6 Locations for Life-Changing Hikes
Up until the twentieth century, a pilgrimage was about the long walk. Pilgrims started a journey of several hundred miles without knowing if they’d return home. When a group of pilgrims left for that holy hike, a faux-funeral was often held so everyone could say goodbye, possibly forever. Months or years later, if the pilgrim returned, the celebration was akin to a resurrection from the dead. No matter what happened, these walks were life-changing.
Those life-changing walks are still around. Here are a few of our favorite treks that continue to transform the pilgrims who choose to use their hiking boots.
Oregon: In The Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
For Lewis and Clark and the members of the Corps of Discovery, Oregon was the final stop on an amazing journey to explore the vast Louisiana Purchase, from Missouri all the way to the West Coast. From the Snake and Columbia Rivers to the Cascade Mountains to the rugged Pacific coastline, few states in our nation contain this amazing array of terrain, wildlife, and natural beauty. One of the walking options in Oregon is a three-day camping hike on the breathtaking Oregon coast. On this journey, we seek the face of God in old-growth forests, in coastal tide pools, and in our own adventurous hearts. Explore His amazing creation as we follow in the spirit of Lewis and Clark.
Alaska: Nature at Her Finest
Alaska is America’s last great frontier and a mammoth of nature. The region’s original people, the Tlingit, are still a vibrant culture. In Alaska hiking is the means to dive into God’s stunning creation and listen to His voice through breathtaking mountains, magnificent shorelines, and complete solitude. Imagine hiking mountains, visiting ancient glaciers, or watching humpback whales surface in front of you. Come and take amazing hikes in a land where the sun doesn’t set until 11:30 pm and rises by 3 am. Does the wild call to you?
Ireland: Celtic Footsteps
The Emerald Isle is a land of great beauty. Steeped in rich Christian tradition, it was once known as the ‘Land of Saints and Scholars.’ Wonder Voyage has gained a knowledgeable ability to move through this stunning landscape as privileged insiders. We have established some of the most dynamic walks you’ll ever engage in. Want to climb a waterfall and then hike to a secret mountain lake that will stun your senses? Or how about an ancient monastic path that has been used for hundreds of years? Do you dare circumvent as island paradise? Ireland is a hiker’s paradise.
Switzerland: Mountains and valleys
One of the things we love most about Switzerland is that it’s the perfect combination of France, Germany, and Italy. Diversity is a gift Switzerland brings to Europe: snow-peaked mountains, lush emerald valleys, preserved medieval towns, towering cathedrals, and the most efficient train system in the world. Once you have hiked in Switzerland, it’ll never leave you. One of our favorite hikes begins high in a mountain village with a leisurely walk into the lush valley below, where waterfalls flow and yodelers sing. If you want a taste of the Alps, join us in Switzerland.
Borders Abbeys Way: Ancient Paths
In the seventh century, a small group of monks left Iona at the request of the Anglo-Saxon king, Oswald. They were commissioned to bring the light of Christ to a dark and warring Northumbria. Aidan, a man with a renowned zeal for Christ, volunteered for the mission. The only thing he asked Oswald for was a tiny tidal isle off the mainland to establish a monastery and learning center. From this initial monastery, the Borders Abbeys were established. As towns began to grow around the Abbeys, Scotland’s King David I established what became known as the Abbeys Way. This 70-mile walking pilgrimage connects walking pilgrims to Dryburgh, Jedburgh, Kelso, and Melrose Abbeys through the gorgeous Scottish countryside. Walking pilgrimages give participants time to contemplate both the creation and the Creator. This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, that will challenge the body while baptizing the heart.
Camino de Santiago: An Iconic Pilgrimage
Since the 9th century, the Camino de Santiago has been one of the world’s most active walking pilgrimages. Trailing across northern Spain, and another number of routes across Europe, the Way, as it is known in English, still draws a couple hundred-thousand people a year. The shell, a well-worn symbol of the Way, reminds you that something within humanity draws us toward God. We are a pilgrim people. Wonder Voyage will create a Camino Pilgrimage that will best meet the personality of your team in pace, housing, adventure, and spiritual direction. Our staff will lead you on the Way, taking care of all the details, so you can focus on both the outward and inward journey that happens. As you stand in the Cathedral of Santiago, you will know something wonderful has taken place in your heart and in your team.
Though our modern age flies by, the walking pilgrimage is still alive and thriving in our locations across the globe. It may be time for you to slow down, put on your hiking boots, and see the world at a walker’s pace.
After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.