Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bucket List: In It for the Long Haul - Long Distance Hiking (19-25)

As I sat in my car listening to the book Wild on audio books I imagined myself walking the Pacific Crest Trail with Cheryl Strayed. Her large outlandishly heavy backpack strapped to her back. I laughed as she reminded me about my previous treks. How your feet blister with each step. The way your shoulders feel after a long day of hiking. The encounter with the black bear and rattle snake.

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
I have always dreamed of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, although I have hiked some portions on backpacking trips of my youth I have never hiked the whole thing. I also have always wanted to hike alone. I have traveled alone to far off countries taking buses, booking tours, walking winding streets and even hitch-hiking. The idea of pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere, alone in the dark, weird sounds coming from all directions scares me. Even leaving the tent in the middle of the night to go pee even with a group scares me. 

Cheryl Strayed in her book Wild battles with these fears on a daily bases as she sets off alone on the PCT. She says “I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” 

I have always been one to challenge my fears. What is life if you live in the safe confines of comfortable? Life is more exciting when you face your fears with bravery. So as I write this bucket-list I will remind myself that. I am strong. I am brave. Nothing can vanquish me.

19. Great Himalayan Trail - Tibet, India, Nepal, Bhutan

This 4,500 km trail rises to over 20,000ft of elevation running across the highest mountain range in the world, making it both the longest and the highest trail in the world. The Nepal section of this trail is 1,700km (1,056mile) it passes through many different terrains. 

20. Te Araroa - New Zealand 

This 3,000km (1,864 mile) trail traverses New Zealand. If your not currently a Lord of the Rings fan get ready to have your breath taken away. This takes about 100-150 days depending on how fast you hike and how long you want to take rest stops. With such beautiful views I can imagine wanting to stay at each campsite for days. 

21. Pacific Crest Trail - California, Oregon, Washington - USA

This 2,650 mile trail  (4,265 km) trail spans three states from the boarder of Mexico to the boarder of Canada. It transverses through Mohave Desert and the High Sierra's. Its elevation ranges from sea level to 13,000 ft.  only 180 out of 300 who attempt this hike finish it. This is the most west trail of the Triple Crown long distance trails of USA.

22. Via Alpina -  Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtensteinm Switerland, Italy, France, and Monaco

The Red Route is the longest of the trails traversing all 8 countries and spanning 1,500 miles. This traverses the backbone of the Alps from the Adriatic Coast of Italy to Monte Carlo on the Mediterranean. Although its almost impossible to do in one shot due to weather who says you can't live in a small remote town in the Alps for a season?

23. Tran-Panama Trail - Panama

This 700 mile (1,127 km) trail traverses the length of Panama from North to South. Its much different from the other treks in that it traverses through jungle terrain. Huge spiders the size of your head, carrying your pack above your head as you wade through deep swamps, and batting away mosquitoes. 

24. Appalachian Trail -Georgia, North Carolina Tennessee, Virginia, WestVirginia,Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusettes, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine -USA

When I moved to the East Coast for medical school, I had in my mind that I would be able to hike this 3,510 km (2,180mile) during my four years of medical school. Turns out medical school takes up too much time.  This is the west coast sibling of the USA Triple Crown long distance trails. Its is said that only 1 in 4 who attempt the AT complete the thru-hike.

25. The Continental Divide TrailMontanaIdahoWyomingColorado, and New Mexico.

This  3,100 miles (5,000 km) trail runs along the rocky mountains from Mexico to Canada. Like the PCT and the AT it is part of the Triple Crown long distance trails of the USA. As I crossed the state in with my father with our Prius I remember climbing the winding roads of the rocky mountains. It transverses some of the most beautiful US National Parks including Glacier National Park, pictured here. 

1 comment:

  1. Great list! My longest hike was 9 days in Stewart Island, New Zealand. I wrote about it here: http://youngslug.blogspot.jp/2012/04/stewart-island-mud-rain-and-serenity.html

    You have big dreams! Which will you tackle first?