This article was written in collaboration with Lauren Quincy:
Every year, thousands of hikers come to Grand Canyon National Park to hike the scenic and historic trails of the area. Many of these trails are relatively short and can be done in a day or maybe two at the most. Others take a bit longer but are still rather standard. However, there are a few remote trails that aren't traveled that often due to the fact that the park no longer maintains them. They are known as routes and today we will take a look at some of the more challenging routes for hiking in the Grand Canyon.
The Tanner-Escanlante route starts out at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and stretches over 36 miles of various terrain. The park no longer maintains the trail, so only the most hardcore hikers take this route. Your hike will follow along the route were Pioneer Seth Tanner went along mining for copper along the Colorado River. Part of this hike includes an unavoidable 30-foot cliff near Hance Rapids that will have to be climbed. This demanding trail will probably take about 6 days to complete at a normal pace.
Royal Arch Route
The Royal Arch Route is a 45 mile hike starting at the South Bass Trail and then proceeds to Royal Arch and then to Elves Chasm and then back to South Bass via Tonto. The trail is considered to be an expert trails and recommended only for those with sufficient outdoor and wilderness skills. Make sure you take at least 50 ft of rope, 20 feet of webbing, and a reppel ring as there is a good amount of climbing, especially at Elves Chasm.
This old route from the South Bass trail to Apache Point is shorter than most at only 18 miles, but it is one that may require a little more flexibility and ingenuity for most hikers. The original trial for this route apparently has come in such disrepair and degraded over the years that many maps have become near useless. Your best bet when hiking this trail would be to review your map carefully, scan your topology and then pick your own best line of hiking.
Things to Remember
Route hiking at the Grand Canyon is only for the most experienced hikers. If you are a recreational hiker or have limited outdoor skills, do not hike these routes. Below are a few other things to remember when hiking these routes:
Never hike these routes by yourself. Beyond the fact that there is safety in numbers, additional members will be helpful when traversing large climbs, etc.
Bring plenty of water. If you think you have enough water, bring more. Some of these routes have limited water access and you need to keep hydrated for these hikes.
Don't rush the hike. It doesn't matter if you can hike 8 miles in a day normally. These are advanced trails and require more time and planning to traverse. Also make sure you have plenty of maps for the area so you have an idea of what to expect.
If you want more information on any of the routes listed above, there are plenty of resources online starting with the Grand Canyon National Park service. There are also numerous forums online with people's experiences that have hiked these routes and you can get a better idea on how to prepare for these hikes ahead of time.
One easy way to motivate people to go to business meeting is to hold it in an exotic location. Here's a short guest post by Catherine Lavinia....
Sometimes it may be a better option to take a business meeting outside of the office. This can be held at a conference room at an alternative location if meeting with a number of people, or at a coffee shop down the road if you're meeting with one other individual.
As always, there are a few things you should keep in mind when organising such a meeting and here are some of them:
The most important decision to make when looking for an alternative location is how suitable the room is.
Will it fit all those attending meeting comfortably?
Is it a convenient meeting place for the majority of those meeting to travel to?
If you're planning to spread the meeting over two days, will attendees need accommodation for the night? If so, it might be a good idea to have a look at group accommodation from Travelodge for better rates on bookings.
Some of their hotels even offer on-site meeting facilities so you can kill two birds with one stone.
For my thru-hikes, I favored a minimalist backpack. When I backpack in the wilderness, I prefer a pack that weighs less than 226 grams (half a pound). Such ultralight backpacks have small capacity and are uncomfortable when you carry more than 10 kg (22 pounds). That forces you not to take junk. For example, my CDT packweight was less than 3 kg (under 6 pounds).
However, in Africa, I won't be hiking nonstop. Instead, I'll mostly rely on vehicles to get around. Furthermore, I'll be able to buy food nearly everyday. Translation: Low daily mileage + Frequent access to food = I can load up on luxury items :)
My ideal backpack for Africa
The requirements for my backpack are:
Less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) when empty
High storage capacity (I won't use the capacity most of the time, but I want the option to carry extra stuff)
It should hold comfortably carry 15kg (33 pounds).
Several pouches/compartments to help organize stuff
Few zippers (they often break over time)
Watch this video to see how the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack does:
You can't always rely on help with your pack load.
