The truth about hiking in Georgia – Mestia to Ushguli

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For several years now I have wanted to visit Republic of Georgia. During my other travels people have told me incredible stories about how nice and welcoming the Georgian people are so I wanted to experience that myself, hoping in that they would expire me and make me more positive and open as well. What I discovered was not exactly what I expected, but more about that soon….

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I also could not wait to explore the Caucasian mountains.I read somewhere that Caucasian mountains are like Swiss mountains, but a lot more remote, wild and untouched. This kind of comparison is rises high expectations and I was not disappointed in the beauty of the mountains in Svaneti. The valleys were as green as the Swiss alps and in the horizon you could see the white peaks sparking. I saw both Mt. Ushba, Laila and Tetnuldi.

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Famous Mt. Ushba – one of the most difficult climbs in Caucasus

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Everywhere I looked I could see peaks that I was immediately tempted to climb and in the evening I found myself trying to figure out where one could hike in order to summit them. In the valleys the rivers were filled with ice-cold water from the glaciers and the waterfalls were sliding down from the sides of the green mountains. The main difference from the swiss alps are the paths. The paths in Svaneti are wild, and quite often you find yourself fighting through long grass and pushes. The terrain is less rocky and often wet and muddy.

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Our first guesthouse, this one had an outside toilet and shower – Zahbeshi village

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Oh and we made some friends along the way, this dog was always following the first hiker so when a couple passed us, he abandoned us.
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This bridge was washed away in 2017, we were glad to see that it was rebuilt in 2018!

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Streets of Adishi

It truly is wild, and then when you are approaching one of the old Svaneti mountain villages you feel like going back in time. It is inspiring to see how simple life these people live in these villages. Electricity comes and goes, food is made on fire stove. The daily tasks contain men making firewood, women cooking, children chaining the cows to the stables with dogs and a stick. When there is free time children play outside and not with their phones og tablets. Small girls and boys ride horses instead of bicycles as it was the most natural way of getting around. The older children look after the younger ones, and often more than one generations and families live together. It was nice to experience this time travel.

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The wild “streets” of Svanetian villages
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  The view of our second Guesthouse – Adishi village. This is a quite small village, but we had luck with out guesthouse, they were quite nice and the food was really good…

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Svaneti and Georgian hospitality

Sadly the Svaneti people did not seem to be friendly or welcoming at all. Maybe they were for 10 -15 years ago?? Because there must be something in these stories I have heard from other travelers? Or was I really that unlucky with my experience? I do not think so, I think the tourism has opened the eyes of Svaneti people to money but money and friendship do not mix well together. During my four-day hike we stayed overnight in five different guest houses and not ONCE was I asked where we were from. Mostly our host did not even try to communicate with us (with one exception in the travel in house in Mestia, but I think here the owner is Russian and not Georgian). In most cases we spent hours in their homes without even knowing the name of our host or nothing else about the family we stayed with 😦 I know it’s hard to communicate when you don’t speak the language, but Chinese people were always very nice to me…Anyways, do not expect questions like “Did you sleep well?”, or “Where do you head today?” .. I don’t know.. but I did not feel welcome at all…In some cases they were actually rude. In a restaurant in Mestia, we waited for our food over an hour, so then I asked them if they forgot our order. The waiter, simply said that he did not know, and that everyone wait more than an hour for their food so I should just be patient. Perhaps Svaneti is not where the Georgian Hospitality Reputation comes from?  

Mestia to Ushguli – Some advice

Moving on to the hiking. I did a lot of research about possible hikes in the Svaneti area before flying down there. I wanted to climb some nice peaks and from the pictures I had seen it seemed that the possibilities should be endless, but the information online (and in Mestia or Tbilisi) is very limited when it comes to climbing peaks. Unless you want to climb one of the famous peaks like Kazpeki that is. If anyone knows a good research about hiking other 4000m mountains in Svaneti please share!!

