tramp the Travers-Sabine Circuit, New Zealand

  • LENGTH: 50 miles / 80 km
  • DURATION: 4-7 days
  • TYPE: Circuit
  • START / FINISH: St Arnaud (or Mt Robert Carpark)
  • BEST TIME: December through April

At the northernmost end of New Zealand’s Southern Alps lies Nelson Lakes National Park. …

The park is named after two glacier-carved alpine lakes found at it’s northern end — Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa. These two lakes are tranquil and idyllic, making them great locations for car camping or day walks.

However, the real gems lie deeper into the park at higher elevations. Travers Saddle rewards the keen fit hiker with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Blue Lake — claimed to have the clearest freshwater in the world — is quite surreal, with colours that dance magically in the sunlight. Lake Constance offers the solitude of a true high-alpine lake environment. …

… this circuit is one of the most stunning multi-day hikes in New Zealand. This trail can get relatively busy in the peak season, although it is not nearly as crowded or expensive as one of the “New Zealand Great Walks”. …

Ultimate Gear Lists – NELSON LAKES & BLUE LAKE HIKING GUIDE

Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland

Cam Honan

The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes trailless route that passes through the wild and spectacular landscapes of northwestern Scotland. Due to the unpredictable weather and challenging terrain, it is a hike that is best suited to experienced ramblers who possess a good level of fitness, navigation skill, and a stoic disregard of having wet feet.

I hiked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2018. …

Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Guide

The Skye Trail, Scotland

Cam Honan:

Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a place steeped in myth, legend and natural beauty. Tales of giants and shape-shifting water horses are woven together with stories of dramatic mountain ranges and coastlines. It is an island that engages and inspires all that visit, and for those possessed of a wayfaring disposition, there is a 128 km (80 mi) trail which spans its length that encapsulates all of the diverse wonders for which it is renowned.

I hiked the Skye Trail in the summer of 2018. The post below includes impressions from the trip, logistical and background information, route recommendations, and a gear list. …

Skye Trail Overview Map (Cicerone Guides) | Note: I added the place names in bold red font.

Click over to The Hiking Life to read the rest.

The Skye Trail – Trip Report & Backpacking Guide

Arctic Circle Trail, Greenland

… At just over 100 miles long, and taking 7 to 10 days to complete, the Arctic Circle Trail crosses the largest ice-free patch of West Greenland.

This splendid backpacking route, lying 25-30 miles north of the Arctic Circle runs from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut – both with airport access.

a summer walk, ideally from mid-June to mid-September, when the tundra is bursting with life; during the long winter, snow and ice, short days and bitter cold are the norm …

Cicerone

Bo Normander posted an excellent trip report from 2017:

GUIDE TO THE ARCTIC CIRCLE TRAIL IN GREENLAND

Nahuel Huapi Traverse – day 2

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles 

Cascada to Refugio San Martin (Jakob)

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | info page

Seems I forgot to take many photos on day 2. My first priority was video.

Oops.

As I’d camped at Cascada rather than Frey I counted myself ahead of schedule. No rush today.

I enjoyed the morning. Wandered the boggy grasslands.

In the afternoon I was surprised by the difficult, steep climb to reach Brecha Negra pass.

The descent was even worse. Dangerous.

But arriving at the alpine lake was wonderful. It’s a lovely spot.

Here is the old Refugio San Martin (Jakob). It burned down in 2017.

The replacement was well underway when I was there February 2018.

Hikers without tents slept and ate in temporary structures.

The highlight of the day was scrambling up to Laguna Los Tempanos, a glacial meltwater lake. It reminded me of places in the Rockies.

Surprisingly, I had the place to myself at dusk.

Tomorrow’s route climbs up this impossibly steep face. I had no idea how it could possibly be done.

This evening I hung out at camp enjoying the stars with 4 other Canadians. Two wanted to continue with me on the difficult day 3 ahead. Two wanted to exit down the valley, worried because they’d already found the easier days very difficult.

In the end, they decided to end their hike next day. Safety first.


day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | video | info page

Elfin Lakes hike, Squamish B.C.

22km round trip to Elfin Lakes campground (600m gain) + Gargoyles side trip
• LOTS of snow at the end of July
• be prepared for very wet trails
• BUGGY !
• registration online or by phone required to stay overnight

From the start I had problems. First finding the trailhead out of Squamish, B.C. – street signage is not all that clear. I asked different mountain bikers to find the right gravel road.

Elfin Lakes is popular. The parking lot was full. I squeezed my rent-a-car in on the side of the approach.

The first 5km to Red Heather Meadows campground is a road.

You share most of this trail with mountain bikers. And chipmunks.

Breaking out of the trees first vista is impressive Diamond Head. Actually, that’s Atwell Peak. Many make the same mistake I did.

We’d enjoyed dry sunny weather for weeks at this point. Still many parts of the trail were wet with snow melt. Some sections have been improved.

On a hot day like this, walking snow fields was fun.

I’d read the hike was on Paul Ridge. True. But it’s not a ridge walk. Normally you are on one side of the ridge or the other, not the top.

Elfin Lakes campground. A beautiful scene.

You can sleep in a large shelter or tent on one of these side slope platforms.

Elfin Lakes are not lakes, they are meltwater ponds. One for drinking water. One for … swimming.

Earlier in the week a mouse had somehow gotten into my Ursack food bag while up on the line, so I switched to a dry bag.

I enjoyed a siesta in my tent (escaping the voracious bugs) and was sluggish getting going for the recommended side trip to the Gargoyles.

Here’s the trail from Camp leading to the Gargoyles. More interesting but wetter than the Elfin Lakes approach.

Climbing up to the Pass was easy but long. Snow conditions good, you simply walked in footprints or kicked in your own steps.

Looking over to the other side.

A trail runner came down recommending I scramble the Gargoyles.

Instead I listened to my audiobook and relaxed.

The next 3 hikers arrived keen to climb. One had been here before. I climbed up the first Gargoyle to take some photos. Wow.

Suddenly inspired I scrambled the ridge myself to the end to get to this view – scenery reminding me of the Himalayas.

That’s the 11.5km trail continuing to the new Rampart Ponds Campground (Mamquam Lake Campground is permanently closed).

Tempting.

See all my high resolution photos.

Guidebook – 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia