland cloud forest that covers the top of the island to La Loberia, a beach home to a large sea lion colony and nursery.

Ready to get up close and personal with the cute and cuddly creatures as well as other marine life? Snorkel or scuba dive around Isla Lobos and watch the sea lions catch a meal. Afterwards, cruise to Kicker Rock to swim some more with turtles, tropical fish, and maybe even some sharks at the remains of an underwater volcano.

Want to see a volcano on land? Try hiking Sierra Negra Volcano, which rises nearly a mile above the ocean. As you ascend, the vegetation changes before your eyes from full flora to a barren lunar-like landscape. Its caldera is one of the largest in the world—seven miles wide! Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to see Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches, and flycatchers in this region.

These are just some highlights of the many ways to explore the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip island-hopping, something that only a handful of people will ever have the chance to do.

 

3. Explore beautiful mountain ranges without all of the ice and snow.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

Sure, you will see some snow-capped mountains while hiking in Peru, but thankfully the snow stops at approximately 4,500 meters in mountain ranges close to the equator, allowing for exceptional exploration! Start your journey in the ancient Incan city of Cuzco (not to be confused with a certain grooving emperor) in the Andes Mountains. Make your way to Sacsayhuamán (meaning House of the Sun) fortress, an awe-inspiring archaeological site that represents a set of jaguar’s teeth. Each massive “tooth” is perfectly fitted and can weight up to 130 tons.

If the idea of exploring Sacsayhuamán is enticing, just wait until you hike to Machu Picchu. This centuries-old Incan city is mind-blowingly advanced for its age. How and why did they build the tall walls and carve the magnificent terraces and ramps? It’s a mystery we’ll probably never know the answer to, but part of the fun when exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

Can’t imagine going all the way to South America without seeing the Amazon rainforest? Well, forest fans—rejoice! The Amazon Jungle extends into Peru, providing perfect wildlife viewing for any adventurer. Motorized canoes glide you down the Tambopata River, one of the many headwaters of the Amazon, into the forest basin. Tropical birds like the macaw fly overhead through the canopy as howler monkeys fill the air with their call. The diverse flora includes many medicinal plants. There truly is no place like it anywhere else on earth.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a visit to Peru without kayaking on Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and the highest in the world that is still navigable. The lake’s colour is a deep blue unlike any water you’ll have ever seen. Make your way across the immense body of water to Capachica Peninsula, then hug the shore line, grazed by sheep and shadowed by ancient remnant agricultural terraces. For those seeking a more thrilling vacation, consider all that Peru has to offer.

 

4. You don’t have to travel to Antarctica (or be freezing!) to hang with penguins.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

At the bottom of South America lies a completely different land than that of Ecuador or Peru. This is Patagonia, a vast area of land that starts in the plains of Argentina and moves to the mountains of Chile, finally reaching the edge of the world.

What’s a better way to start your trip than with a visit to Magdalena Island, home not to humans, but to Magellanic penguins. Hike across the island, exploring all the nooks and crannies. Cameras are essential for this hike—you don’t want to miss out on capturing the tuxedo-wearing bird and other wildlife!

Hiking continues for a special trek, the legendary four-day “W” hike! This journey inside Torres del Paine National Park takes you across granite peaks, snow-clad mountains, glacial lakes, and the thick Magellanic forest. On the first day of your hike, you’ll come across the stunning Torres del Paine (that’s ‘Towers of Blue’)—three monstrous mountain peaks rising to a height of 3,000 feet and thought to be the highest natural cliff faces in the world. These natural wonders are breathtaking.

After completing the “W” trek, give your legs a rest and let your arms do some work. Kayak across Grey Lake, known for its grand glaciers and immense icebergs.

If cycling is more your speed, you’re in luck, Argentina’s landscape provides a better terrain for bikes. Ride through the valley basin of River de las Vueltas, viewing river vistas and waterfalls along the way.

 

5. Even kiddos need to “get away” sometimes!

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

These days, it’s more important than ever to get kids outdoors and spend time with their families. With all of the distractions in our lives—from technology to school work to work projects—it can be hard to find enough time to bond with our loved ones.

