Hiking Trips

Here you can find information and descriptions of the multi day hikes we have done during our travels. Under each post you will find pictures and links to GPS recordings/maps on GPSies.com

The hike of our lives (4/5 days on Sierra Valdivieso)

We have been on some amazing day and multi-day hikes in both Chile and Argentina. Why do this? To experience the nature as close as possible, and to go out in nature where it is only possible by walking. Also on the multi-day hikes usually we get away from the crowd. On my list (and if it is on my list, I will add it to Esben's list) is a 4 day hike on Isla Navarino (located just south of Ushuaia) called Dientes de Navarino, what we didn’t know was that the price of taking a 30 minute boat ride and an 1,5 hour bus ride would cost 250 USD per person (roundtrip). It would have been cheaper to fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to Isla Navarino. Isidro (our host and our Argentinian family) instead suggested a hike in the Andes mountains just north of Ushuaia called “Sierra Valdivieso”. First mountain pass hiking the Sierra Valdivieso After doing some research on Google we found one GPS track: https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=difchbideyrgyxns with a description made 2 years ago, but we also knew, that things change quickly in the mountains. We downloaded the trail, and used it on a typographic map on the cellphone. We also had a trail on Maps.me but it was a lot shorter then the GPS track. We were not able to find any detailed map with the trail on, so we decided to use the two maps (the typographic map with the GPS track and Maps.me) on the cellphone. I also read a description of the hike on a blog, that was from January 2016, simply because  couldn’t find anything newer. It sounded like the perfect adventure. Several places in both descriptions there had not been at trail to follow, so for the first time we would get more experience in reading the maps and finding our own way. It added a new layer to our hiking experience. I recorded the whole hike on my Garmin Fenix 3 watch. If you want to do this hike – you can find more information and the GPS track and typographic map at the end of this post. What did we bring of food, check out this post “Get inspired - how to eat right when hiking”. Day 1 started with breakfast at Isidro’s house. The last piece of fresh fruit for the next 4 days.   Day 1: 17 km, ascent 300 meters, descent 400 meters and walking time 6:10 hours We parked Lance at the end of the trail, and walked 3 kilometers on Ruta 3 before taking a right turn onto a gravel road. We crawled across a few gates, and met a local farmer. He was the last person we would see for days. So the beginning of the trail was easy going.   But not for long! All we had to do was to follow the river, but soon the trail just disappeared. If we got too close to the river the underbrush was too dense, so we had to walk in between the trees. It sound easy, but it was slow going. Some placed we think, that we were following some kind of trail, but it kept disappearing.   Several times we had to stop, and take some of these off. They are not a problem, when they are located around the ankle's, but when they got closer and closer to the crutch, we really felt how they could sting through our pants.   Further along the trial or no trail, we found clear evidence of the beavers. The Canadian beavers were introduced to the island in 1946 to try and establish a fur trade. There is urgency to eradicate the beaver, as some bold beavers are starting to swim the Magellan Strait across to Patagonia where they are now settling (Source: https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2016/01/31/chasing-beaver-at-the-end-of-the-world/). As you can see on the pictures the eradication has not worked.   With no native predators and a vulnerable ecosystem, the beavers have had the complete run of the island, and have literally begun terraforming it with their network of beaver dams. It is estimated the beavers inhabit an area of about 60,000 hectares, necessarily restricted to the waterways. Everyday during the hike we saw the destruction and consequences of the beaver dams, so keep reading! We finished day 1 after crossing the river. We already  knew from our research online, that we would encounter several river crossings, and did some research how to walk across. (1) always walk upstream when finding a spot to cross, then you know what is downriver if you trip and get dragged downriver, (2) unbuckle your backpack, so you can easily get it off if you trip, (3) with trekking poles walk sideways with your chest pointing up river, (4) start further up river than your planned exit point, so you don’t get in a situation where you have to walk against the current and (5) don’t hurt your feet, we usually wear our Crocs.   Day 2: 14,5 km, ascent 750 meters, descent 300 meters and walking time 8:10 hours   On day 2 we started walking in this (upper and lower pictures)… it is some kind of red moss. It is red, very wet and extremely soft, and extremely demanding to walk in. Every time we took a step, we had to lift our feet to a knee high position to take the next step. We looked at both our maps. Maps.me was following the river through the red moss, but the GPS track was on higher ground. So we decided to go for the GPS track, and got to higher ground. At the same time we also hit dense forest a lot of places. There was absolutely no trail to see or follow. We fought our way through the forest making our own trail.   The good thing about being in the forest was that the ground was more dry, but being on higher ground also meant that we had to climb