Traveling light -- it's the only way to fly, right? Reducing your pack load is also the best way to hike, backpack, or generally move about Eastern Europe, Africa, or any other multi-week or multi-month travel destination.
Fanatics, like ultra-light hiker Ray Jardine, go to extremes to shave ounces off their pack. With just 12 – 15 pounds on their back for several month excursions, these featherweight gurus cover twice the mileage in a day that the poor schmucks lugging around the kitchen sink can manage.
While foregoing a tent to sleep outside in a bivy bag or sawing off the last three inches of your toothbrush to shave off a few micrograms may be more extreme than you're willing to go, anybody planning to carry a pack -- even for just the time between the bus station and the next hostel -- will benefit from the principles that ultralight hikers espouse.
Before your next trek, adventure, or trip across the pond, consider these general weight-slimming tips for your pack, and save your back a bit of unnecessary strain:
On October 29, 2012, when most New Yorkers were staying home and bracing themselves during Hurricane Sandy, I decided to go hiking in New York's Adirondacks. And not just to do a leisurely stroll, but rather to take on one of America's toughest hike: the Trap Dike by Mt. Colden.
What is the Trap Dike by Mt. Colden?
The Trap Dike (Brits write "Dyke") is an off-trail way to hike/climb from Avalanche Lake to the summit of Mt. Colden. It requires minor climbing. Although climbing gear and rope is not required, it is quite steep and exposed.
Whenever people come to my events or read my books, they ask me, "How do you manage to get invited to so many people's homes when you travel?"
First, I am super social when I travel. I talk with whomever I'm sitting next to on the bus. I chat with vendors. I banter with people while waiting for a train. I ask for directions even when I'm pretty sure I know where I'm going. The more people you talk to, the more people learn about your journey, the more likely that someone will say, "Hey, if you don't have a place to stay, why don't you stay at my home?"
It's important that people don't think of couchsurfing as a free roof. Technically, it is; however, the reality is that a guest should always give back economically to the host. If he doesn't, then he's just a leech/freeloader, which is totally uncool. Therefore, it's important that you learn....
How do you find a good accommodation in Europe? I've been every European country—and I've visited almost all of them at least twice. I've learned that there's no simple answer to this question. I'll suggest some places to start. We'll begin with high-budget accommodations and end with free ones.
Rent from a local: While traveling around, look for "Rooms for Rent" signs (learn how they write that in the local language). If you prefer booking ahead of time, try Airbnb, Wimdu, OneFineStay, and home-exchange sites. Assuming you're not traveling during the peak season, you can contact several owners on VRBO and see if they're willing to do a last second discount—you may get a great deal. In general, Northern Europe is more technologically developed than Southern Europe. For example, accommodations in Estonia, Germany, the UK are usually wired (and have websites), while Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria are still crawling into the 21st century.
Hostels:Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are a good resources. You'll usually share a bathroom and room with strangers. Although most people are in their 20s, senior citizens stay there. It's great for solo travels.
Overnight trains: There are transportation costs you have to pay anyway to get from point A to point B. Usually, for far less than the price of a hotel, you can get a bed in an overnight train. It not only saves you money, but also saves you time. The ultra frugal will opt for an overnight bus, which is the cheapest (and least comfortable) way to travel.
Couchsurfing: Stay with a local. Although you don't exchange money, you ought to do something nice, as I discuss in How To Be a Good Couchsurfing Guest. Servas also is somewhat popular in Europe.
Invisible camping: Thru-hikers call it stealth camping. You can call it urban camping. Whatever you call it, it involves discreetly camping in a city park (or anywhere near civilization). Do not set up before dusk (otherwise you'll attract unwanted attention). Vacate the area at sunrise and leave no trace, or else you risk angering the locals (or getting mugged).
Too often people don't travel because they think they can't afford it. Lodging is a big percentage of the cost of travel, so consider these many ways to lessen the bite. By renting from locals, couchsurfing, and doing some invisible camping, I was able to travel for three years in Eastern Europe.
It’s a pity that the word tourist has a negative connotation. It should be a compliment and something to aspire to. Instead, people make statements like: “I hate going there, it’s so touristy,” or “Tourists are so annoying,” or “I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler.”
