Hiking Inn-to-Inn in California
“It really is a very addictive type of vacation,” wrote Margaret Leonard, the owner of Slow Adventure, about inn walking, or inn-to-inn walking.
Margaret should know! Not only has she hiked some of the world’s finest trails, among them the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal, the Inca Trail in Peru, the Haute Route in Switzerland; she also created inn-to-inn self-guided walking experiences on the California coast. These, she feels, equal any of the great walks around the world. Who better to develop a perfect hiking route from Monterey to Santa Cruz, or from Half Moon Bay to San Francisco, than Margaret, a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz? I only wish I had found SlowAdventure before traveling down the Oregon and California coast last fall, and spending time in Monterey Bay. The landscape made me dream of days spent walking and evening enjoying the inviting-looking inns. Next time!
Before finding Margaret, though, I had stumbled upon Walkabout California. What a fantastic resource! Hikers exchange information on this interactive website, an international venue where you can read and share stories about inn to inn vacations. Moreover, a fabulous guide book entitled “Walkabout Northern California – Hiking Inn to Inn” is available right on the website or from Amazon. Of course, it has been added to the Trek & Treats’ reference library and is an excellent, detailed resource. Also available are guides to shorter route segments, such as the Mendocino Coast or Hiking the Tahoe Basin, all inn-to-inn, of course. The only difficulty is deciding what to aim for first!
The human faces behind Walkabout California are Tom Courtney and daughter Emily. I was excited to get in touch with Tom, who lives in Oakland, California. Apparently, he was glad to learn about Trek & Treats, too. In his e-mail to me, he said: “Hiking from inn-to-inn is common in Europe, and North Americans cross the Atlantic to enjoy the trails, inns, and cuisine. But we are pioneers in North America, and it feels like we are riding a wave, maybe a Tsunami.”
Tom’s words captured my own experience with Trek & Treats – starting something new that really isn’t new at all, just new to this part of the world. Like any hiking trip, inn-to-inn hikes are never the same experience twice. Each route is as different as the landscape we walk in, the communities and inns we stay in, and the people we meet along the way. That’s what it’s all about: discovering and savouring the uniqueness of a region, being surprised by the unexpected, learning along the way, and above all, simply enjoying ourselves..
Tom Courtney plans to publish an additional, new guide book this summer: “Walkabout Malibu to Mexico – Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast.” Stay tuned: Visit www.walkaboutcalifornia.com and follow Tom’s blog or connect with Walkabout California on Twitter or Facebook.
Grand Dreams in Oregon
“We have grand dreams of hiking experiences stretching all up and down the West Coast,” wrote Amy in her first message to Trek & Treats. Amy Case is developing an inn-to-inn walking experience on the Oregon Coast Trail. The photo shows her hiking inn-to-inn in Cornwall, UK, no doubt making many mental notes for her own ambitious project. Follow Amy on Twitter @Inn2Inn and and be carried away by her stunning photos of the Oregon coast.
In her message, Amy was referring to her’s and another California tour company, Inn-to-End. Inn-to-End offers – you guessed it – inn-to-inn hiking tours leaving from San Francisco in a northerly direction. How does Muir’s Wood or “The Redwood Walk” sound? I’m very tempted!
Up here in Canada, we are thrilled to have connected with like-minded people and their businesses south of the border. It feels good to be in good company and to be part of something bigger! Stay tuned – and start walking!
Image right: Trek & Treats’ owner Marion Grau on Portland Island in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a 20 minute boat ride from Vancouver Island.
Posted by: Administrator Wednesday Apr 23, 2014 07:06