Choosing a trek is the first step of my adventure. I am always open to suggestions from fellow hikers, online searches, periodicals and, my favorite, Cicerone guidebooks . I like to pick a hike that is at least 200 miles and one that we can stay in refuges, B&Bs or small hotels thus eliminating carrying camping gear. Spectacular mountains, charming villages, and historical significance also play a part in the choice.
Once the trek has been chosen, the planning can begin.
- Decide how many days the trek will take. The guidebooks set out daily stages; however, I sometimes wish to alter those stages. Planning for rest days is helpful not only to rest the tired body, but to give a little leeway in case of bad weather.
- Secure the flight thus having firm dates with which to work.
- Research lodging for each night. It would be great if the trek could be done without reservations, but these places are often booked especially on weekends and during August. Usually, I can find the lodging information in the guidebooks, but if not, a search online is most helpful. Many of these places can be contacted by email (some have a reservations website), but occasionally I have to call. Some refuges require a deposit which can be a little tricky as many do not accept credit cards. I have used Western Union and very rarely been able to use Paypal.
- Mark the route. Using topo maps, my computer and “Maps” on my phone, I mark our intended path both on the topo maps and on my GPS.
- Arrange transportation to and from the trail.