Want the chance to get away as a family? Embark on a family-friendly adventure to Peru! Together you’ll journey through the Amazon rainforest with some incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. You might spot a capybara, or macaws perched atop the river banks or hear the howls of troops of howler monkeys from the tropical forest canopies above. Hike to Las Salineras and learn about salt production, and explore the ancient Incan cities of Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

What could be better than a vacation that gets the kids active, and also educates them? Not to mention, it’s a ton of fun!

 

6. Heat things up while visiting Ecuador’s volcanoes and hot springs.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

Maybe you like the idea of adding some rest and relaxation into your adventurous trip? Ecuador is the place for you.

Begin your trip at a ranch on Cotopaxi, learning about Ecuadorian farm life. Try your hand at milking cows, take in the serene scenery surrounding the ranch, or just curl up with a good book that you’ve been meaning to read.

The next day, pick up the pace as you cycle down Cotopaxi, which, by the way, happens to also be a volcano. The views on your way down are unparalleled—the Valley of Volcanoes provides vistas unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

Ready for a hike? After traveling into the heart of Ecuador’s rainforest, you’ll find yourself hiking through waterfalls, making your way to the Papallacta highlands and cooling yourself off at the same time. At the end of your day, soak in a steaming hot spring that is right outside your lodging for the night.

At the end of your trip, fly out of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. But before you leave, consider enjoying some free time in this historical mountain city.

 

7. Biking is way more fun when you’re under the golden sun!

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

Want the best of both Peru and Ecuador? You got it! Enjoy seeing highlights from both countries as well as island-hopping around the Galapagos Islands.

An important part of any trip abroad is to take in the culture around you. One of the best ways to get up close and personal with the locals is via bike. While in Peru, cycle through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the once great civilization of the Andes Mountains before they were conquered by the Spanish. Speaking of the Andes, did you know they stretch all the way from Venezuela to Chile, making them the longest mountain chain on land?

7 Surprising Reasons South America Is the Ultimate Winter Destination

On your cycling excursion, ride through breathtaking scenery, dotted with local villages and surrounded by the massive, green slopes of the Andes. Finish your ride at the small town of Pisac, a typical Peruvian village. A must-see is the colorful mercado artesanal, a fresh market full of local fruits and vegetables.

Finish your time in Peru with visits to Machu Picchu and Cuzco before departing for Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are just a plane ride away and will enthrall you with their lush vegetation, diverse marine life, and peculiar land animals.

 

Quiero visitar América del Sur? Want to visit South America?

Your South American winter adventure is waiting for you. Don’t have the same old winter holiday as everyone else—embark on a journey that both challenges you and feeds your soul. Get in touch today to see how easy it is to plan the winter trip of your dreams, or sign up for our free email course if you’d like to know more about adventure travel in South America.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary
Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Cleaning Fish For Frying & Sashimi!


Cleaning Fish For Frying & Sashimi!

Today i got a call from my buddy Dustin Jed. He had to much fish & wanted to know if i wanted some? First time in years that someone offered me fish. Been giving my fish away to friends & family plus the homeless for years. So i went over & Dustin gave me 2 Trevally, 3 Mackerel Scads & slabs of Tuna. Wahoo! Time to fry fish & dine on sashimi logs.

I’m not a cooking kitchen type kinda guy but thought i’d show how i clean my catch. Been awhile since i give most of my kept fish away for years. I tend to leave the skin on the smaller fish so i scale them because i like fried crispy skin, like my chicken. Also helps to keep the fish fresher.

Note that i mostly use my kitchen shears to clean fish over my fillet knife. And i scale my fish with a scaler that catches the scales (also i scale fish outside the house). I only use my fillet knife for larger sized fish. And i use thick freezer bags to store my fish in. If the fish has long sharp spines then you should cut the spines off during cleaning.

Today i was forced to clean fish at home. I really try not to let fresh water touch a exposed fish fillet, rather salt water from the ocean is better. If you just want to fillet the fish then don’t bother scaling it. For smaller species using a good kitchen shears over a fillet knife leads to less painful accidents. If a knife is needed please be sure it’s sharp.

