When I sit back and think of the best moments of my life (so far), they’re always set against a backdrop of green (or sometimes blue).
I’m hiking. I’m backpacking. I’m paddling a canoe, riding a bike, sticking my feet in a mountain creek or scuba diving in a forest of coral.
When a copy of “100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails,” by Kate Siber (National Geographic, $35) landed on my desk, I couldn’t wait to flip through it.
The book, a 400-page combination guide book and photo album, takes readers through a selection of hikes – short and long, beginner friendly and challenging – around the world.
I’ve hiked the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail and parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail. I’ve lugged a pack up trails at Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend National Park and Glacier National Park.
Still, I’ve barely made a dent in what the hiking world has to offer. The book includes itineraries and basic information about each destination, from how many days you’ll need to set aside for the adventure and the best time to travel, to the mileage and difficulty level of each one. There are gear lists, tips on packing light, suggested post-hike activities and more.
Siber, the author, covers science, the environment, travel and outdoor sports for publications including Outside Magazine. She lives in Durango. Noted long-distance solo hiker Andrew Skurka wrote the forward.
Part of the fun of the book is seeing which hikes you’ve completed that made the list. I’ve done parts of several of the trips – the Sierra High Route, Angels Landing at Zion National Park, bits of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica, the lower parts of 19,393-foot Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador and the Cinque Terre in Italy.
The other fun comes in daydreaming about which trips you’d like to do. For me, that list includes the Via Dinarica in the Western Balcans, the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast of Hawaii, snow leopard territory in Bhutan and Havasupai in the Grand Canyon.