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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More
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.

Read More
The Top 10 Articles You Loved Most on A Woman Afoot in 2018

When I looked at this year's statistics, I must admit that I was taken aback by some data. It's quite evident from the list that you like reading advice and gear tips. Only one destination-related article made it to the Top 10: the West Highland Way hiking guide. It also seemed that my readers searched for information on Scotland a lot - I am not surprised here, who doesn't love Scotland?

I think my biggest surprise was the high position of the review of the Vango Blade 200. Thank you, my British readers! Vango is not well-known outside of Europe, so I never thought that article would get so popular. I always read gear reviews before I buy anything (thank you, buying anxiety), so I understand why that kind of posts are searched for. Over the past two years, I’ve written multiple gear reviews, for boots, rain jacket, two backpacks, a gas stove, a camera, two tents, a pillow, sleeping mattress… The Vango review is one of the earliest ones, so it had enough time to build its popularity.

Read More
Why I Will Never Be an Ultralight Hiker… and Why I’m OK with That.

There is a firm push in the hiking community to go ultra-light. Even people who don't use ultralight gear, feel or believe that's the ultimate "best" to which we should all aspire. Thru-hikers go on a constant quest to cut whatever else is left to cut, to go on a bare minimum (and sometimes even below that) to reach the UL Grail.

Obviously, there is a good reason behind it: shading some weight off our packs makes hiking easier and safer. It's less pressure on our knees and muscles don't need to work as hard to carry it all up to the hills.

Some reasons are budget-related: there is no way I can afford a Dyneema tent or backpack, for example. Other ideas are more... comfort-related. There are things I am willing to carry even though there are not necessary and even might seem silly to pack. And yet - I do.

Read More
Urban Hiking in Bergen, Norway: Mt. Ulriken and Mt. Fløyen

Bergen, in addition to the historic heritage and adorable wooden houses, offers also hiking experience without leaving the town. Even the biggest Norwegian cities are very close to nature, and it often takes a long walk, a bus ride or a few stops by a train to arrive in a pure and stunning natural area.

Bergen, the second-biggest city of Norway, lies at the western coast of the country. Its houses were often built on rocks and steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. If you have a chance to fly into Bergen, you can see the jaw-dropping setting for this city, with the many mountain peaks, lakes, fjords, and islands.

As part of the Bergen experience, one must go up at least one of the famous Seven Mountains surrounding the city: Mt. Fløyen. Easily accessible by the cute Fløibanen funicular can be reached by everyone. Although it's far from very high: it's 400 m above the sea level, it provides incredible views to the whole area.

Read More
Why I Do What I Do: On Hiking Solo & Taking Selfies

Why do I go alone into the Mountains? And what’s the deal with all these selfies?

I can’t help the smile. It doesn’t matter that I’m puffing, I am sweating, and there is some aching in my knees. The smile is there. It’s probably not even visible all that much to passing me hikers (although I always try to smile nicely to all hikers me on trails) but I feel it. I sense the smile.

And it’s a different kind of a smile than the one I give a colleague at work in the morning or after hearing a cute joke. This one is different, it radiates from a different place, somewhere deep inside. It’s a bit like when we fall in love, the smile we can’t stop after remembering the cute moment a day before.

Read More
Read Before You Buy: Gregory Maven 45 Backpack for Women Gear Review

Are you on the market for a lightweight mid-size backpack? Take a look at the review of Gregory Maven 45 - it might be the backpack for you!

I got my Gregory Maven 45 L about a year ago. I was looking for a lighter and smaller backpack than my solid but heavy Deuter Aircontact 50+10.

I had a few backpacks on my radar based on online reviews, but it just happened that I found this pack on sale and decided to get it right away. I am delighted I did.

Read More