BikePacking Wesley Ridge, Vancouver Island B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

AKA Mt. Wesley Traverse

I tried and failed to do the Wesley Ridge circuit:

  • close to tourist hotspot Cathedral Grove
  • trailheads on highway 4 between Parksville and Port Alberni
  • about 10km with 750m elevation gain/loss
  • about 6-8 hrs from one end to the other
  • additional hour or two walking abandoned rail tracks back to start
  • not maintained. Hundreds of fallen trees.
  • buggy but few mosquitoes
  • route finding necessary

I started at the end closest to Parksville assuming it would be less busy than the Cathedral Grove trailhead.

click for larger version

I made a video of the BikePacking trip. Cycling to and from my parent’s place in Parksville qualifies this as a #MicroAdventure.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I hid and locked my bike close to the trailhead. Transferred what I needed to my hiking pack — and headed up the railway tracks.

I missed the turn-off up mountain. It’s not obvious. On my return I flagged the start to make it more conspicuous.

Steep.

The strenuous 2km climb up to the telecommunications tower is called Wesley Tower Trail.

Many continue on to the first lake vista. It took me about 2 hours to get here. There are two benches, one named Forever Tuesday after the Tuesday Walkers Club in nearby Port Alberni.

Most turn back at this point. There’s no one path across the ridge from here.

I gave it a good try. You follow different (competing) sets of orange tape flags. Some lead to dead ends.

A bigger problem was scrambling hundreds of fallen trees. Not bringing long pants, I got quite scratched up. It was bushwhacking.

Another problem is water. I saw no flowing water — only remnant snow melt tarns. 

With daylight failing, I finally decided to find myself a great tent site.

It doesn’t get much better than this. I had to HIDE in the tent at dusk, however, pestered by small non-biting flies.

From here I could see steam rising from Port Alberni.

Here’s where I stopped.

Good night.

Next morning, nearly out of water, I decided to hustle back the way I’d come. I’ll try the Ridge from the other end on some future trip.

related – Lonny Barr – Wesley Ridge Trail

Hiking St. George’s, Bermuda

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

St. George’s was the first part of Bermuda to be extensively colonized, and the town of St. George’s contains many of the territory’s oldest buildings.

It’s claimed to be the oldest continuously-inhabited English town in the New World.

While visiting I walked all parts of the island many times. Here are some highlights.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

That footage is shot using the Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal with an iPhone X.

Though the gimbal weighs 485g (17oz) I’ll be carrying it on many future hikes.

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.

 

climbing Piltriquitrón out of El Bolson, Argentina

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Click PLAY or watch my HOW TO video on YouTube.

As many do on this popular hike, I walked from El Bolsón, centro. Three hours of dusty, but tranquil road walking to get to the parking lot.

(Actually, I tried a trail alternative recommended on my Maps.me app. Bad idea, as it turned out. Coming down I stuck to the road.)

Taxi would cost at least $25. Drivers don’t like going up here. You MIGHT be able to join up with others to split the cost at a collectivo office near the Via Bariloche bus station.

It took me about 4 hours to reach the Piltriquitrón hut and campground.

After a brief siesta I headed over to the nearby El Bosque Tallado (carved forest). $5 entrance.

There are over 50 crude wooden sculptures with new ones being added. A fire in 1978 inspired lead artist Marcelo López to initiate this tourist attraction.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The refuge has a superb location. People can’t get enough of the vistas.

I enjoyed dinner at sunset, myself, overlooking El Bolsón.

Alpenglow was lovely this evening. I didn’t edit this photo.

I was on the summit trail by 9am next morning.

Pack horses were grazing free.

Easy going until the final scramble before the top.

There’s a 360 degree vista from the peak.

A German living in El Bolson just spend 5 days up in those craggy, intensely glaciated peaks. Because there are no alpine huts, he had that wilderness to himself.

I could clearly see Tronador volcano about 100km distant.

Rick atop Piltriquitrón

I had done the 1800m ascent over 2 days.

I was back down to the hut by Noon. Back to town, very tired, by 3pm. That’s 1800m of descent.

Supposedly it’s easy to hitchhike back down from Piltriquitrón. I had no luck.

hiking Tronador to Otto Meiling – day 2

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles 

day 1 | 2 | video | info page

Happily, the rain quit sometime during the night. It dawned clear though clouds swirled around the high peak.

Beautiful.

I went wandering up towards the glacier as high as I could.

There was no rush getting back down for the 5pm bus. It was a leisurely day in every respect.

On the descent I took a long break overlooking the gorgeous waterfalls.

I also took the side trip to see the bottom of the falls on the Glaciar Castano Overo trail. Beautiful.

Climbing down 1200m was much easier than ascending.

Originally I’d considered doing a second night camped up the other trail out of Pampa Linda. Lake Lion.

But the weather was too uncertain.

I got back to the trailhead at Pampa Linda with about 90 minutes to spare. After dropping my registration confirming my return, I washed up in the river. Then ate the rest of my camping food.

These colourful birds came by seemingly looking for a handout. There are many big, beautiful birds in Argentina.

The shuttle buses left promptly at 5pm. It seemed nobody who had booked was missing.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open for much of the 2 hour ride back to Bariloche.

Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

day 1 | 2 | video | info page

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A much better trip report than my own was posted last year by another old Canadian, Ramblin’ Boy:

The Hike To Refugio Otto Meiling – Getting Close To Cerro Tronador

 

 

 

movie – first kayak descent in Greenland

Into Twin Galaxies

These three are crazy.

Erik Boomer, Ben Stookesberry and Sarah McNair-Landry.

National Geographic:

The intrepid trio, composed of previous Adventurers of the Year, kite-skied across the Greenland ice sheet and paddled the first descent of a wild Arctic river to win our first ever Hall of Fame award. …

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on Vimeo.

I saw the film on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in 2018.

related – Making of Into Twin Galaxies