In general to me hiking in Svaneti seemed a little more developed than hiking in China (where hiking trails were not marked at all or you are forced to hike stairs”) but here too there were many peaks without names and basically only couple of semi marked hiking trails. And as there are no mountain huts (Guest houses are not mountain huts, they are houses in small mountain villages) you really need to bring a tent and be self-sufficient if you want to explore the peaks and get away from the few established trails filled with other hikers. Another option would be to hire a local mountain guide, as there seem to be mountain guides out there who advertise hikes to mountains that are off the beaten path.

www.caucasus-trekking.com has a very good description of the hike and the gpx track. The site basically contains all you need to know in order to do the hike, so I will not repeat the directions here, but I think the following points could be useful if you want to do the hike:

  • The hike is doable in three days, if you combine the first and second day to one day.
  • Download the gpx track in advance there is no internet in the villages.
  • I would also say that I found the trail from Zhabeshi – Adishi the pettiest, but Adishi – Iprali was also very beautiful.
  • If you are running low on time try to drop the last part of the trail Iprali – Ushguli and get a taxi from Iprali to Mestia. This part was my least favorite one.
  • About the river crossing between Adishi and Iprali . The river is could, and when I say could I mean could as in that you can’t feel your toes for five minutes afterwards. Do not try to cross the river barefoot or in flip flops. I saw that going wrong when I was there. Bar foot takes too much time. I did it with trainers, tried to be fast and I still could not feel my toes afterwards. Also, I saw a guy miss his flip flops, so that did not work well either. Oh and use walking poles or at least try to find some stick the day before so that you can use it for balance.. you really want to be fast when crossing that river. Of Course you can take a horse, that is the most comfortable way, but 20 Lari is quite expensive for 20 meters, if you ask me..
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this poor girl had hard time crossing the river barefoot..
  • It is fine to drink the tap water in the guesthouses. You do not need to buy bottled water.
  • The paths in the forest tend to get really muddy so I would advise to hike in proper hiking shoes, but I saw a lot of people doing it in sneakers and they survived 😉
  • Bring enough cash with you, plus a little extra. We paid 50 lari per night per person (including dinner and breakfast), but prices have increased a lot during the last years and I think they will continue to do so.
  • Don’t expect very friendly hosts in the guest houses. You might be lucky, but it is better to manage your expectations.
  • You will not be walking alone, this trail is very popular (at least in high season) and you will at times walk in queue, unless you bring your own tent and can start before everybody else.

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    As you can see there were a lot of us crossing the river
  • The days are not too long, we were mostly in the guesthouses around 14:00 -15:00 so take your time to enjoy the views.
  • Buy enough lunch from 4 days before you start (You can get bread and sausages in Mestia), the only thing you can buy in the villages is some chocolate, beer and coke. Some guest houses provide lunch packages (we only got one from one) but they are often way too small to cover the whole day.

All in all I really liked the nature in Svaneti and the pictures on this blog are just a fraction of my camera roll. It really was beautiful. I would like to go back, but that would require more planning, and more camping and equipment. All the villages are building new guest houses/ hotels so I expect there to be even more tourist in the years to come. Hopefully there will be more trails too and mountain huts which would ease the hikes to the peaks. The potential is there, but as there is not much culture for hiking, this may take time.

 

Hiking my first Volcano – La Malinche 4440 m

La Malinche mountain is an inactive volcano (dormant for the last 3,100 years) located in Tlaxcala and Puebla states, in Mexico. Officially, its summit reaches 4,461 metres (14,636 ft) above sea level, though it is generally considered to be closer to 4,440 metres. It is the sixth-highest in Mexico.

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Here you see the “peak” before the real peak

Traveling to Mexico we did not plan to do any hiking actually, but we should have known ourselves better by now, because off course we could not resist :D. When travelling for two months it is really limited what you can bring so the only equipment we had with us were our hiking boots, one layer of wool and a rain/wind jacket. Considering this to be to little for a 4000m summit, the day before the hike we were in Mexico City and tried to find some warm clothes for the hike. We were not sure how could it could get on 4000m in Mexico, but decided that we should at least have an extra warm sweater. We found the cheapest on sale sweaters, bought a lot of sandwiches, 3,5 L of water and two small chocolates from the Oxxo store and hoped that would get us to the top of La Malinche. As it turned out too little food or clothes was not the problem on this hike.

HOW TO GET THERE:

We took a direct bus from TAPO in Mexico city to Apizaco, wich costs about 135 pesos. From Apizaco we found a collectivo around the Elektra shop, from the corner of Av. Hidalgo and Av. Serdan. You will probably need to ask around as there are tens of different collectivos there, but you are looking for the one written Teacalco or San José Teacalco on. They are slow because the stop in all kind of villages, and the price asked was 60 pesos per person. The last collectivo leaves around 4:30PM the first leaves at 8:20 AM. The collectivo will stop right in front of the Centro Vacacional, so you will not have to do any additional walking. The last busses back to either Puebla or Apizaco leave around 5:00PM. The bus to Puebla costs us 40 pesos each, and took about 2 hours.