And lastly instead of buying ice i use used frozen water bottles. I re-fill the bottle slightly less then the original level was which allows the expanding ice more room to solidify without busting the bottle. Cheap alternative to buying ice. I then add salt water when i have fish to create a brine that is much colder then the ice itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJGcv8dLu0c



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6 Adaptogenic Herbs to Relieve Stress in the Wilderness

6 Adaptogenic Herbs to Relieve Stress in the Wilderness


Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

When you’re in the wild and encountering a lot of stress or fatigue, you should consider taking adaptogenic herbs. You might find these herbs in nature, and they could very well save your life.

Adaptogenic Herbs: Relieve Stress and Fatigue Naturally

Stress crops up in many situations, not only when you’re out in the wilderness, but also in your everyday life. You can be stressed about your to-do list, or relationships, or issues at work. This is when adaptogens come in. Adaptogens are natural substances known to empower the hormonal response of your body to stress. Adaptogens can be commonly found in the herbs around you.

1. Asian Ginseng

Asian Ginseng | Adaptogenic Herbs You Can Use In The Wild For Survival


Also known as Panax Ginseng, Asian ginseng is used as traditional medicine for ages because of its health benefits. It has antioxidant properties that could help in strengthening and restoration of the immune responses of the body system. However, this is not recommended for pregnant women and children.

2. Eleuthero

Eleuthero is a shrub common in Northeastern Asia. It is known as the “King of the Adaptogens”. Chinese people have traditionally used this as an herbal medicine for muscle spasm, joint pain, and fatigue. It helps the body to adapt to stress and makes the body’s response to stress more effectual. Additionally, eleuthero enhances your memory and keeps you focused when under pressure.

3. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is also referred to as Indian Ginseng. It is a shrub that has yellow flowers and circular leaves. This adaptogenic herb strengthens stamina and increases energy. Ashwagandha is also used as an ayurvedic medicine, intensifying the functions of the adrenal and endocrine gland which actively responds to stress.

4. Rosemary

Rosemary | Adaptogenic Herbs You Can Use In The Wild For Survival


Rosemary is a fragrant plant having spike-like leaves and purple flowers. This herb is usually used in cooking. In addition, rosemary also increases the activity of the hormonal responses of the body. It supports some organs of the body like the heart, liver, and most of the digestive system, which can improve one’s mood and boost memory.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera | Adaptogenic Herbs You Can Use In The Wild For Survival


Aloe Vera is traditionally cultivated as a medicinal plant in many countries. Some apply it to their hair for extra shine and smoothness, while others use it to boost their immune system and adrenal health. Another reason why you should consider taking aloe vera is that it increases diffusion of oxygen into the blood stream through the blood cells, relieving stress.

6. Bacopa

Bacopa is a creeping herb common in wetlands. It is known to reduce anxiety and induce memory functions of the brain to keep you sane in the most stressed moments. Additionally, bacopa helps in keeping you focused, thus, reducing stress tendencies.

To learn more about adaptogenic herbs, watch this video:

Adaptogenic herbs contain adaptogens that bring balance to the regulatory functions of the adrenal system which in turn reduce stress and anxiety tendencies of a person. These adaptogens could be added to your daily intake of food. However, it is best to hear advice from medical practitioners, especially for pregnant women and children. You can always ask professionals or research on your own about what adaptogen fits your body’s needs.

What other adaptogenic herbs do you know? Share them in the comments section below!

 

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14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary


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Patagonia

So you like to be active, huh? That’s totally cool with us. In fact, our new tour features the best of the best when it comes to an active vacation—hiking volcanoes and kayaking fiords—and you may just see some really amazing things along the way.

Here’s the perfect itinerary for 14 days in Patagonia for all of the ultimate explorers out there:

 

Day 1: Get your bearings in Bariloche with an authentic Patagonian meal.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

We all know travelling takes a lot out of you. One of the best jet lag cures? Food! And you’re going to love Patagonian cuisine.

Your arrival to Bariloche brings you to the chocolate capital of Argentina. Artisan chocolate shops line the streets, beckoning you inside. And why not? You’re about to spend two weeks on the move—live a little!

