There’s not much of a line between being a hiker and not being one. When you think of hiking you probably imagine a weatherworn Wildman, whittling makeshift cutlery from bark and tasting the earth to find the right trail. Truth be told, the only difference between someone that is and someone that isn’t a hiker is simply getting out there and going for it. No one says that you can’t pick up a backpack and just be a hiker.
Hiking isn’t about being the best. It’s about the experience. It’s about the things you see, the limits you push and the person you discover yourself to be when you spend a couple days relaxing in the baking sun and realise that you’re still not ready to go home.
The American West coast is one of the best places for both the seasoned and the amateur hiker. Hikes can range anywhere between a day to weeks at a time if you’re up to the challenge. Maybe have a read of the Guardian’s list of the top ten hikes the American coast has to offer because it does have a lot to offer to those that are willing to walk the distance. You have incredible scenery, ranging from the lush green forest of Yosemite National Park to the fire red rocks of the Grand Canyon.
You can have the sun shining down on your neck in the open deserts of Death Valley or icy droplets creeping down your collar that dripped from the stalactites in Carlsbad Caverns (One of the best Caves in United States). West Coast America truly is a paradise with so much to explore and discover.
Of course, you shouldn’t attempt a hike without doing some thorough research beforehand. If you don’t, a day’s walk in the forest might turn into a week in the desert and no one would be happy to have that kind of surprise waiting for them. Getting the right equipment is an obvious first step. BBC Sport have a useful and easy to read guide to getting your bags packed properly with the basics and it would do you good to read it before you decide if you want to take the plunge into the wilderness.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind when you’re planning your hike where you want to end up. For example, instead of hiking straight south along the coast you might want to celebrate your achievement with a bit of a detour or venture on a day trip.
The West coast has something beautiful at every milestone. Hiking there is surreal, amazing and an absolutely unforgettable experience. Get in touch with nature; get in touch with yourself; get in touch with the people you bring along. It will be a memory you hold dear, an achievement you pride yourself on and an experience that changes you. Now, have fun, get out there and be the hiker you were born to be! Or trade the west coast for beautiful beaches, grab your passport and head to sunny Puerto Rico. Wait , do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?
But wait, before you go make sure to check out this hiking packing list to make sure you have everything you need!