CAMPING:

So luckily there is a quite fancy resort just bellow La Malinche, where the trail starts called “Centro Vacacional Malintzin”. It is an ideal location to acclimatize and start an ascent of the volcano as it lies on 3200m. It has a restaurant and a gift shop. Outside the resort, there is also a small kiosk and a little cheaper restaurant. It has very comfortable cabins and camping area. All of the huts have hot showers, TV, fridge, kitchen, fireplace (take your wood with you or buy it at the entrance) and come with either 4 or 6 beds. You can’t just buy one bed, so we were two people renting a 6 persons cabin, which was 960 pesos per night. It was actually cheaper to rent the 6 person cabin than the 4 person cabin, because the 4 person cabins had a kitchen, and were hence more expensive. You can’t book online, so you have to call the center directly and make your reservation. The very nice lady told us that for reservations they normally want a deposit online, but that only works with mexican cards so she let us book over the phone without paying the deposit. For booking over phone call: +521 554822716699 they also have a webpage in spanish.
If you don’t like using the resort you can camp at no fee just outside the “Centro Vacacional” in the forest. There are lots of flat places around, even some accessible by car. Alternatively take your gear and walk about two hours up the trail towards the La Malinche. There are campsites around timberline. For your next day climb to the Malinche you can hide your backpack somewhere in the woods.

THE HIKE ITSELF:

The hiking trail to the summit begins just between the restaurant and the small kiosk outside of the gate of the resort.

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Beginning of the trail

The forest trail is a shortcut over the concrete road that once was open for public, but is now closed of with a gate. After crossing the road several times, the trail leads into a conifer section at around 3,400 meters. Even though the hike might seem like a walk in the park to begin with, it fast turns into a real challenge if you have not acclimatized. We saw hikers throwing up before they reached the tree line, so you have to keep in mind at 4000 m you will get height sickness if you have not acclimatized. From the tree line, you can see the “false” summit for the first time. After that you have to choose either to take a very steep grassland section on right or a very steep gravel and sand path on the left.

 

 

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Picture taken from www.summitpost.org

We did the sand path (in red on the picture). It really was heavy, because for every step you were sliding one step back and it felt like we were not making any progress. I guess the path to the right, over the grass would have been a wiser choice. The ridge starts at 4,200 metres and leads to the summit, which is just behind the false summit. The last 100-or-so metres involve a bit of scrambling.

I read that is often cold and very windy above the tree line, but we were lucky and had quite comfortable conditions. Never the less, I used all my clothes – one  layer of wool, one warm sweater and wind pants + jacket, so don’t come in t-shirt. I have also read that  crampons and an ice axe are necessary whenever it has snowed recently – which typically happens a few times each year. Therefore when you book your cabin with the Centro Vacacional, be sure to ask if there is snow or not.

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The ascent is challenging but not technical. Fit hikers can reach the summit from the resort area in 4 hours, but it is best to plan for 5–6 hours with breaks and it also depends on if you have acclimatized or not. We used 5 hours, but were hiking very slow. My stomach was acting up on the mexican food as it had for several days, and so I was really not in shape that day. I could not really get any nutrition to my body and was only drinking water and eating small pieces of chocolate. To be honest, I am still not sure how I made it to the peak. especially on the way down I was astonished that I had walked all the way up! I only remember focusing on the next steps and trying to keep the negative thoughts out of my mind, thinking that I will soon feel better. Elias was also very supportive and I am sure I would not have made it to the peak without him encouraging me all the way. I think this is the hardest hike I have done sofar?! I know 1,200 hm climb is not much, but that day it was hard, really hard, both mentally and physically.

 

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The peak was really quite crowded. This is a very popular hike in the area so don’t be afraid, you will not be hiking alone, and you will not get lost. A map is really not necessary as you just follow the path and the crowd of people.

After a small break on the peak we started the descent. I was feeling much better now so we used less than 2 hours down. My advise is to take the sandy (red) path down, as hiking downhill in the sand it is really nice and easy for the knees.

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me starting to feel better, and even managed to smile 🙂

 

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The view from the peak

 

The best time to climb is the dry season is November through March, May through September tends to be wet with rain and snow. The “Centro Vacacional” is open all year round, so you can go there anytime if the weather is good. No permits are required to climb. There is no entry fee or parking fee if you park outside the “Centro Vacacional”. This is also true for camping.

