Hiking While Celiac - Gluten-Free on the Trail

When you have celiac disease and/or have food allergies and food intolerance, you think about food a lot. If it’s such a problem during regular days, how much more when planning a trip into the Wild?

It took me a while to learn what works best for hiking and camping trips (as well as my budget). But it always requires some research ahead of time, preparing food at home and probably carrying much more than others do.

All You Need to Know About Hiking Solo in Iceland

I am so happy you plan on hiking in Iceland. And a bit jealous – I loved it so much that I wish I can go back as soon as possible! But to make sure your stay on this gorgeous island is all good, I want to you to know a few things.

When is the best way to go hiking in Iceland?

This is a crucial question. There are so many places in Europe where you can safely hike from very early on (I hiked in Spain in February) all the way till late fall in mountainous areas. In some areas, you can basically hike the whole year. Not so in Iceland.

Gear and Gadgets to Take Your Camping Experience to the Next Level!

Whenever we think about (solo) camping gear, we focus on the big and obvious pieces: a tent, sleeping bag or sleeping mat. But beyond those, there are some nice items that can make even the most basic camping trip almost a glamping adventure.

I’ve collected a few “must-haves” camping gear items that should not be overlooked when thinking about the big stuff. Then, I added five luxury items – they might not be necessary but elevate your camping adventure from bare survival to sweet dreamy pleasure. I know that it is important to lighten our loads up - but I am of the middle way philosophy - I prefer to carry a few seemingly unnecessary items for the added comfort and pleasure. 

Gear Review: Jetboil MiniMo Backpacking Stove

Jetboil MiniMo is already my third cooking system. I started with the solid-fuel cooker by Esbit but switched to MSR’s pocket rocket the first moment I could. The solid fuel tablets were small, yes, but smelled horrible. They often melted in leaving yucky goo after and it took forever to boil the water. After each use, there was a layer of ugly black sooth on the bottom of the pot, too.

I kept the great cooking pot from my old Esbit but hid the rest somewhere where its horrible stench won’t be much of an issue. I should probably just throw it away, now that I think of it…

I really loved the pocket rocket so it was a hard decision for me to buy the JetBoil. I had a hard time justifying fitting its price into my meager gear budget.

Female & Solo on Crete: Days 15-16 | Ano Asites - Profiti Ilias - Archanes

Starting a new section of the E4 trail

I started the day in a very comfortable bed at the Iraklio Hotel. After a proper shower and delicious breakfast (they even had gluten-free bread!), I moved towards the bus station (on the other side of the town) to catch a bus to Ano Asites.

When I got there, I was told I was on the wrong bus station. See, there are two of them in Iraklio – the “A” for long-distance buses and the “B” for local ones. I had to get a city bus to reach the other bus station… which was just steps from my hotel. Oh, well. I was glad I made it to the bus – at the last minute!

Gear Review: Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi Hiking Boots for Women

Two years ago, when I got my Salomons, I thought I found the perfect boots. And I still love them! So why did I decide to get a different pair of boots?

But then I’ve read about Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi boots. They looked funny but they won Outdoorlab’s editor’s choice for 2018. The price was outrageous but the descriptions of fantastic cushioning and comfort caught my attention.

I was getting ready to hike on Crete, where I knew there would be a lot of roads walking and hiking on boulders and rocks. The price was causing my eyes to tear but I ordered the Hoka One One Tor Ultras from Italy (no store was selling them in Poland) and hoped for the best.

Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 9-12 Agia Roumeli - Chora Sfakion - Rodakino - Plakias

After a very nice rest day in Agia Roumeli, I was ready to move on along the E4 trail. The forecast didn’t sound good - I was getting ready for a rainy hiking. The hotel’s owner said it would be raining only in the mountains – and he was right!

At first, the trail took me to Agios Pavlos along the coast. This Byzantine chapel was a stunning shape against the raw view. Throughout my Cretan hiking, I loved seeing the tiny chapels, dotting the landscape in most surprising places.

How to Minimize Hiking Hazards: Avoid Accidents, Injuries, and Getting Lost

Over the past weeks, every day I saw reports about mountain rescue teams saving hikers from dangerous spots. In some cases, there was just some seriously bad luck to be blamed – but in the majority of them, the situation could have been well avoided if only the victims were better prepared.

The common thing that repeated throughout the rescue team’s comments was a lack of proper preparation on the side of the walkers. They were not prepared for the weather conditions, didn’t have a map, no necessary gear (like a compass, crampons, warmer layers, headlamp etc.) or underestimated the trail's difficulty.

The problem with such tourists is not just that they could have died (and some did actually), injured themselves and so on, but also endangered the brave members of rescue teams who rushed after them.

We all should do whatever we can to minimize the risks of hiking accidents. This is particularly important when hiking solo – we need to rely on ourselves only.

Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 7&8 Sougia - Domata - Agia Roumeli

This part of my Cretan hiking was described by the very helpful site Destination Crete as „One of Crete's most tiring and difficult routes”. Their description of the hike from Paleochora to Sougia was dead on with “the most beautiful hike on Crete” so I was really nervous about that part.

