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10 Hikes That Will Help You Get Over a Breakup

February 04, 2020

Nature is truly the best medicine. These bucket-list trails and hiking trips will pull you out of your slump and build your confidence back up.

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Photo: Julian Manrique | WhereNext

Why You Should Go on a Trek After a Break Up

I went through a breakup last summer sandwiched between two challenging hiking trips. The first, a series of day hikes on the Italian portion of the Tour du Mont Blanc, put some big life decisions into perspective for me. The second, post-break-up, was a five-day trek around Peru's nearly 21,000-foot Mt. Ausangate. It showed me that everything would be OK.

It's hard to say exactly what it is about trekking that's so grounding and healing. During a serious trek, any given moment might feel exhausting, impossible or overwhelming. But somehow, when you weave all those moments together, even a trek with awful weather or altitude sickness or the toughest hill you've ever climbed can become a beautiful, even life-changing, experience in retrospect. And there's no denying how hiking, which relies so much on your inner-resolve and resources, can also serve as a reset button and reminder that you can get through anything on your own. It's an especially important reminder if you've just spent months, or years or even decades seeing yourself as part of a couple.

You know the saying that time heals all things. I'm pretty sure nature helps speed it up. Whatever it is you’re going through right now, these hikes and trekking trips will help you find clarity and move forward.

from $4,999 per person at rei adventures

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Photo: Julian Manrique | WhereNext

Ausangate Trek, Peru

Long before my breakup, I made plans to hike the Ausangate Trek in Peru with REI Adventures. The timing ultimately turned out to be serendipitous — less than two weeks after the split. As I fought internally about whether I'd made the right choices and said the right things, I also literally fought to catch my breath on the trail. The 43-mile Ausangate Trek is no joke. To put it into perspective, Machu Picchu was our warm-up hike, a chance to get a bit more acclimated to the high elevation of the Andes. After marveling at Incan ruins, we drove higher into the mountains for five days and four nights of hiking and sleeping above 14,000 feet of elevation. It was an extremely challenging adventure, which was exactly what I needed. Each step was both harder and easier than the last, rewarded with stunning glacial views, mountains in deeply saturated hues of red, green and yellow and camaraderie with my hiking partners. The lodges where we stayed were totally off-the-grid and far beyond the reaches of cell service, and I realized I was long overdue for a total digital detox.

Hiking in a group like this can fast-track new friendships, which might be exactly what you need if you're feeling disconnected. In a matter of days, I felt like I'd known everyone in our group for a decade. I've never felt more physically exhausted or mentally restored, which I'd say is the mark of a good trip.

from $4,999 per person at rei adventures

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Photo: Kimberly Strom

Tour du Mont Blanc, Italy, France and Switzerland

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world's most famous hikes. The 110-mile trail circles Mont Blanc through Italy, France and Switzerland, offering views of snow-capped peaks so stunning they defy belief. I hiked a few short sections of the trail over the summer with a handful of other women, most of whom were strangers when we started. I'm lucky to now count several of them among my closest friends. The TMB, as it's often called, is the kind of trail that challenges your spirit and handsomely rewards perseverance. There are many huts and lodges along the trail where you can sleep in a comfortable bed and eat a hot, fresh-cooked meal — not exactly roughing it. You don't need a guide to hike this trek but operators like Exodus Travels can handle the logistics for you, including porting your luggage so you only have to carry the essentials during the day. Salomon's expandable Out Night pack for women is compact enough to be a day pack and roomy enough to suffice for short overnight trips if you're an ultra-light packer. The strap and suspension system, specifically designed to hug your curves, fit more like a comfortable vest than a backpack.

from $2,250 per person at exodus travels

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Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of nature's greatest masterpieces. It's the kind of view you can't fully appreciate unless you're standing right on the edge of the canyon, so its beauty hits you all at once when you peer over the rim. Its scale is so incomprehensibly big it's nearly impossible to think of yourself as anything but miniscule in comparison. If you're looking for a place to reconnect with yourself and get completely off the grid, take a backpacking trip down to the canyon floor. Permits for overnight routes from the South Rim can be tricky to obtain because so many people want to hike the canyon, but you can get around that by going with a guide. This four-day REI Adventures trip on the Hermit Rapids Loop includes two nights spent hiking and sleeping on the canyon floor.

from $899 per person at rei adventures

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