Planning and Imagining Hikes

Remembering hikes past is fun, and so is planning – or imagining – new ones. In fact, these activities are almost as much fun as actually walking, sometimes more so. After all, there is no panic in the memory of being lost, or fear in recalling a lightning storm on a ridge. Imagined hikes involve no blisters or bugs.

I have been planning and imagining new hikes recently.

Gregory-bald-summit-east1Let’s start with the imagining – the hike furthest from actually happening. I brought up the possibility last week (on a hike, of course) of going on a longish backpack with my eldest daughter. You know the kind of thing, bonding through adversity. To my great pleasure, she liked the idea. We even pored over a map of the Great Smoky Mountains for a while. The picture to the left is Gregory Bald in the Smokies, which I climbed to in 2003. I didn’t own a digital camera then, to the scene is thanks to Brian Stansberry / Creative Commons.

The planning is for a trip to Quebec in July with my youngest (she will be 13). We are going away for two weeks, but so far have plans only for the first few days. They are to drive to the Parc national de la Gaspésie and stay for four nights. It’s a long drive – over 800 miles – so we will stop in northernmost Maine on the way. We have been to the Gaspésie before. Daughter was just six then, but had her big sisters for company. We have booked the exact same camping spot, on the shore of Lac Cascapédia.

Mont XalibuAnd that is as far as we’ve got. Over the coming weeks I will have a lot of fun planning Gaspésie hikes we might – or might not – take. Perhaps back to the top of Mont Xalibu for the view to the right (my picture this time). Or maybe up Mont Jacques Cartier, the highest peak in the park (4,160 feet) and home to the only woodland caribou south of the Saint Lawrence River. The park has 310 square miles – about the size of Shenandoah NP – so there are plenty of other hikes to consider, including a 70-mile section of the International Appalachian Trail. So much to choose from, and we haven’t even crossed the Saint Lawrence yet for the next stage of the trip.