4-days on the Huemul Trail (El Chaltén)

It was four magnificent days we had on the Huemul trail, but also the hardest and most difficult hike we have ever done. We would recommend the hike, but also keep in mind that the trail has steep and long ascents and descents. Also you have to have good weather, otherwise you can’t enjoy the amazing views. If I have to pick the best moment on the hike, it was the sight of the huge 977 km2 glacier Viedma I have a Garmin Fenix 3 watch, that I use for recording our hikes. If you want to do this hike - you can find more information and download the GPS trail and typographic map at the end of this post. Day 1: 17km ascent 750 meters and descent 500 meters The first day is quite easy going, and has a few good views over lake Viedma and we also passed by a smaller glacier. The Huemul trail starts at the visitor center for Los Glaciares National Park, and the hike is on a well marked trail to Laguna Toro, were we camped at the campground. The campground has good shelter, one pit toilet and no view at all, because it is located between tree at a cliff wall.   As we got to Rio Túnel the trail follows the river all the way to Laguna Toro We picked some calafate berries on the way. They are quite tasty, but small. Also making it across a few smaller river crossings     Then we got to this river, and two other hikers were putting on their boots on the other side. So we figured out, that we had to go on the other side (left picture)… BUT after getting to the other side, putting on the hiking boots, and only walking for 10 minutes we found out, that we were trapped on a small island in the middle of the river. The only way to get back on track, was two walk across the river one more time. We never found out if there was way to the right side of the river. Just saying that the water in the river come from melting glaciers, and it is freezing COLD   So we ended day 1 with clean feet. Day 2: 15km ascent 1000 meters and descent 700 meters This was the toughest day on the hike, but also the most amazing day. From Laguna Toro (the water was just grey) we climbed to towards glacier Rio Túnel Inferior, but before reaching the glacier we had to cross a river using a zip line.     A lot of people were on the trail, but we got an early start, so only four people were in front of us for the zip line. The mandatory equipment for this hike is: one harness, two carabineers and a safety line per person, which we had rented in town the day before, and a typographic map plus a 35 meter thin rope for the pulley on the zip line (per group), which we had to buy in a camping store. The map was useful, but we never needed the 35 meters of thin rope.   Now we just had to get to the glacier   At the bottom left side of the glacier, we could get on the glacier and went on our own small glacier hike. We never thought, that it would be so amazing to get the change to walk on a glacier.   At the same time we also had t be really careful, because we were walking on the ice with no crampons (a metal rack with spikes, that you attach underneath your hiking boots). The ice got really slippery, when the surface was not level.   Panoramic view of Glacier Rio Túnel Inferior Nothing last forever and we still had a long way to go, so it was time to get off the glacier – tasting glacier water from the first time   After getting off the glacier, we had lunch before climbing 1000 meters in elevation to the top of “Paso del Viento”. If you want to know more about what and how much food we bring on a 4 day hiking trip, read this post: “Get inspired – how to eat right when hiking”.   We walked up hill or more up the mountain side for 3 hours. Talking several breaks on our way, some 30 seconds and other 10 minutes. To be able to walk al day and for several days, it is important to take breaks, drink plenty of water and eat snacks. On a day like this Esben burn off about 4000 kcal. The trail turned from easy to follow to totally disappearing due to a landslide. The closer we got to the top of the pass the more rocks and loose grave we meet.   It as worth every drop of sweat – yes we had amazing and total clear weather. Here it only happen 4 times a year (that is what the local told us in El Chaltén)! In this pictures you see Laguna Túnel Superior, to the left Glacier Rio Túnel Superior o de Quervain and to the right Glacier Rio Túnel Inferior (the glacier we walked on). Getting over the pass “Paso del Viento” (the windy pass) was a victory! The large 977 km2 Glacier Viedma Viedma is a part of the huge Southern Patagonian Ice Field, located at the southern end of the mainland of South America. Viedma Glacier is a valley glacier and its moraine-rich terminus flows into the western end of Lake Viedma. Viedma is also located in the undefined part of the limit between Chile and Argentina. So here in Argentina Viedma is in Los Glaciares National Park, and in Chile it is a part of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park.   The massive force of Viedma has created is wall of rocks and sediment. What an amazing force mother nature possesses   After more than 8

