A photo update of recent adventures around the mountain town of El Chalten, home of the famous Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre peaks.
For my birthday we hiked 23km (14 miles) from the town of El Chalten to Lago de los Tres at the foot of the stunning Fitz Roy mountain. It was exactly one month and 4,500km (nearly 3,000 miles) after we started our journey from Santiago, Chile on January 7th. By February 7th we were in dire need of a serious leg stretching, and the undulating ridges and valleys on the way to the mountain were beckoning. But take it from me: hiking boots are notbroken in just because you’ve warn themon your motorcycle for a month! My feet are still suffering the blistering consequences.
El Chalten itself was a nice town full of good cafes, restaurants, stunning views and rock climbing. I regretted my decision to leave climbing shoes and harness at home, but a minimalist can only fit so much on a motorcycle. It also had free National Park access, excellent and cheap campsites and hostels,making the $30/day budget a breeze.
I recently finished the Overland Track in Tasmania, a 65-110km hike through a World Heritage Wilderness Area. I was shocked at the weight most people I met were carrying. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep your pack to ¼ of your body weight, not to exceed 35lbs for a short hike- more if it’s a long hike, or if you’re an experienced hiker. Many people had packs weighing 25 kilos (a whopping 55lbs!) for just 5 days on the trail. And these weren’t only big men carrying this weight- I saw numerous fairly unfit women struggling under their enormous loads, too exhausted to do any of the beautiful side trails. In one group, the two men and two women each had 25 kilo packs, even though the men themselves were far larger than their ladies. They had way too much food, gear and luxury items (multiple bras, swimsuits, plates and bowls, two pairs of shoes each, enough food to sink a battleship…). They looked at my 16.5 kilo pack enviously (and I thought mine was heavy!), and tried pawning snacks off on me.
Because the Overland was a relatively easy hike (for those not hiking the side trails to mountain summits, and even those weren’t too hard), you could probably do this hike with just a daypack if you were happy living very simply. Although I was satisfied with the amount of food I packed, Tom struggled with the lack of lunchtime snacks, but it should be noted he eats a lot more than most people and has a very high metabolism. Above is a picture I took of the food I packed for the South Coast Track, which should take 7 days. I packed enough for 8-9 days in case we hang out on a beach or get stuck due to high water crossings.
Here’s a list of food ideas and what I think are the necessities for hiking in non technical/snow/freezing conditions, as well as a list of ‘to consider’ items and luxuries. It’s important to take into account terrain, duration of hike, your specific needs, weather, and how remote you’ll be.
The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) is one of the most important and loved pilgrimages in the world. It has its flaws and critics though, and it’s important to plan well in advance if you’re not already an experienced hiker or walker, or if you’re out of shape.
The Camino’s main route takes you 500 miles over the Pyrenees mountains from France and into Spain, via Roncesvalles. It continues due West for weeks, taking you through some of the most arid regions of Spain and beyond. Although much of it is flat, there are occasional steep sections, such as when entering into Galicia. The trail is often not sheltered from the sun, and will often follow roads with heavy traffic and many miles of concrete. Continue reading El Camino de Santiago: a packing guide→