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 Forget the bucket list... let's just do it 
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 Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
The wife and I have finally decided to start a family, but prior to doing so, we've each been granted an epic trip without the other. Kinda like one of those "Better do it now" kinda things. She's going on a trip to London with some friends... but I want an epic hike.

It was always a given that having the opportunity to do so, I'd go to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. But something about the progressively crowded nature of the hike is a bit deterring. So I've been exploring to see what else is out there.

Naturally, I'm interested to see what you guys think: you have 7-10 days, and free reign to put together an epic trek that you'll remember for a lifetime.
Here are the criteria:

1) Somewhat reasonably priced. I'm not spending the money or time getting to the other side of the world... so no suggestions about Everest base camp or Kilamanjaro (although that would be Epic). That puts me in the area of North America, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

2) 7-10 day window

3)Trekking preferred. While there are plenty of opportunities to day hike an area over a week, I'm looking for a few days out in the wilderness.

4) Not opposed to long distance trails, like in Scotland, Iceland, Finland, that are comprised of days of hiking from village-to-village

So what do you think? If you had this opportunity, where would you go BEFORE you have kids? Yosemite? The Wave? (ummm, I don't wanna bank my chances on a lottery either) The Andes?

Listed below are some of the ones I'm currently tossing around in my mind:
1) Machu Picchu - still on the list
2) Choquequirao (the other Machu Picchu that is only accessible by multi-day hike)
3) Pico Duarte in Dominican Republic (direct flight from Mass, and it's 10,000 feet!)
4) La Soufriere on St Vincent
5) Great Glen Way in Scotland

Hit me up with some good ideas.
Thanks.

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Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:50 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
What do you consider "reasonably Priced"? Are you including potential bribe money in the budget for your South American options? My ex went to Macchu Picchu years ago and her travel agent told her that bribes weren't "that much of a risk" because she was with a tour group. Which I presume means that the tour group pays off who they need to and its built into the price. But an american travelling alone would surely be a prime target for shakedowns. I once worked with a guy who went mountain climbing in Bolivia and he was instructed to ask "How much?" if he ever was stopped by the police.

It's gonna be tough to raise kids from a Peruvian prison cell with coke trafficking charges pressed against you.

As far as the caribbean destinations, I would pass on those too. What are you gonna look at when you get to the top? Do you really wanna travel 5000 miles just so you can stare out over hundreds of square miles of destitute poverty? No thanks.

I saw something on Netflix called "Mile, Mile and a half". Just some folks with gopros walking the John Muir Trail. Looks like a bucket list kinda place.


Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:17 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Congrats, both on deciding to start the family and working some epic hiking into the deal! :D

I'd sure have a tough time passing on the Inca Trail, except for the Peruvian prison cell and all. I wouldn't want to do it with a tour group myself. Can do that with the wife and kids someday down the road I guess in a group if that's the safe way to do it. Caribbean is out to for me. Views seem too Monadnock like, but then again you like Monadnock so...

I'm quite partial to the southwest deserts and my first choice would be a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim hike. Start on the North Rim Trail and hike down for night one at the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom. Day two up the South Kaibab trail, along the Rim Trail and stay at Mather. Day 3 down Bright Angel Trail and back up partway for a night at Cottonwood Camp then up and out the next day, drive around the big hole and spend the night somewhere before making a two day trek down for a swim in Havasu Falls. I don't dream much at night but if I start that's what I'd like them to be of and it's something I must do before I die!!

Image

That whole thing should take a week or so to really soak it all in and enjoy it. Some people we know do it in slightly less time...http://dailey7779.blogspot.com/2014/05/grand-canyon-rim-to-rim-to-rim-r2r2r.html

My only other week long trek would something in the High Sierras. Yosemite Grand Traverse or the High Sierra Trail through Sequoia and Kings Canyon maybe. I don't have many details on those but I love the area. I could come up with longer treks, and places to do a lot of great day hikes like Zion, but for a week of trekking on this side of the globe that's what I'd do.


Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:51 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
1) Jasper/Banff and surrounding parklands

2) Glacier NP - Consistently voted as top trekking destination. And plenty of nearby wilderness areas in MT.

3) Patagonia - One of my coworkers went hiking there and loved it, but obviously a longer trip requiring more planning.

Agree with poster Brian above, it does seem like when hikers decide to take their bucket list trip, the John Muir Trail always shows up.

It also depends what you want to get out of the trip. If it's just to get away into the wilderness for a week, there are plenty of great options in North America. If you want to feel like you "maximized" the opportunity, then probably need to go more exotic like Europe or South America. Worse comes to worse, down the road you can probably steal away for a few days to see Yosemite if you really want to. Less so for Patagonia or Scotland. P.S. Don't forget about the Alps too.

Or you could just spend those 7-10 days working on redlining the Whites :twisted:


Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:42 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
I agee, go west, glacier, cascades, sierras, grand canyon, although if you are going soon it will be winter conditions. How about new zealand? It's entering summertime down there and everyone says its beautiful.


Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:36 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
I've always been perplexed on what to pick for a hiking trip out of N.E. should I ever get around to it. So since there are sooooo many to pick from all over the world, I'll pick from your list. The Scottish Highlands has always been high on my wish list.

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Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:24 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
It's a tough decision.
Plan is to go sometime around May, plus or minus a month... so I will have the winter to prepare (good thing, because many of those out-west trips require permits MONTHS in advance). For me, "reasonably priced" would be under 2k, with everything included. Another small thing to mention is that the highest elevation I've ever experienced is Clingman's Dome (6600+), so the altitude thing will be a new one for me too.

The Rim-to-Rim hike looks amazing. I'm sure I could take any of Chris Dailey's trip reports, and whatever he did in one day, I could break into 4. I really question whether or not that guy is a human. Gotta be cyborg - gotta be. That looks like a great trip.

I guess one thing that bothers me a little (OK, maybe a bunch) about the west is the heat, and grizzly bears. I've encountered a black bear or two in NH, and it was no big deal. Out west, I'm sure its a different story. But people hike all the time out there without incident...

The wife is not much of a hiker, so while a family trip to Grand Canyon will surely be in the cards at some point, a rim-to-rim hike wouldn't be. With Glacier... there probably won't be any more glaciers by the time I can get out there again. There's so many places to visit...

For Banff, wouldn't you need Glacier travel experience to make it worthwhile?

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Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:05 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
The Grizzlies would bother me too. Fortunately they are only in relatively small pockets of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. It's actually the reason I didn't suggest some sort of a Yellowstone Traverse. Yellowstone is my favorite landscape/area in the lower 48. So diverse, wild and different than anything else out there. I've seen them there a couple times as well as the Absoroka Mountains nearby. They are pretty awesome to see roadside just grazing/foraging like we see moose or wandering the alpine zone from afar, but a week in the backcountry among them is probably more stress than I look for in a hike. We all know the joke about the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat right?! :D


Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:02 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Now I know you said no expensive trips to Kilamanjaro....

However, my frugal son went to the Drakensberg Mtns when he was working in South Africa. Granted, he was already working in SA, so the airfair wasn't an issue, but you could probably find an affordable flight this far in advance. He stayed at a cheap hostel and did day hikes at Christmas time. I'm going out on a limb here, but their May is probably like our late fall. To be honest I don't know S about this area other than my son said it was great. Maybe a bit far for you, but I thought I'd throw it out there. Maybe someone else may want to go.


Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:25 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Thought about doing part of the PCT or the JMT or the CD? All those may have great views and epic in their own right. Jasper National Park is a,so one that looks spectacular.


Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:32 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
If trekking in Nepal is out - and NO, G-squared, I am NOT talking about the overused trail up to EBC... 8)

JMT. Hands down. With a side trip to somewhere Canyon-land-ish.

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Tue Dec 01, 2015 4:59 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Kathy wrote:
If trekking in Nepal is out - and NO, G-squared, I am NOT talking about the overused trail up to EBC... 8)

JMT. Hands down. With a side trip to somewhere Canyon-land-ish.


That's the only Himalayan trekking I am familiar with so hopefully you have other suggestions. :wink:

I have never hiked on the JMT. Obviously he's not doing the whole thing in a week, and Whitney is out since it's a lottery, and I think the July-September time frame the trail is accessible also won't fly with him. All that said, what chunk would be the best for a 4-6 day trek if anyone knows?


Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:20 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
OK. So I managed to not read the time frame. :oops:

Dammit! Hmmmm.....Then I'd go to the Smokeys and put together an AT-epic.

Personally, if I'm gonna travel outside of the good ol U.S. of A. to do any hiking it's gonna be in the Himalayas.

Or maybe Machu Pichu. I hear 4 days on the Inca Trail is kinda cool.

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Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:52 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
So John Muir is more of a July thing? I could check it out. Dates aren't set in stone... just has to be within the next 9 months. From what I understand, reaching Whitney by JMT is easier for permit acquisition. Besides, it's looking like everything in the west is permit based.

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and an illustrated book about birds.
You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
Who needs actions when you got words?


Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:16 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
A lot of the west does require backcountry permits, but you can apply for them months in advance and are first come first serve I think unless they don't like your itinerary or something. Whitney, Half Dome and sites like that have an actual lottery, which I don't think they even do until June. So have a backup plan in case June rolls around and you don't win.


Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:30 am
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