 

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Glad I made it !

 

 

Slogen – a hike you can’t miss while in Sunnmøre.

Sunnmøre is the southernmost region of the western Norwegian district of Møre og Romsdal. Its main city is ÅlesundThe district is made up of mainland as well as several large islands such as Hareidlandet, plus many small islands. The region is an hikers wet dream! There are several big fjords in the area which means steep hikes and amazing views. Most of the hikes start around sea level, so even though the highest mountain in the area is bellow 2000 m, fear not, you will get to climb enough high meters. There are few sports that can not be practiced in Sunnmøre, its perfect for hiking, kayaking, skiing, paragliding, and you can even do surfing. There are also a lot of possibilities for climbing.

I have not yet explored all the different possibilities and do not know the mountains as well as the locals do, but I have done around 5 hikes in the area and am convinced that the mountaintops in sunnmøre are what dreams are made of 🙂

If you are lucky enough to be in the area during nice weather, Slogen (1564m) is the mountain you can not miss. Despite its sharp and steep appearance, the top is relatively easy to climb. From the peak you have a fantastic view of the peaks around and the valleys deep down at Hjørundfjorden.

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From the fjord, Slogen rises like a triangular pyramid, straight up. Coming closer you will see that it is not quite as steep.

With nice weather, the hike up is easier than you would think, only the last part is a bit exposed and requires some scrambling, so do not be surprised to meet Norwegians in sport BH and shorts running up. There are some really sporty Norwegians out there so even we had to let some pass us 😀

You do not need any equipment of any kind to get to the top, but I do not recommend this hike with fog or rain, at least not all the way to the peak as the last 100 hm are really exposed. We are talking about several hundred meters right down!

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The trip up to Slogen is suitable for day trips, but there is a possibility to spend an overnight stay at the Patchellhytta before climbing the top the next day. With accommodation here, this trip is also suitable for children.

To get to Patchellhytta (and further up to the top) you can either go up Skylstadbrekka from Øye in Norangsdalen (about 2-3 hours) or up the Liadalen from Engeset not far from Stranda (about 2-3 hours). From Patchellhytta, the trip takes up to about 3 hours. The trail up to the top from Patchellhytta is not marked, but it is quite easy to find. The third option would be to walk from Urke to the hut and then do the peak next day.

Season: June-September.

From Øye: 3 km. 1500 altitude meters, 4 hours.

From Patchellhytta: 3 km. 750 height meters, 3 hours.

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We hiked the route from Øye (Marked black on the map). It is 1500 hm more or less right up, but in return you feel that you are getting closer with every step you take and just after 1 hour, you can already spot the peak. The first 1000 hm are in the forest, after that there is a short part of gravel path and after that you have to jump between the rocks and find you way to the top, while enjoying the amazing view to Hjørungsfjorden.

The path from Øye has normally less snow so it is a nice option if it is early in the season. After perhaps 500 hm you will find a sign to water. It is a nice opportunity to fill up your water bottle as it gets really warm on that side of the valley during sunny days.

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We did not fill up our water bottle on the marked place, so we had to get creative.
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100hm from the peak, there was a lot of snow so we had to climb next to it. This is where you want to stop if you do not like scrambling.

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The views from the peak speak for themselves:

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The one hour that we spent on the top, went way too fast!!

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This view spoiled us on the way down. I need to figure out what the closest mountain is called and add it to my list 🙂

We used 4 hours up (with two 20 minutes breaks)  and 2,5 hours down. The path down is long and steep so I do recommend hiking poles, even thought you will be an obvious tourist while using them (very few Norwegians use hiking poles :D).

If you are a true Norwegian you finish your hike with a refreshing (read freezing) swim in the fjord. Luckily I am Estonian so I had an excuse 😉

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This is just one of the hikes we did during our vacation in Norway this year. In one weeks time, we managed to do another hike and some kayaking in the area. I had also planned outdoors camping, but that we had to cancel due to the weather 😦

My first snowshoe hike + camping in the mountains during winter.

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After the less successful ski-touring trip couple of weeks back I needed a successful adventure! I just felt the itch for doing something new more and more. Now it was the time. I knew right a way what I wanted to do. I have been thinking about sleeping in the mountains during winter for some time now, but somehow we have kept it to rather simple day hikes instead. Considering that last winter we did not even hike and considered winter just a skiing season we have really moved our limits. I have now realized that It is very nice to hike in the winter and it is a complete different experience from any other time of the year.

