Bucket List Adventures

I've never been one to worry about money. I believe if you work hard enough and have enough passion, things will just happen. I hope to Hell that I'm right, because this bucket list is going to cost me at least half a million dollars. Which I don't have. Clearly.

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The Big One.
Everest: 29,029 Feet Of Awesome.

I went a long time in life not even speaking about this. But this is my biggest life goal.

Let me get the obvious out of the way first: I’m aware of the dangers, the low success rates and the possibility of actually dying doing this climb.  The other obvious: I do not have a death wish, I like breathing.  But (and those closest to me will not enjoy reading this), I would truly rather attempt this climb and die on the mountain than to never make an attempt at all.  Period.

A couple of years ago, before I became a hiker, my obsession with Everest was like a secret passion I’d always kept in the back of my mind.  It seemed impossible because I had never even attempted to climb any mountains.  Climbing Everest was more of a situation that I admired from afar.  Not something I would ever truly consider, but something of a dream.  Not unlike my dream of one day traveling to outer space.  Kind of ridiculous, I know.

But now, even with only a handful of smaller mountains under my belt, this is becoming a clearer and clearer picture in my mind.  It won’t be easy.  Nothing THIS impressive is ever going to be easy.  And I don’t care.  I will work my ass off if it means I get even one attempt to see this monster in person.  Thinking about it is enough to bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.

The Cost Of Everest

You can do the Everest Base Camp Trek for about $5,000, all in, including flights. This involves arriving in Kathmandu and hiking about 130km through the Himalayas over 12-15 days. Basically, it’s a really long walk then you arrive at Base Camp at approx. 17,000 ft and turn around and go back. And for some, this would be enough. But truthfully, I really don’t think I could stand there, with the summit of the tallest mountain in the world looking back at me, and not make a summit attempt.

The difference in cost between a Base Camp Trek and a summit attempt is huge. About $150,000 huge. For now, this one has to stay in the back of my mind and I have to accept that it may never happen. At the same time, it is always there persisting in my brain like a throb that won’t go away.

A Different Type Of Adventure: The Pacific Crest Trail

No, I haven't read "Wild". I do watch Gilmore Girls, though.

My number two Bucket List Adventure isn’t one single mountain.  Rather, the Pacific Crest Trail is what is known as a through-hike.  You start at one end and finish at the other.  In this case, you start at the California-Mexico border and hike your way to the Washington-British Columbia border – 2,650 miles away.  That’s a little over 4,200 kilometers for us Canadian folk.  You can choose to do it the opposite way, going southbound instead, but, being Canadian, finishing by crossing my own country border seems to make the most sense.

I'm Not Greedy, One Will Do

The PCT is part of what is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking, along with the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.  But I’m not greedy – I’ll take just the one.  Not that any one is more impressive than the other – completing any of these is a massive life achievement. But the reason I prefer the PCT, I’m guessing, is that I’ve always felt California calling my name. It’s not something I can put my finger on. Likely, it’s some illusion of the free-love & hippie movements of days long passed in places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is also likely musically inspired, both from my love of West Coast hiphop and my fascination of all things Jim Morrison.

All in all, the PCT takes between five and seven months to complete. The logistics alone are a nightmare to plan. You hike and camp, hike and camp, hike and camp. Every few days you pass through a town where hopefully you’ve mailed yourself (or have someone mail to you) some re-supply of food and gear. Going from California to BC, you cross through so many different terrains and eco-systems, different gear is required for different legs of the journey.

One of my favorite YouTubers, Dixie, has a great series documenting her PCT through-hike. Check it out right here.

PCT Stats & Fun Facts

  • First proposed in 1926 & first explored in the 1930s
  • Crosses 26 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 5 State Parks and 4 National Monuments
  • Climbs over 60 mountains and passes over 1000 lakes
  • Though Mt. Whitney (highest peak in the Lower 48) is not part of the PCT, it is so close, most folks add this to their hike
  • Approx. 180 people per year complete the entire trail
  • Fewer people have completed the trail than have climbed Mt. Everest
  • Approx Cost: Who The Eff Knows – 6 months off work with no income + time away from family + the cost to prepare = I Don’t Even Wanna Think About It

Sometimes, You Just Wanna Go.....Somewhere

Johnny Mountaintop & I do lots of research. But sometimes we just have a general idea of where we want to go, with no specific mountain in mind. Here's our Top 5 Destination list. Click each link for a video or article to see our dream destinations.

My Top 5 Destination List

Mr. Mountaintop's Top 5 Destination List

The Best Of The Rest

The Bucket List continues. Check out my expensive list of what I hope the future holds. In no particular order of preference.

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Tanzania, Africa

Like Everest, Kilimanjaro is part of what is known as The Seven Summits – the highest peak on each of the seven continents.  This one is less of a Bucket List Adventure and is more like an In-The-Planning-Stages Adventure.  If I have my way, we’ll be traveling to Africa and completing this 7-9 day hike in 2022.  Kili stands a little over 19,000 feet, features three separate volcano craters and was first climbed in 1889.  It is known as a non-technical climb.  Meaning exactly that – you don’t need any special gear, just the sheer will to walk through it’s five different climate zones (from alpine, to desert, to arctic) and the determination to not quit.  Here is a badass video giving you an idea of what climbing Kili is like.

