**Note if you choose the 4 day trek instead of the 5 day, you miss out on the coffee plantation, hot springs, and jungle dome camp.
Day 2 of the trek extra costs:
$3 for a hot shower
$3 for good wifi
Cash at any of the stands for powerades or sodas.
- Less Crowded (though that is becoming less so as word is getting out about the beauty of this trail)
- LESS MONEY– Salkantay treks are much more luxurious (I’ll get into that) for less money
- Let me emphasize LUXURIOUS. Our tour had enclosed domes/huts for 3 nights with actual BEDS, 3 course meals, snacks + “happy hour” (more on that later), electricity and showers some of the nights, and the use of horses if needed.
- More Flexible. Can be booked only a few months in advance instead of a whole year- plus you get more options for dates you like. Since this trail isn’t permitted like the Inca trail, you don’t have to plan this trip 1 year in advance.
- Arguably more BEAUTIFUL. This can be debated but when I looked at photos from each tour, I found the Salkantay trek scenery to be so much prettier and more diverse. Gorgeous mountain lakes, glaciers, jungles, and yes you still get to see off the beaten track ruins – 1 of which gives you direct line of sight to Machu Picchu.
Why 100? Why hiking? Well let’s just say I have a favorite hobby, and that hobby is hiking. I love the feeling at piece with nature, the exercise from climbing up hills, the general sense of adventure in seeing new places AND having those places to yourself, and lastly the people in the hiking community! I really love it all (even if I still complain on the steeper trails)
How to accomplish the 100 hike challenge
- If you haven’t tried the 52 hike challenge yet, give that a go! It aims at getting you to hike once a week for a year. (I was hitting the goal easily by October every year so I wanted to push myself even more and aim for 2/week)
- They don’t all have to be hard hikes! My only requirement for myself was that it was a mile long and got me out in nature (no urban hikes ) and I tried to make them as different as I could but with changing seasons, the same trail can look many different ways.
- DO try to use this challenge to get a little out of your comfort zone! Whether this takes you to hiking in a different state or to a different hobby, you might find some more outdoor enthusiasm when you find you like hiking to a climbing spot or a technical canyon.
- Do use this challenge to see some new places! It doesn’t have to be a different hike every time, but it won’t seem like quite a chore to hike twice a week if you are finding and experiencing new trails.
- Which brings me to- ALLTRAILS amazingly helpful app, highly recommend to exploring the trails near you, as well as using the trail map while hiking to ensure you don’t get lost.
- Invest in some quality outdoor gear, especially shoes! It can be a bit of a process finding hiking shoes that fit just right (speaking from experience of seemingly always having he wrong footwear) so I highly recommend stores like REI which have 365 day gear guarantees! So you can actually WEAR those shoes hiking and return them if they aren’t the best fit.
- Highly recommend using a location tracker app like endomondo or strata as well, to track your progress on a trail and at the end know exactly how you did! I love being able to show the stats to my coworkers Monday morning to show just how crazy of a weekend climbing mountains I had.
- Last but not least, practice “Leave No Trace”, take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints.
If you need ideas for hikes out West, in Florida, or amazing international spots, check out my list (and photos of course!) of all 100 hikes I completed in 2018.
Color code is for anything that wasn’t a hike close by in my backyard: Some hikes have links to a blog post! Will link more as I blog about my favorite trails.
Grand Tetons National Park
The Unities States
State Parks/ Monuments/ Reservations
Escalante- The Grand Staircase
Florida Caverns State Park
Falling Water State park
Valley of Fire
Havasupai Indian Reservation
Wasatch Mountain State Park
The ATV road/ trail is just to my right, follow it all the way to the falls!
One short downhill section and you’ll be in my favorite area. Around the bend you’ll cross a small stream and head up a hill.
Not too long after that you’ll be able to see the falls. We first headed to the top of the falls and then came back to that plateau to enjoy the view in front.
Looking out across the top of the waterfall
Trying not to slip
Lots of places to sit, dip your feet if it’s a hot day, and a cool area to explore around the top of the falls… just take care not to slip.
We wandered over to the plateau for a better look at the canyon that Gordon Creek flows through
Not to mention the falls themselves
As there was no one to take our photo… this was the best we could get with a giant pile of rocks and a phone on selfie timer haha
After vising the falls, it’s an easy little drive on the trestle road just past the parking area to see the trestle bridge that crosses over Gordon Creek. (you could see it for a half a minute hiking back from the waterfall from afar)
The Gordon Creek Trestle bridge was built in 1912 and serviced the Mohrland Branch of the Utah line for almost 100 years. It saw it’s last train crossing 6 years ago, and unfortunately, part of the rail deck was burned and damaged so the bridge (in its current state) is not longer safe for use.
Day 5 Costs:
Breakfast included in hotel
Shuttle bus to Tangkou $5.54
Extra hotel… $35
Taxi to train station $26.23
Sleeper train $99
Day 5 Total: $193.25
I wish I could tell you this epic bridge was constructed centuries ago by gravity defying monks fleeing religious persecution or something cool like that, but alas this was just built in the 80s to connect another one of the valley trails to the top of the mountain. (Amazingly we actually saw a few backpackers hike up from the valley this way)
We finally made it to our hotel around 3:30 and checked in. Unfortunately we were on the top floor of a 6 story hotel that lacked an elevator which meant.. more stairs. It was pretty run down inside and the layout was pretty bizarre… and don’t get me started on the room. Definitely our worst hotel of the trip (and 5 times as expensive as our hotel the night before) The 2 twin beds in our room were basically box springs with yellowing comforters. We found a few small beetle like bugs around the room, which left me on high alert for bed bugs. No A/C either which after sweating all day, made the room an un-welcome relief. Needless to say, we were pretty appalled. Did I expect luxury on top of the mountain? No but at least a little better than what we ended up with.
Day 4 Costs:
Breakfast from store: $10.20
Shuttle to scenic area $4.08
Entrance to park $33.50/adult $16.75/student
Yungu Cable car ride $23.32
2nd tram ride/ Western Sea Rail car $29.15
Large bottle of water $3.64
Oreos and a coke to end the day $5.10
Hotel: Huangshan Paiyunlou Hotel $144
Day 4 Total: $289.50 for 2 people
Right around the corner from both Mystic and Stonington is Ender’s Island. (every time I heard it I couldn’t NOT think of Ender’s game…) It’s a cool little Monastic Caltholic retreat on it’s own Island… kind of. You drive over a very narrow little road to get out to it.
And now onto the hike around Bluff Point state park in Groton. (Right around the corner from both the Griswold battle field and Nautilus museum. Groton is happening place ya’ll!
This state park is used for all sorts of activities including hiking,
mountain biking, fishing, and general beach going although it’s a bit of a walk to the beaches.
And finally the last great activity was kayaking out in Old Lyme. We went in the evening on one of the few days it didn’t rain lol and it was absolutely peaceful. Nothing like floating on a river with some drinks and good friends. Thanks again Katie!