Around 340 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, a tectonic plate that attached West Africa and South America collided with the North American plate. This collision formed the supercontinent Pangea. As the Carboniferous period ended, and throughout the Permian and Triassic periods, a massive mountain range similar in height and mass to present day Himalayas formed a northeast–southwest range called the Central Pangea Mountains.
About 200-250 million years ago, Pangaea began to shift and break apart. This tectonic breakup wrenched apart the continent, formed the Atlantic Ocean, and remnants of the Central Pangea Mountains ended up in eastern North America, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, the British Isles, Western Europe and North Africa.
The similarities between rock layers of the Ouachita Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Caledonian Mountains, Scottish Highlands, and the Anti-Atlas Mountains indicate that they were once part of the same massive mountain range.
The Pangea Traverse is a transatlantic expedition across the geographically separated spine of the ancient Central Pangea Mountains. Since Pangea no longer exists and is now split into the continents we know today, a Pangea Traverse would not be possible in the literal sense. The hypothetical route is an amalgamation of several long-distance thru-hiking trails, established hiking routes, a cross-network of walking and cycling paths, and route finding.
The route includes three continents, crosses 18 countries, passes through 21 different regional and distinct indigenous languages, routes 200 miles above the Arctic Circle, and over the Atlantic Ocean to Northern Africa.
Some notable established long trails that make up the Pangea Traverse include: Eastern Continental Trail (Florida Trail, Pinhoti Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Appalachian Trail, International Appalachian Trail); Arctic Circle Trail; Laugavegur Trail; Fimmvörðuháls Trail; The Ireland Way; West Highland Way; United Kingdom National Trails Network; The European Paths (E-Paths: E1 and E9); and the Camino Frances to Finisterre.
The western terminus of the Pangea Traverse is Key West, Florida, which is also the southern terminus of the Eastern Continental Trail; and the eastern terminus sits atop Mount Toubkal (توبقال ⵜⵓⴳⴳ ⴽⴰⵍ), standing at 4,167 m (13,671 ft), Toubkal is the highest peak in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the tallest mountain in North Africa.
In 2023 my goal is to re-hike the Eastern Continental Trail from Key West, Florida to Belle Isle, Newfoundland, officially kicking off the Pangea Traverse.
An overview of the Pangea Traverse with mileage:
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