Dream Trails: My Starter List

When I was in school, or working full-time, this was a typical scenario in my household:

Me: “Oh hey, I just realized that next week is labor day weekend, so I have 3 days off. We should maybe do something”
Husband: “Cool, let’s do that. What should we do?”
Me: “Well, all the places I wanted to go require permits, and those were booked up 6 months ago. So, we can drive 4 hours to the mountains and maybe get a walk-in permit.”
Husband: “Yeah….”

Inevitably, that never happens. I wait until the last minute to plan anything, and then complain that permits are taken, or that I’m too tired to get food + gear together last minute. Sure, I could throw stuff in the car, take a chance on a random unpopular trailhead, or even get lucky with a prized entry ticket to some place spectacular. But it was stressful, and while I have no doubt that fun can be had on (almost) any trail, even the ones with unfilled quotas, I WANT to see the best and most beautiful places. This is especially true if you’re possibly looking at 8-10 hours of total driving time.

Before you know it, the husband and I would be sitting at home on aforementioned holiday weekend, perhaps doing a day hike, and convincing ourselves that it was so much better to avoid the crowds. That’s all great. Sometimes. Other than when you work full time with little to no vacation days, and the ONLY way to get out for more than a night or 2 is to take advantage of those long weekends. Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea.

Now, you may be chuckling to yourself that there’s a easy solution to this. PLAN AHEAD.

(Or work freelance where you can have a more flexible schedule. I’m also doing that. But let’s be honest, even Wednesdays can be booked in places such as Yosemite or the Grand Canyon).

However, since finishing a job in May and moving to a new state, I’ve finally started to get serious about planning for the future. And by the future, I mean, the trails and places I want to see. This is anything from a short trip to a desirable location (such as the Grand Canyon) to something longer and more involved. Every year for the last 3+ summers, I’ve told myself that THIS was FINALLY the time for me to take the plunge. To get out and do a mini thru-hike on one of the many trails I’ve been interested in for so many years. One of the ways I’ve been trying to break this habit is starting a list of my dream trails, trips that I’d like to possibly do, even though I haven’t gone beyond the initial “oh that looks cool” stage of the process. It’s exciting and daunting to think about. But, mostly exciting.

Here’s what I’ve got so far (remember, these are DREAM trails, bucket list trips that may or may not ever happen):

  1. Colorado Trail
  2. Tahoe Rim Trail
  3. John Muir Trail (Really, as much as I’ve talked about wanting to do this, I just need to make this happen already. If I can ever get a permit. If things stop catching on fire).
  4. Arizona Trail (?)
  5. Wonderland Trail
  6. Something in the Enchantments
  7. Parts of the Pacific Northwest Trail
  8. Teton Crest Trail
  9. High Sierra Trail
  10. Something in the Grand Canyon. Finally.

As you can see, I’ve got options, and I’m really excited to see where this all goes. For the summer of 2016, I’ll likely be marking one of these off the list (likely #1 or #2). However, I also have a lot of bucket list places that aren’t thru-hikes. They’re the iconic places we all see on Instagram, immediately causing a sigh and a, “I wish I could go there” moment.

You know what? I’m going there (once I get my reservation, that is).

One Comment on “Dream Trails: My Starter List

  1. Pingback: It’s Not Just About Pretty Mountains – Outdoorsy Archivist

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