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    • There’s an old Scottish legend that tells the story of a giant who was buried in the earth and his thumb can still be seen today; if the legend is to be believed then it means that the Old Man of Storr in Scotland’s Isle of Skye is indeed that thumb. Giants feature quite frequently in Scottish folklore; myths and legends surround the country that I call home - no more so than in the Highlands.

      Myths and legends can be elaborate stories that we use to scare each other as kids or ways in which we allow our imaginations to be let off their sane leashes. But what if that giant really did exist? If he really did exist then it would be correct for me to say that I've climbed a giant’s thumb. That sounds so much more impressive than saying I went on a 4 hour hike, so yeah… in my story, the giant did exist and I've climbed that giant’s big old thumb!

      The Old Man of Storr walk is on Isle of Skye and is approx. 3 miles long with only a 288m ascent, but the views make it my favourite place to hike. Where's yours?

    • I know the Old Man of Storr!

      I was priviledged to be up there on October 16, 2014 with Peter Cairns and Marc Muench during a Muench Workshop. It's not a long hike, as you said, but it does seem longer at 4 am in the dark the first time you go up the mountain behind Peter who steps up the slope rather sprightly. The view when the light arrives is fantastic as you said. And 288m is almost a 1000 feet so it isn't a trivial hike in the darkness either.

      I would love to return to some of the north western Scottish Isles to explore the ancient pre-historical stone sites.

      I am trying to decide what my favorite hike is.

      I am tempted to say my favorite hike must be the one I do every weekend for the last decade around a local lake near my home - 5 miles of rolling hills in eastern Illinois, but not nearly as dramatic as mountains in Scotland, just a lake in a forest with lots of deer to keep us entertained. Nice leaves in the fall, and snow and ice in the winter. I did say every weekend.

      Another walk I really enjoyed was along the southside of the river Thames, from the Eye on easterly past the Globe Theatre. I loved walking in London - strange to say as I didn't think I would, but I did. I would love to do it again actually. But that was walking not really hiking I think some would argue.

      I do like hiking out West in New Mexico or Utah looking for petroglyphs - not a specific track, but a specific sort of quest I guess.

      I don't hike so much anymore as I prefer to wander, to see what I can find new for me. I am pondering a brief exploration along Hadrian's wall, maybe next fall when I return to Scotland.

    • I hike at least weekly in the local Red Rock area here outside Vegas....but, if we are talking about fav day hikes and not backpacking, and I have only done this once - but, hiking the Narrows at Zion National Park on a hot day would have to be my fav....

    • Hmmm, this is SO HARD!!! I've been sitting at my keyboard for 10 minutes debating between trails in Switzerland, Scotland, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion, and British Columbia.

      Here's my problem: once I do a hike, I want to try a new one and they stick in my head and on my bucket list. It's as if they're my fav even though I haven't done them.

      The one I haven't been able to get out of my head for awhile is Mt. Huashan in China. I don't know why, maybe the amazing photos people post?

    • l loved Mount Rainer, Mount St Helens was amazing before it blew. The Islands of Puget Sound are incredible. The Cascade mountains are craggy and majestic.

      My favorite was the forest, with all the moss, the wet, the water, the rain and the wildlife. The huge trees. The summer berries. The drowning of all sound while the water rushes by. The Olympic forest is amazing and diverse. My first night on the Hoh trail it poured buckets and I loved every second of adapting to the rain while wringing my sponge out to the water incoming my tent.

      Luckily we all have our favorites, it would be a shame to all be in the same place at the same time. The seclusion is part of the pleasure.

    • I love the lush forests, massive rivers and beautiful vegetation of the Cascades. A big plus is the crowds are minimal.

      📷: A photo I took of Broken Top Mountain near Sisters, Oregon.

    • I don't hike so much anymore as I prefer to wander, to see what I can find new for me.

      I like this and this is probably what I do too.

      Great photo on the Storr too, it's definitely a magical place up there. Did you get a chance to see the dinosaur footprints? That's a definite 'wow' moment.

    • So many places and so little time.

      I'm heading to Switzerland next year with Sarah A and Haley, so any recommendations on walks there would be great :-).

      I'm getting vertigo just looking at the photo! But it looks incredible, so I can see why you'd want to go there.

    • Reading this feed, it looks like I need to get myself over to some of the National Parks in USA. I've only seen a little of Joshua Tree and a tiny bit of Yellowstone.

    • Come to Yellowstone in the winter - no crowds, lots of wildlife, and the snow really dresses the place up. Be aware, you can't just drive through it in the winter, except the road from Gardiner to Cooke CIty, and for that you need 4WD with snow tires - any good stock 4WD SUV w snow tires will be fine. Plan a snow coach ride, for great wildlife viewing. You can wander, but hiking will be challenging in deep snow with free ranging wolf packs and bison....

      If you love crowds, come in the summer ( June, July, August) , you will be rewarded with them....

    • Thanks both of you for the kind words - here's a frame just north of Gardiner along the highway - this area was not snow covered when we were there, but certainly can be in winter

    • I've seen several dino footprints in various locations in the western US, but I don't recall seeing a dinosaur footprint there - hmmm! I would have thought someone I was with would have pointed it out - maybe since it was completely dark when we arrived it got overlooked.

    • Oh, the three of you will have an amazing time in Switzerland! The number of hikes is so amazing it's hard to think of myself as an authority, but if I had to choose the one we remember most I'd have to agree with The Globe and Mail:

      The Eiger Trail (2 to 5 hours)

      The Eiger Trail is one of the most famous and jaw-dropping Alpine day hikes. The trail brings hikers close to the north face of the Eiger (the Ogre in English) and its famous neighbouring peaks, Monch (the Monk) and Jungfrau (the Maiden). Together, the three form an imposing mountain wall separating the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais.

      The journey begins in Grindelwald, an iconic town where scenes from the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service were shot. (It's also the setting of the memorable Amazing Race cheese-sled challenge.) A small railway takes you to the hamlet Alpiglen, from where the six-kilometre hike begins. (You can also take the railway all the way to Eigergletscher and walk back down.) The view of the sheer cliffs on one side and the rolling valleys below is breathtaking.

      On good weather days, its not uncommon to see climbers dangling from the limestone rock far above. The hike up is a challenge, but you're rewarded with Eigergletscher's mountain restaurant, which offers up traditional dishes such as like croute de fromage, as well as eigerspitzli, a praline chocolate delicacy that is made on-site at what claims to be Europe's highest-altitude confectionery.

    • You mean you're suggesting avoiding crowds like this? (Old faithful audience)👇😜

      As a California local, I too make the same suggestion in my neck of the woods. Come see Yosemite and other areas of the Sierra in the winter. Yosemite Valley is a single file line of people on the popular trails in June, July, and August.