Posts in TRAVEL
11 Tips To Make Sure Your First Overnight Hike Goes Smoothly

Overnight hiking is one of the best ways to integrate yourself with nature. Not only will you enjoy some of the benefits of hiking, but you’ll also allow yourself to unplug for several hours. When was the last time you thoroughly unplugged from technology for 48 hours?

If you can’t remember, you’re not alone.

 Photo by  Hennygraphy

Photo by Hennygraphy

Hiking tunes you into the most primal parts of your brain. The human body was created to live alongside nature—not in the modern world. You’ll learn how to navigate the forest, cook for yourself and entertain yourself without the use of modern technology. 

Spending time outdoors has plenty of health benefits too. In addition to reducing stress, spending time outdoors can help enhance your mood and help you sleep better. Yet, you’ll need a few pointers if you’re about to embark on your first overnight backpacking trip. One of the most important things to understand about hiking is: planning is everything.

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Tip #1 - Plan Ahead

Planning is one of the best things you can do to ensure success on your hiking trip. The more you prepare for your trip, the more successful your trip will be.

Your first hike should be planned when the weather conditions are expected to be mild (or at least, not so erratic). You don’t want to deal with drastic drops or rises in temperature for your first trip.

Tip #2 - Don’t Pack for a Fortnight Away

It’s important to be prepared, but sometimes less is more when it comes to packing. Don’t pack everything. Many first-time hikers tend to pack all the modern comforts they think they’ll desire over the next day.

Just remember that you’ll need to carry everything that you pack. You’ll want to lay out everything you plan to pack before you place anything in your pack. Take a good look at everything you’ll need to carry. You can go ahead and discard those four extra pairs of socks you just thought you wouldn’t be able to live without.

Tip #3 - Preparing to Dine Al Fresco

It’s important to plan out your meals in advance, so you don’t find yourself burdened with too much (or worse—without enough food) over the course of your trip. Make sure to pack plenty of protein and carbs to keep you satisfied.

Remember that you may have to pack your waste out, so don't bring lots of food in heavy containers such as tins. It's best to prepare meals in advance, and bring them in ziplock bags or buy freeze-dried meals that only require boiling water to cook.

Although, don’t forget to have a little fun with your food! Try a new recipe for an old fan favorite like buttered popcorn marshmallow smores.

 Photo by Cam DiCecca

Photo by Cam DiCecca

Tip #4 - Bring a Map (and know how to use it)

Despite how much Google Maps has rocked your world, you’ll need to bring an old-school waterproof map. You’ll also need to know how to use it. Navigation skills are hugely important in the wilderness where cell phone batteries can die, or your GPS doesn't get a signal.

Tip #5 - Test Your Equipment at Home

It’s important to test out all of your equipment at home before your hike. You should break in your hiking boots before hitting the trail, so you don’t destroy your feet.

Sometimes manufacturers forget to include all of the parts in products, and you don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of the woods before realizing that you don’t have the main pole for your tent. Test your equipment in your backyard first.

Tip #6 - Learn to Dress Appropriately

Hikers and backpackers these days swear by the three-layer system that will help keep you comfortable in (most) any weather. This involves a thin base layer, to wick away moisture, a middle insulating layer to keep you warm and then an outer shell layer to protect you from the wind and elements. Simply remove or add layers to suit the climate.

Also, don't forget to bring accessories such as sun hats, sunglasses or cold weather gloves.

Tip #7 - Familiarize Yourself with LNT & Local Regulations

You know the saying, “Take only photos, leave only memories?” Leave No Trace means that you leave nature the same as you found it. This means that everything you "pack in" should be "packed out" again.

Don’t bother the wildlife, pick the flowers or camp on sites that aren’t already established by other campers.

Lastly, you also want to ensure you have the appropriate permits before you step foot on the trail. Don’t assume that you don’t need a permit.

Tip #8 - Check the Weather Before You Go

Leading up to your trip double-check the weather forecast and consider rescheduling your trip if the weather won't be in your favor. If you still plan on heading out, make any final adjustments to your pack based on the likely (and worst case) weather forecast.

Tip #9 - Panic Time, Leave One!

Never hike without telling your friends and family where you’re going. Establish a panic time. This means that you tell your friends and family when you’re leaving, where you’re going, your exact route and when to call the authorities if you haven’t returned.

As soon as you are back in your car (and have cell service), call your designated family members to let them know you’re okay.

