Active Holidays With a Difference: Fascination of Long-Distance Hiking Trails

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In times of rising corona cases, holidays in far distant places are often no option. ISPO blogger Sandra Mastropietro explains in her column how unique experiences are possible with long-distance hiking trails, even in local areas.

Long-distance hiking trails offer the perfect balance on holiday.
Long-distance hiking trails offer the perfect balance on holiday.

It is as it is, not only the competitions, but also our holiday planning demands improvisation and a certain degree of spontaneity in 2020. So what to do when the hard-earned and long-awaited annual holiday is suddenly no longer feasible?

At the beginning of July I hiked my first long distance trail, the Salzalpensteig, from Prien am Chiemsee to Ramsau am Königssee. The route took me through fantastic landscapes, brought me closer to the history of my adopted country and made me experience Bavarian hospitality with completely different eyes.

This is not intended to be a field report, but rather a suggestion to mourn the cancelled long-distance holiday with one eye only and to direct the other to new adventures.

Whether long-distance hiking trail, hut tour or camping trip: with the right attitude and the necessary respect for our nature, the summer of 2020 can be a very special experience.

What Are Long-Distance Hiking Trails?

Long-distance hiking trails are national trails for long distance hikes and trekking tours. They pass huts and villages on a regular basis, so that food and accommodation is guaranteed.

Why Do People Walk for Several Days at a Time?

This may sound slightly esoteric, but it is certainly not meant that way: by walking you find yourself. You walk, and walk - you are alone with yourself and your thoughts. You walk to experience nature and to experience what happens when you move in it, when you surrender to it.

And at some point, all thoughts are thought and you are done with the constant amazement: that is exactly the moment when total relaxation sets in. The effort is sudden pleasure, the joys of little things like a cold juice spritzer or a warm noodle soup at the hut begin - you feel gratitude and harmony with yourself.

How Is the Luggage Transported?

In the simplest case on the back of the hiker. For this, however, a previous back training is recommended. Those who prefer to travel and/or hike with only day luggage will find numerous providers of shuttle services on the net.

What Do You Need for a Hut Tour or a Long Distance Hiking Trail?

From my own experience I can say: Not much! Cash, ID, good shoes, a dry and warm change of outfit, packed rainproof in a drybag or zipper bag, a rain jacket and a cap. Also cosmetics such as sun cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, a small shower gel as well as hair shampoo and deodorant. Many cabins have a cabin sleeping bag policy.

I was still very happy about my sunglasses and a comfortable evening outfit and the flip-flops to change after the hike. Important: Enough drinking water - for example via drinking bladder - and a few emergency bars in case the way from hut to hut is longer than expected and the sugar level drops.

With the right equipment, long-distance hiking becomes a unique experience.
With the right equipment, long-distance hiking becomes a unique experience.
Image credit:
Sandra Mastropietro

What Physical Conditions Do I Need to Cover a Long Distance Hiking Trail?

Basically it can be said that there are hiking trails for almost all fitness levels. The further it goes towards the mountains, for example the Alps, the more demanding it becomes. A certain basic fitness level and the willingness to leave the comfort zone should be present.

Which Hiking Trails Are There?

In the meantime, an infinite number, almost everywhere. Click here to go to the information page of the German Alpine Club.

The possibilities are boundless. Personally, I can sum up that the Salzalpensteig was not my last long distance hike. Because the journey I set out on at the beginning of July not only literally showed me new paths, but also made it miraculously clear to me that you can't experience adventure and new things far away from home.

I wish you a relaxing, eventful and wonderful summer.

Your Sandra

About the author: Sandra Mastropietro is 32, lives with her husband and child (8 years) in the Munich area and is an enthusiastic trail runner. Since she didn't really want to "go fast", she fled to the long distances and since then she runs everything between 80 and 168 kilometers - and that strangely enough always with a smile on her face. Sandra is a specialist trainer for endurance sports, mental trainer and, to top it all off, Schreiberling (book Transalpine Run, Delius Klasing 2019 & Läuferleben, Komplett Media 2015). But first and foremost she sees herself as mum.

Among her greatest successes are the 4 times finish of the Transalpine Run, 2x 100 miles at the S1 Corsa Della Bora, the Lavaredo Ultratrail, the Namibia Wild Run and passing the hardest race in the world: the Dragons Back Race.

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