When you think about it, the decision to hike the trails you do can be a personal question with no right answer. It’s easy to judge a trail or a person hiking it based on some criteria that maybe doesn’t matter to someone other than you.
It’s a bit of a meta experience, but while hiking I sometimes like to think about what I actually am getting out of hiking. What do I like? Why did I choose this trail? Where do I want to go next? In ten years, what kind of trips will we be taking?
For now, we have some pretty mixed requirements for hiking trips. In general, I would rank seclusion and views near the top of the list. Just having the ability to walk and hang out, whether we are talking or just spending some quiet time together. For me, that’s my main requirement. After that it really depends.
For day hikes we prefer hikes that can be accessed by public transit; and often we will choose ones that are challenging enough to make sure we are in shape enough by the time we get to do a larger planned multiday hike.
But for multiday hikes it really depends on circumstances. This summer we are planning on hiking the JMT. We both have three weeks off of work and are planning like crazy for that trip. But this spring we are hiking the SCT, which is described as “easy to moderate” and “family friendly”. This doesn’t fit our usual type of hike. But that’s OK.
So why are we hiking the SCT? Well… it’ll be really pretty. It will be interesting to do, and I would really like to catch that trail before it gets as popular as the WCT. It also fits really nicely into the vacation slot we have available. I have earned some time in lieu at work and have some vacation carried over, and so we have about a week and a half (including weekends) to do something. And the SCT can be done with only a little planning. We can’t forget that it is close to home, easy to get to and any accommodations and services we hire will be supporting a nearby community (where some of our friends and colleagues grew up!). The huts are interesting, and it’s something we can hike in early April. And, well, in about 10 years maybe we want to do this with a hypothetical kid of ours, so I guess we can check it out now and see if it makes the list later.
So even though the SCT is something quite a bit different than we are used to, I am really looking forward to checking it out. We will be sure to post notes about planning the trip (including any new resources we put together), as well as reviews and notes about the trail itself.