Tip #10 - Keep It Simple

On your first trip, just keep it simple. You'll probably be doing a lot of new tasks for the first time such as map navigation, long strenuous hikes and setting up a campsite. Don't further add to the burden by planning to hike 15 miles a day or fit in lots of extra activities.

Tip #11 - Enjoy Yourself

The most important part of your hike is remembering to have plenty of fun. Enjoy yourself! Hopefully, you’re planning this trip because you already have a love of hiking. Don’t forget to have fun and relax!

Article written for UP KNÖRTH by My Open Country. My Open Country is a campaign to try and get more people excited about the outdoors. Improve your wilderness adventures with their in-depth articles on hiking/backpacking skills, inspirational trip guides & awesome gear reviews.
Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/myopencountry/
48 Hours In The Yukon; Photo Journal By Hennygraphy
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Ever wondered what 48 hours in the Yukon look like? Think cold, grey skies, snow-capped mountains, campfire and tea by a wood stove. Some of our product made the journey with Hennygraphy and photographer Jong Sun Park on their 2 day, fully loaded trip of the Yukon. 

All photography credit to Hennygraphy. See more of the journey here.

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 Shop our Up Knorth minimalist   t-shirt here.

Shop our Up Knorth minimalist t-shirt here.

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 Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north.   Shop them here.

Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north. Shop them here.

Looking Ahead To Summer; Everything You Need To Know Before Hiking Berg Lake Trail
 Berg Lake by  Panafoot via Flickr

Berg Lake by Panafoot via Flickr

Arguably one of the most scenic hikes around. The 23km trail takes about 7 hours to complete, and passes vistas most of us can't even imagine to be real. Any photos you've seen of this place are no comparison to the real thing. Along the way you will past through Kinney lake, white horn and the valley of a thousand falls - overall, hoping you catch a clear day, you will see 16 glaciers in the remote backcountry. 

 On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by  Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

Additional info: The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September, with many half day and multi-day hikes starting from the Berg Lake Area. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. There are a few campsites, and very few facilities. This is not a hike for beginner or novice mountaineers. For additional info and reservations and trail maps visit: 

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/berg.html

Stay safe, respect the trails and do your homework before you go. Tag and share your stories at @upknorth and #upknorth.

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Elfin Lakes Trail; PNW Winter Escape
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Nestled 1,600m above Squamish, BC, Elfin Lakes is a mountain escape that equals no other. The mountain cabin holds a capacity of 33 bunks on the upper level, with ample space for cooking and dining on the level below. The 11km trail (one way) is accessible in both summer and winter months, and doesn't doesn't fall short when it comes to panoramic mountain views. 

Incredible images were captured by Hennygraphy

Visit www.hennygraphy.com for the full set.

ADVENTURE, TRAVELEditorComment
Allemansrätten - Freedom To Roam
 Roaming Iceland, camping gear in tow. Shot by Christian McLeod.

Roaming Iceland, camping gear in tow. Shot by Christian McLeod.

Allemansrätten - literally "everyman's right" or "freedom to roam" - is an inalienable commandment that guarantees public access to the country's land. At one point, most of Europe commonly embraced this concept, however today the right to roam has survived in it's purest form in only Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

 Scouting for a camp spot over Lofoten, Norway. Shot by Marie Peyre.

Scouting for a camp spot over Lofoten, Norway. Shot by Marie Peyre.

 Wild camping on Horseid Beach, Norway by Cody Duncan via  68north

Wild camping on Horseid Beach, Norway by Cody Duncan via 68north

These rights of access open doors for remarkable exploring and unrestrained adventures. In several of the Nordic countries travellers are provided with the opportunity to hike across or camp on another's land, boat on someone else's water and even harvest wild edibles (wildflowers, mushrooms and nordic berries) off others' land. These concepts are very unlike North America, where camping is typically designated to certain areas, whether in the wilderness or not. And while this incredible concept will undoubtedly spark the travel bug, these rights do come with some responsibilities (and justly so); that is, an obligation to neither harm, disturb, litter nor damage any wildlife and crops. 

So for the traveler with a tent in tow, this equates to the right to camp anywhere you please, whenever you please, for free. Norway anyone?

 Aurora tent views. By Georg Krewenk.

Aurora tent views. By Georg Krewenk.

 Camping at Lake Langisjór. Shot by Christopher Lund.

Camping at Lake Langisjór. Shot by Christopher Lund.

