Hiking through the wilderness is only one rugged adventure every American should have.
It is essential for those of us who live surrounded by pavement to feel the grass under our feet and shade over our heads every once in a while. Hiking not only provides great exercise, it also rejuvenates and usually allows for some spectacular views of nature.
There are some spectacular views of nature all across the country, particularly along the coastlines.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, completed in 1937 stretches over 2,000 miles between Maine and Georgia. The Pacific Crest Trail runs nearly 3,000 miles between Mexico and Canada.
The Appalachian Trail also offers glimpses of exotic plants and animals. The trail along the mountain chain is located in a suitable environment that has allowed species to persist through periods of climate change. There are also isolated climatic refuges for boreal and subtropical species due to peaks and gorges of the mountains.
The Appalachians hold one of the world’s richest assemblages of temperate zone species. The Southern Appalachians are home to snails, vernal herbaceous plants and salamanders. The region also has a rich assortment of fish, mussel and crayfish species. The Appalachian Trail also protects the nation’s Eastern Forest block. The block is an important region for ecological and socio-economic reasons. The forests protect the watersheds that service a large percentage of the population of the United States.
The Appalachian Trail is home to bears, bobcats and coyotes. Most large natural predators that would normally exist in this ecological setting have since been exterminated for the sake of humans. Throughout the twentieth century, however, most of the land included settlements. The region still includes abandoned logging roads and other stone walls of abandoned buildings.
Common animals in and along the Appalachian Trail include Moose, White-tailed deer, black bears, beavers, porcupines, bullfrogs, snakes and salamanders.
The Pacific Trail also contains some impressive wildlife for hikers to encounter. Dogs are allowed on this trail and many will ride horses through the trail as well.
The Pacific Trail does not have many hot showers along the trail, so plan to keep clean with cold water. A hike on the Pacific trail requires a high level of physical and mental conditioning. It is also recommended that hikers do not carry more than 10lbs on their back.
It is also recommended for serious hikers to wear heavy leather hiking boots. However, more and more hikers are relying on running shoes for most of the trail.
A good pace per day on the trail is about 20 miles a day. It is also recommended for hikers to take 1 day off after 6 consecutive days of hiking.
Each of these trails not only provides an incredible journey, there are also many historical events included on the trails.
There is currently a trail being constructed called the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which will be 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada through the Rocky Mountains. The trail is currently 70% usable.
Not only can hiking be a great part of your family vacation, it may also provide a great summer job for you or someone you know.
There area also plenty of national outdoor parks where dogs are welcomed.
Check out www.hikewithyourdog.com for a listing.