It’s becoming a tradition this summer that when we want to go tramping on the West Coast, it’s raining cats and dogs (see eg. our Black Range adventure just a few weeks before). With everywhere else under the covery of rain clouds, we were looking to do something different on the Canterbury Plains where the forecast was clear. Mt Taylor (2333m) in Mt Somers Range got our attention as a special enough trip for our weekend.
Mt Sommers Track is one of the most popular overnight hikes for Christchurchians. Fair enough, it’s close to Christchurch and it’s pretty nice there. As the track doesn’t go too high up, I made up my own variation of the track with ascending Mt Sommers and Mt Winterslow which are the highest mountains in the area. Alright, I didn’t actually stand on the top of them but I was just an easy stroll away.
Our first plan was to hike Sabine Circuit. That didn’t happen. However, this long weekend still turned out to be our greatest snow adventure of the winter of 2019.
Karpaz peninsula has always reminded me of a rhino. It sticks its massive long Cypriotic horn right into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the least developed area of Northern Cyprus. It’s full of olive orchards, wild donkey, farmland, stray dogs and amazing rocky sea coast. There are quite a few hikes you can do but we just decided to go for it and cross the whole peninsula there and back in its full length. I mean sort of. Sometimes we cheated a bit hitched (see further).
Late November may not appear to be the ideal time to hike the Arran Coastal Way. However, I had reached saturation point with day to day life in the dark depths of Glasgow and needed to get out for some fresh air and alone time.
Walking the West Highland Way in November was quite a spontaneous decision, mostly based on a small window of good weather. I’d been in Scotland for a few months and hadn’t seen such a steady forecast lasting 4-5 days. It occurred to me that I could walk the West Highland Way in that amount of time and decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
I’m starting to realize that most people who consider themselves hikers will have been on at least one hike where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. We can look at these experiences as opportunities to learn and prevent the same situations from occurring again. Or, we can see them as opportunities for character building. Or, as in my case at the time, we can have an identity crisis and start to over-think whether we really are hikers or just closet nanas.
We didn’t choose the best day to start the trail. It was Friday, 29th June 2018, the beginning of a long weekend thanks to Canada Day, by far the most popular camping weekend in Canada. But, we didn’t have much choice since we had been offered a ride to China beach on that day from Victoria and didn’t want to lose the opportunity.
The Juan de Fuca (JDF) trail is one of 3 classic, long coastal trails on Vancouver Island (the others being the West Coast Trail and the North Coast Trail). Unlike the other 2 trails, neither campsites or transport need to be booked in advance on the JDF. Furthermore, from what I’ve heard, all 3 hikes offer similar experience. So, for me the JDF was number 1 on my list for hiking on Vancouver Island.
Easy trail along an astonishing canyon and its side gorges. Well marked with water in the beginning and the end