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Where Are Your Favorite Hikes?

Buzz Poole
07/02/2011 - 00:00

Sometimes you just need to get away from the trappings of civilization. Exploring new cities and meeting new people is a blast but even in a new place, a place where you cannot understand the language or read the signs, the real size of the world, its grandeur and majesty, can be concealed by the glass, steel and concrete environments most of us inhabit. But gazing up at a nighttime sky dizzy with stars, or perched on a canyon’s rim, watching the sun stalk across the valley floor below, reminds you that the planet, especially the parts of it not paved over, is truly awe-inspiring.

Leave it to the good people at National Geographic to identify fifteen iconic hikes that reward you with stunning natural beauty that can’t be reached by cars. Adventurer and writer Peter Potterfield, who according to National Geographic has “hiked more than 10,000 miles over six continents,” compiled this list based on his wealth of experience.

Of course, some of the featured hikes are not particularly surprising, like Yosemite’s Grand Traverse or Everest Base Camp. But a few caught my eye because they are located in places I’ve never thought much about.

Apparently Kungsleden in Sweden is one of the last great wildernesses in Europe and this “mind-blowing northernmost section penetrates the vast Arctic landscape of Sweden through birch forests, open tundra, and big glaciers before crossing the shoulder of Sweden’s highest peak, 6,926-foot Mount Kebnekaise.”

Then there is the Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland, Canada. Although it is not that far from where I have spent the majority of my life, this part of Canada remains a mystery to me, but this description makes it very appealing: “This off-trail traverse takes you from inland fjords lined with 2,000-foot-high granite cliffs draped with wispy waterfalls deep into Gros Morne National Park. The rugged seaside plateau is just one reason Newfoundland is the new mecca for adventure.”

Some of the best hiking I’ve done has been through the American Southwest, though treks through parts of Japan and the Swiss Alps also rank high. What are you favorite hikes, whether local or far afield?

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