Timberline Trail, Mt. Hood, Oregon

… This 40-mile loop is a fantastic way to experience the immense size and beauty of Mt. Hood.

On the Timberline you’ll encounter lush old-growth forests, pristine alpine waterfalls, wildflower-filled meadows, towering craggy glaciers, rough volcanic landscapes, and some of the finest cascade views around.

The hiking certainly won’t be easy …

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Majestic Mt. Hood Views
  • Cascade Range Vistas
  • Massive Waterfalls
  • Wildflower Meadows
  • Immense Glaciers
  • Easily Accessible
  • Mostly Well Marked & Maintained

Clever Hiker

We’ve added Timberline to our list of best hikes in North America.

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hike Santuario El Cañi, Pucón, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Pucón is the adventure capital of the Chilean lake district. Climbing, cycling, hiking, skiing. You name it.

A super popular day hike is the private nature reserve El Cañi Sanctuary. It’s about an 8 hour day Pucón to Pucón for most people.

1240 metres (4068 feet) ascent.

Click PLAY or watch my trip on YouTube.

A highlight is the unique Araucaria (monkey-puzzle) forrest. Perhaps my favourite tree.

If weather is clear from the summit mirador, you see many volcanoes: Volcán Llaima, Volcán Villarrica, Volcán Quetrupillan and Volcán Lanin.

Almost everyone does this as a day hike. But it’s possible to tent at Laguna Negra or or at the Aserradero hut for about $13 if you prefer.

Another highlight is the add-on Lagunas del Cañi (lake circuit). Some trails are narrow and overgrown.

I reached the summit mirador with two trail runners from France. We took photos of one another.

It’s a long way down. Then back to town … or to one of many hotsprings near the trailhead, Termas Los Pozones was recommended. I rushed back to catch a 12 hour night bus.

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Most people do this hike independently taking the local bus 13 miles (20 km) themselves. But you can hire a guide in Pucón for about $100.

I got my information from ¡école! Hosteria and Restaurant in Pucón.

Click PLAY or watch Ernest Aymerich’s trip on YouTube.

 

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.

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