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Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.


Saturday, November 2, 2013


Ominous storm clouds framing her jolly face, Mary Whistance offered us some pre-walk advice in her cheery Welsh lilt: ''Tomorrow is the best day of the whole trail. Hergest Ridge is a right lovely walk. Steep though. And if a storm comes on, you're in for it. A walker died up there last month, so he did. Poor lad, a boy and a half he was! Three days before they found him.'' Her smile fizzled when she stole a furtive glance at the brooding sky.

Location: Great Britain; Wales;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Testing the trails

I am starting to think this is the worst idea I've ever had. Barely 20 minutes into our climb, I'm afraid my children's first real hiking adventure may be over. It's hot, nearly 30 degrees, and the humidity is intense - the kind of day we'd usually spend on a beach. But we are on the Crawford Path in the White Mountains, a shady, rocky trail that will take us uphill for the next two and a half hours so we can spend the night in one of the Appalachian Mountain Club's historic high huts.

Location: New Hampshire;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 13, 2013


concierge@globeandmail.comThe question I want my kids to love hiking. Any tips and trails you'd recommend?THE ANSWER Sofa-attached kids might need greater inducements to pry them from their digital devices and hit the great outdoors.

Subject: children; hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A very Swiss summer

Come summer, Switzerland's daunting, snowy peaks open up into lush valleys filled with herbs and flowers. Cities empty out on weekends and everyone heads to the mountains. Whether they're returning to an ancestral village or looking for fondue with a view, almost all will spend hours exploring the mountains by foot.

Location: Switzerland;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The road less travelled

Not long before we started climbing the hills of the Cevennes and sharing its gorges with dozens of effortlessly cool vultures, UNESCO declared our French hideout a World Heritage Site.

Location: Cévennes; France;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rumble through the jungle

My guide, Nam, eyes my heavy camera pack with the clear expectation that he will end up carrying it. But I am fit - triathlon fit - and this hike is what I have been training for.

Location: Borneo; Sarawak;

Subject: ecotourism; hiking; travel

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What's the adventure in your neck of the woods?

escaperoute@globeandmail.comRecently, as the workday drew to a close, I shut off my computer and grabbed a backpack. My destination was Mount Fisher, a pyramidal mountain that dominates the skyline beyond town. For years I'd been enticed by the idea of sleeping on its summit - which lies just 35 kilometres from my front door in British Columbia - but never seemed to have the time. Why is it that adventures close to home - explorations of the glories just around the corner - are the hardest to embark upon?

Location: British Columbia; Mount Fisher;

Subject: camping; hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, August 23, 2012


WHAT'S THE DEAL?Spend a few days hiking in the backcountry with your little one.WHERE'S IT AT?Once you have had a baby, you do not need give up your passion for wild places. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can venture off well-trodden paths with ease. For most new parents, the biggest concerns are safety and lugging the extra weight and supplies. Previous backpacking experience, map reading and first-aid skills are paramount. You will also need a specialized backpack, such as the Deuter Kid Comfort, for your baby. It works best if one parent carries junior and the other carries everything else. Before embarking on a multiday trip, make sure you are fit and have done several short hikes to work out any problems. Most infants enjoy hiking, and the motion rocks them to sleep.

Location: Banff National Park; Lake Louise;

Subject: babies; hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, July 26, 2012


What's the deal?Experience the thrill of traversing a glacier, and scrambling up rocky summits, without taking a mountaineering course.Where's it at?The high alpine of the Rocky Mountains is a breathtaking world of rock, ice and snow. It can also be incredibly dangerous for the ill prepared. Venturing there usually means taking a mountaineering course and investing in backpacks full of expensive, technical gear. Icefall Lodge, a backcountry tour operator near Golden, B.C., aims to change that. Under a guide's watchful eye, keen hikers can safely go beyond regular hiking trails into wilder terrain .

Location: British Columbia; Golden;

Subject: glaciers; hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Hiking the FaroesThe Great Canadian Travel Company is offering a tour of Faroe Islands at a price that's hard to beat if you were travelling on your own. The archipelago is a self-governing region of Denmark, midway between Iceland and Norway, with rugged scenery and 50,000 inhabitants. The new self-guided hiking trip has daily departures for $979 a person, including seven nights accommodation in the Faroes, airport transfers, all breakfasts and five dinners. Airfare is additional. Five nights are spent at the northern tip of the island of Eysturoy, an ideal base for hiking. The final two nights are spent in the capital city of Torshavn. For more information, call 1-800-661-3830 or visit

Location: Denmark; Faroe Islands;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 21, 2012

CSI: High Arctic (an unpredictable episode)

escaperoute@globeandmail.comWe trekked inland from the coast of Axel Heiberg Island in Canada's High Arctic, past gypsum cliffs soaring above a turquoise lake, through a labyrinth of braided rivers and narrow canyons, leading ever upward. At last, we reached the interior plateau; endless plains of burnt-red rock and mocha-brown earth. In four days, we hadn't seen a single human footprint, nor passed a sprig of vegetation taller than my ankle. The mood was one of utter desolation.