It’s time we transform the negative tourist connotation into a positive one.
First, things are touristy for good reason—they’re often amazing in some way. There’s a reason why the Louvre is so touristy and the museum in Lyon is not. It’s because the Louvre is better. The Golden Gate Bridge is touristy because it’s more breathtaking than the bridge in Harrisburg. Similarly, the Grand Canyon attracts more tourists than the Great Divide Basin because the Grand Canyon is far more spectacular. We can have pedantic debates about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, but I hope you will understand the point. Tourists are smart and well-informed and so they spend their time, money, and energy going to extraordinary places. They would be stupid to do otherwise, so let’s stop saying that tourists are stupid and that touristy places are lame.
Second, tourists are more alive than a local resident. When a tourist visits Prague, she walks around like a child, observing every building, every sign, and every scent. The local, on the other hand, walks with tunnel vision, oblivious to the world around him. He’s a zombie in his own city. Ask the local about a building, a statue, or the city’s history, and you often get a shrug and “I dunno.” Ask the tourist, and she has the answer because she read it in her guidebook. Or at least, she’ll be curious to know the answer.
Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail is hard. Most fail. I met many successful pilgrims on the trail, and I tried to look for a common thread. Here are some characteristics I thought they would share:
Wealth: I figured you might need the financial wherewithal to support the multi-month journey. Wrong: one guy (Cheapo) hiked from Georgia to New York on $20.
Good gear: Those who travel with shoddy equipment are surely at a disadvantage. Wrong: A man from Concord, California thru-hiked with the same old, decrepit gear he had 35 years ago.
Superior nutrition: Poor nutrition would certainly catch up to you during the hike and hamper your ability to finish it. Wrong: A few thru-hikers survived mainly on Snickers and other junk food.
Excellent cardiovascular conditioning: Thru-hiking is the ultimate endurance sport, so surely cardiovascular fitness is paramount. Wrong: In Virginia I met George Ziegenfuss who blew that theory—he was in his sixties and hiked the AT with only one lung.
Disease-free: Your body should be healthy and free of debilitating diseases. Wrong: Sticks and Stones, two ex-military men, thru-hiked together to raise money for Leukodystrophy, which Sticks battled. Although Leukodystrophy is a progressive disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, it did not stop Sticks from thru-hiking the AT.
Youth: I initially thought that being young and strong was a common denominator. Wrong: I recalled the first female thru-hiker I met (Jean)—she was in her sixties. Others have completed it in their seventies. In 2004, Lee “The Easy One” Barry became the oldest person to ever thru-hike the AT: he was 81. The fastest thru-hiker our year was Linsey, a man who biked from California to Georgia, hiked up to Maine in about 72 days, and then biked back to California. He averaged about 30 miles a day on the AT and never took a day off. He was 63.
Sight: OK, at the very least, you should be able to see the trail! Right? Wrong again: a blind man, Bill Irwin, hiked the whole trail with his trusty Seeing Eye dog named Orient. It took him nine months (50 percent longer than average) and he fell hundreds of times, but he made it.
I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t seem to find a common denominator among all the successful thru-hikers. Yes, the majority was young, strong, ate healthy food, carried lightweight gear, and could actually see the trail, but there were so many exceptions. It wasn’t until I hit Georgia that I figured it out.
Imagine kissing your job and your friends goodbye to thru-hike a long trail over six months, then quitting the trail in just a couple of days. As loony as that sounds, it is what happens to hundreds of people every season as they are surprised by the reality of a thru-hike. About one in five prospective Appalachian Trail thru-hikers quit within the first week!
What's even more surprising is that most of those who quit don't do it because they suffer an injury. In fact, most who quit have no ailments and they adore backpacking. Their love for the outdoors is what motivated them to thru-hike a trail in the first place. They love backpacking and figure a thru-hike is a natural extension of that love.
Such reasoning is flawed, because backpacking and thru-hiking are different species.
People don't discover this pre-thru-hike because they simply rely on their limited backpacking experience, their gut instinct, or Uncle Harry who supposedly knows everything. This article is for people who are considering thru-hiking a long trail and want to make sure they know what they're getting into.