11 Things We Learned This Week!

What did you learn this week? Let us know in the comments or at education@ngs.org. This week, we learned … … you’ve been reading the wrong horoscope. Thanks, NASA. What’s the difference between astronomy and astrology?   … Oxford tops the overall rankings, but you need to go east to find the best young universities. Where did our explorers and grantees go to school? What … Continue reading 11 Things We Learned This Week!

Meet the Adventurers of the Year—and Vote for Your Favorite!

SPORTS For 11 years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find the Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, or humanitarianism. Get to know this year’s honorees, then vote for the 2016 People’s Choice. (Nat Geo Adventure) Play our game to explore like a Nat Geo adventurer, or get started with the adventure in … Continue reading Meet the Adventurers of the Year—and Vote for Your Favorite!

The World of Cross-Country Trails

In this age of planes, trains and automobiles, very few individuals in the industrialized world still rely on walking as their primary means of transportation. Comprehensive systems of international airports, trains stations and access-controlled highways have made transportation as quick and seamless as possible. In the end, all of this infrastructural development leads to a romantic nostalgia of the old means of transportation, our own legs.
To satisfy this yearning, we as humans have taken to building long-distance hiking footpaths throughout our woods, countryside and coasts for recreational travel. Although these paths originated some millenia ago, the recent resurgence of the long-distance greenways movement began in the United States, with the construction of Vermont’s Long Trail in 1910.
Long-distance trails are typically at least 50 km long, and require one overnight stay to complete the hike. Individuals who complete long-distance trails in one single journey earn the recognition of “thru-hiker”, whereas those who complete the equally amazing feat of hiking the trail in parts are labeled “section-hikers.” In recent years, a movement has begun to build long-distance trails across entire countries, connecting hundreds of geographical regions with one single footpath. Below, we feature some of the world’s most prominent cross-country trails and explain their geographical importance.
Length: 735 km (1700 km)
Connecting the two independent nations of North and South Korea, the Baekdu-Daegan Trail is a lasting symbol of some Koreans’ hope for reunification. The approximately 1700 km footpath extends from Jirisan National Park in South Korea to the sacred Baekdu-san mountain in the isolationist North. The pilgrimage to Baekdu-san is a desired passage for hiking-crazed Koreans, but remains impossible due to the current political situation between the two countries. For now, the 735 km section of the trail in South Korea remains open and hikable, with a great system of huts and lodges catering to hikers all the way to the “finish line” at the Demilitarized Zone.
Winter hiking in South Korea.
Photo courtesy of Liz Jurey, MyShot.

Continue reading “The World of Cross-Country Trails”