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Hiking Trails

Wanderlust

The joys of being outside: aside from TÜV SÜD inspecting items used in the great outdoors for safety and functionality, many employees themselves spend a good deal of time in the countryside. Five of them present their favorite alfresco routes.

Recorded by Tino Scholz  Illustrations by Sebastian Lörscher

 

United Kingdom – Aonach Eagach Ridge

LYNN HUNTER is a Group Manager at TÜV SÜD NEL in Glasgow.

 

 

the trail

The Scottish Highlands begin north of Glasgow. Aonach Eagach, the “jagged ridge,” is an especially impressive place to experience them. The hiking path, at about 1,000 meters above sea level, runs along a massif approximately 10 kilometers long and is extremely narrow, with steep esker ridges and grassy slopes on both sides. The route itself is a continuous up and down, so be careful!

 

the jaw dropper

A magnificent panoramic view from the top of Am Bodach. The view of the mountain landscape with Ben Nevis, Scotland’s tallest peak, is breathtaking.

 

The special feature

Many films have been shot in the area around Aonach Eagach, including Highlander (1986) and Braveheart (1995).

 

My Tip for the Trip

Salt. Not for you, but for the numerous mountain goats. Because a calm mountain goat is always much better than a hungry one.

 

 

 

 

China – Hua Shan

MISHA LU works for TÜV SÜD in Shanghai and is responsible for marketing in China.

 

 

The Trail

For we Chinese, Mount Huashan, the tallest of the Five Great Mountains of China, is a special place. The path up to the peak of 2,100 meters, however, is hair-raising. At times it’s reminiscent of a bookshelf that someone screwed into a wall—with iron chains on the face to hold onto and the precipice always in view. The rest of the trail really packs a punch as well: the steps hewn out of the side of the mountain are so steep they resemble ladders. It’s for good reason that this route is considered one of the most dangerous in the world.

 

The Jaw Dropper

At the end of the trail, hikers can find a teahouse that once was a temple. The view is tremendous. The prospect of having to climb back down, though, is less so.

 

The Special Feature

There are plenty of enterprising citizens in China. For instance there’s a photographer who offers his services from a very narrow ledge, the abyss immediately below him. He says business is brisk..

 

My Tip for the Trip

A rock-climbing set and helmet! Walking along the rickety boardwalks makes you glad you can secure yourself to the iron chains with a carabiner.

 

USA – Multnomah Wahkeena Loop

DAVID RODRIGUEZ is an engineer for product safety at TÜV SÜD in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

The Trail

The Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Hike in the gorge of the Columbia River near Portland is one of the most popular hiking trails in the area. I especially like it because there are numerous waterfalls along all of the eight kilometers. And the fairly simple route makes it possible to bring kids and dogs. Such a hike can take up to five hours.

 

The Jaw Dropper

Multnomah Falls is the path’s largest waterfall. It has two drops and a total height of 189 meters. A turnoff leads to a suspension bridge that offers an amazing view of the falls.

 

The special Feature

The weather can go berserk here in the northwest of the United States, which means that mudslides aren’t unusual on the Wahkeena Loop. A small bridge got washed away in 2007—and has never been replaced. 

 

My Tip for the Trip

Bring a lot of time. First, there’s tons to see, and second, being a popular trail, it can fill up at times, which means that lines form at some trail bottlenecks. 

 

 

 

 

Spain – Ruta del Flysch

FERNANDO CASLA AROMA is the branch manager of TÜV SÜD ATISAE in Bilbao.

 

 

The Trail

Zumaia, a small town in the Basque Country in northern Spain, is where the 14-kilometer Flysch Route begins. From San Telmo chapel, which towers high above Itzurun beach, the route leads to the tip of the slender spit of land, where the cliffs drop straight down 20 meters into the water. The trail goes up and down, past steep rock faces and the Atlantic Ocean, to the small town of Deba.

 

The jaw dropper

The many kilometers of steep cliffs that plunge down into the ocean have been formed by the water’s erosion and the earth’s movement over the past 50 million years. The variety of colors along the cliffs absolutely invites you to linger awhile.

 

The special Detail

The history of planet Earth is in plain view at spots along the hike. There’s a line about a centimeter wide, running through the layers of rock, which stands testament to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Sixty-five million years ago, a gigantic asteroid smashed into what we know today as the Gulf of Mexico—the impact hurled a shower of ash and sediment around the world, landing here in the Basque Country as well. 

 

My Tip for the Trip

Bring a bathing suit. If you hike a long way, take some time to relax. And what could be better than to take advantage of the almost endless sandy beaches located just meters away from the trail?

 

 

 

 

South Africa – Drakensberg Grand Traverse

DAWN DIERGAART is a project manager in the area of management systems at TÜV SÜD in Cape Town.

 

 

The trail

This is not for inexperienced hikers! With a total length of about 200 kilometers, at normal speed a person needs 12 to 15 days. But the views are glorious. The trail leads up to above 3,000 meters and, for the most part, follows the border of South Africa and Lesotho. As long as the weather is good, hikers can marvel at the incredible sunrises and sunsets.

 

The jaw dropper

What’s better than relaxing with a cool drink at the end of a long march? You can, in Africa’s highest pub. At the Sina Pass, just over 3,000 meters above sea level, you can drink, eat and sleep in a lodge with breathtaking views.

 

The special feature

It’s difficult to imagine that, two years ago, extreme athletes Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel completed this occasionally dangerous trail in 41 hours and 49 minutes. They walked 204 kilometers without stopping.

 

My Tip for the trip

The Basotho, a Bantu ethnic group, call the Drakensberg Mountains home—and their children love to receive little presents, such as candies. Experience shows: a small gift will keep the children happy so you can walk on in peace.