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Q: What’s the highest peak in the world that you can walk up without technical climbing gear? You’re going to need a passport and a healthy set of lungs for this mega-hike.
A: Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro. You’ll be escorted by porters (required) to the 19,341 feet summit. Take the Marangu route, known as the “the Coca-Cola route”, and enjoy a brown bubbly beverage from one of the many teahouses catering to Westerners.
Q: This place is considered one of the quietest on earth, and is protected by the One Square Inch project (http://onesquareinch.org/), which works to keep it free of intrusions by manmade sounds. Where is it?
A: The Hoh Valley in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The dampening effect of the lush understory in this temperate rain forest makes for an exquisitely serene experience, where humans and animals can come together….and just listen to the rain.
Q: Alaska has the biggest wilderness in the US (Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness). Where is the biggest wilderness complex (actually three all butted together) in the lower 48?
A: Idaho. The Frank Church/Gospel Hump/Selway Bitterroot contain 2.3 million acres of the good stuff. The relief can be staggering here: the Salmon River cuts a canyon that is over 6300′ deep. If Idaho isn’t on your hiking radar screen, it should be.
A: The current winner is the Pacific Crest Trail, reaching from Mexico to Canada, will burn your thighs for 2650 miles. The Continental Divide Trail, running up the spine of the Rockies, will take the crown at about 3100 miles when someday completed.
A: Nestled between the Sawtooths, the White Clouds, and the Frank Church Wilderness, Stanley, Idaho, population 100, is most often the coldest place around. Wintertime average low temperatures hover right around zero.
Q: Ever wonder where you’ll find the windiest place in North America? Fortunately it’s not where people live, so you can visit, experience the wind, and leave it.
A: Mount Washington in New Hampshire holds the crown: In April, 1934, a gust of 231 miles per hour was recorded at the mountain’s summit weather station. The locals simply refer to this as “The Big Wind”.
Q: What is the rainiest place in the US?
A: Yakutat, Alaska is far and away the champ, with over 160 inches per year. In the Lower 48, Mount Washington and Quillayute, WA are in a tie at about 102 inches a year. For comparison, rainy Portland, OR gets 38 inches a year.
Q. What’s North America’s fastest animal? Hint: They’re very shy around humans, hang out in groups, and can run faster than most speed limits.
A: For land animals, the crown goes to the pronghorn antelope, clocking in at 54 mph. Look for the elusive beast in the Southwest, or the inland Northwest. Among birds, the king of speed is the peregrine falcon, which can reach 200 mph.
When Terra Nova’s Laser 1 tent recently earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the lightest tent, we started wondering about hiking-related superlatives. What ARE the fastest/longest/highest? Test your knowledge and maybe learn a thing or two along the way! Question/Answers by: Allison Woods
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