OK … I’ve downloaded Gaia GPS

Apps and maps.

Viewranger offers no coverage for Chile and Argentina. Sounds like Gaia GPS is best for those nations.

I can download Patagonian maps and use them offline on the trail.

sample Gaia map

Gaia GPS is free to try for a week. Subscription membership costs $19.99/year while a Premium Membership is $39.99/year.

I joined the lower tier plan hoping the additional maps would help in South America. For Aconcagua Park, Argentina, for example, none of the layers are much good aside from Satellite with Labels. You can see the trails clearly beside water sources, tents, etc.

I’ll try it when I get there in a week or so.

Gaia claims to be superior to AllTrails in most regards, as well. And less expensive.



logistics for the Paine Circuit

Without question Paine in Patagonian Chile is one of the finest and most memorable treks in the world.

But the logistics of getting everything booked in advance is daunting.

Backpackers Review posted a detailed trip report of their December 2017 circuit. It includes the latest details on getting reservations:


It is mandatory to attain all reservations for camping and refugio shelters prior to entering Torres del Paine National Park.

If you do not have reservations for your trek, you will not be able complete the Circuit trek. Reservations fill up fast for the prime season (November-March), so you should book several months in advance (for the Circuit trek, the number of trekkers is limited to 80 per day).

Outside of your camping reservations there is no separate permit needed to hike the Circuit. You simply pay the 21,000 peso (~$35) entrance fee when you arrive at the park and show proof of your camping reservations at several spots along the trek.


If you book your campsites early enough, you will have multiple options for itineraries and can decide to hike the circuit over anywhere from 6-9 days.

A map with the various campsites and refugios highlighted is shown below.

Note that there are free campsites run by the Chilean government (CONAF) and there are sites run by two different private companies (Fantastico Sur and Vertice Patagonia).

Prices for the accommodations run by the private companies range from ~$10 per person per night for camping to over $75 per person per night for a bed and meals in the refugios.

Some of the refugios are now requiring people to purchase meals, even if you camp (Chileno and Los Cuernos require full board meals in 2017-2018). This adds a lot of cost and is annoying, but the only other option is to not stay at these sites and adjust your itinerary. …

Which camps you decide stay at will largely depend on how many days you have in the park, how much money you want to spend, and whether you prefer to camp or stay in shared bunks. A few example itineraries are as follows (we hiked the 9 day one):

9 days: Seron > Dickson > Los Perros > Paso > Grey > Paine Grande > Frances > Chileno or Las Torres

8 days: Seron > Dickson > Los Perros > Paso > Paine Grande > Frances > Chileno or Las Torres

7 days: Seron > Los Perros > Grey > Paine Grande > Frances > Chileno or Las Torres

6 days: Seron > Los Perros > Paine Grande > Frances > Chileno or Las Torres

5 days or fewer: good luck! …


That’s the best trip report we know. Read it closely if you want to have a hope of getting a reservation for yourself.

related – our Paine Circuit information page

OK … I’ve downloaded Viewranger

Apps and maps. For the first time I’m going to try navigating with them on the trail.

First download was Viewranger. It’s free for basics. You pay to download specialty maps.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Unfortunately their shop offers none for Chile nor Argentina.

I’m really keen on augmented reality showing me peaks, towns, lakes, cliffs, ridgelines, mountain passes, and even glaciers up to 20 miles away. That’s the Skyline feature available from within ViewRanger.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

It works with my Apple Watch too, though I may never use that feature.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Alastair Humphreys on YouTube.

Pacific Northwest Trail maps

The Pacific Northwest Trail is 1200 miles long.

The PNTA has worked hard to develop an entirely new map set for 2017. These new maps feature the most up-to-date primary route and recommended alternates available. In addition, they include notes to support planning and logistics.

This map set is designed for use with The Pacific Northwest Trail Digest, 2017 Edition, by Tim Youngbluth. The guidebook and map set reference a common set of waypoints.

2 days on Turkey’s Carian Trail

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

day 2 – 6:45 am I hoisted the pack.

Unsure of exactly how I was going to get back for my 4pm ferry departure , best get an early start.

In my dreams I’d hoped to get all the way to Palamutbuku … but there is one earlier exit if I am running out of time.

The first section is scrambling over headlands. A series of deserted coves.

Rocky beaches. Much of the stone is conglomerate.

My sunrise.

I was  lost briefly several times. The official guidebook and map are not sufficient to keep you on the trail. GPS is pretty much essential on the Carian Trails. And I didn’t bring my GPS to Turkey. Doh!

So few hikers pass this point I left the next one a Summit Stone. There’s no way to miss it.

If you like this kind of solitude and scenery, plan a hiking trip to Turkey.

The beaches are not littered. But they are full of plastic and junk washed ashore.

Here’s the toughest headland. My guidebook authors nicknamed this scramble Death Valley.

Whew. Civilization.

I was slow getting here. But the only other walkers I saw on the trail were even slower.

This village was the end for me. I’d need to find the mini-bus back to town to be sure not to miss my ferry.

During lunch at a pleasant restaurant I learned that the mini-bus does not run on Sundays. I’d need to hitchhike. A crazy dentist in a beat-up van picked me up.

I was tired on the ferry home. The two days had taken more out of me than they should.

Bodrum castle is most impressive from the sea.

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

Only 2 days on the Carian Trails. But it was enough.

I decided to return April / May 2019 for 2-3 weeks most likely on the even more remote Bozburun Peninsula section. (141km)

I’ll have two GPS devices and several downloaded routes. I’ll carry the right gear. And I’ll bring some of my food from home. Turns out they don’t sell dehydrated mashed potatoes in Turkey.

related – our Carian Trails information page