I’ve decided to experience the best the natural world has to offer by hiking seven of the world’s greatest long-distance treks. This adventure has only two simple rules:
- I must hike at least one hike on each continent (yes, that includes Antarctica), and
- Each hike has to be at least one hundred miles.
With those ground rules, here’s the list:
For my South American adventure, I hiked the Alpamayo Circuit in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. At only 87 miles, this hike has a traditional route that comes up just a bit short. I included three side hikes (the north and south basecamp hikes; the Laguna Safunas) to bump it over the 100 mile threshold. It was a spectacular hike with amazing views throughout and a challenging route.
I consider the John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevadas my home trail. It’s the only one of the seven that I’ve ever previously hiked any part of. This trek through the “Range of Light” runs from Yosemite in the north to Mt. Whitney in the south. I covered the 221 miles (which includes the descent to Whitney Portal) in 12 days, including a zero day.
My European vacation was the Tour de Mont Blanc. This iconic trek crosses through France, Switzerland and Italy on its way around Mt. Blanc. This one just barely sneaks over the wire at 105 miles.
In Asia, I trekked Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit (105 miles) in the lower Mustang District. This was a life long dream for me. I’d always wanted to spend time rambling around the Himalayas and I wasn’t disappointed. This trek offers some of the most amazing scenery in the world.
I needed to have at least one true long distance trek on my list, so I decided to hike New Zealand’s South Island from end to end on Te Araroa. The trek from Marlborough to Southland will come in at around 800 miles over about 2 months. It had been a long time since I’d been to New Zealand, and it was an amazing experience to see so much of the country up close.
My African trek was a spectacular journey on the 127 mile Drakensberg Grand Traverse in South Africa and Lesotho. This remote trek on the often track-less Drakensberg escarpment was the trip of a lifetime. I’m counting down the days until I head back for more.
This will be by far my biggest challenge. If you know me, you know I hate the cold. And if you don’t know me, well, I hate the cold. Everything about this hike is difficult. Transportation options are few, complicated, and crazy expensive. The hike itself requires different technical skills and gear than any of the other hikes on my list. As of now, I’m planning to hike the South Georgia Traverse combined with something else. I’m still very much in the planning stages so if you have any experience on the frozen continent, I’d love to hear about it.