The perhaps hardest part of planning this hike was finding a perfect destination. We needed a peak that was accessible with public transport, that was not too crowded, that we had not hiked before and that was “hard” enough for a long day hike. Another thing we needed to consider was the avalanche risk and we needed a destination where it was easy to rent snowshoes (We were to late to rent something from DAV in Munich, but if you plan a head this is the best and cheapest option). Finding a such a destination was not easy. I was about to give up actually, but luckily Elias took over and found the perfect destination for our adventure – Feldernkopf 2071m.

This was a hike of firsts – Made and Elias doing stuff they have not done before. 

  • This was the first time I camp outside during winter
  • This was the first time I hike with snowshoes
  • This was the first time I use a stow to make pancakes
  • This was the first time I put up a tent on snow

All in all we learned so much during this adventure: 

  1. Snowshoes are not so awesome for hiking steaper hikes (perfect for less steep hikes), but they are awesome to go down hill with.
  2. Plan two hours for setting up the camp. We used 1 but it would have been nice to have one more hour just for looking at the sunset.
  3. Store your shoes inside the tent not outside in a bag.
  4. Store all your food inside the tent so it will not freeze during the night.
  5. Take your time when making the flat area for the tent on the snow. The more time you use the better you will sleep 😉
  6. Secure the inner tent the most, otherwise it will start gliding down the hill (We learned that the hard way).
  7. Take extra pars of socks with you, at least 2 extra pars for the night (You need the grandma stuff)!
  8. If it is cold sleep with cloves on, I did not do that but next time I will so that you have more flexibility when choosing  a sleeping position.
  9. Thermos is nice to have, even when you plan to boil water, so you can store the warm water you boil. When it is could outside the water gets cold faster than you think.
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what a feeling.
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View from the top around 4PM
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This is where we decided to camp, it was a little too windy on the top
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Here I try to mark the place for the tent.

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One thing to think about before you head out to a winter hike is that it is not always easy to find the path. The regular markings were almost never visible, but luckily we were able to follow the skitourng tracks. It is also a good idea to find a hike were you can see the peak from the beginning so that it is easier to orientate, or even better, take a GPS with you.

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Final break, ca. 200m still to climb

The hike was “only” 900 m climb. This was yet another thing we discovered 900 m climb in snow can not be compared to 900 m climb during summer. Yes we had quite heavy bags with us but we needed 6 hours to climb that 900m. In other words we were glad we had the whole day.

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We had quite big bags with us

 

When it comes to food the possibilities with a stow are endless, but my advise is to keep it simple. It may be cold on the top, you may be hungry and tired so you should plan to make something easy and fast. The easiest thing is to buy some of the dry food meant for hiking, but if you feel more adventurous then that, you could make dinner at home and just warm it up on the stow. We had something like chilli con crane with us and simply heated it. We even had homemade guacamole and cheese with us 🙂img_20170211_173642

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Preparation can not be underestimated, here Elias tries out making pancakes at home.

 

For breakfast we made pancakes with apple jam. (Elias wanted bacon but we never got so far as frying bacon. The pancakes would have gotten cold in the mean time so we dropped that). In addition to this we had tea and coffee with us and some fruit, homemade granola bars, sandwedges for the lunch and a chocolate. It was more than enough food and we ended up bringing some of it back home.

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Clothes:

I already mentioned extra socks, we also had extra change of clothes for seeping. The moral here is that more is better. You can never quite know how cold it will get during the night and the worst thing I know is to freeze, so have more clothes with you that you think you will need and prioritize wool and layers.

All in all this truly was an adventure. We learned a lot and experienced a lot. It was heavy and we needed to push ourselves mentally. But it was sooo nice to have dinner and watch the sunset. And to wake up and make pancakes and look at the mountains. We were also lucky with the weather so the last 300 height meters we had amazing views.

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Sunset ❤

Retrospective of hiking year 2016

I hope you all have had a nice Christmas celebration so far. At the moment of writing this blog post I sit in Norway and have a nice view to the mountains and the sea. I have eaten way too much Christmas food but I am happy to be able to spend some time with family again. Last past days there was a storm passing Norway, but today the sea has calmed and the mountains are visible again in the horizon.

