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Mt. Fitz Roy
Los Glaciares National Park
Situated way down south on the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the village of El Chaltén popular amongst hikers, campers and adventurers as a gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park. Stopping in at the ranger’s station close to the entrance of town, visitors can obtain a photocopied map of the national park and venture out by themselves on a number of day trip and overnight hiking trails. Don’t let the photocopied map on an A4 piece of paper discourage you as the trails are well marked and most lead to the same spot at the camp close to Mt. Fitz Roy. The mountain is the tallest in the area, standing at 3,375 m which is small by South American standard’s. It does however create a challenging walk for climbers taking the windy route to the glacial pool situated at the base of the mountain.
Mt. Aragats (4,090 m)
40 km from Yerevan
Since imposing Mt. Ararat (5,137 m) rises in the horizon behind the Turkish border, Armenia's highest mountain is the beautiful little sister Mt. Aragats (4,090 m). It is a volcano with four peaks and the beautiful green foothills are dotted with tent camps of Yezidi Kurd herders along with their livestock. An old Soviet observatory Byurakan is located at 3,200 m and is the reason why there is a road all the way up to the alpine Lake Kari that forms during spring. The southern peak can be reached by scrambling (not just trekking) while the northern peak (the highest) needs gear to be summited.
The Caucasus Mountains are more than just the continental divide between Europe and Asia. They are, instead, a spectacular setting for great hiking and unprecedented exploration. Nestled gentle among the majestic peaks is a tiny village called Xinaliq. This village, so isolated for so long has developed their own language unrelated to Persian, Turkish or Slavic (the other major region languages). While some may be turned off by the fact there are no official accommodation choice, for those wishing to commune with the locals this may be seen as an advantage. Only simple home-stays are available in town. Sadly, hiking and camping opportunities in the region are somewhat limited as the area is largely military controlled. This can be quickly circumvented by merely hiring a local "guide" (aka a local kid) to bring you around. However you choose to visit, the wonderful hospitality and spectacular scenery will make the place truly memorable.
Located in the North-West of Azerbaijan, the village of Ilisu offers some good options for camping, hiking or just setting out a nice picnic. The picturesque little stone-house village itself makes for a nice day trip. The simple architecture is highlighted by the simple way of life. But the place is made all the more special as it's perched on the edge of the Ilisu State Reserve. A popular place with locals in the summer, there are easy to challenging hikes available for the more adventurous as there are no map or tourist information for the region. Important note, there are no accommodation or restaurant choices in Ilisu, for these a traveller will need to use the nearby town of Qax as a base.
Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro State
If you like to hike and you love the beach but you can’t choose, you can head to the South of the state of Rio de Janeiro - to the island Ilha Grande. Catch the boat from Agra dos Reis and settle in the town of Abraão.
Ilha Grande is covered with Atlantic rainforest. The hilly island has plenty of trails to explore. Strap on your hiking boots or step into your flip flops and hike across the island to one of the beaches. The beautiful beach Lopez Mendes for example makes a beautiful hike of a few hours. You cross the mountains passing by several beaches and you get rewarded with a perfectly squeaky white sand beach and lovely surf.
Near Lençois, Bahia
Get away from the Bahian beaches and head to the Chapada Diamantina and Vale do Capão for some hiking. Before it became a national park, the Chapada Diamantina was a diamant mining area, hence its name. You can go trekking for multiple days or do day hikes in a landscape of table mountains and waterfalls.
At the cahoeira da fumaça you can hang your head over the edge of the cliff and watch the waterfall go down ..... and spray up again, not touching the ground.
Lençois is the main access place for the Chapada Diamantina and is a pretty and lively colonial town where you can easily spend a few days.
Santo AntÃ£o island
Set apart from most hikes on Santo AntÃ£o, which are mainly inland going between the top of the mountains and the coast in either direction, the coastal walk between Cruzinha and Ponta do Sol is something very different. Donâ€™t expect to hike flat though. Youâ€™ll probably get the same or even more altitude difference in your legs than on the other hikes. The trail keeps going up and down along the rocky coast, sometimes going over some passes, but pretty much all the time you see the ocean and have amazing views. You pass by some beautiful black sand beaches where you can cool your feet down in the waves. The few villages you pass through are also beautiful and some have amazing agricultural terraces.
Trekking in Torres del Paine
If you go trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, it is a must to "climb" - or at least hike to the base of - Torres del Paine mountain range with its three pointy mountain peaks. It is a beautiful sight to see the three towers throne towards the sky with the ice blue lake below, where glacier water accumulates. The South, North and Central Towers, as they are called, are about 2200-2500 metres high, made of granite and created by glacial ice. There are fairly good hiking trails in the area, while the last path to the towers is somewhat more impracticable. But the view from there is really worth it!
Great Wall at Gubeikou
From Gubeikou pass, The Great Wall stretches in two directions, east (the so-called Wohushan Great Wall) and west (the so-called Panlongshan Great Wall). The Panlongshan Great Wall is an authentic wall section originally constructed in the 6th century by the Qi Dynasty, but hasn't been rebuilt since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). At first, it is just an overgrown and crumbled adobe construction which hardly can be recognized as a wall, but further on towards Jinshanling it will shape up and become a real wall in bricks with towers and steps.
You can trek along the wall from Gubeikou to Jinshanling (or opposite direction) which can be done within a day. The distance is 10 km and there are 56 towers in total. After the first 25 towers, the wall will become off limit for another 25 towers, due to military installation, and you need to detour through the corn fields below.
Great Wall at Jinshanling
The wall at Jinshanling is probably one of the most exciting sections of the Great Wall of China. Near Jinshanling village, the wall has been renovated and is therefore very groomed, with cable car and outdoor loudspeakers playing Celine Dion. Going West towards Gubeikou, the wall quickly becomes naturally overgrown and decayed. Going East towards Simatai, the wall again becomes a bit deteriorated with loose surfaces but more winding with steep sections and plenty of stairs. This section offer great views of the snaking wall jumping from peak to peak until it disappears into the horizon, the image most people associate with the Great Wall of China.
You can walk on the wall all the way from Jinshanling to Simatai, a distance of 5 km, a trek that is quite popular these days.