“I don’t think these attributes come from being ‘official’ state-adopted, fully waymarked, good-tread trails. However, there are cultural differences to consider. It seems as if there are actually more trails in the UK, potentially in greater competition for interest, for that capture of the imagination. So some kind of state designation, of hiking society or TGO designation, might help fuel the fires of hikers imaginations.
“Of the things that have helped create the illusion that the AT, PCT, and the CDT form some kind of Triple Crown is that they are all National Scenic Trails, designated such by congress. And they were the first such trails, so even as more are added these are still the best known, best organised and publicised national scenic trails. They all have hooks: who can resist the cachet of a hike across a landscape as immense as the entire US, border-to-border?
“The fact that they are all similar in length helps to create a sense of ‘if I can do one, I can do the other’, yet the landscape is different enough to draw hikers from one to the other.”
Finally, Phil Hough was blown away by the suggestion of a UK coastline trail.
“The Coastline UK Trail sounds intriguing – truly crazy, but intriguing. I mean, if you create an 11,000-mile trail, that alone will be longer than the collective mileage of the US Triple Crown, which by comparison is just under 8000 miles. And arguably more miserable, what with all the rain and cold dampness just constantly being near the coast. Of course, you have all those coastal pubs to warm the cockles of your heart but, at 20 miles a day with no days off, this trail would take one-and-a-half years.
“Yes, some crazy thru hikers will do it. But one trouble with overseas thru hikers might very well be the visa question – after one-and-a-half years you’d have to end up as some kind of transient resident, able to vote and stuff, but without an actual job! But, if you
create a 5,000 mile route – well you still have all the above, just not ‘half as bad’…”
Finally, I asked Phil what kind of hiker could be expected to rise to meet a Triple Crown challenge.
“It takes a hiker who exemplifies the traits common to most thru’ hikers, but in who they are even more magnified,” he said. “A TC hiker has to be even more obsessive-compulsive than an average thru hiker. More
“driven”, perhaps more goal-oriented, more calm and centered on a certainty of self, an assurance or confidence.
“Beyond time, the successful TC hiker will have figured out how to arrange their life to satisfy their highest priority – long distance hiking. They will have learned how to make hiking work with regards to time, money,
relationships, work, self-worth, and self-identity. They know who they are and how to be
that person.”


Dare to hike a dream continued

UK Triple Crown