On the map it does not look all that bad. There are no high mountains, you go along the coast and there is a bit of up and down. Well, nothing unusual for a hiking trail, right? And yet…

Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Day 6 & 7 Paleochora - Lissos - Sougia

The trek from Paleochora to Lissos was one of many on my long-term hiking trip but it is also the perfect destination for a lovely day hike. If you have the time, I highly recommend wild camping in Lissos and going back (or on) the next day – either by walking to Sougia or catching the boat/ferry (if you happen to be there in the season).

I truly believe this was the most beautiful hike I've done on Crete. 

Goats of Crete: the Furry Companions of My Solo Hike

I spent some three weeks on Crete this winter. I am pretty sure I'd seen a few times more goats and sheep than humans.  There were many days that the only companions I had were goats - no humans anywhere. I absolutely loved it.

When I came back home and went through my photos I've realized I had so many pics of goats and sheep, I just had to make a post dedicated just those adorable creatures. The fabulous landscape was the perfect background for our lovely models. 

Female & Solo Hiking on Crete. Days 3-5: Kampos - Elafonisi - Paleochora

Whenever I have to make up my mind, I spend way too much time agonizing over my options and possible consequences of each decision. But this time there was no problem.

The night before I got picked up in Kefali by the wonderful owner of a rental in Kampos. If I went by the E-4 trail, I would have to retract the exact route from the day before. Some 12 km over a paved road, mostly uphill to Kefali and then an extra 10 km to get to Moni Chrissoskalitissis. After a second-long consideration, I came to a conclusion of a big “NOPE”.

Female & Solo Hiking on Crete. Days 1&2: Kissamos - Sirikari Gorge - Kefali

The first two days of my Cretan adventure were filled with history, sunshine, Nature, olive groves, goats, some bushwhacking… and a lot of road walking. But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Finding the trail

When I was planning my hiking trip to Crete, my main plan was to follow the E-4 trail. It’s one of the long European trails that span for hundreds of miles across Europe.

The Big Drama of Winter in Chania, Crete.

I arrived in Crete very early in the day, aboard a ferry from Piraeus. It was dark and cold, I was tired and cranky. The first thing I realized was that I didn’t actually arrive in Chania. The ferry arrives in a small town of Souda, some 12 km away from Chania center.

I am really glad there is a nice, warm café pretty close to the port. I could get a coffee, wi-fi and figure out how to get to the center. I had plenty of time – it was just after 6 am. Soon after I sat down a horrendous storm blasted over the town. Now I had even more time. After two hours the rain and gale strength wind quiet down a bit, enough for me to make the short walk to a bus stop. There is a ticket machine so no problem with buying one.

A Woman Afoot... Hiking Solo on Crete!

On Friday I'm boarding a plane to Athens. For about three weeks I will try to walk its biggest island - Crete - from West to East. 

Last year, I went hiking in Catalonia during my winter break, this year it's Greece. I tried to find a place where there is a big chance of many days above 10*C to enjoy hiking and camping. There is plenty of nice, warm days along the shore of Crete - but not so much deep into its mountainous spine. 

I chose the E-4 trail because I like to have a longer trail to stick to - it makes it so much easier to hike in a new country than jumping between many short ones. 

The Scenic Route to Weight Loss: Hiking as a Weight Control Tool

I am a big fan of the “Healthy at Every Size” movement and support women of all sizes and fitness levels in the Outdoors. No weight loss is necessary before enjoying the wonderful benefits of hiking and camping.

But I know a lot of women do want to lose some weight and get in better shape. Myself included. I put some fat on and although I don’t think there's anything wrong with it, I would like to get back to my size from about a year ago – if only to fit my old clothes.

So if there are women out there who would like to get into a bit more athletic shape, let’s find the best, the most healthy and safe way to do it, right?

My 5 Luxury Hiking Items I Never Hike Without

Each time we pack we have to carefully think about each and every piece of gear. The lighter we want to go, the stricter we need to be about each item.

Personally, I don’t go ultra-light. I try to find balance between lightweight hiking, necessary for safety and comfort, and not going crazy with fighting for each ounce.

From all the pieces of gear that are not necessary to survive, I have five that I never hike without. They are the items that are useful, add comfort or safety. I could go and hike without them but I choose to pack them into my backpack. I guess you could call them my luxury items :)

How to Choose Your Camping Shelter: Tents, Tarps, Bivies and Hammocks

If you are looking for a tent to buy you might get pretty confused by all the choices you have on the market. There are dozens upon dozens of companies producing a variety of shelters. How can you choose one that would fit your needs? I prepared a handy guide that will make the decision making easier.

It might be that you are looking for your very first tent or maybe you need to retire you old family tent serving you for the past few decades. The most important thing is to realize your needs in order to narrow down your choices.

Below I gathered some questions and things to think about to help you figure it all out easier. Just a fair disclaimer - I'm a bit biased as a big fan of tents over other camping shelters. But I hope I can fairly present you with all the options you have.