|Today’s blogging challenge is about travel. The question was “where would you like to travel? What is on your bucket list?”
Well, I have been fortunate enough to be able to walk long distances and to join groups of people who walk for causes. In June, I walked through rural Illinois with a group. The title of the walk was the de-incarceration walk. We were walking to a prison in Thomson, Illinois, that had been purchased by the federal government from the state. The plan is to convert that prison into a high-security facility (“administrative United States Penitentiary), which will mostly hold prisoners in conditions of solitary confinement. We walked through the beautiful countryside and, when we arrived across the street from the prison, we held a vigil to express our dismay at the idea that human beings could be kept indefinitely in solitary confinement. I would love to see the practice abolished.
Human beings are not meant to be cooped up in little cages or little rooms with thick walls, with nothing but their own thoughts for companions.
Human beings are meant to explore the world and to experience life.
And, so, I choose items from my bucket list that involve lots of walking. Scenic places that are best viewed within touching distance. Spiritual places that are best experienced with an open heart. Below are some of the places that I would like to visit. (The pictures are all of rural Illinois, a great wonder to see and experience.)
|The Appalachian Trail: For me, walking the Appalachian Trail (Appalachian National Scenic Trail) would be a dream come true. It is described as the longest hiking-only trail in the world. It spans fourteen states and is 2,190 miles in length. The trail heads are at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and Mount Katahdin, Maine.
The fourteen states are: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
|The Pacific Crest Trail: This hiking trail of 2,659 miles has, at its southern terminus, the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and, at its northern terminus, the Canada-U.S. border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia. The trail spans three states: California, Oregon, and Washington. The route is almost completely within national forests and protected wilderness. It avoids civilization and roads. It passes through the Laguna, Santa Rosa, Jacinto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Liebre, Tehachapi, Sierra Nevada, and Klamath ranges in California, and the Cascade range in California, Oregon, and Nevada.
Continental Divide Trail: This is the last of the “triple crown” of hiking, but it looks awfully hard! It spans 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada, following the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains. It is not as well traveled as the other trails because it is very hard!! I’m sure there are great photo ops there and they are well-earned. The trail is actually only 70 percent complete. It traverses five states: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Only about 200 persons per year attempt to do the entire trail.
There are connected National Historic Trails, which include the Lewis and Clark trail, the Nez Perce trail, the Pony Express National Historic trail, and the Mormon Pioneer Trail.
|El Camino de Santiago: This is a series of trails that takes the walker to the shrine of Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in northwestern Spain where, according to tradition, the relics are the saint are buried. The most popular trail begins in France at St. Jean Pied de Port. A few will start in Portugal. People carry a “credencial” or pilgrim’s passport and stay in hostels along the route. At each hostel they visit, they receive a stamp on their credencial.
The walk takes between 30 and 45 days, if you take the walk that starts in France. There are shorter routes that start in a variety of location.
People have been taking this pilgrimage for centuries, and part of the main trail actually follows an earlier Roman trade route, which continues to the Atlantic coast of Spain, ending at Cape Finisterre. It is the westernmost point of Spain. “Finisterre” actually means “the end of the world.” It was given that name by the Romans, who apparently believed that the Earth was flat and that, if people tried to venture beyond that point, they would topple over the edge of the Earth.
El Camino de Santiago has been declared to be a European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|Inca Trail: This is a much shorter walk but a very scenic one. It is located in Peru. It takes four days to complete and is 26 miles (43 km) long. On the route, you will see mountain scenery, cloud forest, subtropical jungle, and a mix of Inca paving stones, ruins, and tunnels. At the end of the walk, you will arrive in Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
So… what places might be on your bucket list? Please share in the comments section!