December 4, 2007
In the December 2007/January 2008 issue (on newsstands now), National Geographic Adventure named megahiker Andrew Skurka the Adventurer of the Year, as part of our Best of Adventure 2008 cover story.
Skurka earned this honor by completing a first-of-its-kind journey through the American West: walking 6,875 miles (11,064 kilometers) over seven months through five major mountain ranges, 12 national parks, and 75 wilderness areas. He named his route the Great Western Loop.
Just to be clear: Skurka's endeavor was no leisurely stroll. He charged an average of 35 miles (56 kilometers) a day, wore through 17 pairs of shoes, and spent only five days off-trail over more than 200. His motivation came from a desire to see and learn things that nobody else knows about this country's most precious open spaces, while drawing attention to environmental and ecological threats to the area.
Skurka is the third Adventurer of the Year in the magazine's history. In 2006, Adventure recognized Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei for their two-year, human-powered circumnavigation navigation of the globe. The very first award, in 2005, went to mountaineer Ed Viesturs, the first U.S. citizen to climb all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter (26,247-feet) peaks.
This year, Adventure also celebrated 14 more over-the-top adventurers: Andrea Palos and Gabor Rakonczai; Colleen Hardy; Mike Fay; Børge Ousland and Thomas Ulrich; Angelika Brandt; Sarah and Eric McNair-Landry; Tim Cope; Trip Jennings; Steve Bogaerts, Robbie Schmittner, and Sam Meacham.