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Choose between an 8 or 9 day journey into history, civilization and, of course, food—the base of the trail's very existence. Travellers will enjoy beautiful scenery, unforgettable views, silence, and uncontaminated nature during the walk from Piedmont towards the Ligurian Sea. Small groups of 6 or 7 people to better enjoy the experience, enhanced by comfortable typical accommodations and supported by van. La Via Del Sale – The Salt Path A very ancient trail in Northern Italy, used since ancient times to carry salt to the rich interior plains. 30 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette Winter 2016 Open Air by nancy hansen, acc aMbassador T he world might be small, but the planet is enormous. Since I was the Interim Executive Director of the ACC a year and a half ago, I've had the great fortune of visiting different mountain ranges, climbing areas, and mountain cultures around the world. It feels like I've only scratched the surface with visits to Nepal, ailand, Laos, Pakistan, Greece, northern Spain, eastern France, European Alps, U.S.A., and, of course, our very own Canadian mountains. e experience is different every‑ where. Some areas are rugged, remote and untouched, others are pure fun and developed with conveniences. In some mountain regions, the people are extremely poor, and in others they are exceptionally wealthy. In all places, I have found that the people love their moun‑ tains. On a spectacular blue sky day, with 8,000‑metre peaks towering above us, a Balti porter in Pakistan jokingly asked me, "Why do you come here? It's just snow and rocks." I joked back to him, "What—you'd rather be in Karachi right now?" (Karachi is Pakistan's biggest city with more than 25 million people). We were worlds apart in almost every way, but we shared an enormous appreciation for the mountain landscape around us. Whether you are a mountaineer or a trekker, I highly recommend visiting Nepal and Pakistan. eir mountains are indescribably spectacular and their people are the friendliest you will find. If you are worried about the political situation, I can honestly say that I felt safer in those two countries than in many others I've visited. e European Alps cover an area a bit larger than the Canadian Rockies and a bit smaller than our Coast Range, yet somehow they feel much bigger than either. Because the Alps are amply developed with roads, trains, cable cars and huts, hikers and climbers can access many more nooks, crannies and hard‑to‑ reach places in the mountains. e Europeans love their Alps. e German Alpine Club has almost one mil‑ lion members, 325 huts and 180 climbing gyms. e Austrian Alpine Club has half a million members, almost 250 huts and it maintains 26,000 kilometres of trails. I thought it might feel crowded in the Alps, but, because you can easily get to so many more places, people tend to be spread out. Of course, as in Canada and the U.S.A., the most popular mountains, trails and climbing routes have crowds at certain times of the year. A visit to the Alps is also highly recommended! I've come to realize that no matter where we are in the world, no matter how different our cultures and histories, the love of mountains immediately gives us something in common and builds a bridge. Members of e Alpine Club of Canada are part of a worldwide mountain community that is varied and interesting. We bring our own unique mountain culture to the table, and it is something we can be proud of. Nancy Hansen and Ralf Dujmovits enjoy the views and comfortable seating on top of Hannibal Tower at Furka Pass in Switzerland. Only in Switzerland can you find a "bus stop" bolted to the top of a 250-metre granite spire. A bus can't actually go there, but the bus stop (complete with current schedule) is a fun surprise for climbers when they reach the summit. Read about more of Nancy's adventures on the ACC blog at and check out potential member benefits at

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