Location: Arctic; Axel Heiberg Island; Canada;

Subject: ecotourism; hiking; travel

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Midnight scramble

The Rockwall is a kilometre-tall rampart of lead-coloured limestone, rippling 53 kilometres across the spine of Kootenay National Park. It's a dramatic piece of geology, even in a region where dramatic geology seems to lurk around every hairpin turn in the road.

Location: British Columbia; Kootenay National Park;

Subject: hiking; rockwall trail; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A killer climb with an unbeatable view

''What was that?'' my fiancee whispered to me in the middle of the night in our tent.I was already awake and heard the loud thunder-like sound. For a moment, I had to reorient myself, we were not back home in Ontario where thunderstorms were common. We were in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile halfway through the five-day ''W'' trek, and what sounded like thunder was actually large chunks of ice cracking off Grey Glacier falling into the lake below.

Location: Chile; Patagonia;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, September 29, 2011


What's the deal?Get up close and personal with a waterfall.Where's it at?The sport of canyoning uses elements of swimming, scrambling and rock climbing. The point is to get into places you don't otherwise belong. It's an adrenalin-charged activity that you can find in Quebec's scenic Vallee Bras-du-Nord, in the Laurentian Mountains, 60 kilometres west of Quebec City. Here, you can book a guided excursion with Canyoning Quebec (, one of Canada's foremost canyoning operators.

Location: Quebec; Vallée Bras-du-Nord;

Subject: ecotourism; hiking; travel

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


$250 OFFAdventure Center is offering $250 in savings on more than 200 select walking, hiking or cycling tours around the world. Hiking tours range from an 18-day trek in Argentina to 13 days in Uganda. Cycling tours go from A to V - Austria (from Vienna to Budapest along the Danube) to Vietnam (from Saigon to Hanoi). Tours must be booked and paid for in full by July 31 and travel must begin by Sept. 30. For more information, visit or call 1-888-456-3522.

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Reader Juanita Sauve writes:''I took this photo along the Jack Pine trail while attending Hike the Highlands, a 10-day program that takes place every September in and around Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Jack Pine trail is a 2.3-kilometre path which loops through an old jack pine forest and provides interesting views of the Atlantic coastline. Every year I am drawn back by the beautiful scenery and lovely people I meet.''

Location: Cape Breton Highlands National Park;

Subject: hike the highlands; hiking; tourism; travel

Monday, June 6, 2011


EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNTArizona River Runners has opened the books for spring 2012 hiking trips in the Grand Canyon at 2011 prices. A 12-day special, April 2 to 13, travels 360 kilometres through the Grand Canyon, beginning at Lee's Ferry and ending at Diamond Creek for $2,695 (U.S.) a person. A six-day version, April 2 to 7, starts in Marble Canyon and features more hiking opportunities, including a stop at Phantom Ranch and a climb up to the South Rim. This sells for $1,295. A seven-day/six-night itinerary, April 7 to 13, starts with a brisk hike from South Rim, Grand Canyon, to the Colorado River for $1,695. For more information, call 1-800-477-7238, e-mail: or visit

Location: Arizona;

Subject: hiking; rafting; tourism; travel

Monday, May 23, 2011


$12New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vt., opens for its 34th season with two specials. The weight-loss spa in the Green Mountains of Vermont is taking $12 (U.S.) off a night for those who book by June 5 for stays from May 30 through Oct. 2. Eleven-night weight-loss retreats have a $225 savings on the following dates: June 17-28, July 5-16, July 16-27, Aug. 4-15, Aug. 20-31 and Sept. 6-17. All-inclusive rates are regularly $209-$249 a night based on length of stay. Spas of America has named New Life Hiking Spa the No. 1 spa in New England. For details, visit or

Location: Killington; Vermont;

Subject: hiking; spas; tourism; travel

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The thrill of wide-open spaces

On the South Pacific island of Rarotonga is an elder named Pa who hikes barefoot across the island every day, famously dropping seeds of wisdom. Among those that sprout in my memory are his thoughts about the healing power of nature.