The 4-day hike in Cerro Castillo National Reserve

After our 2-day hike to Mont Tronador we really wanted to more multiday hiking. We really wanted to do the “circuit trail” in the National Park Torres del Paine, but it was impossible to make reservations for the campgrounds, which is mandatory before getting a permit to enter the trail. We tried to make reservations 3-4 months in advance, but it was to late. On our map we had marked hiking in Cerro Castillo National Reserve, named after the peak of Cerro Castillo (2,675 meters). I looked for trails in the Cerro Castillo National Reserve and found a 4-day hike. Also the description of the hike, said that the hike was a quieter alternative to hiking in Torres del Paine.Cerro Castillo is a National Reserve, which covers 180,000 hectares. The 4-day hike offers views of hanging glaciers, freezing rivers, snow covered passes and amazing crystal blue lakes. Laguna Cerro Castillo with Mont Cerro Castillo in the background   I have a Garmin Fenix 3 watch, that I use for recording our hikes. If you want to do this hike - you can find more information and download the GPS trail and typographic map at the end of this post.  Day 1: 26 km ascent 900 meters and descent 500 meters   We stayed at a Hostel and Campground in Villa Cerro Castillo, where we met a German couple (backpackers). We made an agreement, that they would drop us of at the trailhead “Las Horquetas”, and drive Lance back to the Hostel and Campground in Villa Cerro Castillo. So we had an early start at 9 am. The distance from the Hostel and Campground was 29 km, so why not just hitchhike? The day before we had met so many hitchhikers in Villa Cerro Castillo, who have been waiting for more than 5 hours without getting a ride, so we just didn’t want to get stuck on the first day without getting to the trailhead. A bridge and a man made bridge   But then there was no bridges, and we had to go across barefooted, in the freezing water   Entering Cerro Castillo National Reserve. The entry fee is 5,000 pesos when you enter from this side of the trail, and they even gave us a map for the trail (included in the price). In Villa Cerro Castillo there is a PRIVATE entrance, where you pay 10,000 pesos to walk across private land to reach the “Laguna Cerro Castillo” (day hike). Our plan was to hike from "Las Horqutas” to “Segundo Camping”, but when we got to the campground at 3 pm, we were getting eaten by horse flies. We decided to continue to escape from the horse flies.   We got out of the forest, and the trail started to climb up into the mountains Soon we were where hiking across a snow covered pass – no horse flies anymore   Following the trail…   Getting up takes a lot more effort, than skiing down in our hiking boots Now our challenge was to find a level spot for the tent without snow. We can set up the tent on the snow, but it makes it more difficult to keep warm during the night. After the descent from the pass, we were met by the sight of a hanging glacier accompanied by 10-20 smaller waterfalls. We found a level spot, and set up the tent – what an amazing place. We decided to camp between the two campgrounds “Segundo” and “El Bosque”, because we were too tired to walk any further. Day 2: 17 km ascent 850 meters and descent 1100 meters We took it really slow the next morning and enjoyed the coffee while the sun was still rising.   Ready to continue after a look at the map Ready to see more glaciers   We descended into the forest   Today the trail was going up and down, but finally we got to Laguna Cerro Castillo   Laguna Cerro Castillo, the blue colored was amazing and water is clean enough to drink   Climbing to the next viewpoint, that overlooks Villa Cerro Castillo   Panoramic view of Villa Cerro Castillo – this is a clear day After a very steep descent to we made it to the campground “Los Porteadores”   Day 3: 10 km ascent 600 meters and descent 300 meters Just a really short day from “Los Porteadores” to “Camping Neozelandés”. The “Los Porteadores” campground was packed, and instead of pushing ourselves and complete the hike in 3 days (we had food for 4 days anyway) we decided to pack everything, and camp at “Neozelandés” instead of two nights at “Los Porteadores”. From there I hiked to “Laguna Duff”. Esben’s knee was hurting, so he was relaxing in the tent   Laguna Duff with a few very small pieces of floating ice Day 4: 15 km ascent 150 meters and descent 1000 meters Nothing special on the way back, so we walk out of Cerro Castillo National Reserve, and had to crawl under a fence to get to the road that lead back to town. It was an amazing hike, there was other people on the trail, but we still felt alone most of the time. We highly recommend the hike . Are you ready for this hike? Get the map and GPS track for the here: https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=uiatrbflfkuetqpz