All You Need to Know About Hiking in the Spring

Spring is probably the best season for hiking. Gone are the shivering cold temperatures, in are crispy cold mornings, pleasantly warm days, and beautiful fresh flowers. The trails are generally pretty empty, and accommodations aren't in high season yet.

Some destinations are suitable for hiking only in Spring or Fall - like Spain, Portugal or Balkans in Europe. In these areas, Summer tends to be so hot, that hiking might be not only unpleasant but even dangerous.

I encourage you to go on Spring hikes – either shorter day-long ones or multiple-days treks. If you have the right gear, you can even enjoy Spring camping. I want you to have pleasant and safe hiking, so let me remind you about a few essential things.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Barranco do Velho to Silves

Tune in to the next section of my hiking adventure on the Via Algarviana trail in Portugal: from Barranco do Velho, through Salir, Benafim, Alte and a rest day in Messines to Silves.

I left Barranco do Velho not only with a refreshed body but most importantly - with a much lighter soul and happier mind. When I went down for breakfast that morning, the manager told me that the puppy was gone. I didn't understand well if it was the owner who picked him up or if someone else took him home, but the most important thing was, that the dog was safe and not with me.

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Read Before You Buy: Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System For Backpackers - Gear Review

Are you thinking about buying a water filter for your hiking adventures? Consider getting Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System - but first, read my review!

The Katadyn BeFree filtration system is a pretty recent purchase for me, but it has already managed to steal my heart. I am delighted I got it, and I can recommend it to everyone.

But before I explain all the reasons why it's a great water filter, I want to clear a few things out.

Do I even need a water filtration system for my trip?

That depends on the length and style of your hike. For day hiking or multiple-day hiking from shelter to shelter it's not really necessary.

But even on a day hike, it can get pretty useful. If you know there are natural water sources on your way, you can limit the amount of water you carry and refill during the day. This way you can hike with a lighter backpack.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Vaqueiros to Barranco do Velho

My solo hiking adventure on the Via Algarviana trail in Portugal continues! Here comes the second part: from Vaqueiros, through Cachopo and Feiteras all the way to Barranco do Velho. 55 km through stunning mountains and tiny villages, challenging trail with stunning landscapes, with added problem of a … dog who wanted to take a long hike.

I woke up to a very cloudy and chilly day in Vaqueiros. I had my breakfast waiting in the restaurant down the street, so I packed almost wholly and walked to see what they had for me.

The day before I explained my diet issues and showed a card in Portuguese on a gluten-free diet. It's not very popular around here, and I am happy I had that card.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Alcoutim to Vaqueiros

First section of the Via Algarviana adventure: starting in Alcoutim on the Spanish border, and arriving four days later in Vaqueiros.

I arrived at Alcoutim after dark. There was only one bus reaching the town, so there wasn't much choice. On the bus, I met a fellow female hiker, who was also about to start her Via Algarviana adventure. We slept in the same hostel room, so we had a chance to chat a bit later on. Her style of hiking was a bit different: she had no tent nor a sleeping bag, and she decided to rely on established accommodation only. Thanks to it she could hike very light, with just the basics in her pack.

The bus stops right before a bridge you need to cross to find your way to the hostel. Later on, I found out that the trail's start was just meters away on the right. The walk to the hostel was uphill and at least 2 km, so the next day I decided not to be the purist and just continue on my way on the trail.

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Via Algarviana: All You Need to Know to Hike Across Portugal

If you are looking for a long-distance hike which provides beautiful views, cultural heritage sites, and safety - I have good news for you! Via Algarviana is a fantastic destination, and I am happy to explain why.

The Via Algarviana trail is a long-distance path stretching between the Eastern-most edge of southern Portugal, near the border with Spain, all the way to the Ocean on the other side. It crosses through the region of Algarve (hence the name) showing the interior side of this famous tourist destination.

The trail is about 300 km long and is divided into 14 official sections. Unless one is used to making long distances in a day, it takes about 3 weeks to complete. If you have more time, you can combine it with many local paths or continue along the Western shore north from Cabo de São Vicente.

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Are You Sure You Can Call Yourself a “Hiker”?

So you would like to call yourself a "hiker" but do you have the right to do so? Are you doing all that is required to be able to call yourself that? Not everyone has earned the right to talk about themselves as a hiker or trekker. Like with everything else, there are limitations and requirements one need to fulfill to have the right to use a particular term.

To make it easier for you, I have created a checklist.

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How to See the Jostedal Glacier - Even If You Are Not a Hiker!

Jostedalsbreen Glacier is the biggest glacier in continental Europe. It might seem that the only way to see it must be some strenuous and technical trek. The good news is, you can see some of it even if you are not a hiker. You can drive to parking near one of its arms and either walk a pretty wide path or if that's too much - get a ride with an electric car.

Last summer I spent in Norway. Most of it I hiked, and wild camped solo and had the time of my life. But I am not a hiker ready to cross a glacier. You need appropriate gear, skills, and experience to move anywhere close to such area.

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How to Be Eco-Conscious on the Trail: a Hiker’s Guide to Sustainability

No matter how small we might think we are, everything we do have an impact on the environment. Some people are more some less aware of the dare state our Planet is in. As I live in a heavily polluted area, with smog rates up to 11x the norms, where anti-smog mask is a must-have not just for running errands but for sleeping - I try to do whatever I can to lower my negative impact.

The very nature of hiking makes it a very ecological-friendly activity already. You use your own legs to propel yourself, no gas or harmful emissions. Hiking teaches us to live on less, make do with whatever we packed, appreciate water and natural resources. Yet, there is still more we can do to make our hiking trips as Nature-friendly as possible!

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Hiking Hydration: All You Need to Know!

I am pretty sure I don’t have to explain how important proper hydration is. Also, although we know now that there is no a set amount of water everyone has to drink during a day, it’s important to think ahead of time about the best way to carry, clean, and drink water on the trail.

Hiking Hydration: How much water do I need?

In the beginning, when you are not sure how much your body needs, think of providing about half a liter per hour of activity. If you hike on a scorching day or the hike is very demanding to you, you might need more. The amount of water one needs depends on many factors: the weather, altitude, your body type, how hard the hike is and how long you walk. If you head out on a hot day to climb steep rocks in high altitude - double the amount of water needed.

With time you start to get a good feeling of how much water you need. It’s always better to reach the hike’s end with some water left than risk dehydration.

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