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Buck30 - Greater Patagonian Trail Journal - 2017

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Brian (Buck-30)
Begins: Jan 5, 2017
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Feb 15th, 2017
Start: Bariloche
End: Bariloche
Daily Distance: 30
Trip Distance: 415.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 327
Journal Visits: 12,199
Guestbook Views: 178
Guestbook Entrys: 5

Greater Patagonian Trail Days 36-39

I've gotten a bit lazy with the journal mainly cause we're all over the
place with what we are doing. Let's see, on Sunday we took the day off and
were planning on heading out for a few days of hiking in Nahuel Huapi, but
Skittles got sick and he wasn't feeling up to leaving. He paid for an extra
night in a nicer hotel that was barely more than the crappy place we had
just stayed in. I took off in the morning and we had a basic plan of either
he would take a day or 2 off and hike in to meet me or we would meet back
in Bariloche. I couldn't delay starting the hike as it is pretty much all
alpine and after 3 days of good weather, a long stretch of rain seems to be

The hike was fantastic. I basically did a popular point to point hike that
is well know and surprisingly very difficult. I can't actually believe so
many people actually do this hike. I started by taking a bus to The
Citadel, a huge ski resort and taking the ski lift up 3,000' to 6,000'.
That's the way to start a hike! Lonely Planet has a hiking in Patagonia
guidebook from like 15 years ago and since it's really the only hiking
guidebook for the area lots of people still use it but it's funny and
disappointing to see the price increases. Oh, to be back in the year 2000!
The ski lift back then was $ 2.50 and now was a whopping $ 25. I wasn't the
only one a bit shocked by the outrageous price.

There are Refugios situated along the way where you can stay and even pay
for lunch and dinner. Usually I would see people there passed out from
exhaustion. The hike was pretty short but really tough. It was probably 90%
or more in the alpine and there was at best only a vague path through the
endless rock and talus fields. The grades were super, super steep. Several
times I was basically skiing vertically down scree or climbing up such a
steep angle through talus I could barely move up. Basically climbing up and
down things I would never think possible if a guidebook didn't tell me so.

The second day was the famous day where it's a bit tricky navigation and a
lot of scrambling. The hut warden gives a speech in the morning to walk you
through it and shows pictures, etc. Except, hiking in Argentina starts late
and the meeting was at 9 am. The guy said it was in Spanish but someone
would be able to translate to English for those of us who don't speak much
Spanish. There was an American guy who spoke Spanish well but the hut
warden barely gave him a chance to translate and I got pretty much nothing
from the presentation. Fortunately as I was walking out I bumped into an
Australian couple and since I've done a lot of hiking there, we hit it off
quickly and I ended up hiking the whole day with James and Kate. We also
caught up to a Canadian also named James and we all hiked together.
Australian James had about the same solid navigation/common sense I have
and together we got through the tricky stuff pretty easily. It was quite
hot though with an intense sun I hadn't felt for a while and between that
and the very tough terrain we were all wiped out by days end.

Days 1 & 3 were just as good and while not as tricky, just as hard. The
mountains were big and craggy and the views of Mt. Tranador, a big
glaciated mountain, were great.

On my second night, the refuge was really crowded with people tenting
everywhere and if I wanted to get through the alpine the next day before
rain I needed to hike on a bit. I said goodbye to my 3 hiking companions
and walked an hour to where the route split into the way most people go out
to Colonial Suiza and the way I was going to Pampa Linda. I was racing a
thunderstorm to camp and I bombed 500' down to some tall bushes just before
it started to rain a bit. I had a decision to make. I needed to get a fair
ways the next day through a lot of alpine and if it was as tough as the
last 2 days it was going to be questionable if I could make it. The day
after called for rain and being up in this terrain would have been pretty
dangerous. It rained off and on overnight until about 8 am and then
cleared. I decided I didn't want to kill myself trying to get through the
other way and climbed back up the steep ridge from the night before and
headed out the normal way and arrived in Bariloche in the late afternoon.

I didn't know what Skittles had done but I thought he might be in town but
when I checked the internet he had headed out to Pampa Linda to meet me!
That was part of the plan to walk to Chile but right as I left we decided
we probably wouldn't do that as the weather looked like it would be
terrible. But then while I was gone Skittles got an email confirming the
lake ferry at Todos de Santos existed and that must have swayed him to
change the plan back. He said that if he didn't find me on trail then he
would just come back to Bariloche so I should see him tomorrow but it's too
bad we made the exact opposite decision. I got a cheap-ish room in a hostel
which normally wouldn't bother me but I feel like with sooooo many town
days I'm spending more money than I'd like. Probably by the end of the trip
it won't add up to a lot more that would matter to me, but on a daily basis
it kind of nags at me. Plus Argentina is way more expensive than Chile. I'm
not sure what the deal is but I'm glad we will only be in Argentina a
couple more days and then a week a bit later on.

Hopefully I find Skittles tomorrow!

Entry 39 of 53
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Journal Photo

Greater Patagonian Trail

The Greater Patagonian Trail is currently a 930 mile (1500 km) long trail route that leads you right through the heart of the legendary Patagonian Andes. It's a stunningly beautiful and diverse trail that crosses volcanic fields, idyllic Andean valleys, snow covered mountain ranges, lush green forests and deep blue lakes and rivers. Its creator, Jan Dudeck is extending the trail north to Santiago and south towards Tierra del Fuego for a route over 3,000 kilometers. Learn more:


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