After I finish my two-Ironman season, I think it's time for a new goal. Something that involves a physical challenge, but includes more experience and pleasure than racing. After the first Ironman, the injury and the incredibly long road to recovery that essentially eclipsed my offseason, I'm yearning for something new. And I think I've found it.
This past weekend, the New York Times ran an article about one of the world's top treks, the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. This has been at the top of trekking lists for decades, but by 2012, there will be a paved road over the storied trail and the trek will no longer exist. The average trip is 21 days and covers a distance of more than 150 miles on foot, reaching an elevation of over 17,000 feet. Your daily view is of scenic Nepalese towns, lush river valleys, and as you ascend higher, the breathtaking Himalayas.
My friends know I've been on an Everest kick (don't worry, I'm too broke and not nearly daring enough) so the idea of being in the shadows of great mountains is very appealing to me. Plus it sounds like one of those profound, life-changing experiences we so seldom get to have. Imagine being cut off from the modern world for three weeks, forced to slow down and absorb the world around you rather than rely on your iPhone or laptop to keep you entertained. It sounds magical to me. And knowing this year or next may be the last chance to do it makes it even more appealing.
You can read the Times article, the Wikipedia page, this detailed blog or just look at these photos and tell me what you think. It seems like a very inspiring next step in my life's journey.