Young woman halfway through 600-km hike through Estonia

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Heleri Hanko on her 600-km hike. Source: ERR

On Thursday, ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" spoke to Heleri Hanko, a traveller who has set a goal to hike 600 km through Estonian nature.

As of Thursday, Hanko has walked for two weeks and has gone through about half of the intended distance. She noted that the greatest challenge has been the extreme weather conditions. "I can say my greatest opponent is wet weather meaning positive and very negative temperatures. One night, I slept in -27 C weather. It is not too bad. The watery situation is weirder. I have gotten colder while waiting for a bus in Tallinn than in the woods now," Hanko said.

In September, when she began planning the hike, she did not expect such cold days during winter. "In early-January, I looked at my equipment and consulted with different people, who are smarter in this area and who have hiked more in winter, because I had no such earlier experience," Hanko noted.

"I have not had very wet weather yet. By night, when I reach the campsite, everything is usually frozend and I have not woken up in a puddle in the morning yet. But it is exciting and I must adapt," the traveller added.

She said the hike is even more extreme than expected. "But forest roads are uncleared and there is quite a bit of trailblazing. I have taken on long hikes in Estonia before, I hiked 820 km in the summer. To my suprise, my feet were less exhausted at nights, the snow is preferential to hiking. While walking on roads in the summer, my feet were much more tired than they are now," Hanko said.

The woods are rather silent now and Hanko has not seen too many animals. She added that she would like to see more however. "I know Estonian animals are not too dangerous for me, especially during winter, so my big dream is to see a lynx or a wolf. I have heard many deer, some birds as well, it is nice to wake up to birds singing," she said.

The traveller said preparation is key when feeling inspired to take on such a hike. "To research, look for people who have been through this before and then just go. Maybe work out a little to have some stamine. Almost anyone can do this with good preparation," Hanko inspired people to try hiking.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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