THE WEEKLY #240: MY LONGEST HIKE

This was my last full week on Madeira to mark the end of my six month stay on the island. What better way to finish it off than to walk around the entire island, which is exactly what we did. Together with my friends Chris and João, we hiked the Caminho Real 23, which is a historic path that is 180 kilometers in distance with more than 8000 meters incline throughout the route.

The Caminho Real 23 was a route commissioned by the King of Portugal in the 19th century. It was essentially a road or passage designed to be used for walking, carrying items, and for sleds pulled by strong oxen. The road takes you around the perimeter of the island, with a few diversions inland for 170 kilometers with approximately 8000 meters of vertical gain on the route. Nowadays, many parts of the route are unpassable, eroded, or in need of repair. Hikers need to find alternative detours around some sections in order to link up to the original roads of the Caminho Real 23.

It was the longest distance I’ve ever hiked and other than Everest Base Camp Trek and Kokoda Track, it was my longest duration of hiking. The big difference was this one had an insane incline and we carried all of our own camping gear with no guides to be seen. A lot more self-sufficient to other trips I’ve done in the past, which inevitably makes it more difficult but also very enjoyable.

I wrote a huge blog post about the entire hike so I won’t go through the whole thing again here. If you want to check out that big blog post with all of the photos you can do that here: CAMINHO REAL 23: THE ‘ROYAL PATH’ OF MADEIRA

I learnt a lot on this hike about my physical capabilities but also how best to shoot a hike and document it in real-time. Each night I would type 500-1000 words into my phone. When I arrived back after camp I simply brought all the notes together into WordPress and added some more information. This made it a much less daunting task rather than arriving home and needing to write 5000 words from scratch. It also meant that I was giving raw insights from that day rather than trying to recall how I felt seven days later after so much had happened. This is a sustainable strategy that I will continue with going forward.

In terms of photos, I carried a lot of gear with me. A drone, drone charger, three batteries, Sony A7rii, batteries and two lenses. It was damn heavy but I’m happy with the photo set I created by the end of the trip. I wanted to test myself to carry all of the gear on this trip because essentially, you need to be able to carry your own gear if you want to document places that are hard to get to. I showed myself I can carry it and have consistency with shooting throughout the seven days despite the challenges. I pulled up a little sore in one hip but that is just my body and how it is.

I wont’ go too much further into the hike. Those were just some side notes to look back on but I do encourage you to click through to the big article I wrote. I’m proud of how it turned out and the consistent effort I put into it over the week-long journey. Once again, you can check it out here: CAMINHO REAL 23: THE ‘ROYAL PATH’ OF MADEIRA

If you are keen just to see my favorite photos from the trip, I’ll add some of my top picks below. Hope you all had a good week.

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