Dinner tonight features a typical Patagonian meal. Entrees include beef, spit roast lamb, trout, king crab, and wild boar. Served alongside your meats are potatoes, breads, and cheeses. All of the foods come from the surrounding landscapes, from the glacial rivers (trout) to the dense forests (wild boar) to the Atlantic Ocean (king crab).

 

Day 2: Warm up your hiking legs with a trek to Cerro Llao Llao and cool off with a dip at Playa Tacul.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

It’s your first official day on the trail! And what better way to spend it than amongst the lakes and peaks of Patagonia. Cerro Llao Llao sits in the midst of three different lakes, all of which can be seen from the top of your hike. Popping up in the distance are the tops of Cerro Lopez and Cerro Capilla.

Wind your way through a wooded trail to the top for a mid-morning tea break, a very “Patagonian” thing to do! After finishing your tea (or maybe mate!), descend Cerro Llao Llao to lake-level. Here you can walk the sandy shores of Playa Tacul or even jump into the crystal clear and clean waters of the lake. No matter how you choose to spend your time, you are sure to love the lago (that’s Spanish for lake!).

 

Day 3: Get your heart pumping with a brisk climb to Cerro Bella Vista—you won’t believe the views.

It’s day three in Argentina, and you may be feeling one of two ways: Completely ready for the next adventure or exhausted as your body is still trying to adjust to Patagonian life. The good news is you get to choose how you want to spend your day!

For those ready to hit today’s Patagonian path, head to Cerro Bella, which literally means “beautiful views.” You’re going to want to make sure you have your camera and/or smartphone for this one. Binoculars wouldn’t hurt, either.

It’s quite a trek to the top, with a heart-pumping ascent above the treeline, but it’s well worth it for 360 degree views of the myriad lakes and crowded horizon line of huge peaks.

If you’d rather spend the day exploring Bariloche and its surroundings, that’s completely fine too! Who wouldn’t want to sample the rich and smooth chocolate the town is known for? Or maybe do some souvenir shopping?

 

Day 4: Hike the “Road of the Seven Lakes” to Cerro Falkner and panoramic views of Argentina’s Lake District.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

If you signed up for spectacular sights, today is the day for you. Your journey today takes you through the “Road of the Seven Lakes” to Cerro Falkner. The trail twists and turns through lush forests, by cool-blue lakes, and past wondrous waterfalls. Feel free to take a dip in the water if you’re feeling so inclined!

Soon, the base of Cerro Falkner emerges ahead, and you’re ready to begin your climb to the top. The trees you pass are coihue and ñire, the latter of which is the southernmost tree on earth as it was found on Hoste Island. Once you reach the tip of the mountain, you’ll be happy for every step you took on the way up. Marvel at all seven of the lakes from a bird’s eye view, it’s just amazing.

 

Day 5: Enter the “Ring of Fire” with a trek up the south face of Volcan Lanin.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

If you can’t stop singing a certain Johnny Cash tune right now, no one will blame you. That’s right, we’re headed into the “Ring of Fire.”

Volcan Lanin straddles the border of Argentina and Chile and has two National Parks on its slopes (one for each country). The wild woods of the mountain enhance your hike. Lookout for the peculiar Pehuén, or monkey puzzle tree.

As you encounter the volcano’s snowline, you might think you’ve gone “North of The Wall” as snow exists year-round here. Mountains upon mountains go as far as the eye can see, creating a breathtaking backdrop.

 

Day 6: Immerse yourself in the Chilean rainforest at the Huilo Huilo Reserve.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

After one last Argentine ascent (the red-hued Cerro Colorado), you’re on your way to Chile. Once over the border (that’s another stamp to your passport!), board a ferry on Lago Pirihueico for a ride to Huilo Huilo Reserve.

This private, biological reserve is 600 square kilometers of Chilean temperate rainforest. There’s a high amount of precipitation here and relatively warm temperatures during the summer. Wildlife enthusiasts will be in Patagonian paradise. There are 81 known species of bird throughout the forest as well as the phantom puma — we say phantom because you will most likely never see the big cat due to its timid and nocturnal nature.

