Trekking to Aconcagua’s Plaza Francia INDEPENDENTLY – Day 3

trip report by editor Rick McCharles

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | info page | video

Up early again. Coffee as the sun rises.

Rather than doing any more hiking I enjoyed a lazy morning at camp. Toying with my electronics. Listening to my Spanish lessons. The sun was HOT.

There are all sorts of characters coming and going. Some carry huge backpacks.

The craziest of the crazy are trying to summit Aconcagua independently and unsupported. Somehow transporting 70kg of gear or so up the mountain with multiple shuttles.

Around 11am I finally packed up the tent.

I figured it would be an easy walkout. No rush to catch the 5pm bus.

On a rest stop I laid out my basic gear to dry.

I’d expected a quick 2 hour 400m descent, but the walk felt long. Full pack. I was tired.

It was nice to finally reach vegetation.

If there’s something green here, there’s plenty of water.

Laguna de Horcones (2950m)

I checked out at the park entrance. Turned in my permit. Handed over my trash bag.

My Aconcagua trek was a success.

With a couple of hours before the bus arrived, I walked the highway …

… down to Puente del Inca (2740m).

…a natural arch that forms a bridge over the Vacas River, a tributary of the Mendoza River. … 

In March 1835, Charles Darwin visited the site, and made some drawings of the bridge …

In the old days people would walk across the bridge to reach the stone church.
It’s a tourist trap with overpriced junk and yappy dogs.

I decided to wait to eat in Mendoza.

There are a couple of hostels and a campground, however. A good emergency stop. Or hikers could sleep here one night before heading up towards Aconcagua.

I slept well on the bus. Then got myself a big chunk of Argentinian beef to celebrate back at the hostel.

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Trekking to Aconcagua’s Plaza Francia INDEPENDENTLY – Day 2

trip report by editor Rick McCharles

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | info page | video

I was up early. Drinking coffee. Watching the sun catch high peaks.

I waited until 8am to start and was still first to depart Confluencia.

In fact I wasn’t sure of the route as it wasn’t signed at the start. A couple of people pointed me in the right direction.

Very soon the signage began. It’s clear. You can’t easily get lost (though people have). No GPS, guidebook or map is needed. Follow the cairns.

With about 1000m to climb I carried a fairly light pack. I was in the shade of the mountains for the first 2 hours.

You see the big mountain appear early on.

WOW. This must be one of the best days of the year. Very little wind.

Was I in Nepal? Or the Andes.

Once you get above vegetation there’s no way to tell.

Many people finish at the second of two viewpoints. The view is as good here at 4126m as anywhere.

But, alone, first hiker of the day, I continued another 45 minutes on to French Camp.

As you can see, it was t-shirt weather.

The only reason to hike the final rugged stretch after the viewpoint is to get an even closer view of the massive south face wall. The hanging glaciers. It’s not easy to believe that’s a 3km drop from the top.

I couldn’t guess what line they’d climb. It looked impossible.

Turns out they’ve climbed many impossible lines.

This same day a guy I met later was on the other side of the mountain slogging through metre deep new snow. His entire group turned back at 6600m aside from one character who did (somehow) summit.

Excited I’d been so lucky with my weather, I turned back quickly. Perhaps I could hike some of the trail towards Mule Camp before dark.

Vistas in the other direction are beautiful. I’d not looked back much on the way up.

I’d expected plenty of water but you should carry up all you need. It’s a desert. And most of what’s running is silted.

On the way down I took time to observe the glacier. Most of the trail is on glacial moraine.

Almost nothing can live up here. This thorny bush is hardiest.

THIS astragalus arnottianus somehow survives too.

By the time I got back down to the main trail I was exhausted. There’d be no more hiking for me this day.

It was 8 hours tent-back-to-tent moving quite quickly.
I again climbed into my bag for a nap, but this time also to get out of the sun. Though careful with face and head, I’d managed to sunburn my hands and forearms. There’s very little shade available.

