This week we’re going back in time! Traversing our way across the space-time continuum and through the fabric of history, we are setting our sites on continents and decades that may seem just out of reach. Luckily for us, some of these historical treks are still open and available for the adventurous souls and the following treks may inspire you to invest in a DeLorean and a PhD. in physics…
1. El Camino de Santiago (The way of Saint James)
The El Camino de Santiago, “The Way” for short, offers many paths for the European traveler. For over one thousand years the Way has served as a path of deliverance for religious pilgrims, backpacking adventurers, and spiritual wanderers. There are many paths composing the artery of trails that leads to the cathedral Santiago de Compostela. Before the Christians laid claim on the Way, the path from the Pyrenees to the northern coast of Spain served as a Roman trading route. Today the path is brimming with a diverse range of pilgrims. The path can take a couple of weeks or several months depending on the travelers’ mission. Hostels called refugios are scattered along the trail, offering a bed and meal for an average of five euros, making this trek an affordable and historically significant challenge.
2. The Bering Strait Land Bridge
For an extreme arctic adventure the Bering Strait Land Bridge (Beringia) offers a chillingly beautiful (pun intended) and convenient path between Russia and Alaska. Unfortunately, this land bridge has not existed since the Pleistocene ice age. However, as technology advances, perhaps one day we can all relive the journey our human ancestors embarked upon, riding woolly mammoths into the frozen beyond.
3. Powell Geographic Expedition
If cross-country trekking isn’t your style perhaps an epic, death-defying river trip might pique your interest. In 1869 John Wesley Powell initiated the first exploratory trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, navigating sections of the Grand Canyon unseen by white men. Although Powell became notorious for his stubbornness and his tendency to micromanage (resulting in the expulsion and eventual demise of several members of the expedition), his trip is legendary and would have been a fantastic opportunity to raft some big water.
4. The Oregon Trail
Your axle is broken, your oxen are dying of starvation and little Zachariah has come down with dysentery—things are looking pretty glum. Fortunately for you, modern gentleman or lady, these are all problems that you might encounter while playing the computer game, “The Oregon Trail”, and not events that may ruin an actual trek along interstate 80 and the rest of the remains of the great western migration. The Oregon Trail, which once spanned over 2,000 miles, provided a relatively direct route for settlers from the eastern and Midwestern states to move into the frontier during the mid 19th century. While this trek was once one of the most treacherous methods of transport, often taken several months to several years, modern frontier nerds from across the country can complete the trip in a matter of days.
5. Inca Trail
Winding through the Peruvian Andes, the Incan Trail offers a stunning cultural time warp. Although there are hundreds of hikers trekking their way along the Inca Trail every day, the Incan Trail allows travelers to experience a truly ancient adventure. Rising over 12,000 feet above sea level, the fifty-some mile trail leads to the Incan city Machu Picchu, which dates to around 500 b.c.. Although steep and secluded, the trail only offers spaces for up to five hundred hikers each day so reservations are a must!