Here you’ll never be far from the local flora as your hotel is literally shaped like a mushroom. Reino Fungi Hotel pays architectural homage to the fungi found in the forests near the lodging. Enjoy a house-brewed beer as a nightcap before getting a good night’s rest. Tomorrow has a lot in store!

 

Day 7: Explore the Valdivian forest and waterfalls along the Fuy River.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary
© Marcos Escalier

We won’t have to go too far for our hike today. The Fuy River and Valdivian forest are practically on our doorstep. As you wander through today’s trail you’ll feel as if you’re in a fairytale. Songbirds serenade you from the treetops, and picture perfect waterfalls break up the many tributaries.

While these sights are amazing, you can choose instead to have a relaxing day at the hotel, if you’d prefer. Soak up the sun with lakeside views and a coffee or hot chocolate. Or perhaps you’d rather soak yourself in the lodge’s hot pools. Whatever your fancy, you can’t go wrong at our friendly, fungi inn.

 

Day 8: Raft the Petrohue River past four magnificent volcanoes. [Free day option]

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary
© amira_a

Welcome to Puerto Varas! There are so many options for you to consider today, but no matter which you choose, you’re going to have a blast. It’s a free day in this Chilean town, but that doesn’t mean there is no adventure to be had.

A great way to spend your afternoon is rafting the rapids of Petrohue River. As you navigate through the white and wild waters, be sure to look up at the four vast volcanoes that line the river.

Cyclists will appreciate the opportunity to show off their skills at the Osorno Volcano pump track. And of course, you can always choose to stay within town limits for shopping, sightseeing, and sampling of local cuisine.

 

Day 9: Check out the Chilean fiords and hike Hornopirén National Park.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

On the Chilean coast is the village of Hornopirén, its name derives from the nearby volcano and means “snow oven.” No matter where you look, the views are outstanding. The Andes Mountains are dissected by the Chilean fiords, and glaciers cover their slopes.

Lunch at the local market brings you closer to understanding the Chilean culture. Try a fresh catch of Merluza or Congrio (Southern Hake and Conger Eel) or grab one of the many colorful fruits and vegetables.

Bellies full, it’s time to get inside Hornopirén National Park, renowned for its mountains, glaciers, and volcanoes all packed into a relatively small area. Animal lovers will also love the wide variety of fauna residing in the untouched temperate forest. A ferry ride to Llancahue Island takes you home for the night.

 

Day 10: Soak in the hot springs at Cahuelmo Fiord.

It’s your 10th day in Patagonia. You’ve seen some incredible sights, but you might be feeling in need of a “pick me up.” The hot springs of Cahuelmo Fiord will do just the trick. The springs are located inside Parque Pumalín, created by the late American entrepreneur and ecologist Douglas Tompkins, founder of The North Face.

One of the things that makes this park so unique is the way in which the local economy thrives alongside conservation. Within the park you’ll find small organic farms with activities such as animal husbandry, cheese making, ecotourism, wool handicrafts, and honey production.
Beginning with a short boat ride on Quintupeu Fiord, you’ll see wonderful waterfalls and granite peaks. The azure waters of the fiord are met with the steep, emerald forested walls of the Andes.

Following up the spectacular scenery will be spectacular springs. In the temperate rainforest lies Cahuelmo Fiord, which produces relaxing hot springs just waiting to be lounged in. Let any tension in your body flow out into the warm waters. There’s no better way to end your day than with a reflective soak in the hot springs.

 

Day 11: Kayak where fresh and saltwater meet—and maybe meet some friends along the way.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

Water-lovers will enjoy getting on tandem kayaks on the Reloncavi Fiord. Kayaking is the best way to see the snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and even certain sea-friends (sea lions and dolphins might just swim by!).

After disembarking from your kayak, lunch will be a special treat at a locally owned farm for an authentic asado (lamb barbecue). Meet the Yolanda family, who have been living on the banks of the fiord for three generations. Chatting with the Yolanda’s will allow you to fully embrace Chilean culture and understand the Andean way of life.

