Renee Hahnel is a photographer, blogger and trail lover. She travels the world with her husband, Matthew Hahnel. Renee has travelled to 29 countries and her hiking bucket list continues to grow every day. She is currently on a road trip to every National Park in the USA and hitting up some of the best trails in the country. Here's why she hikes.
Why do you hike? Hiking makes me feel alive. I crave the fresh air, nature’s aroma (especially pine trees!) and the surge of endorphins. I also find that hiking in nature brings out my creative side, hence why I nearly always take along my photography gear.
What’s your favorite place to hike? I have so many favorites! Some of the best hikes I have experienced are:
Everywhere in Banff & Yoho National Parks inside the Canadian Rockies
Roy’s Peak in Wanaka, New Zealand
Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range of Wyoming
Besseggen Ridge in Norway
Cascade Canyon to Paintbrush Divide Loop in Grand Teton National Park
The Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park
Hiking to the Drangarnir overlook in the Faroe Islands
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru
Where would you like to hike? I would love to hike in the Dolomites, Northern Norway (near Lofoten), the wilderness of Greenland, and around Mount Fitzroy in Patagonia. I have always wanted to hike the Enchantments in Washington and in the Alaskan wilderness, both which I am ticking off my bucket list this year!
What’s the craziest animal you’ve seen on the trail? I was hiking in Glacier National Park a few years back when a mother black bear walked onto the trail with her three tiny cubs. They were incredibly cute but the whole experience was a little terrifying.
What piece of gear do you love and why? I don’t hike without some sort of buff/turtle fur. I use them as headbands, neck warmers, face protectors from wind/snow, sun covers, pillow cases and sometimes to wrap my camera gear in.
What advice would you give to people wanting to start hiking? Just start! There isn’t a right or wrong way to hike. Just pick a short trail close to your home and see if you enjoy the experience. If you begin doing longer day hikes or overnight hikes I would suggest you do some research on proper gear to take with you. It’s important to be prepared for all conditions and situations when you are in the wilderness.