It's hard to imagine that no rock has not been left unturned in the US. The 'gram has sure made it feel that way in recent years. But all is not lost for someone who wants to get lost in the wilderness.
At the far end of America is where her secrets lie. Where hikers rarely come. Where I had stumbled on by luck two years ago from my decision to walk there.
There I pierced through the veil of fog always shrouding the area and caught a glimpse of its raw beauty. Like nothing I have ever seen before.
A land of stunning landscapes. A land made for hiking. Where people are far and few in between. But a land where the weather punishes the unprepared.
The best kept hiking secret in America:
The Aleutian Islands
Why do I do this to myself? I know exactly what's coming. Bears, bugs, brush. Big rivers and big carries. The constants when hiking long-distance in Alaska. But it's the last major, unknown region in the U.S. I haven't experienced, so I got to go.
And this it for me. My last big hike before I walk away from thru-hiking. Yep, I'm retiring.
But first, I want to flirt with the boundary of my limits. To give my everything on an epic that has never been done before. A route that even I'm not sure I can complete. My ultimate test as a backpacker.
Alaska end-to-end. One last time.
Everybody who looks into the GHT probably comes away with nightmares. The red tape is that bad. The worst I've seen in any country by leagues.
Luckily, I left most of that hassle to Urja at Alliance Adventure. His assistance in navigating the logistics of Nepal made my thru-hike of the GHT possible.
He was the trekking agent who helped Trauma and Pepper complete one of the first thru-hikes of the GHT. Now I too join that elusive list of completers. A cool achievement on a trail with a reputation for breaking so many thru-hikers.
Dhan'yavāda, Urja and Alliance Adventure!
I can't say I'm used to getting passed by everyday people when I'm thru-hiking. But it happens quite frequently here in Nepal - by school kids to old grannies. For the locals, walking is a way of life.
It's really amazing to see the Nepali culture of walking. Born out of necessity and economic reality, everybody walks to get anywhere. I don't think there is another country in the entire world that can compete. What's more crazy is the people tend to walk in flip-flops. Carrying loads I don't envy strapped from their heads. In mountain terrain. All of this is normal!
It's been quite an honor to hike among such great walkers. If it weren't for my Arc'teryx, Patagonia, and Ray-Ban, I would totally blend in here.