 

Day 12: Test your limits on a trek to Desolation Pass on Osorno Volcano—the views are absolutely worth it.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

Hiking Osorno Volcano takes you through many different kinds of landscapes. First, your trek will begin on a lunar landscape—rocky and desolate of any vegetation. As you climb further up the slopes, lush woods emerge, bringing you back down to earth. Finally, as you ascend to the top (known as Desolation Pass), the stunning skyline comes into view. Below is Lago Todos Los Santos, it’s crystal clear waters reflecting the surrounding sights.

Back at your home-away-from-home for the night is a hearty meal complete with a glass of red wine. If you’re looking for more than a libation to relax, try lounging in the wood-fired hot tubs.

 

Day 13: Take a catamaran cruise across Lagos Todos los Santos before crossing the Andes into Argentina.

It’s your last full day in Patagonia. Take a minute and soak in your surroundings. Got them locked in your memory? Okay, here we go…

Today’s travels begin on Cruce Andino, or the lakes route. Cruise on a catamaran over Lago Todos los Santos towards your lunch in Peulla. Then, it’s time to get back to Argentina, but not before a dramatic crossing over the Andes Mountains.

On the other side are even more lakes just waiting to glide you across their mirror-like surfaces. A boat ride, bus ride, and catamaran cruise later and you’re back at Bariloche, where this journey began.

 

Day 14: Celebrate your Patagonia adventure with a farewell tour of Bariloche.

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

Before departing the paradise of Patagonia, be sure to get in some last minute activities in Bariloche. Fill up on a festive Argentine feast with your new found friends, before heading to the airport. Do some last minute shopping for souvenirs to take home to loved ones (postcards are great for remembering your favorite sites!). Delight yourself with some delectable desserts in the corner chocolate shops or take one last stroll around the city for beautiful, Swiss-style architecture.

As you board your flight, headed home, reflect on the last two weeks. Maybe you like to journal. Maybe you have a blog of your explorations. Perhaps pictures on your phone are the best way to remember the good times you’ve had. Adios, Argentina! It was fun.

 

Want to get active in Patagonia?

Between the sights, activities, food, and people, you can’t go wrong with an adventure in Patagonia. Click here to start planning the adventure of a lifetime. Or, if you aren’t quite ready to book but would love more information about this tour, sign up for our free email series.

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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Spoprt fishing Topshotfishing Happy Day Today Sailfish


Fort Lauderdale Fishing with Top Shot Sportfishing Charter Boat and Capt. Zsak

Felipe Lahersseai and sons Felipe, Mikel, Manuel, Ricardo and Luis chartered the Top Shot Sportfishing charter boat team to do some, deep-sea charter boat sport fishing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Conditions for the day were cloudy skies with the wind direction out of the east and the seas were 3 to 5 feet with temperatures in the mid 70’s.

We started out the morning trolling in 150 ft. of water with four surface Ballyhoo baits and two deep plainer lines fishing the reef area. We trolled up and down the reef from deeper waters into shallower waters, trying to find fish going over rock structures, reef and wreck structures. I made a turn offshore north of Fort Lauderdale and went out to deeper waters, hoping to find indicators that fish were around, such as birds, floating boards or a weed line. While heading offshore, I spotted a few birds diving, so I trolled our baits over to that spot, As soon as we passed the birds, two lines came down, and we had double header Mahi Mahi’s on the line. The boys grabbed the rods and started fighting the Mahi Mahi’s. The Mahi’s fought hard, pulling drag out and swimming back and forth, jumping and sounding. The boys did a good job and brought the Mahi’s to the back of the transom, where our mate, Marc, gaffed the fish and put them in the fish box.

We went back to trolling and continued searching the area. I headed towards even deeper waters, got out to 500 feet and found a rip line. While working the rip lines, I saw a school of flying fish get out of the water. Two of our rigger lines came down, and two Sailfish were on. Both of the Sailfish jumped out of the water showing their magnificent colors and tail-walking. One of the Sailfish came off the hook, but we still had the other one on. Luis was the angler, and did a great job, fighting the Sailfish. He managed to bring the Sailfish along the side of the boat for picture taking, and the Sailfish was released to fight another day. We went back to trolling the area and worked the rip line for the remainder of the trip with no more bites.

