One of the things I love most about hiking is the solitude. For the most part, give me a peaceful trail with nobody else on it over a crowd any day. However, there is one big plus to doing a hike at the same time as a bunch of other people, and it’s that you’ll always find out about more hikes. When we hiked the Milford Track last year, a group of Australians in the huts at the same time as us offered heaps of recommendations when we said our next stop would be Melbourne. It’s because of them that we hiked Mount Kosciuszko, and it’s because of them that a hike I had never even heard of shot to the top of my hiking bucket list.
The Overland Track is a 65-km, 6-7 day trek through the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness. While there are basic huts along the way, you have to carry everything from food to fuel to camping gear, meaning it’s a strenuous but rewarding undertaking. Steve and I have booked in to do it in early November just before we wrap up our time in Australia. Thanks to a Jetstar sale, we scored a great deal on our flights last week, and since then I’ve been both eagerly anticipating the hike just a few months away, and also thinking about other “dream hikes” I’d like to do in the future.
One of the biggest things I’ll be bringing back to the Northern Hemisphere with me is a newfound love of multi-day hikes. As I’ve mentioned before, I had never done one before Mount Holdsworth in the Tararuas, but now I’ve done several, with more planned. While I don’t think I’ll be gearing up for the PCT anytime soon, I am looking forward to going on some multi-day explorations in the North America in the future. I want to return to a few favourite national parks and extend my hikes there, with a few goals being the Grand Canyon’s rim-to-river, The Narrows top-down route in Zion, Vancouver’s 75-km West Coast trail, and maybe even Mount Rainier’s 10 to 14 day, 150-mile Wonderland Trail. And when I visit new parks and regions of the US, I’ll also be on the lookout for backpacking trips I can add to my itinerary, such as the Kesugi Ridge trail in Denali National Park, the Skyline trail in Jasper, Alberta, and the section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through the Smokey Mountains.
Apart from a few day hikes around Ireland, I haven’t done much hiking in Europe. The first hike I want to do when I get back is Carrauntoohil, the highest (highest being a relative term as it’s only 1038m) mountain in Ireland. I don’t think multi-day hikes are as big in Ireland (could it be the weather?) but I’d be keen to find something along the Wild Atlantic Way. Farther afield, I have both day and multi-day hikes in mind for exploring the continent outside the cities. I dream of visiting the Scottish Highlands and seeing the northern lights in Iceland, and the West Highland Way and Laugavegur, respectively, seem like amazing treks to enjoy the rugged beauty of the north. The Dolomites in Italy are another dream destination, so I’m interested in the Alta Via, and for impressively challenging day hikes, Trolltunga in Norway seems like a must-do. Then, there’s one of the world’s most famous pilgrimages, the Camino de Santiago, which stretches a staggering 780km through France and Spain.
I’m not the kind of person who can just sit back and chill on the beach for an entire holiday, so when Steve and I go to Southeast Asia later this year I am definitely looking forward to some trekking adventures. Mount Batur and Mount Rinjani in Indonesia are must-dos, as is hiking around Sapa in Vietnam. I’m also hoping to do some hikes in Thailand around Chiang Mai and in Laos around Nong Kiahw. The heat and humidity are going to be an interesting change from the chilly, alpine hikes I’ve gotten used to around New Zealand and Australia, but trekking through lush forest to tiny villages and up the sides of volcanoes will be an adventure for sure. Elsewhere in Asia, of course I would love to go to Everest Base Camp someday, and although we’ll be hoping to see Fujisan on our upcoming trip to Japan, we’ll be outside of the hiking season so hopefully someday I’ll get to go back to reach the top.
To be honest, I don’t know that much about hikes in Africa, so if anyone has any favourites or recommendations, please let me know! I do know about Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, of course, and that trek is way up there on my bucket list (I’m hoping to go around my 30th birthday). The only time I’ve spent in Africa is a brief weekend in Morocco, so I would love to go back and explore more countries on this incredible continent, and hiking is a great way to see all that Mother Nature has to offer.
If I could go one place right now for a hike, it would be Patagonia. The absolute top of my hiking bucket list is the Torres del Paine W Trek. South America is the only continent (apart from Antarctica) I haven’t visited yet, and when I go, this is the top of my list. However, there are heaps of other hikes that I’m dying to do as well. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Mount Fitzroy, the Ciudad Perdida trek… South America is absolutely full of iconic hiking trails to ancient cities and incredible natural sites. The big problem for me is that I have a history of getting pretty bad altitude sickness, so I’ll definitely have to take some time to acclimatise so that I have the strength to do the hikes. However, I know for certain that it will be worth the effort to achieve these goals on my dream hiking bucket list.
What is the best hike you’ve ever done?!