Location: Canada;

Subject: hiking; parks; series; travel

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A hike like no other

To celebrate Parks Canada's 100th anniversary, we asked for your stories and photos. Reader Lesa Myciak writes: The West Coast Trail, a 75-kilometre backpacking trail within the Pacific Rim National Park, had been on my list since 1987. The stories of couples who made or broke their relationships on this hike - hypothermia, rain-soaked packs and boots, slippery terrain, 108 bridges, 37 sets of ladders and two cable cars - were legendary.

Location: British Columbia; Pacific Rim National Park;

Subject: ecotourism; hiking; series; travel; west coast trail

Monday, March 7, 2011

Take a hike - in Hong Kong

If you like monasteries and veggie feasts ...

Location: Hong Kong;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Friday, January 14, 2011

Family planning

OUTDOORSY TYPESIrelandIn 2008, the worldwide recession made travel an enticing proposition as currencies nosedived and deals multiplied for hotels, airfare and more. But pain was so widespread that few could afford the deals. In this recovery phase, Canada is faring better than Ireland. If Ireland is on your family's bucket list, this year should be an exceptional time to go. Take a bicycle, horseback riding or self-guided drive package, staying overnight in castles renovated as four- or five-star hotels. There'll be time to appreciate Irish verve and hospitality - virtues that will surely return the country to prosperity in time.

Location: British Columbia; Caribbean; Florida; Himalayas; India; Ireland; Nevis; Whistler;

Subject: cruises; hiking; skiing; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 18, 2010


concierge@globeandmail.comA friend and I want to walk the Cork region of Ireland this April. Is there any sort of trail that we could follow for four or five days that ends each night with us in a nice pub for dinner, followed by a bed and breakfast?

Location: Amsterdam; Ireland;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


$305Hiking through the rain forest is the highlight of the Tico Wellness Package from $305 a night at the recently opened SUU Manuel Antonio boutique hotel in Costa Rica. That rate is available to Dec. 15, a savings of about $80 a night. All taxes are included in the package as well as double-occupancy accommodation, spa treatment for two, full organic breakfast and a hiking tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. On the hike, guests may see howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas and endangered squirrel monkeys. For more information, visit or call 1-877-252-0988.

Location: Costa Rica;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Going underground in Belize

For millennia, our ancestors lived in dark, fire-blackened caves, providing shelter and a safe refuge. Maybe that's why tourists are still attracted to caves, usually large underground caverns with damp wooden boardwalks, coloured spotlights and limestone formations with cute nicknames. More adventurous travellers, spelunkers, use specialized ropes and harnesses to seek out cave systems that run for dozens of kilometres. Caving often requires contortionist techniques, rock-climbing skill and the instincts of a navigator. At Caves Branch in central Belize, I discover it's possible to hoist yourself somewhere in the middle - a true cave adventure for the leisurely tourist.

Location: Belize;

Subject: ecotourism; hiking; travel

Thursday, October 28, 2010


WHAT'S THE DEAL?Hike over Martian-red soil, pass skyscraping cinder cones and alien-looking silverswords, drop into a forest of ohia lehua and mamane trees, and pitch a tent for the night.

Location: Haleakala; Maui;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wouldn't you rather hike here?

If it's true that trees share their healthful properties with humans walking among them, then the Big Trail through the Meares Island rain forest is the place to go for a dose of woodsy medicine.

Subject: hiking; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Healthy forest, healthy mind

All I can say is it felt a little unnerving at the beginning. Not because I was walking on a trail called ''Forest Therapy Road,'' or because I had just embarked on a ''forest bathing'' experience. What struck me as strange, was that I hadn't seen or heard another person, aside from my wife, for more than 15 minutes. Then there was the breeze, the sound of a stream and the sight of trees blanketing every vista. Tokyo - with its millions of people, traffic, trains, steel, glass, and the tiny concrete box apartment I called home - felt like a solar system away.

Location: Japan;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hiking the shores of an inland sea

Under threatening skies on a humid July morning, the centuries-old Ojibwa pictographs at Agawa Rock radiate an energy matched only by Lake Superior's restless swell. This is the payoff for four days of backpacking in northern Ontario on Lake Superior Provincial Park's Coastal Trail: a shaman's canvas that soars 70 metres out of the water. It's a place where blood-red rock paintings speak of countless journeys - like my own - on Lake Superior's rugged shoreline.