NORTHERN NORWAY: HOME OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
 Northern Lights over the Lofoten Islands, Norway shot by Kevin Gorton

Northern Lights over the Lofoten Islands, Norway shot by Kevin Gorton

Witnessing the aurora borealis is an unforgettable experience. 

Like tulle curtains caught by the breeze, like rolling smoke or like ribbons across the sky, in an unearthly, electric green, often with hints of pink and violet; the northern lights, the aurora borealis, are faint, translucent and illusive. Occasionally, the whole sky explodes in a corona of green, pink, violet and white, like firework, organ pipes or opening flowers. Spectators pinch their arm in disbelief, and photographs can in no way do the lights justice. 

 Auroras over Northern Norway, by  Lorenzo Montezemolo  

Auroras over Northern Norway, by Lorenzo Montezemolo 

Excellent conditions

The northern lights are created by loaded particles from the sun hitting the outer layers of the atmosphere some 60mi/100km above us. This is common in the so-called aurora belt around the planet. Northern Norway is situated in the middle of this belt, but whereas most areas in the aurora belt consist of freezing tundra and ice shelves, Northern Norway is easily accessible and has moderate winter temperatures. Hence the conditions to spot the best northern lights are excellent.

Show time

Aurora is a diva – you never know when she is in the mood for an appearance. In Northern Norway, northern lights occur in up to 90% of every clear night in the period from early September to early April. Most northern lights occur in the time span from 6pm to slightly after midnight, with an absolute peak at around 10-11pm. 

  Auroras over Northern Norway, by   Lorenzo Montezemolo

Auroras over Northern Norway, by Lorenzo Montezemolo

 Northern Islands over Lofoten, Norway

Northern Islands over Lofoten, Norway

How to see the lights

It is important to be out under the open sky between 6pm and midnight. Adventurous people go skiing, hiking or driving at night to keep warm and find a good lookout position. However, a safe and warm organised tour is more accessible to most people. There is a multitude of tours, notably:

Hunt the northern lights by bus or mini-van: you are taken to the place with the most favourable weather conditions in the moment 

Visits to vantage points of particular beauty and frequency

Dog sledding

Snowmobile safari

Reindeer sledding 

Kicksledging

Snowshoeing 

Cross-country skiing

Boat trips 

Where to go in Northern Norway

Basically, the area north of the Arctic Circle is prime aurora territory. The various destinations in the High North have a distinct personality, and are well worth exploring.

Alta  

Bodø 

Kirkenes

The Lofoten Islands

Svalbard  

Tromsø 

Vesterålen  

 Light blues via  nordicexperience 

Light blues via nordicexperience 

Article via Visit Norway 

Camp Reset; One Week In The Wilderness
 Photo by  Justin Mullet

Photo by Justin Mullet

Many of us were probably already aware that camping is more than just open fires and s'mores. Many studies now are looking into the therapeutic effects camping has on the mind and body. It seems one week of camping with no electronics can drastically improve our stress and sleep levels. No surprise there. 

The theories behind these claims link to findings stating that after a week of exposure to only natural light, our internal circadian clocks re-align with the natural solar 'time'. In more digestible format, our internal (biological) night begins at sunset, and ends just after sunrise. This exposure to natural light allows our internal system to naturally regulate hormones, particularly melatonin (the sleep-promoting hormone). Melatonin disruption has been on the rise since the 1930's. In modern days this disturbance is attributed to overuse of artificial lighting after sunset.

 Eggs and bacon. By  Grant Harder

Eggs and bacon. By Grant Harder

Regulation with natural light allows our bodies to fall asleep an average of two hours earlier and effortlessly rise with sun. Now, while we could all attempt to do this on a regular basis the keynote here is that because the sleep timing is synchronized with the natural light-dark cycle, awakening at earlier hours with the light of the sun is much easier, and provides a feeling of relaxed refreshment as opposed to the confused daze that many of us wake up in. Exposure to only sunlight and a fireside glow is the reasonable explanation for this synchronization and a factor that causes many of us fall asleep at 'incredibly early' hours when camping. 

Other benefits of a few nights under the stars include more general (but equally beneficial) health aspects. For centuries it has been known that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual well being. This well being includes stress reduction, which can be partially attributed to less or (ideally) a complete lack of technology while in the great outdoors.  

While people may have varied opinions on this, we say it's a good reason to take a week off work and go find some wilderness. 

Read More on Nature Therapy | Theory originally published by InsideScience