The Happy Amateur Hiking Guide

In my youth I always saw myself as a Lone Wolf and didn’t want to conform to any “group activities” or groups. When I moved up to the Alps, however, I realised that it was not the best way to make new friends. First, I joined in the local church choir, not the best fit since I’m not even Christian, and then I found a hiking group. That was spot on!

After a while, one of the guides in the group asked me if I didn’t want to become a guide too. Well, why not? A week-long course, an exam, and today I am one of six people looking for appropriate hikes, preparing them thoroughly and guiding our group through the paths of the Val d’Hérens and the Valais.

There is much to be thought of when preparing these hikes. Since our group mainly consists of older persons, the altitude difference should be less than 500m (difficult to find around here!) and the hike should not be longer than 4h30. You also have to consider the season and the weather – obviously no hikes in thunderstorms! We visit areas exposed to the sun and at lower altitudes in the beginning of the hiking season (March – April); trails higher up have to wait until July – September.

When my family and friends come to visit, I love to prepare suitable hikes for them too and most of all I enjoy making guided “Botanical Hikes”.

During spring and early summer, rare wildflowers grow abundantly here (see my blog post “Wonderful Wildflowers”) and thanks to knowledgeable friends and the Flora Helvetica I’ve learned the names of most of them. It’s a great feeling to show these little gems to others! Many of the plants are medicinal herbs and this is my favourite area of knowledge to pass on. All those useful plants, that many see mainly as weeds!

Since my region is not very touristic, I don’t offer guided tours to strangers, but that would be nice too. So, if you know a group of people interested in a guided hiking experience in the beautiful Val d’Hérens and its flora, let me know at sabina.sdp@gmail.com!

The Amateur Hiking Guide

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