Location: Lake Superior; Ontario;

Subject: ecology; hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, May 29, 2010

High on the White Mountains

It had been more than six gruelling hours since we had parked our car by the side of the highway and started hiking, and we still hadn't reached the hut. Our water had run out at Hour 4 and for the next two hours the trail had only become steeper. Every 100 metres seemed to present us with another near-vertical pile of boulders that we had to clamber up hand over foot, one level of difficulty removed from the ropes and pitons crowd.

Location: New Hampshire; United States; White Mountains;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, May 29, 2010

With a helicopter's help, paradise found

''Duck down! Now's the time to lose them.'' I watch the group of sexagenarian hikers sprint ahead of us through an alpine flower meadow in B.C.'s Columbia Mountains until they're mere specks of fleece jackets and hiking poles. All day, fellow writer Don George and I have been trailing the aging athletes as we traverse snowfields and high ridges, up craggy escarpments to sapphire lakes, over hills lush and emerald and shrieking with Indian paintbrush, glacier lily and tansy aster. In all directions snow-white, jagged, blue mountains stretch into the sky with nothing but pure wildness between us and them. All day I've wanted to yell out to the group, ''Stop! What's your hurry?''

Location: British Columbia; Canada;

Subject: helicopters; hiking; tourism; travel; walking

Saturday, May 29, 2010

'A window into the past'

The Rocky Mountains lie to the west, snow-capped peaks hidden just beyond the horizon, and the vast Alberta prairie emerges in the east, gently rolling fields offering no hint of the riot of yellow canola and blond wheat that will bring life to the land come summer.

Location: Alberta; Canada; Horsethief Canyon;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel; walking

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The transformative possibilities of foot travel

Walking speed? Now there's a contradiction.In an over-accelerated world, foot travel is the closest thing to living in slow motion. But isn't that the point? Our norm is the plane and the car, vast distances covered in no time, places and cultures and histories glimpsed through a passing window and briefly acknowledged by a multitasking brain.

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel; walking

Saturday, May 29, 2010


1. West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, B.C.Arguably the most famous Canadian hike, the trail winds through 75 kilometres of rain forest and pristine beaches on southwest Vancouver Island. Waist-deep mud, high tides and dozens of ladders make for a gruelling trek, but all is forgiven while relaxing at Chez Monique's on-trail restaurant or watching the whales frolic at sunset from your oceanfront campsite.

Location: Canada;

Subject: hiking; list; tourism; travel; walking

Saturday, August 29, 2009

An archeological mecca where man rarely roams

The soothing burble of a snowmelt creek trickles up to my ears as I sit with my eyes closed, relieved to be off my feet after a gruelling day's hike. Around me, in British Columbia's Mount Edziza Provincial Park, is the most incredible landscape I've ever experienced: Towering glaciers tumble over the empty peak of Edziza itself, a long-dormant volcano; fierce, contorted lava flows stand in stark contrast against the blue of the sky; and reddish-black cindercones and craters erupt out of the flat expanse of alpine tundra.

Location: British Columbia; Mount Edziza Provincial Park;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 25, 2009


A stabbing pain in the right shoulder jolted Don McPherson awake. It was 1980, the middle of the night, and McPherson went wincing to the emergency room in a downtown Vancouver hospital. There he met Phil Severy, the physician in charge. His shoulder was fixed, a friendship was founded and the Grind, up Grouse Mountain, was born.

Location: British Columbia; Grouse Mountain; Vancouver;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lost among the gods

There's nothing for family togetherness like being lost on a mountainside with the sun going down - especially if it's a god-haunted mountain in Greece with nymphs and satyrs behind every tree.

Location: Delphi; Greece;

Subject: hiking; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In Independence, July 4 is 'bigger than Christmas'

Tamsin McMahon left her job just before her job left her, setting out for the Pacific Crest Trail for a 4,260-kilometre hike up the coast. She has been writing about her adventures (and misadventures) en route. Here, she takes us to Independence, Calif., for the Fourth of July. For more updates, visit

Location: California; Independence; United States;

Subject: hiking; series; tourism; travel

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big thrills come with bigger health risks in the Grand Canyon

Frank Poole worked out at a gym and hiked around his Mississippi home carrying a weighted pack for months in preparation for his trip to the Grand Canyon.But it wasn't long after Poole started hiking on a popular canyon trail that he was struggling to breathe. Several hours later, he was at Flagstaff Medical Center in northern Arizona, where doctors determined that the 75-year-old had suffered a heart attack.

Location: Arizona; Grand Canyon;

Subject: travel; tourism; hiking

Saturday, May 9, 2009


THE FIRST KILOMETRE The Pacific Crest Trail starts in the least scenic of spots: a dusty desert beside a barbed-wire fence. Behind the fence is a dirt road. Behind the road is the Mexican border - a massive steel barrier that separates us from Mexico by only a few feet.