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Not much snow in Hareid yet.

The relaxing time between christmas and new years is perfect for taking a look at what you have accomplished during the year that has passed. When I think back to the hiking year 2016, I’m quite happy. All in all I think I have done 20 hikes. I try to keep count but it could be that I have forgotten to count some hikes.

From these hikes the definitive highlights are:

 

Triglav 2864m, Slovenia

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Watzmann 2713m, Germany

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Obere Wettersteinspitze 2297m, Austria

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Picture is taken from hikr.com

 

I have not written about these hikes because I did them all before I started this blog, but I will try to write about them during the next year, because these are all hikes I really recommend!

How do you feel about year 2016? Has it been adventurous enough? Have you realized some of the hikes on your list? I sure hope so! I am currently making a wish list for year 2017 and will post it when it’s ready 🙂

Have a nice rest of the christmas and a nice new years celebration!

Did you see the supermoon? From Jochberg (1565m) you could.

So on Monday everybody were exited about the “supermoon”. Apparently the moon did appear larger than it has since the 1940s. It was supposed to be the whole 14% bigger and 30% brighter compared with the smallest full moons. Pay attention to that last fact “compared with the smallest full moons.” In other words it was not THAT big, but I still thought it would be worth taking a step outside to see this supermoon and so at the last-minute, I joined a hike that a friend of mine was organizing. This meant that I had to pack everything the evening before and take it with me to work. I did not even have enough food in the refrigerator to make sandwiches, but once I have decided something, nothing can stop me!

So I packed everything and got up 6:20 to buy some sandwiches from the bakery and get to work early. At 4 a clock I left work and had to get to the other side of Munich, where we were to meet. One hour later we were on our way. Once again I was hiking with new people who I had never met before. This is almost becoming a habit :D. We were a group of five and had a really nice time.

This was also my first winter-night hike in a very long time. I think I did something like this back in Norway but in a much smaller scale.

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We were truly hiking in winter wonderland.

I must give my friend Anna all the credit for choosing the mountain and planning the hike. I know she put a lot of effort into finding the perfect mountain where we could see the moon. And perfect it was 🙂 .

The hike we did was the following:

Route: Parkplatz am Kesselberg (850 m) – Jochberg (1565 m) – Parkplatz am Kesselberg (850 m).

Time: Estimated time was 2 hours to the top, but we used closer to 1,5h.

Climb: 750m

The drive there from Munich took ca one and half hour. We honestly thought that we would be the only crazy people going hiking in the middle of the night just to see the moon, but when we got there, there were about 4 other cars already parked. Turns out we are not the only ones who had this idea!

We started from the parking lot with lots of layers and headlights. After 10 minutes the layers came off and after 30 minutes we turned off our headlights. It was so snowy and the moon was indeed very bright, so the headlights were not even needed. There was however a lot of fog, so we could not see the moon. At ca. 1400 meters (when the forest ended) we finally walked out of the fog and saw the moon.

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The magical moment as we exit the forest and see the moon.

So imagine this: you are standing in the snow, under the stars, under a bright moon, you look down into the valley and it is covered with thick soft fog. In the horizon you see all the mountaintops reaching out of the fog. It was amazing.

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The fog in the valley and the mountaintops rising up from it – Amazing.

Tonight, the full moon will appear larger than it has since the 1940s. The moon will appear around 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared with the smallest full moons. It will be worth taking a step outside to see this super supermoon.

What is a supermoon, and why does it happen?

The moon’s orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle. It’s an ellipse, a saucer shape that’s longer than it is wide. That means as the moon follows this orbit, it’s sometimes closer to the Earth and sometimes farther away. At perigee, the closest spot in its orbit to the Earth, it’s around 31,068 miles closer to Earth than at apogee, when it’s farthest away.

Meanwhile, we see different phases of the moon — full, crescent, waxing, and waning gibbous — depending on if the sun-facing side of the moon is facing the Earth.

These two phenomena don’t always match up, but when they do, astronomers call it a perigee full moon (a.k.a. super moon). This occurs about one in every 14 full moons, Jim Lattis, an astronomer at the University of Wisconsin Madison, notes.

The relative difference in size between a full moon at perigee and apogee. It does appear bigger, but not dramatically so.
Sky and Telescope

To be sure, this isn’t an enormous difference compared with a regular full moon. Neil deGrasse Tyson has called the frenzy around supermoons overblown. “If you have a 16-inch pizza, would you call that a super pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza?” he said on theStarTalk radio show.

