Have a nice summer!
Tomorrow starts my long summer trip. I want to hike across Scandinavia, mainly Norway but also parts of Sweden and northern Finland. At the beginning of October I will be back, but in between I will walk from winter to spring to summer to autumn and probably back to winter. Although people might think that Scandinavia is not very "wild" I am sure to find plenty of wilderness and challenges as well....
After half an hour walking I cross the tarmac road, leading to Argentina. At this early morning hour there is no traffic. I quickly cross the road and continue on the other side. A herd of cattle gives way, causing a huge dust cloud.
After a cold shower I walk back to the Pizzeria, which opens just for me and where I am treated to an omelette. On TV I get to know that big forest fires are devastating Central Chile. I can only hope, that this won't have an effect on my hike...
At 7:45 I catch the first Bus to Los Quenes, and an hour later, I am ready to hike again!
Behind a campground under shady pines I leave the village and walk on a dirt road up the valley of the Rio Claro de Teno. Soon the river disappears in a gorge and for some hours I won't see it again.
The longest continous hiking route in South America, running across the chilean Andes from the capital Santiago all the way south into Patagonia, just these little facts made me dreaming when I first heard about the Greater Patagonian Trail from my friend Christine, a very experienced hiker, about 3 years ago.
And when I researched a bit about that trail, I found its story very interesting as well:
The german Jan Dudeck did a multiday horse trip with his chilean wife Meylin and tracked the route by his GPS. When he transfered the track to Google Earth, he realized, that the tiny horse trails they followed were visible on the satellite pictures. That brought the idea, to create a long distance trail running the length of Patagonia, mainly by using Google Earth. He added stretches which are located in central Chile, outside of classical Patagonia, therefore he named the trail "Greater Patagonian Trail".
Since he began that great work, he spends every summer in Chile, to scout new segments of the trail and to verify what he saw on Google Earth. The fact that he mapped a lot of alternatives, often still not groundtruthed, make the Greater Patagonian Trail even more interesting.
Originally I had planned to start at the northern Terminus in Radal, but just a month before I started, Jan told me, that now the trail is even extended to the Capital, Santiago de Chile. The last metro station of that city, what an exciting starting point!
Map of my route