Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National Geographic's best hikes

As is its wont, National Geographic has released a new list of the world’s best hikes, a new turn for nature-lovers who are tired of the same old trails. The predominant feature of these trails is history—NatGeo chose them specifically for their power to reveal the culture and narrative of the populations that live there.

Image source: adventure.nationalgeographic.org

1. Mt. Kailash Pilgrimage, Tibet: This is sacred territory held dear by Hindus and members of its Ayyavazhi sect, Buddhists, and Jains. China has made inroads into the trail, though the mountain itself remains closed off to climbers. It also hosts the breathtaking Lake Manasarovar, known for its pristine, icy blue waters.

Image source: adventure.nationalgeographic.com

2. The Way of St. James via the French way, Spain: Among all the featured trails, this one traverses a quietly gentrified Europe as a trade route dating back to the ancient Roman era through the Middle Ages. It is best for a spring sojourn, with its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site unleashing a bevy of cozy inns and restaurants that will restore weary travelers.

Image source: adventure.nationalgeographic.com

3. Shackleton's route, South Georgia Island, Antarctica: A bit out of the way is this snowy trail, an agglomeration of glaciers and crevasses that tempt daring adventurers. Sea explorers led by Ernest Shackleton came upon it after a ship mishap, an inhuman and potentially fatal struggle across mountains to give this modern heritage site its unintended name.

Image source: adventure.nationalgeographic.com

4. Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal: If skipping from stone to stone is your thing, then this trail—GHT for short—is a breathtaking, moving view of the Himalayas. Nepal has one of the most tapped yet preserved paths for mountaineers, and this trail is where a friendly reconnoiter with Sherpa, its centuries-long inhabitants, could happen.

For the complete list, click here.

A passion for the environment drives Janique Goff to research and discuss the most beautiful sights in the world. Follow this Facebook page for more information on exciting sights for environmentalists.