Writings from the highest part of my trek

By Ray Baker Above sea level: Brisbane: 27m Pin Parvati Pass (India): 5319m In August 2015, I led a group on a trek in the Indian Himalaya. We crossed a 5300m pass called Pin Parvati into the remote, starkly beautiful region of Spiti. This is a classic high Himalayan trek in an area rarely visited by trekkers. The Parvati Valley has pristine forests, waterfalls, lakes, flower-filled meadows, snow-capped peaks, sacred sites and serene solitude. The trail is rugged and difficult in parts and provides a challenge to experienced trekkers. The campsites up the valley are isolated and peaceful; the only […]

The Diary of a Kokoda Trekker

by Prue Barker Prue decided to accept the challenge—personally and physically—and take on the Kokoda Track. Prue kept a diary on her trekking days and is proud to cross the finish line with Team 6 in 2017. Day 1: Thurs 20 April 2017  Left Lamana @ 15:30 Arr Owers’ Corner @ 16:50 (dept 35 mins later) Arr Goldie River @19:00 Great start to our trek. It was raining when we left POM and all the way to Alolo, but no rain for the actual walk. Fortunate, since it was so muddy anyway! My porter, Chris, saved my ass – or at least my clothes […]

The A-Z of Trekking

By Ray Baker The more you trek, the more you discover and Ray Baker shares his insights, learnings and yearnings from years of trekking. A for Adventurous: the required mindset for trekkers. Your trek may take you to exciting, unusual and challenging places. Adapt to your surroundings, dare yourself to step into the unknown and strive to enjoy every moment. B for Blisters: the bane of boot wearers. There are all sorts of blister remedies; tape, gel, pressure pads and petroleum jelly to name some but the best blister treatment is prevention, so wear in your boots before you go […]

What happened off the beaten track … by Clare Davissen

  I’m not sure about you but when I’m on holiday I like to get a little lost in a city to find some hidden gems – something off the tourist path. Exploring the world on foot has really allowed me to see some ‘less seen’ places. As much as I love to check out the main sites and take that all-important selfie on top of the Eiffel Tower or at Everest Base Camp, it’s been these moments off the beaten that have been those ‘WOW’ holiday experiences. Here are my five favourites:   NORWAY 2008 I was lucky enough […]

How times change … serving time in the Outer Hebrides

Brian C. Kay of North Lakes was amazed to see Back Track Adventures and Wild Earth’s small ship cruises visiting St Kilda on our Scotland in Depth cruise aboard the MS Serenissima … he shares his memories of time spent there during his army service. Remote, battered by the Atlantic seas, St Kilda, is a near mystical island with dual World Heritage site status for its natural and cultural significance. Deemed Europe’s most important seabird colony – with abundant puffins, fulmars and the largest colony of gannets in Britain, plus grazing the island are Soay sheep, unique survivors of primitive breeds dating […]

Ray’s excellent trekking adventure

Our director and trek leader, Ray Baker is currently in India trekking and exploring potential new treks and walks with Vikas Kumar, our local Tour Manager who comes from Naddi – a small, picturesque village above Dharamsala in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh.  You can follow Ray and Vikas’s adventures on our Facebook page or check out this gallery of shots we’ve put together!  Look out for Ray’s blog on his return.

Africa: far from the madding crowd

After mapping out more than 7500km to research Back Track’s first fully-guided and escorted six vehicle safari, Jim Drapes and the brave souls on the first trek, headed off for 29 days through Namibia and Botswana, finishing at Victoria Falls and  including the Okavango Delta. It ws a trip never to be forgotten, Jim writes.   In a crowded world, I found an escape … a place to be totally with nature. I fell asleep to the sounds of the African bush and woke to a cacophony of different birds. For miles and miles we traversed the country—two foreign counties […]

The day of the summit: our journey to the top

Part 2 of Ray Baker’s blog on reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro: We’re cold, questioning life and why we are here, but determined to make it. Ascending at the rate of 250 metres per hour, plus rest stops, means that we can expect to be on top about 7a.m. and that’s all I’m focussing on… well that and the cold. Plod on to the summit Check the time and altimeter…1.00a.m…4900m… ahead of schedule. The summit is at 5895m.  Plod on. Three a.m.… 5200m… the pace has slowed… we are all feeling the cold and the altitude. The trail emerges from the […]

Summit day, Kilimanjaro: the hardest day of all by Ray Baker

There’s a euphoria that’s experienced when reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro – a feeling not easily put into words. No matter what it takes to get to the top, the effort is easily over-shadowed by this feeling, and the elation that continues all the way down the mountain and for days after. But getting there is another story. Not one summit day has ever been easy Uhuru is a word meaning freedom in the local Kiswahili language and the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro is officially known as Uhuru Peak. It is 5,895m above sea level and the highest point on […]

My hardest trek … ever by Ray Baker

Nepal … a circuit of Dhaulagiri, at 8167m, the world’s seventh highest mountain, and my hardest trek ever. Like all treks, this had some easy days but the combination of five tough, high altitude days in a row after a reasonably strenuous walk in, plus a bout of ill health, and carrying a 20kg pack, elevates this trek to the top of my hardest list. The first challenge The first challenge was the ascent of the aptly labelled ‘Heartbreak Ridge’. We left camp early and the first two hours were quite easy, but by mid-morning the high sun blazed down […]

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