In December, we celebrate ten years of marriage.  It also marks another milestone: ten years of traveling together.  Last week, I shared some of the highlights of our decade of travel.  In this post, I’ll be highlighting some of our favorite hikes through the decade.

One thing I have to thank Jared for is how he’s opened my eyes to the wonderful world of camping.  I knew I loved to hike, but I didn’t know that a lot of times hiking and camping go hand-in-hand.  Some of my favorite hikes were made possible because we camped through it.  And I’m not talking about campsite camping with bathrooms and running water.  I’m talking about backcountry, leave-no-trace, camping.  More on this later.

Ten years of travel: The best hikes

The “W” in Torres Del Paine, Chile

This was the most epic hike we’ve done. 5 days up and down a mountain. This was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  I know that there will come a time when our legs won’t be able to do a trek like this, and that’s why I’m so happy we were able to do this while we were young. I wrote about this hike in detail on the blog, check out this post.

North Manitou Island, Michigan

This wasn’t a long hike, but it was my first experience with beach camping.  It was also the first time I realized I wasn’t in shape.  I had a large pack on, it was hot out, and hiking even a short 2 miles felt really difficult.  After this trip, I started a good exercise regiment so I could keep hiking.  I loved it so much, I wanted to keep doing it.  This was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.  It was remote, and we had a beach all to ourselves.

Arajuno Jungle Hike, Ecuador

I had never been in a jungle before, much less hike it.  This hike allowed us to see all sorts of trees, flowers, fauna and even a rushing river we had to forge.  Our guide grew up in the jungle, and was able to tell us all sorts of interesting stories.

Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, Utah

At the beginning of this hike, you are faced with a beautiful picture with a caption telling you exactly how many people have died hiking this.   It’s not for the faint of heart, but it was definitely one of the most amazing views.  It is strenuous.  However, reaching the top, and eating lunch staring off into this view, is 110 percent worth it.

Dolly Sods Hike to Lion’s Head, West Virginia

This hike is just incredible. It’s scary because there are rock boulders all around, and you can easily fall and die. However, the view from the top is so incredible.  Just talking about it makes me want to go back right now!

Delicate Arch Hike in Arches National Park, Utah

This is just an iconic Utah hike.  We went in the morning before a lot of the tourists showed up, and before it was 400 degrees outside.  The red rock is so beautiful.

Every single hike in Jasper and Banff National Parks, Alberta, Canada

I can’t choose any specific hike.  Basically, everywhere we hiked was great.  There are so many beautiful lakes, forests, canyons, rivers, waterfalls… you can’t go wrong.  Basically, just go on a hike and it will be one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever been.

Every single hike in Yosemite National Park, California

Same thing for Yosemite as Jasper and Banff.  Basically, you just walk and find mountains and waterfalls and trees.  We did a longer hike through a forest to see some of the giant sequoias.  It’s just so magnificent.  It’s no wonder John Muir called this place “God’s cathedral.”

Endless Wall Trail, West Virginia

There are a few hikes in this area of West Virginia, and they all have beautiful views of the valley below.  This one was a perfect hike for a gorgeous view, and look at some really beautiful forest.  This was an awesome 2.5 mile hike around the rim of a beautiful overlook, part of the New River Gorge National Park.  There were lots of places for rock climbers, and at the top of the peak, there were climbers doing some rather dangerous-looking things.  We hiked around the rim, and stopped at all the overlooks.  We could see some people rafting down below.

Hike to Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Canada

I had been craving a winter hike in the snow.  We went here on my 30th birthday and it was so pretty.  The sun was setting by the time we got to the water, and it was everything I wanted in a winter hike.  Not too cold, glistening snow and water.  Once you get to the Grotto area, you can walk down by the water and walk up on the rocks to see the beautiful overlooks.  The water is a beautiful blue-green color and really incredible in person.

 

Nauthusagil Hike, Iceland

After walking down this path, we were greeted by this beautiful river walk through this crevice. The Lord of the Rings soundtrack immediately started playing in my head and I hummed along.  There was moss everywhere. After wading through a river, and crawling up on a chain and a rope, we made it to this waterfall.

Man, this post is making me want to plan a hike.  Where should I go?  Where’s your favorite hike?

Nina Thomas

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