On the topic of trekking in Patagonia, the two names most bandied about: Chile’s Torres del Paine and Argentina’s El Chalten. Although their hunks of uplifted granite are similar enough, the prevailing style of hikes they offer are quite different.
Whereas the “W” and Circuit treks at Torres del Paine are mainly about the long haul, El Chalten’s strength: its day hikes. On the edge of Argentina’s Glacier National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares), El Chalten also offers the thrill of nature at a lower cost than its Chilean neighbor — with the added feature of a microbrewery on the way home from the hills.
In other words, two Patagonian trekking centers; two rather different experiences. Continue Reading »
Most articles we read about Torres del Paine National Park in Chile focus on Patagonian meadows, turquoise lakes, and rose-tinted granite towers in sunrise.
We’ll allow our photos to do that bit for us.
Instead, we’ll take a different tack and share some of the lessons –- about yourself, your marriage (if you have one), Patagonia, expectations, life, and travel – you might learn from trekking in Torres del Paine. Continue Reading »
There we were at the end of the trail in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. We had completed the “W” – 60 miles, fully laden – and were basking in the warmth of the Patagonian sun. In the process we had become proficient at assembling our tent in strong winds, cooking wondrous meals with packaged pasta, and securing our stuff from mice at night. We appreciated nature in full: not only the beauty of its rainbows, glaciers, condors and granite towers, but also the wrath of its hurricane-strength winds.
At the end of our journey, the feeling of camaraderie amongst our fellow trekkers was palpable. We all shared an accomplishment. In the soft grass at the trailhead kiosk, we indulged in overpriced potato chips and cracked open celebratory beers.
But something was missing. Continue Reading »
Wondering why we’ve been quiet recently? Here are some clues as to what we’ve been up to. Continue Reading »
At the time this is published, we should be crossing Apacheta Pass (4,650 meters/15,255 feet) and one day away from Peru’s Machu Picchu. That is, if the scheduled publishing works as it should and we don’t need an emergency mule ride or airlift from the top of the mountain.
In preparing for this, the Salkantay Trek, we reflected on other memorable multi-day treks we’ve completed during our journey around the world. Continue Reading »
The weight of my backpack at 5:00 AM was brutal: 9 liters of water, 1 sleeping bag, and sundry other camping bits and bobs. And I was one of the lucky ones. Dan carried all that plus an old school (read: heavy) four-person tent.
Even at this hour, it was steamy. Under the weight of my pack, I was glazed in sweat before we reached the crossroads for the chicken bus to the trail head. I looked around at the young, energetic faces – mostly in their early 20s – and wondered, “Am I too old to be doing this?” Continue Reading »
Imagine hiking with a Vogue cover girl and not realizing it.
As if our trek around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal wasn’t interesting enough, we accomplished it with Australian supermodel Gemma Ward close at hand most of the way.
Unfortunately, the rumors regarding Gemma’s identity didn’t begin circulating until the final days of the trek. “I think she’s a model. I’m sure I’ve seen her on Fashion TV,” echoed among the young Israelis – fresh from military service – trekking with us. [Aside: Fashion TV piped into Israeli military barracks?!]
And we only truly believed them when we connected to the internet and found the photo above. By then it was too late to play alpine paparazzi. But we did get a peek. Continue Reading »
Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit trek didn’t make the first cut of our respective **25 Things To Do Before I Die lists. But maybe it should have.
With bathroom books like 1000 Places To See Before You Die serving as life-prescriptive authorities, we’re hesitant to describe anything as a “must-do life experience.” “Must-do” sounds presumptuous and “life experience” sounds trite. But what the heck. Continue Reading »
Though we are not mountaineers, we have done our share of trekking. Then, just last week, we came off a 15-day trek in the Himalayas in Nepal that looked and felt something like a “best of” of our previous treks. We would like to think that’s saying something, what with journeys in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma and bits of the western United States under our hiking belts. Continue Reading »
When you get there, you’ll meet the Afghan at the telephone pole.
These instructions given to us in Mestia by the Svaneti Mountaineering Tourism Center left us baffled. Is our mountain guide a member of the Mujahideen who’d lost his way and made his home in the mountains of Georgia? After all, in Svaneti just about anything seems possible. Continue Reading »
Podcast: Play in new window