Yesterday I posted a story the pondered the future of the Great Himalayan Trail, which is scheduled to open next year and will stretch more than 4500km (2800 miles) across Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. Today, we get word courtesy of ExWeb, that the Nepali Tourism Board has named Sean Burch a Good Will Ambassador following his recent run across the length of the country following the GHT.
Both the NTB and Burch have also announced that they will be working together to promote the Trail and encourage economic development in the villages that exist along the trail. As I noted in my story yesterday, unlike some of other trekking routes in the region, the GHT doesn’t have a network of teahouses and restaurants just yet, although those are sure to crop up as the trail gains more attention and lures adventure travelers to the route.
Burch talked with ExWeb about his experiences running the trail. He estimates that he took 2.6 million steps along the way and faced more than 500,000 feet of elevation change as well. He also had to deal with leeches, monsoon rains, landslides, the rigors of high altitude, hypothermia and the daily grind of the trail that is both physically and mentally taxing. When he was done however, he ran 2000km (1200 miles), crossing Nepal in just over 49 days. Pretty impressive feat considering the conditions he was running in.
On a different note, the post yesterday on the challenges to the future of the GHT spurred some interesting discussion, and while there have been some who have questioned whether or not the trail would be a success without government funding, it has been pointed out that the trail pretty much already exists, and that the main thing that is in threat without an influx of cash is the launch party, which is scheduled to be a part of Nepal’s Tourism Year 2011. The Great Himalaya Trail will officially open next year, and long distance hikers will have another great challenge to add to their list.
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