Whether or not you’re impressed, it’s a good enough excuse to go outside and marvel at the beauty of the cosmos. Sky and Telescope reports that the night of the 13th or 14th should make for good viewing (perigee will occur at 6:23 am EST on the 14th). But “[t]he tiny difference between the two evenings will be undetectable,” the magazine writes. You may want to try to catch the moon earlier, when it rises (for those of us on the East Coast, around 5:30 pm), because near the horizon, an optical illusion will make the moon appear absolutely huge. Like this:

Expedition 50 Supermoon

But why is this supermoon extra special?

The moon will appear slightly larger than it has in decades because of mere chance. The moon will reach fullness just three hours after perigee on November 14. Because perigee and the full moon are so closely timed, this full moon will be the largest (relative to our perspective on Earth) since 1948. The next-closest supermoon will be in 2034, as NASAreports.

Again, though, the differences in size between a really close supermoon and a typical one would be are pretty negligible. The full moon Monday will be just 30 miles closer to Earth than the last record in 1948, National Geographic reports. In astronomical terms, that’s tiny.

The moon will also be a bit brighter than usual — also due to the fact that it will be a bit closer to the Earth.

And if you miss it, fear not. We’re currently in a run of supermoons, and there will be another on December 14 (it won’t be quite as big). After that, we’ll have to wait until December 2017 for the next one.

Correction: This article originally misstated the how the moon’s phases occur. They do not occur due to the moon’s passing in and out of the Earth’s shadow. Rather, they’re due to thechanging angles between the sun, Earth, and moon.

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We were the only ones on the top and enjoyed our warm tea (me) and gipfel beer ( Anna) with amazing view.
On our way down we had some problems because it was very slippery. Actually we were counting who fell the most :D, but after a while we came out of count. There were couple of very funny falls :D. Luckily I had my (new 🙂 ) hiking poles with me and did not fall once!
Despite the falls, the hike itself was quite easy, but there was a lot of snow so gaiters and hiking poles were very useful as were proper hiking shoes. If you plan to do this hike or any other winter hike, invest in gaiters and bring always two pairs of gloves with you. Warm tea in a thermos is also a must for me 🙂
I would totally do this hike again during daytime. During day, you should see Walchensee, Kochelsee, Riegsee, Staffelsee and Starnberger See! Walchensee and Kochelsee being the closest biggest lakes. You can see a summer panorama here. 
The day after this hike I was a Zombie.. So tired, I got to bed at 1 AM and had to work the day after. That gave me ca. 5,5 hours of sleep. In other words, after-work-hiking is not something I would consider doing often :D.
Did you see the supermoon? Could you tell that it was bigger?

Don’t let others crush your hiking dreams!

On Fridays a typical conversation I have goes like this:

X: So what are your plans for the weekend?

Me: Actually I will go hiking.

X: (Rolling eyes) off course you are.

People don’t always understand why somebody would climb 1500 meters to the top of a mountain just to walk down again (and I don’t understand why people who take cable-car up a mountain :D). Many people seem to think that what I do is “Extreme”. For example my grandmother tells me every time we talk that I should not reach for the “extreme”, because I will only end up injured. For her extreme would be everything from running a marathon to doing a handstand. Sometimes it really feels like people just want me to sit still the whole day! And for what? So that I would not have pain in my knees when I turn 60? It is frustrating :(. 4047179af9cd819c31969c18e9324068

I have found something that makes me wake up early on a Sunday morning, that gives me this inner peace and inner drive at the same time. When I have been in the mountains I feel like my weekend is complete and when I don’t go to the mountains I feel like I am missing out. Why would I stop with something that is healthy and makes me happy? If you have found something like this, you should not give it up or restrict yourself. You should embrace it and develop it. Simply do more of what makes you happy!

You can not change your family, but you can choose who you hang out with. Therefore to balance all this negativity I try to find people who are as “extreme” as me or much worse :D. People who I can look at and think ah I would like to be like this. People who have done hikes that inspire. People who share my passion and understand by drive.

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It is ok that not everybody understands the need to sand on top of a mountaintop (more mountains for me 😛 ). We are all different and have a right to like different things, but don’t let friends or family limit your goals and ambition. Do what feels rights for you and that makes you happy. If it is 7 days hiking in the alps, or climbing a difficult mountain so be it.