Those who’ve been following this blog until now will know the importance I place on introducing children to the outdoors, hopefully generating a love for the natural world and confidence in their own self-sufficiency.
Last week I spent four days hiking with my 10-year-old daughter, climbing to the summit of Frenchmans Cap, one of the most prominent mountains in Tasmania. I then took my eight-year-old son for a three-day hike around Freycinet Peninsula, circuiting its beaches and crossing the summit of Mt Graham. Continue reading
Think of great mountains across northern Tasmania and most people think only of Cradle Mountain. But to reach Cradle Mountain, you invariably drive past another imposing and isolated line of rock that is the breastplate of Mt Roland, a mountain that’s arguably the equal of its more famous neighbour.
To most who drive through here, Mt Roland is just windscreen scenery, a moment of ‘I wonder what that mountain is called’, before it’s forgotten in the quest to reach Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain. Continue reading
It’s a pretty short journey from No 3 in my list of mountain treks to No 2. From Torres del Paine National Park you need only skip across the border into Argentina to find yourself at the foot of Monte FitzRoy, less than 200km away. Perhaps the single-most impressive mountain I’ve had the pleasure to ogle, FitzRoy is an enormous bubble of rock – its summit escarpment is more than 1km in height – rising out of the fierce Patagonian Andes.
It’s been 10 years since I hiked here, and still the walk and the landscape live with me. It was a hike of both expectation and frustration, since I walked for almost a week in FitzRoy’s shadow before the clouds parted to grant a glimpse of the mountain I’d travelled half the world to see. Continue reading
I’m getting towards the pointy end of my list of favourite mountain treks…and quite literally with this entry. Chile’s multi-pronged Torres del Paine are one of South America’s pin-up images, with the massif’s sharp peaks rising as bent and broken as a fisherman’s fingers. Continue reading
The Tour du Mont Blanc – No 5 in the list of my 10 favourite mountain treks – takes me back to my origins, to my first real extended hike. It was an accidental kind of journey that sprang from the desperation of the ABC – Another Bloody City – of my European backpacking days. This walk truly cured all, introducing me to one of the world’s classic mountain hikes and seeding my passion for mountains and the outdoors. Continue reading
The journey through my favourite mountain trails continues, closer to home now, on New Zealand’s South Island. But not among the usual roll calls of famous tramps. Continue reading
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about my favourite mountain treks, trying to narrow them down to the finest 10. The journey now crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, ascending into the Rocky Mountains outside of Jasper, where the Skyline Trail joins my previous nominations: Gokyo Ri (10) and the Picos de Europa (9). Continue reading
Last week I began looking at my 10 favourite mountain treks, beginning with Gokyo Ri (Nepal) at No 10. Moving up the queue, things shift to Europe, but not to the usual mountain suspects. Continue reading
Three weeks from now I will be back on the road. On this next trip I’m heading home… as in, I’m heading to the mountains, the place where my soul resides even when my body is inside bricks and mortar in a city. I’ve been blessed, even spoiled, to see and hike through so many of the world’s great mountain regions, and as my next mountain journey – to South Africa’s Drakensbergs – approaches, it’s set me wondering. Of all the treks and mountains, which few have crystallised in my mind as the finest of all? Continue reading
I’m not the first to believe that footsteps, pedal turns and paddle strokes can feel like the essence of life. Never does my mind function better, or my soul feel more connected to some sort of natural order, than when I’m hiking on a mountain, cycling an empty road, or kayaking along a wild strip of coastline.
“I can only meditate when I am walking,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote. “When I stop I cease to think; my mind only works with my legs.” Friedrich Nietzsche was even more resolute on the subject: “Only those thoughts which come from walking have any value.” Continue reading