Location: Canada; United States;

Subject: travel; hiking; pacific crest trail; series

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When the economy tells you to take a hike

One day last fall, I decided I was going to quit my job and go for a walk.While I've been known to leave my house on a warm spring afternoon and return 21 kilometres later, this wouldn't be one of those jaunts. This would be an epic stroll, spanning more than 4,200 kilometres, grazing the edges of three countries and passing through 24 national forests and about a dozen national and state parks. It would take the better part of six months.

Location: Canada; Mexico; United States;

Subject: travel; tourism; hiking; equipment; list

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Through thigh-deep whitewater and up 6,600 feet

Auyuittuq is a remote 19,000-square-kilometre park founded on Baffin Island in 1976. About 40 kilometres beneath the Arctic Circle, its name means ''The Land That Never Melts.''

Location: Auyuittuq; Baffin Island;

Subject: travel; hiking; ecotourism

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No more guerrillas in the mist

We breached the snow line at 4,600 metres and clambered onto a glacier that stretched across the southern face of Pico El Toti, a little-known mountain in the Colombian Andes. Its moraine-encrusted surface, dusted with layers of fresh snow, obscured a core of blue ice. So, with crampons crunching into the crisp surface and tethered to my guide, I plunged my ice axe to the hilt and urged myself on for the long upward slog.

Location: Colombia;

Subject: travel; tourism; hiking; parks; mountain climbing

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A climb to the 'house of the sun'

The frigid wind feels as if it's blowing right through my Gore-Tex jacket. I'm glad I packed a tuque. Not most people's idea of Hawaii, in other words. But as I stumble down the 2,969-metre summit of Haleakala Crater the payoff comes into view: a trail snaking through Martian-red soil and solidified lava flows - and not another tourist in sight.

Location: Hawaii; Maui;

Subject: travel; tourism; hiking

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Go climb a tree

''You're about 80 feet high,'' instructor Jamie Robertson shouts. ''Don't look down!''I look down. Robertson has broken my concentration. And although tall and muscular, he now looks like a dwarfed squirrel on the ground. Holy crap.

Subject: travel; hiking; trees

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Baffin Island in Nunavut is one of the last pristine wilderness areas left in the world and its rugged mountains and glaciated valleys are attracting a growing number of climbers and trekkers. Climbing, Trekking and Skiing Baffin Island by Mark Synnott (Rocky Mountain Books, $29.95) will be an indispensable guide for adventurers testing their skills in the island's harsh terrain. While the book has sections dealing with ski-touring and summer trekking, the emphasis is on assaults on the rock faces of fearsome crags such as Mt. Turnweather, Mt. Odin and Breidablik Peak on the flanks of Mt. Baldr. Synnot describes successful ascents, many illustrated with hand-drawn maps and colour photographs marking routes to the top.

Location: Nunavut; Baffin Island;

Subject: hiking; travel; tourism; books

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where would Jesus walk?

Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit the stone church at Tabgha, the traditional site of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, on Israel's Sea of Galilee. But few venture beyond the crowds to the landscape Jesus walked. Those who do find silence and solace on the rocky hills and in the shade of the olive trees that cover the plains.

Location: Israel;

Subject: travel; tourism; religion; hiking

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where to take your eye off the ball

ZURICHThis city may be known for staidly suited bankers (nicknamed gnomes) and one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. But visitors would be hard pressed to find a resident without a pair of hiking boots in the closet. And there are a number of places to put them to use both within city limits and nearby.

Location: Switzerland;

Subject: travel; tourism; hiking; cities; list

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trail links natural wonders like a strand of pearls

Last autumn Julia Rosien and her husband, Stacy, ushered their four kids into the minivan and set off from their Kitchener, Ont., home for an afternoon outside. It was a gorgeous, sunny cool day, perfect for a walk in the woods, and Ms. Rosien had a plan.

Location: Ontario;

Subject: travel; ecotourism; hiking; bruce trail

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Georgian Bay - often called the sixth Great Lake - is one of the most picturesque and popular recreation areas in Ontario. Paddling and Hiking The Georgian Bay Coast, by Kas Stone, comes in time to make plans for active summer outings on the bay. The guide divides the bay's coastline into four distinct regions and introduces 38 of the best places for paddling and trekking. Routes range from hour-long strolls to strenuous hikes. She also includes enough of the bay's history of logging, mining and fishing to make it an enjoyable read for armchair travellers.

Subject: travel; books; review; paddling and hiking the georgian bay coast

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