DONE IN A DAY

Make a modern-day pil­grim­age to one of th­ese sa­cred sites.

Backpacker - - Contents - By Jen Rose Smith

HOLY HIKES

Take a pil­grim­age to th­ese four sa­cred sites.

OB­SER­VA­TORY TRAIL HAWAII VOL­CA­NOES NA­TIONAL PARK, HI

As you hike past lava tubes and across loose cin­der on 13,677-foot Mauna Loa, the world’s largest ac­tive vol­cano, you’ll be a guest in the home of Pele, the pow­er­ful god­dess of Hawai­ian vol­ca­noes. Her white dog is said to roam the slopes of the moun­tain when an erup­tion is im­mi­nent, so watch for a flash of fur while trekking the 6.4-mile (one-way) Ob­ser­va­tory Trail, which climbs from 11,150 feet to the sum­mit. From the Mauna Loa Weather Ob­ser­va­tory, fol­low cairns over jagged a’a and smoother pa­hoe­hoe rocks. Pass the North Pit, part of the Moku’awe­oweo Caldera, near mile 3.8, then con­tinue an­other 2.6 miles to the true sum­mit, where you can breathe some of the clear­est, clean­est air on earth (a re­sult of alti­tude plus seaborne air). Make it an overnight: Snag a bunk in the Mauna Loa sum­mit cabin ($10 wilder­ness per­mit re­quired). Con­tact nps.gov/havo

SUM­MIT TRAIL BEAR BUTTE STATE PARK, SD

A hunched spine of ig­neous rock sur­rounded by prairie, Bear Butte is a holy site for more than 15 tribes. (Its Lakota name, Mato Paha, trans­lates to Bear Moun­tain.) The peak is linked to the Supreme Be­ing by some and is fre­quently used as a site for vi­sion quests and cer­e­monies. Tackle the 3.7-mile out-and-back to the top on the Sum­mit Trail, pass­ing bushes decked with cer­e­mo­nial cloths and bun­dles of to­bacco—sym­bols of prayers left be­hind by vis­i­tors. Once on the 4,426-foot sum­mit, look south for views of the Black Hills—an­other spir­i­tu­ally sig­nif­i­cant site for many Na­tive peo­ples— and scan the sur­round­ing prairie for a glimpse of Bear Butte State Park’s res­i­dent buf­falo herd. Con­tact bit. do/bear-butte-sp

THREE SIS­TERS TRAIL LAVA BEDS NA­TIONAL MON­U­MENT, CA

Cal­i­for­nia’s Pit River Tribe has long trav­eled to the Medicine Lake High­lands—the caldera of an an­cient, col­lapsed shield vol­cano— for vi­sion quests and prayer. Fol­low in their foot­steps and ex­plore the caldera’s lava tubes and flows on a 10-mile loop along the Three Sis­ters Trail in Lava Beds Na­tional Mon­u­ment. Tackle it in Novem­ber, when cool temps and low-hang­ing fog add to the feel­ing of mys­tery. From the Three Sis­ters trail­head, head east, tak­ing time to poke around in the vol­canic rub­ble and caves. Then head into the high desert, pass­ing through sage­brush and stands of ju­niper to mile 8.7. Con­nect the Lyons, Miss­ing Link, and Bunch­grass Trails to loop coun­ter­clock­wise back to the trail­head. Con­tact nps.gov/labe

MT. MONADNOCK MONADNOCK STATE PARK, NH

The bare, rocky sum­mit of Mt. Monadnock stands just 3,165 feet above sea level, but the peak loomed large for New Eng­land’s most iconic tran­scen­den­tal­ist writ­ers. Emer­son wrote an ode to the place, while Thoreau, who first climbed Monadnock in 1844, be­lieved that a good, sweaty hike up one of the world’s “nat­u­ral tem­ples” was a solid im­prove­ment on a morn­ing in church. To see what the fuss was about, park at the Monadnock State Park head­quar­ters in Jaf­frey. From there, the most di­rect route to the sum­mit is the steep White Dot Trail, which climbs 2 miles through a dense de­cid­u­ous for­est that ex­plodes with fall color in Oc­to­ber. Af­ter com­muning with the spir­its of the writ­ers on the bald sum­mit—bring a copy of Emer­son’s poem “Mon­ad­noc” to hold an open-air read­ing—re­turn to the trail­head on the gen­tler, 2.1-mile White Cross Trail, mak­ing a 4.1mile loop. Con­tact nhstateparks.org

Bear Butte re­flects in Bear Butte Lake.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.