In 2020, I was able to achieve a big hiking goal for my life. Finally. I hiked on four of the longest trails in America: Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and North Country Trail are all part of the National Scenic Trails and the Colorado Trail. I have waited years to have the time to try these national treasures.
There are no loops on these treasures – there are only long distances and overlapping trails, markers and connections. Other bloggers let me know about little known segments of these paths in their areas. Segmented ‘passages’ are long journeys broken into manageable (2-28 miles from whose perspective?) parts. Local people maintain the trails and are a good source of information about the condition. The trailheads are not always easily accessible, and the signage from the roads is spotty in places. We missed an access in Minnesota by about 20 miles.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
America’s National Scenic Trails are designated as such because of their access to the land and its natural beauty. There are 11 such designated trails in America.https://www.americantrails.org/national-trails-system/national-scenic-trails
The Appalachian Trail runs 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. We hiked it a bit in New Jersey at High Point, Maryland near Camp David, and Virginia in Shenandoah Forest – all in two days traveling.
Continental Divide Trail travels 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada along the Rocky Mountains. We hiked it when we climbed Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado to reach the rock formations and crossing Wolf Creek Pass.
North Country Trail is the longest national trail running east to west from New York to North Dakota for 4,600 miles. We accessed it in North Dakota in a cow pasture.
Colorado Trail –is NOT a national trail. It traverses 487 miles from Denver, Colorado to Durango. The highest point is over 13,000 feet and most of the trail is above 10,000 feet in altitude. We hiked a bit of it in Durango at its end point with my parents who are in their 80s. Please excuse and notice the gun loving men. We were safe – for sure.
I want to conquer other ‘National Scenic Trails’ because I now know more about them. The Arizona Trail is on the horizon for fall 2020 as well. Traveling Post Covid will include determining if we are near any of these other trails. It is like a treasure hunt to find them in America.
What do you know about National Scenic Trails? Does your country have such designations? How long have you been waiting to achieve a lifetime goal? How do you recover when you miss a trail marker?