That evening I went over for my mandatory doctor’s check-up. He listened to heart rate. Blood pressure. Asked a few questions. Then signed my permit.

In the tent that night I listened to Coffee Break Spanish language podcasts and got into a hilarious book about character named Hard Luck Hank.

Two tents of noisy independent Russians had arrived. They argued and shouted late into the night. With headphones on, I didn’t care.

Big Bend Outer Mountain Loop TX

If I return to Big Bend National Park it will be to hike the Outer Mountain Loop.

Backcountry permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in the park and can be obtained at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center (or another park visitor center).

outer-mountain-loop-map

Day 1 – Chisos Basin – Boot Canyon – Juniper Canyon (approximately 11 miles)

Begin by caching water near the Homer Wilson (Blue Creek) Ranch. This scenic overlook is located at mile 8.1 along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Hike down the trail and cache your water in the convenient storage box. Ensure your name and date are written on your bottles. Caching water will make the difference between a dangerous experience and a fun backcountry excursion.

After caching water, head to the Chisos Basin Trailhead to begin the hike. …

Day 2 – Juniper Canyon – Dodson Trail – Blue Creek Canyon (approximately 10-11 miles)

The Dodson Trail is the hottest and most exposed section of the entire trek. Don’t let the relatively short distance fool you. …

Day 3 – Blue Creek Canyon – Laguna Meadows – Chisos Basin (approximately 9 Miles)

National Park Service

Click PLAY or watch a 3 day hike on YouTube. (6 min)

related – trip report – Traveling Ted – Completing the Big Bend Outer Mountain Loop

Best of The Bruce – Mono Cliffs

trip report by best hike editor Rick McCharles

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park along the Bruce Trail … is part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks System …

McCarston’s Lake

I wandered the very popular trail network (see map) for a couple of hours. Lookout Trail was one highlight.

This was the first section of cliffs I’d found where it was easy to hike both above and below.

Of all the weird mushrooms I’d seen on the Bruce, this was weirdest.

Bruce blazes are white. Those can be hard to see on birch bark. Here’s one solution I saw at Mono.

I’d recommend this area for relaxing forest trails and surprising wildflowers.

More information on Mono.

See my photos on Flickr.

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

 

 

Best of The Bruce – Jackson’s Cove

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

A nice little day hike. Birders like this area. Hikers come for wild flowers in the Spring.

I’m happiest hiking in the autumn, however. Very few mosquitoes. The harvest done.

I put on the long pants in fear of Poison Ivy.

Leaves of three, let it be …

This was a peaceful and relaxing loop. I did see other hikers out enjoying it on a Saturday in good weather.

Amazing views off the Niagara Escarpment.

Geese are already on the move.

Lovely.

White blazes are The Bruce. Blue are Bruce side trails.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

Explore the Bruce – Jackson’s Cove

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

trek Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra

Sabbalot Photography:

… the largest wilderness area in South-East Asia and an UNESCO world heritage area since 2004. It is further part of the tropical rain forest heritage of Sumatra, allowing for spectacular experiences in this fortunately still widely untouched nature.

The hike itself is a unique experience for several reasons:

  • No trails are available and one totally has to rely on the guide to find the way through the jungle (mainly following former rebel trails).

  • 4-6 porters accompany you and provide you with the most delicious hiking food you’ll ever get to taste (don’t forget to tip).

  • You will not see ANYONE other than your party during the whole hike.

  • The wilderness of the jungle and its inhabitants is just breathtaking.

  • The river crossings are an adventure itself.

Gunung Leuser National Park
An amazing adventure. Click through for details.

They recommend local guides Expedition Jungle.

‘Public Lands’ threatened in the USA

Federally owned (aka “public”) lands have been in the news a lot recently thanks to President Trump’s decision to review many of the protected areas that have been designated at national monuments from the three presidents that held office prior to him.

Some of those areas could see their protected status go away, potentially opening them up to commercial development. …

Adventure Blog – Video: Outside Explains What the Term “Public Lands” Means and Why it is Important

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.