It was now time to head back to the dock. The anglers retired into the a/c salon and enjoyed the relaxing trip back to the dock at Bahia Bar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 33316.

For a successful and adventurous deep sea fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale FL for Sailfish, Shark, Bonito, Mackerel, Swordfish, Snapper, Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Grouper, contact Captain Zsak. – 954-309-7457 or email us at tzsak@bellsouth.net Website: www.topshotfishing.com.



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How to Make a Hammock in The Rainforest

How to Make a Hammock in The Rainforest


Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Knowing how to make a hammock is an important survival skill, whether you’re out there exploring a rainforest or trying to live through a natural disaster. Learn how to make a hammock or at least set up one in this post!

Survival Shelter: How To Make A Hammock

A good ‘ole hammock is your best friend while you’re in the rainforest camping, backpacking, or, in a worst-case scenario, trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Just hang it on tree trunks and tree top branches and you’ll have a decent survival shelter off ground. Boost your survival skills by learning how to make a hammock or at least set up one. Read on and enjoy!

Setting Up The Hammock

Gear up.

Make sure you have the complete gear before you venture out into the rainforest. To set up a hammock between trees, you would need a static rope, dynamic rope, polyester webbing straps, locking carabiner, throw line, harness, belay device, and of course, a hammock. Take note, these things must be durable enough to support your weight.

Find solid trees.

Scout the area for solid, sturdy trees. Hammocks are ‘traditionally’ hung between two trees, which are around 12 to 15 feet apart. Sometimes, depending on the style of your hammock, you would need three trees. But you can also set your hammock on just one tree if it is solid enough and has strong branches.

Do the climb.

You don’t need to climb a tree if you’re thinking of setting the hammock just a little bit off the ground. But there are risks when you sleep in a rainforest and hanging your hammock on treetops is one way to avoid them. To ascend tall trees properly and safely, you would need to learn some climbing techniques first—like how to rig a tree and how to use the throw line.

Wrap protective straps around the trees.

The trees’ health is affected when you use them to hang your hammock. To lessen friction and prevent any other kind of damage to the trees, you need to wrap their trunk or branches with protective straps. You can even use sticks between the trees’ surface and the straps to avoid further friction.

Attach hammock rope to the straps.

After placing protective straps on the tree’s surface, you can tie or attach the hammock rope to the webbing straps. Sometimes, you only need an S hook to connect the tree straps and the hammock’s ropes. But if you set up your hammock on treetops, you must use strong knots and good quality carabiners to secure the hammock.

Secure the perfect sag.

Secure the perfect sag. | How To Make A Hammock In The Rainforest | Survival Life Tips

Test the hammock and adjust it until you’re comfortable. A 30-degree angle from the hammock rope to the tree is a pretty comfortable sag. When a hammock is hung too tightly, it becomes unstable. You would want to secure a deeper sag to decrease your chances of falling off the hammock.

Add tarp.

Protect yourself from rain, debris, and cold by placing a tarp over your hammock. Just simply add a ridge line by tying a rope on one end of the hammock to the other end. Then you pitch the tarp by hanging it on the ridgeline.

How To Make The Hammock

Use canvas.

Canvas, a very durable fabric, is popularly used to make sails and has also been used by sailors to make hammocks. That’s why hammocks made from canvas are called naval hammocks. Making a naval hammock is not an overly complicated process and would be a relatively easy DIY project.

Use ripstop nylon.

Good quality ripstop nylon is a pretty durable fabric as well and makes a good material to create a hammock. Actually, it has been used to make much of the camping gear sold in stores. What’s great about this fabric is its resistance to tearing. Even if the fabric does get ripped, the tear would not spread easily.

Use ropes or paracords.

Rope hammocks are more suitable for a warmer climate. They take longer to make, especially for beginners. But if you want to channel your creativity in making a hammock, this project would be great for you.

Watch this DD Hammocks video to learn more about hammocks:

If you have spare time, learn how to make a hammock. It’s more than just a DIY project and a hobby. You’re basically cultivating a skill which may come in handy any day during your lifetime.

Do you know how to make a hammock? Is there something you can add to this post? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us by writing a comment below!

 

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Female hiker walking a New Zealand Great Walk with forested mountains in the background

Celebrate Like A Kiwi – Hike New Zealand’s Milford Track this Christmas


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Female hiker walking a New Zealand Great Walk with forested mountains in the background

Anyone living in the northern hemisphere will be familiar with the term ‘white Christmas’… but have you ever heard of a ‘golden sand Christmas’? Or a ‘lush green rain forest Christmas’? Maybe a ‘glass of wine as you’re sun baking beside a lake, high in the Southern Alps Christmas’? Ok, we’re getting carried away now, but what an amazing idea – a Southern Hemisphere Christmas!

Summer solstice lands on December 22nd in New Zealand this year, so during the Christmas/New Year period our days are the longest, warmest, and it’s the perfect time to be exploring the great Kiwi countryside. This also means it’s the most popular time to visit New Zealand, but I’m here to tell you that the crowds don’t matter – if you choose your trip wisely.

Most Christmas travellers from the Northern Hemisphere will have 2 or 3 weeks of vacation time, and the most popular way to spend that time is 1 week on the North Island, and 2 weeks on the South Island. Along the way you’ll want to hit a few beaches, visit a few wineries, get off the beaten track to check out a few local hiking and biking trails, and most importantly; hike a handful of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Of the 9 Great Walks, the Milford Track is without a doubt the most famous, and for many travellers it’s the single most important reason for choosing to travel to New Zealand.

Female hiker on the Routeburn Track guided walk

The Milford Track is one of the longest established and best-known walking tracks in the country. It starts on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau and crosses McKinnon Pass to Milford Sound, taking in glacial peaks, a mountain pass, New Zealand’s highest waterfall and the dense rain forest of the West Coast. Some hikers choose to hike the Milford Track in its entirety on a guided walk, or take a day walk on it, along with a handful of other Great Walks nearby.

Fiordland National Park is home to 3 of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks; the Milford Track, the Routeburn Track and the Kepler Track. All of which are a short drive from one another, but all 3 of these Great Walks have very distinct personalities, and the scenery you’ll experience on each trail clearly distinguishes it from the others, meaning that day hikers can absorb a greater variety of countryside, in the same time as others hike one trail in its entirety.

For those keen hikers looking to complete the Milford Track in its entirety, it’s possible to hike the track solo, or as part of a guided group. The Department of Conservation has placed a limit on the number of hikers using the track to prevent overcrowding and excessive damage to the trail – so with only 40 independent hikers allowed on the trail each day, and Christmas hiking passes selling out months in advance – the next option is to take a guided walk.

New Zealand Great Walk guide making coffee on a stony creek bed

The Milford Track guided walk is four days of breath taking scenery. It’s loaded with additional benefits over doing it solo, and everything’s provided along the way. Hikers enjoy hot showers, bedding, specialist Milford Track guides who will give you an incredible understanding of the local flora and fauna, and there are even hair dryers in the mountain lodges (with upgrades to private rooms upon request). As hikers complete their journey, entering Milford Sound at the end of the 33.5 miles (53 km), it becomes immediately apparent why Rudyard Kipling referred to Milford Sound as the 8th Natural Wonder of the World. Giant granite peaks explode from the black ocean, without a beach in sight. Huge waterfalls land directly in the ocean, where you’ll see native fur seals playing and (often) dolphins or sperm whales too!

Kayaks in Milford sound on a cloudy day

So if you’re from the northern hemisphere and you’re thinking about swapping out your winter woollies for your best pair of hiking boots this Christmas – the great Kiwi countryside is calling your name. Whether you’re hiking the Milford Track solo, hiking it as part of a Milford Track Guided Walk or discovering a handful of New Zealand’s Great Walks – you’ll be heading deep into New Zealand’s pure wilderness – avoiding the crowded shopping malls, bustling cities and hectic beaches.

So start planning your Christmas adventure today, before everyone else finds out about these wilderness hideaways!

Start Planning Your New Zealand Hiking Tour

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