I've started my latest personal adventure: hiking the nation's scenic trails.
Just a normal American taking some time to explore the country - no records, not the first, youngest, oldest, or fastest. Just doing something I've wanted to do, and challenging myself to get it done.
You're welcome to join me - virtually or physically, for as long as you'd like.
Scheduling multiple treks is like shooting a shotgun - it's pretty accurate close in but scatters all over the further out it goes. Here's the general schedule in my mind at this time, but you can be sure there will be changes due to that thing called life. The trail miles are rounded estimates and you'll see different miles other places.
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- Arizona NST - COMPLETED - 800 miles - March-April 2012 - requires hiking early in the season since water is scarce and heat is intense as summer approaches. Provides a great opportunity to test out equipment, abilities, endurance, and processes. Lets me be home for my youngest son's high school graduation.
- Superior Hiking Trail - COMPLETED - 250 miles - September 2012 - hiked from Canada south to Duluth, MN. Southern 50 miles was closed so I will hike that next fall when the trail is open. September had no bugs nor humidity, just a bit of rain, and awesome fall colors in the forests. This isn't a National Scenic Trail, but is part of the NCT and I was antsy to do another trek before winter.
- Ice Age NST - 1200 miles - August-September 2013 - Close to home and I have relatives at two locations along the trail for support if needed.
- Appalachian NST - 2200 miles - May-July 2014 and 2015 - I think I'd enjoy a southbound hike better. I expect to do this trail in two parts rather than a total thru-hike.
- Pacific Crest NST - 2600 miles - May-July 2016 and 2017 - northbound. Two years to complete.
- Continental Divide NST - 3100 miles - June-August 2018 and 2019 - southbound. This is the most rugged and difficult of all the national scenic trails.
- North Country NST - 4600 miles - April-July 2020 and 2021 - eastbound starting around Cincinnati.
- Florida NST - 1400 miles - winter 2022
- Pacific Northwest NST - 1200 miles - summer 2023
- Natchez Trace NST - 700 miles
- Potomac Heritage NST - 700 miles
- New England NST - 220 miles
From initial research I've done, there's no camping nor connecting routes for the last three and thru-hiking them isn't really a probability. I plan to hike the first 8 in the order listed. If I'm wrong about the others, I'll add them.
At this point, I'm not set on the order of the trails past 2012.
I do have some goals for this adventure, not just to burn through a few pairs of shoes. I will:
- Connect with scouts - Scout troops along my treks are invited to hike with me for a couple hours or days. I'll have a tracking device so folks can see where I am. That's Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or (what the heck) anyone that wants to do a short hike.
- Promote lighter-weight trekking. When scouts try to Be Prepared, we overpack and make life more difficult than needed on the trail. I'll be an example of how to go light but still be comfortable and safe.
- Promote Leave No Trace. I always try to follow the ethics of the seven LNT principles, but they are still unknown to many people that make use of our wild areas. I'll consistently demonstrate the outdoor ethics of minimizing impact. Read more about Leave No Trace.
- Record the Fun - through blogs, reports, stories, and journals I'll track and share the experience, providing a resource to help others planning their own adventures.
Feb 18, 2012 - Nancy
I will be traveling in Mid april