badge

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Pleasure of Hiking

A hiking trail in Moneglia
Hiking on well established trails is an engaging activity and requires little except fitness level , and a bit of will power. On the contrary, trekking is a  more rigorous and challenging activity, mostly on an uncharted route. Most of us love to engage in this except for the lazy bones and 'couch potatoes' who like to sit back and relax or maybe prefer watching the TV instead. 

I remember the times when as a child I would wander off to explore the city and later after joining the Navy, it became an obsession. When I was posted in  Mumbai, every evening I would head for Marine Drive and take a walk for about 10 km in the evening which not only helped in keeping fit, but also, was an engaging pastime to see the life flow in the busy metropolis. Later in Jamnagar and Goa, it helped in exploring places like far off salt pans, bird watching spots, and some lesser frequented beaches. There were times I walked more than 10 km just to return home via a route I had not seen especially in Goa! I almost got lost climbing the wrong hill on a trek to Chandanwadi from Pahalgam, just after my marriage! Fortunately, my wife and I found a shepherd who guided us in the right direction.The trek through Kangra valley, tough terrain of Kinnaur and watching mountain lizards in their natural habitat are some of the most endearing memories. 
Old fortress ruins atop hill overlooking sea
In subsequent years during travels to many places, I hiked on the Alps in Switzerland for more than 15 km through the meadows beyond Zurich, went hunting for the Orange groves in Jaffa along the coastline in Tel Aviv and most recently in Moneglia in Italy.Moneglia, is a small village well connected by TrenItalia which is sparsely populated. The natural beauty of the place locked between the hills and Mediterranean sea offers the most spellbinding views. There are trails that lead to nearby places like Deiva Marina, and Bonassola along the coastline to some arduous ones through Riva Trogoso to Sestri Levante.  Unfortunately, as the time was the most precious resource, I did not want to go beyond 10 km a day so I did take 2 or three trails but more to enjoy the journey than reaching the destination.
Cherries on the way 
The trips were never more than 3 hours at a stretch. This gave me an opportunity to see the huge expanses of Olive groves, pluck the cherries, apples and plums from the trees and enjoy their flavor which is a rare treat. The exotic plants and blooming flowers were a captivating sight.
The garden of a beautiful house on way
Of and on, around the bends the views of the sea, the church spires and small houses perched atop the hill  were fascinating. I came across some houses of the local villagers where I wished I could stay forever.
The juicy lemons!
The Fresh produce market in Moneglia
Thankfully, my family supports me in these silly endeavors and join me too! I find  hiking extremely rewarding in terms of experiences and building stamina and resilience. It also offers a first hand knowledge of the locals, their culture, ways of working, and their friendly ways.The fresh produce markets are always a delight to see

25 comments:

  1. Agree with you. Hiking is extremely rewarding. It gives us access to those remote areas that cant be reached via vehicles. My most memorable hikes was a 3 day 50 km hike in Corcovado, Costa Rica where on side were dense rainforest with variety of flora and fauna and on the other side was Pacific ocean. The second one which I found totally worth was the 60 km 4 day hike at Landmannalaugar, Iceland through extreme arctic terrain. I wouldnt miss a hike for anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Write more about those treks as they seem to be wonderful! There is always so much to learn :)

      Delete
  2. Marvelous post. I am at the opposite end Rahul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot,Induji for liking the post!

      Delete
  3. Hiking is a bliss, especially when we reach the end...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Maniparna for reading! What you wrote is true:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thats very impressive, Rahul. I enjoy hiking too. And you are right, family support is much needed. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice to know that you love to hike too... Rachna!Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  6. Hi Rahul, looks like you had a wonderful hike. Your travel posts give me a serious bout of envy. Thanks to you I keep adding so many places to my wishlist. I wonder whether I'll be able to see even half of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to see you back after a while Rachna! You have many more accomplishments that I am yet to come close to!

      Delete
  7. I'm sure it's rewarding and refreshing, lucky you. Lovely pics. We had planned a Europe trip this year but had to cancel due to my heel injury. Hope to hike on Alps like you, one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely every bit worth it! Hope you get well soon and are able to explore the places you intended.

      Delete
  8. I love hiking too, it feels amazing to be in the arms of nature. Refreshing and extremely healthy activity. Love the captures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could not agree more for the number of pleasant surprises that awaits us while hiking!Thanks a lot, Rajlakshmi for liking the post:)

      Delete
  9. 10 km walk on Marine drive back then ..nice
    Some wonderful experiences shared in this post. Monegalia is stunning even with the few pics you have uploaded

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A big thanks Sujatha for liking the post and the pics!

      Delete
  10. Phew, that's a lot of walking and trekking. But there's no better to explore new terrains and cities

    ReplyDelete
  11. Agree , but what better way to see this just explore on foot !

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! It seems like you had a blast hiking, Rahul. You've hiked some amazing trails. Any tips for hiking the Alps?

    ReplyDelete