Mt. Elbert

Colorado: The Highest Rocky Peak

The second highest mountain in The Lower 48 (after Mt. Whitney, mentioned above), Mount Elbert is the highest point of the entire Rocky Mountain range on either the Canadian or American side. At 14,400 feet, it is not as daunting as it sounds and can actually be climbed in one day.  Which is good news for our team.  We are planning this Bucket List Adventure for (maybe, hopefully) September of 2020.  Since I’ll be out of vacation time, we would literally fly in late Friday night, rest Saturday, hike the mountain on Sunday and fly home Monday.  It’s a tight schedule, but watching this video will show you exactly why it’ll be worth the trouble.  Plus, it’ll count towards yet another Bucket List Adventure: The 50 State High Points.

Mt. Katahdin

The "Knife Edge" Trail Can't Be That Dangerous

We’ve already climbed mountains higher than Katahdin, which stands at just over 5,200 feet.  It is the highest peak in the state of Maine (hey, another State High Point!) and is located in Baxter State Park.  But just judging by the name “Knife Edge Trail”, describing a section near the top, Katahdin is a beast that deserves respect.  This was initially penciled in for the summer of 2020, but has gotten pushed back a little now that Costa Rica and other adventures have crept in to our schedule.  Check out this really cool, despite being mostly silent, video of some YouTube folk climbing the Knife Edge Trail and see what our team is in for when we finally get to Maine to climb this monster.

Mt. Elbrus

Seven Summits: European Style

Despite the debate between whether this actually belongs to Russia or China, the consensus is that this dormant volcano is a Russian mountain and therefore the highest peak on the European Continent.  This qualifies it for yet another of the Seven Summits, mentioned above.  A hike that can generally be done in about four days, Elbrus starts with a cable car ride to the start of the hike, where you take a day to acclimatize.  Working your way slowly up over days two and three, getting used to the altitude and doing some rope training, you must deal with snow storms, poor visibility and general bad weather on your way to the 15,554 foot summit.  Day four takes about ten hours to get to the summit before coming back down.  Check this bad boy out!

Mt. Fuji

Yet Another Active Volcano!

I know at this point it seems like I really only want to climb the biggest and best mountains around the world.  I think that’s partly my personality type, but also the fact that I’ve started hiking so late in life.  If I’d started this journey in my 20s, I’d probably already have some of these done.  But, nonetheless, yet another of the world’s most famous mountains.  Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak.  This one has always fascinated me and is yet another that isn’t really all that difficult.  Only taking two days, Fuji is used to tourism and has places to stay along the way and places to rent gear and buy food.  This is another mountain that features an early morning summit push to watch the Japanese sunrise – they don’t call it the Land of the Rising Sun for nothing: check this out.

The Italian Dolomites

No Particular Mountain, Just Some Italian Epicness

This is one of those adventures where I have no particular mountain singled out – I just want to go and experience everything it has to offer. This website has a pretty good itinerary laid out over about a week with some pretty awesome videos of what you can expect from the Dolomites.  The entire range can itself be broken down in to about 26 sub-ranges.  It’s super popular for skiers, BASE jumpers (umm, yes please!) and hikers alike.  There are 18 peaks that tower over 10,000 feet, so there is definitely lots to explore.  I don’t know if a week would suffice.  Considering the beauty too, I may never come home from this one!  This video gives you a clue about all the Instagram-worthy places you can visit in the Dolomites.  Italy is already in the works for Lauren & I in 2021…..but something tells me we are not hiking when we’re surrounded by wine, cheese, bread & pasta!

I'm Already Crossing Things Off The List

By now, maybe you've seen the video of my Bucket List climb of Mt. Batur in Indonesia. If not, you gotta see this!

The List Keeps Growing And Growing

The More I Hike, The More I Want To Hike

Some Home Country Flavor

We're Gonna Crash A Couple Family Homes With This One

Not only is Alberta’s Banff National Park beautiful, but we have a bunch of family who live out that way.  Lauren’s brother, Tyler, lives in Calgary.  And I have cousins who live in Alberta too.  So, with free places to stay and a place as crazy beautiful as The Valley Of The Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, you bet there’s some Canadian flavor on this Bucket List.  Located near Lake Louise, there are ten mountains all above 10,000 feet in height.  Trekking through the valley is generally the way to go, rather than summitting the mountains themselves.  Hey, Alberta families, we’ll be seeing you soon!!

Yosemite National Park

Just.....All Of It. Damn.

Yosemite is another one of those places, no matter what photo or video you look at, it’s just beauty everywhere.  I just wanna go.  With no agenda, nothing planned on the books.  Really, I just need to see this place with my own eyeballs.  Of course, there’s El Capitan, the most famous rock climbing wall in the world.  Even more famous now after the two recent movies, The Dawn Wall and Free Solo.  But, Yosemite is more than just El Cap.  This place is 700,000 acres of pure wilderness waiting to be explored.  There is 800 miles of hiking trails alone.  This place is so popular that many of it’s trails require an annual lottery system just to win entry.  Needless to say, this puts it on every hiker’s bucket list, but also at arms length due to the red tape of even getting there.

You Tell Me

What Am I Missing?

Everyone has a favorite spot.  And this list by no means is everything I want to see.  I want to go everywhere and see everything.  I want to quit my job and just explore for the rest of my life.  What an improbability that is.  I want to see all 50 State High Points.  There’s places in Utah, Arizona, Washington, California, Quebec, Peru, Argentina…..the list never ends.  So, with that being said, what’s missing from my list?  What’s your favorite spot?  Is there a hidden location people don’t know about that I’ve just got to see?  Lemme know: find me on Instagram or Facebook and let me in on your secrets!