Walking unpaved roads is something that the Chinese prefer to leave to farmers, rather than something one would do for fun, so finding a good hike in China can be a bit tricky. Dropping any ambition of a through-hike, we set our sights on two day trips near Guilin. The first runs along the beautiful Li Jiang river while the second brings us back to farming: crossing the provinces famous rice paddies.
We woke up to the drum of raindrops, rolled up uncomfortably at the bottom of our sloped tent. The previous night, we had pitched our new Hillenberg Nallo 2 for the first time on the windy and rainy coast of Scotland’s Isle of Skye. We had specifically purchased the overpriced Swedish tent to withstand the storms and rain that we anticipated to encounter on the 130-km Skye Trail across the island. We also brought a map of the otherwise unmarked route which warned that the trail is suitable only for “experienced hillwalkers” who are “familiar with walking in Scotland”. We had done one hike together the previous year in Norway which also featured ‘hills’ and decided we fitted the description.
A fresh breeze welcomed us on the Fishermen’s Trail, as we hit the Portuguese coast on our second day hiking the Rota Vicentina. I had convinced my girlfriend Wing to join me on a hike, with two conditions: no steep mountains and a friendly climate. We found exactly such a trail in the Rota Vicentina, which consists of the Historical Way, following green trails in the Portuguese agricultural countryside, and the Fishermen’s Trail, which turned out to be a stunningly beautiful track skirting the seaside cliffs.
The first thing we did when we got off the train at Finse was put our hats and jackets on. Five seconds into the trip and already we had used an item firmly marked as ‘just in case’ when we packed our bags the day before. Although Norway’s highest train station, the area was still only just above 1,000 meters altitude and it was the middle of July. Already 18.30, we figured it was just a fresh evening wind and started to follow the trail up the hillside to find our first campsite.