Bucket List Treks For The Walking Enthusiast
You really haven’t lived until you have sampled some of the many weird and wonderful landscapes this beautiful and unique world has to offer. And why see it from a boat, or a plane, or a car?
We spend so much of our time dreaming of places that we invariably never get to see them. But then that is the beauty of keeping a bucket list. But don’t just leave them in the bucket; get your walking shoes on, grab a pole and some provisions, and get walking.
Where to go?
A good place to start would be UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). If anything has had the title of UNESCO world heritage site bestowed on it you know it is going to be special. Otherwise check out the contents of this article, and make note of any that grab your attention.
So first on this list is the phenomenal Machu Picchu. The Mayan’s grab all the headlines but it is the Inca’s who created this incredible piece of architecture. Built in the 15th century for thousands of Inca’s this once proud and imperial citadel is now but a haunting and ethereal remnant – lain waste (allegedly) by an invading Spanish army. Machu Picchu was rediscovered in the early 1900s and it has become singularly iconic to Peru and South America; attracting scores of tourists and walkers year after year.
At night it resembles something from a science-fiction film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind perhaps – in the scene where the scientists make contact with the extra-terrestrials. It is actually the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It offers some of the greatest views of Everest without actually hiking up the colossal mountain, and at 70 miles and 16 days long you will be glad to know that the trip comes with the services of a local Sherpa and a cook. Once called “the greatest view in the world” by a famous mountaineer, it comes highly recommended by National Geographic and is said to be a great way to observe Sherpa and Nepalese culture. Just make sure you pack some thermals and some good, hardy walking boots.
Dramatic and foreboding, Argentina’s famous Fitz Roy Trek in Patagonia would have you believe that a marauding band of Orks from Tolkien’s Middle Earth are about come running down the mountain. Cragged, jagged and thoroughly rugged, this is a walk for those who are half-man-half-mountain goat. But see it you must! Not just for the heaven-piercing peak itself (over 11,000ft high) but also for the awe-inspiring glaciers, haunting forests and wild, ferocious waterfalls.
This breath taking sight is Mount Roraima in South America (all the best ones seem to be there!) It was famously found by Sir Walter Raleigh and today attracts a very high number of backpackers, sightseers and walkers – most of whom access it from Venezuela. Walkers can follow in the footsteps of Sir Everard im Thurn, but be prepared for an average four day hike – and a night spent on the flat mountain top. Do your research and check with the travel agents before you attempt Mount Roraima though, because the mountain itself is not the only dangerous aspect; there have been recent armed conflicts between farmers and authorities.
Why jet off half way around the globe for your bucket list walks when you could stay local. Well, sort of local. The wild and rugged Arran in Scotland could be a stunning option for those who don’t want to travel too far. The mountainous Arran has been described as a geologists paradise and could provide a challenging trek to even the most hardy. Contrary to what you might think Arran is not too cold, thanks to the influence of a gulf stream. Furthermore if you fancied a break from the walking you could always stop off to visit Arran’s whisky distillery or the handsome and imposing medieval Brodick Castle; now owned and operated by the National Trust.
These are just five of the amazing, awe inspiring walks you could add to your bucket-list, but there are many more weird, wonderful and spectacular hikes to be found. Don’t be afraid to look closer to home either; Europe has an abundance of remarkable walks to take from the highlands of Scotland to the glorious Ardèche region in France (a favourite of Ray Mears). So stop thinking about it and get walking!
Vicky works alongside http://www.worldwalks.com/walks, one of the UK’s leading walking tour providers. She is a travel enthusiast whose favourite destinations include Madeira, Greece and the english Peak District. She hasn’t yet braved the dizzy heights of Machu Picchu but it is definately on her bucket list!