hiking Tronador to Otto Meiling – day 1

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles 

day 1 | 2 | video | info page

The main hub for hikers in the Argentinian lake district is Bariloche.

The population of 130,000 plus tourists stretches along the busy lakeside highway. It should be another Banff, Chamonix, Queenstown … but isn’t. Many (including myself) become disenchanted with the place after a while.

Super popular with hikers, however, out of Bariloche is a one night adventure to climb an extinct volcano called Tronador (Thunderer) 3,470 m, the highest peak in the area. A 1200m ascent from the valley trailhead.

Argentina can be frustrating for tourists. Mucho problemas. But one highlight is Club Andino Bariloche (CAB). It’s an excellent organization which runs a number of alpine huts (refugios) and campgrounds.

Though the Government Parks office in Bariloche is often closed, CAB seems to always be open, staffed with friendly, English speaking experts.

At CAB, buy a return hiker’s shuttle bus ticket to Pampa Linda for about $40. Pampa Linda is the trailhead for Tronador.

We departed Bariloche 8:30am. It’s a bumpy, dusty, but scenic 77km to Pampa Linda close to the Chilean border.

Here you fill out a mandatory, free registration form.

I hung around Pampa Linda letting the largest group of hikers get started ahead of me.

The trail is a road to start. But green and tranquil.

Hoping to shortcut I jumped on to a smaller trail … It turned out to be the side trip to Mirador del Valle, a valley view point. Oops.

It took me 20 minutes or so to realize my mistake. But rather than admit I was an idiot, I dropped my pack and carried on up the little used, overgrown trail.

I never did make it to the viewpoint. But here’s a photo looking back to the valley.

The main trail does get steeper in places. There are stairs and switchbacks.

After spending 4 days above tree line on my last hike, it was a nice change to walk in bamboo forest shaded by huge trees.

Still, I was looking forward to views from up high. It was exciting to finally reach the big vistas.

Perhaps most impressive were waterfalls coming off the glacier.
Weather was deteriorating rapidly so I didn’t stop.

I’ve seen condors many times, but it was still thrilling to see two flying by very close. They circled the alpine hut, too.

I rushed up to choose my (semi-protected) campsite for the night. I wanted to get as close to the glacier as possible.
It began to rain just as I set up the tent. So I didn’t do much sightseeing at dusk.

Instead I read my book. Then headed over to the famed Otto Meiling hut.

Otto Meiling (Cerro Tronador)

As a solo English speaking hiker I don’t much enjoy stepping into these cramped, expensive refuges, but Otto Meiling is better than most in Argentina. It’s quite cosy indoors.

Otto Meiling (1902-1989), a German immigrant and carpenter/mountaineer, built the hut in the 1950s. He climbed the mountain 15 times. At age 84, he made an ascent from Pampa Linda and returned in one day! His fondness for mountaineering led to founding the Club Andino de Bariloche which is thriving today.

Otto Meiling

I’d neglected to carry wine so hoped to purchase one glass to celebrate inside away from the drizzle. Unfortunately this hut only sells wine by the bottle. I had a $5 hot chocolate instead. Food and drink are good, but understandably expensive, in alpine huts.

Not lasting long I retreated to my cozy tent to watch an episode of Fortitude. Then listen to my (excellent) biography of Leonardo da Vinci.

Friends had been up a few nights early in perfect weather. No moon. Here’s how it looked.

– by Peter Battelli

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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

Amatola Trail, South Africa

“The Toughest (hutted) Hike in South Africa”

Stingy Nomads:

Amatola trail is an amazing hike near Hogsback, a small town in Eastern Cape province, South Africa.

The trail length is 100 km …

… 6 days and 5 nights

… rain forest, mountains and fields, pass many waterfalls, pools and look outs on the way. …

It’s hut-to-hut hiking so you can keep your pack weight down.

Gwili Gwili hut

Amatola trail hiking guide. 6-day hike near Hogsback

related – Hiking South Africa – Amatola Hiking Trail

NOT the best of The Bruce – Hamilton waterfalls

trip report by best hike editor Rick McCharles

I parked at Felker Falls trailhead based on a recommendation posted on the official Bruce Trail website.

Felker’s to Albion Falls promised 4 waterfalls over 10.3 km return.

Though Felker’s Falls was little more than a dribble, the hike started well.

Some lovely autumn colours.

But soon I found myself in residential housing.

Then crossing under a freeway.

Hamilton — a city of over a half million — has a lovely trail system. I’d cycle it extensively if I lived here.

It’s home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades, most of which are on or near the Bruce Trail. 

Albion Falls was the best I saw.

The most spectacular is Webster’s Falls. But it wasn’t on my itinerary.

I’d not recommend you make a special trip to Hamilton to hike the waterfalls. Many other sections of the Bruce are more appealing.

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.

related:

• 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.

hiking Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

It’s not all that easy to get information in English.

Highlights include waterfalls and frequent stops for swimming.

Travel 2 Walk posted the best trip report I’ve seen, so far.

… Chapada Diamantina use to be a region supported by diamond mining, but now it’s 95% supported on tourism. As such, the locals take it on themselves to preserve the natural habitat they do have, but at the same time it is important for them to take advantage of it to make a living. …

Majority of tourism (60%) come from foreigners. …

With tourism being their major source of income, it is understandable why they are very discouraging, and sometime are hostile to, independent trekking trips into the park. …

… a must do in Chapada Diamantina, it is the Vale do Pati. …

trip report: Brazil, March 2016 – Chapada Diamantina 

best hikes Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Zach Urness, Statesman Journal:

While occasionally spectacular during the depths of winter, it’s the spring months of April, May and June when the Gorge reaches its scenic peak.

Blooms of wildflowers, roaring waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints and mossy forest combine to offer singular hiking experiences up and down the national scenic area.

To get you prepared for the season, I’ve put together a list of the 13 best overall hikes the Gorge has to offer, in consultation with the Friends of the Columbia River Gorge.

As ever, it’s important to remember that hiking during the week or early in the morning is highly recommended. The Gorge becomes as crowded as shopping malls in many places on weekend afternoons.

Best 13 hikes of the Columbia River Gorge

(via Meanderthals)