Great Western Loop – Andrew Skurka
On November 3, 2007, adventurer Andrew Skurka became at age 26 the first person to complete the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop that links the American West’s great long-distance hiking trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Arizona Trail, to traverse major mountain ranges, 12 National Parks and over 75 wilderness areas.
As the hiking season lasts ca 130 days Andrew covered an average of 33 miles per day for 208 straight days to avoid snow, ice and other challenging weather circumstances.
In addition to experiencing many of the most pristine and beautiful landscapes in America, including deserts, canyons, sky islands, alpine and tundra, volcanoes, rainforests, and prairies, Andrew surveyed the toll that global warming is taking on them. National Geographic Adventure magazine chose Andrew as 2007 Adventurer of the Year for his epic seven-month hike through the American West to call attention to its magnificent landscape and the environmental and ecological threats affecting it.
“These areas are part of our national identity and are a treasured escape for millions of people from increasingly hectic and complex lives. Through our reckless environmental behavior, policies, and attitudes, we are adversely affecting America’s most cherished and pristine wildlands,” Skurka said shortly before his departure. “The outdoor experience we’ll have in America’s West will probably be vastly different in the future. Iconic features of our National Parks and wilderness areas are going to be compromised: no glaciers in Glacier National Park, no Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park, fewer grizzlies in Yellowstone, less snowpack in the Sierra and Cascades.”
Andrew started at Grandview Point, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Image by Filio