Those who are living in an urban environment will undoubtedly agree that the pandemic has emphasized the shortcomings of cities in general. Staying home when you’ve got a big garden and enough room to relax in, is one thing, yet staying inside a tiny apartment is something completely different. When there are no restaurants, cultural events or parties to go to, cities seem quite obsolete all of a sudden. No wonder people are en masse leaving for a vacation amidst nature now that the restrictions are being lifted one by one.
We’ve had a lot of time to think this past year and most of us have been dreaming about future holidays. We preferably want to escape the city – exchange it for a piece of nature, albeit for just a week or two. Some of us go to the seaside, others go camping amidst the cows and some prefer to go search for a bit of altitude in the mountains. That’s also the case for Kévin Ginisty, even though the 31 year-old Frenchman took things just a little further.
European Pacific Crest Trail
After a marketing career in the automobile business, Kévin decided to leave everything behind and travel the world in 2018. He went to New-Zealand and the North Pole before trekking through the ‘three Americas’, from Patagonia all the way to Canada. During that trip, he mostly used the Pacific Crest Trail, well-known with travelers world-wide. When he finally returned to France in 2020, he realized something like that didn’t exist in his country. Yes, there are a lot of walking routes in France and some of them are quite famous, but there isn’t really one big hike to cross the country from the top all the way to the bottom.
An idea was born. Ginisty started to inform himself about the different hikes in France and decided that he wanted to create a route which would connect the most beautiful French mountains. A hike that’ll start in Wissembourg in the Bas-Rhin-department and that’ll end all the way in Hendaye in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. All in all, the route will cover about 2.500 kilometers.
Let’s be clear, Kévin didn’t create any new paths. He researched all the existing ones, asked around for the most beautiful detours and created an itinerary which clearly isn’t the shortest one but which is supposed to be the most beautiful. The HexaTrek, as the hiking trail will be called, will be divided into six different parts and will guide enthusiastic travelers through, amongst others, the Jura, the Alps and the Cévennes. If you want to walk the entire trail and if you’re able to walk about 20 to 35 kilometers a day, it’ll take you 90 to 130 days to complete the hike. That’s a lot, sure, yet Kévin emphasizes that you don’t have to walk the entire trip in one go. You could, for example, choose to walk one part a year, six years in a row. Taking the bus could also be a solution if you’re short in time, yet be warned, you’ll almost certainly miss quite a few magnificent spots while doing so.
At the moment, Kévin is still developing his project. He will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in September 2021 and contributors will be able to test a first version of the route and the application in the summer of 2022. The final version should then be available somewhere in 2023. Even though it takes a lot of courage to embark on a journey like this, Kévin wants to develop the HexaTrek and the app in such a way that it should be possible for anyone with a bit of a physical condition to walk at least part of the trail. Be warned though – as a lot of the routes will take you through isolated parts of France, walkers will almost definitely be obliged to take quite a lot of provisions and camping gear with them. In return, you’ll get the chance to be alone with nature though. In life, you have to choose your battles.