Hi… Mark (aka MGF) here, the curator for our site, The Mountain Hiker.
This is actually a travel site for people who like to “day hike” Mountains and Volcanoes, as well as for the more adventurous backpackers who like to venture into the mountains for days at a time. This site is really geared for those of you planning a vacation, who would like to experience mountainous hiking / backpacking trips, but need some help in deciding where to go. On this website, you’ll find useful information for hikers with varying degrees of experience, to help you plan your next excursion. The hikes described and illustrated on this site are also intended to get you inspired for that next (or first) trip.
As for me… I have come to realize that what I truly enjoy doing most, is getting outdoors and hiking. Like most people in the so called “civilized world”, I have been spending far too much time indoors, barely moving – in front of the computer… I realize that I need to get more physical, and I want to (re)connect with the beauty of the forest, doing what came natural to me, when I was a child. Therefore, I have been including some hiking in the great outdoors, as part of my vacation activities. For me, the best hiking involves going up-hill, as this increases the physical challenge, and provides a rewarding view once you reach the top of the mountain.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity” – John Muir
I found this type of travel adventure fairly late in life, however I’ve been at it for a few years now, and plan to keep going for as long as I can. My first “uphill hike” was actually in the Austrian Alps, which in retrospect, was a great place to start (understatement of the year – LOL). The experience absolutely blew me away. The exhilaration of the physical exercise combined with the euphoria of witnessing some amazing views, really made me feel alive (and humble). Words cannot faithfully describe the feeling of being “on top of the world”, or at least on top of that little part of the world, for a few minutes. This and other hikes I have done, have provided me with memories that will last a lifetime.
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed” – Albert Einstein
It was also on that Austrian Alp hike, on the way down the mountain, that I realized that I didn’t quite have the physical stamina to comfortably do a hike of this nature, and I knew that I would need to do some form of physical training going forward, in order to fully enjoy the over-all experience. That’s one reason we include a “Preparing for your hike” section on this site as well.
Perhaps not everyone will want to spend the better part of a day getting sweating and occasionally chasing your breath, but if you’re like me, it makes you feel good about yourself. Personally, I prefer to take on up-hill hikes that will take somewhere between 4-8 hours. This way, I’m away from the world for long enough to reconnect with nature and my body, and yet still have time to enjoy a nice meal, maybe an accompanying beverage, and be able to sleep in a nice comfortable bed at night. That said, we have included information to help you multi-day backbackers as well…
“Our Nature lies in movement; complete calm is death” – Blaise Pascal
To set expectations for this site, this is not an “extreme” mountain / rock climbing site. It is for those of you, in decent shape, looking for a great outdoor experience. That said, hiking 5-15 miles (10-25 km) with a change in elevation of up to 3,300 feet (1000 meters) per day, is a fairly decent challenge for most, and there will be times when mountaineering, rock climbing and scrambling skills will come in handy. Also – When we mention “backpacking” on this site, we’re really referring to multi-day hiking, which requires sleeping somewhere on or near the trail. This website is not about “low budget” travel, staying in hostels etc…
Also note that I am not trying to capture every possible trail in existence, just provide a “big-picture” overview of what is available in North America and the Caribbean, utilizing a “sampling” of hikes in each region / island. I leave the detailed compilation of hikes to regional experts (where available).
As you’ll see from the hikes that I have personally contributed to this site, I prefer a warm and heavily forested hiking environment, so you’ll notice that most of my hikes are in the Caribbean, where the rainforests offer some amazing flora, spectacular island and ocean views, and oh yah – it’s always nice and warm, and there’s plenty of local rum to enjoy. I’ve also found that there are too few good resources on the internet to help find good trails and plan hiking trips in the Caribbean, so you’ll find more detailed information about hiking in the Caribbean on this site, relative to the well traveled US and Canadian Parks. As I have mentioned, I do share some of my own experiences on this site, however I couldn’t possibly provide enough first-hand knowledge of all the areas that I believe would be of interested to you, so I rely on and point to existing information as required. We would also like you to share your experiences with us, especially in those areas where there is little already documented on the internet.
For all of those travelers out there with similar experiences and/or interests, this website is for you, and I hope that you enjoy it! If there’s something else that you would like to see on this website, please let me know in the comments section below.
“The mountains are calling and I must go” – John Muir
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