Hiking is one of the most accessible ways to get into nature in an intimate way.
One of the reasons I like it so much, I think, is it’s slow. It gives us time to experience our surroundings as we go. We can hear the sounds, smell the smells, stop and look around us.
While I’m by no means a die-hard hiker, it’s one of my favorite outdoor activities. I’m more the day hiker type. I’d rather not carry a heavy pack on my back. When I have, I tend to focus on the pain in my shoulders more than what’s around me. Not the point!
Some favorite trails
My favorite trails are the ones that come with spectacular scenery.
- The Superior Hiking Trail — from Duluth, Minnesota along the north shore of Lake Superior 296 miles to the Canadian Border. My favorite stretch so far is the 5 miles or so from the trail head to Carlton Peak and on down to the Temperance River. The second fav is the spur trail Oberg Mountain Loop…especially during peak fall color (but not on a Saturday, as I found out! That was as close to rush hour as I’ve ever seen it up there).
- Cascade Canyon trail in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming — I was only on this one once, for a lot less time than I would’ve liked! We didn’t plan ahead and so weren’t prepared for the opportunity. I’d love to go back for a “real” hike someday.
- Glacier National Park trail, Montana— My personal most challenging hike to date. This was back in 1990. I have no idea what the trail is called, other than the trail head was at the campground at, I believe, Two Medicine Lake. I was with a bunch of youth leaders. We looked at the map, took the plunge and it took us 8 hours to get up and back! But the reward was a most amazing vista — mile upon mile of rugged mountains as far as we could see.
- Hike to Popo Agie Falls, Sinks Canyon State Park, Wyoming — When our family did this a few years ago, the river was overflowing due to abundant snow falls the winter before. The 60-foor falls were amazing. Pretty easy hike, and we were there in late June so saw a wide variety of wild flowers.
On my Hiking Trails To-Do list
I want to hike sections of the Appalachian Trail someday. I’ve been in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina a few times but so far haven’t hiked even one stretch of the 2,180 miles. If any of you have any suggestions about which areas to start with I’m all ears!
I think one of things I love best about hikes like these is knowing that the views from them are seen by only a few people in the world. Those who are willing to get out of their cars and take to their feet. It makes me feel privileged to be one of them.
(PHOTO: Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota)
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