With rocks, mud and trail underfoot, hiking to me is one of the best ways to explore. From the trail, landscapes unfold and you not only discover the beauty of nature around you but you also discover yourself. You have to pay close attention to the grade and ground, you calves and heart, the weather and your weather, in a combination that just takes you away from it all.
As someone who is regularly glued to a computer for work, any time I spend in nature is my ultimate unplug moments. In an ever increasing world of technology, taking these brief yet much need treks away from the zip of online life is rejuvenating and exhilarating.
So over the next ten years, I am committing to tackle ten of my wish list hikes, from single-day hikes near home to week long treks across the globe. With one foot in front of the other, I will slowly yet surely take to these trails.
(Listed in no particular order)
1. Mount Shasta, California
Raising more than 10,000 feet above sea level in northern California, Mount Shasta is a recreational and hiking haven – though no sissy. Only 249 feet shorter than Mount Rainer to its north in the Washington Cascades, Mount Shasta offers numerous trails to explore and for all skill levels, from lush meadows full of wildflowers in the late spring to glacier crossing summits.
For more information on Mount Shasta visit the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Website.
2. Half-Dome, Yosemite, California
Just a few hours south of Mount Shasta in the heart of bear country, Half-Dome is an iconic, climber’s delight. A 14 to 16 mile round trip gaining a total of 4,800 feet, the trail takes most hikers 10 to 12 hours to complete, but well worth the long day for views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap and panoramic skylines of the Yosemite Valley from the top.
3. Inca Trail to Macchu Piccu, Peru
Since I was ten years old and pulled a book off an elementary school library self about archaeology, the subject and its many wonders have fascinated me – and Machu Picchu is just one of the many, many sites that I have dreamed of visiting since. With majestic and mysterious ruins nearly reaching the heavens and an even more breath taking (literally) journey to their home, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu will be a trek though diverse landscapes that I will never forget.
For more information on the Inca Trail & Machu Picchu.
4. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak at 19,336 feet. Considered to be the tallest walkable mountain, this trek is all about the stamina and battling altitude sickness. With a variety of routes up the barren mountain side, hikes typically range from 6-7 days but can be completed quicker by experienced hikers.
5. Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainer, Washington
I have hiked extensively with my family along many of the wondrous trails around Mt. Rainer but never all the way around. This 93-mile trail that encircles Mount Rainier weaves through lowland forests and valleys along with some stretches of alpine and sub-alpine trails creating the ultimate mountain loop trek.
For more information of Mt. Rainer and the Wonderland Trail.
6. Rim-to-Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona,
Showing off beautiful oranges, browns and red in a cascading layered display, the Grand Canyon is an amazing vista from all angels; but to take in all the sites, I’ll complete a multi-day rim-to-rim hike covering the wide expanse’s 27-mile mouth.
Though possible with a lot of advance planning or a second friendly hiking group, this hike may end up as a rim-to-rim-to rim hike so to get back to the car!
For more information of hiking in the Grand Canyon.
7. Everest Base Camp, Nepal
While I don’t think I’ll ever have the ability to summit Mount Everest, I am game to tackle the second best option – hiking through the breathtaking Himalayas to Everest Base Camp. With dozens of tour trek groups now leading multi-day hikes through the mountains for a challenging adventure full of beautiful views, cultural exchanges and unforgettable experiences, Everest is growing closer for regular-avid hikers like myself.
8. Kalalau Trial, Kauai, Hawaii
This 11-mile rugged trail weaves along one of the most beautiful and remote areas of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian Islands. From white tipped waves crashing against the island’s high shoreline cliffs to lush forest, the Kalalau Trail is the only land access to the legendary Kalalau Valley and provides outstanding views of the island’s pristine nature.
9. Summit the South Sister, Three Sisters, Oregon
The third-tallest peak in the Oregon Cascades, the South Sister is one of three stunning points along the mountains in central Oregon. Though no technical climbing experience is required, the trail is steep and should not be attempted in anything but perfect weather, according to Oregon Hiking expert, Bill Sullivan. Climbing nearly 5,000 feet of elevation over only 5.5 miles, the trail up the Sisters is one that will challenge the lungs but deliver with beauty.
For hiking the South Sister, check out Bill Sullivan’s online guide.
10. Torres del Paine Circuit, Patagonia, Chile
This unique, picturesque hike covers 52 miles over 10 days and features astonishing views of the jagged mountains of Chile. The route encircles the Torres del Paine, granite monoliths that spiral into the sky and also showcases the beautiful glacial lakes and frozen waves.
For more information of the various hiking opportunities around the Torres del Paine.
Money and health willing, these ten hikes will challenge me mind, body and soul and maybe kill just a few pairs of hiking boats.
What hikes are on your ultimate adventure wish list?
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