Patagonia again

Unfortunately I wasn't as quick as I wanted with the blog entries from my Scandinavian hike...

Today I am taking off for a new hiking adventure: The continuation of my Greater Patagonian Trail rambles! I will spent three months in the wilds of Chile and Argentina to explore Central Patagonia. This time with my packraft as well!

But of cause, when I am back home, I will finish the write-ups about Scandinavia first....

I wish all my readers a happy new year and a lot of happy treks!



Scandinavian wilderness hike 9- Børgefjell

My next destination is the Børgefjell, another wild Nationalpark with hardly any infrastructure that is sometimes compared to the better known swedish Sarek. Sarek is often termed "Europe's last wilderness" so I am looking forward to what Børgefjell has to offer.


Scandinavian wilderness hike 8- Across the wild Blåfjella-Skjaekerfjella

Blåfjella-Skjaekerfjella Nationalpark is with more than 1900 sqkm one of Norways largest, but contrary to areas like Hardangervidda touristically quite unknown. Although the area of the park is not that large, it feels giant because it forms a large corridor along the Swedish border. There are only few hiking trails and huts and the landscape of dense primeval spruce forests, wide fjells and moors and distinct peaks is very varied.  Two isolated farms, quite unique in Norway, emphasize the wild, remote character of the park which was founded only in 2004.


Scandinavian wilderness hike 6- Knutshøa and Forollhogna

Here at Kongsvold in Drivdalen I will leave the network of marked DNT- hiking trails for a long time, to explore the lesser known landscapes of central Norway. I will use a mixture of cross country walking, local trails and occasional dirt roads. Dovre Fjell on the western side of the valley, was the last of the high mountain chains I crossed. The landscape I will hike through might be less spectacular because there are no more glaciers and rugged rocky mountains, but as I like wide open spaces and the adventure of trailless walking, I am looking forward towards the next stages of my hike....


Scandinavian wilderness hike 5- Dovrefjell, Home of the Muskox

Next morning I have soon reached the treeline and the gradient eases. Here I am on the  1500 sqkm large  high plateau auf Dovrefjell. Although a good number of peaks stand out of the plain and reaches heights of more than 2000 meters, there are only relatively tiny glaciated areas, unlike Reinheimen and Breheimen further southwest. The explanation is, that Dovrefjell in the lee of these other mountains receives relatively little precipitation. Once again therefore I hope finally to be out of the snow...


Scandinavian wilderness hike 4- across Breheimen and Reinheimen

It has rained all night and I am grateful, that there is a bridge across the wild Utla River, which would be impossible to wade...



Scandinavian wilderness hike 3- from Skarvheimen to Jotunheimen

When next morning I get to the train station at Geilo, I soon learn, that there is a fire in a tunnel between Bergen and Oslo! Nobody knows when the next train to Finse will leave! Not good, but it takes only an hour and the problem is apparently solved. On the train back to Finse I meet a german couple with their 4-year old daughter. They want to do a stroll around Finse! I suggest, that this is probably not the best place for a relaxing walk with a young child, but when we arrive they put the complaining girl in protective clothes and really walk out in rain, and wet thawing snow, wow! I am not sure this child will like the outdoors when it has grown up...


Scandinavian wilderness hike 2- across Hardangervidda

When the Norwegian Coast comes in sight I am keen on having a look on the mountains. Although here, near Stavanger no snow is left, I already can see the higher mountains further north, still covered in white. Will it be possible to cross this snowy vastness just with trailrunners? I will get the answer soon...


Scandinavian wilderness hike 1- idea and preparations

                                       Map of my trek across Scandinavia

For somebody who loves long wilderness treks and live in Europe, it is a kind of "must" to have a good look on Scandinavia. Only there it is possible to walk hundreds of kilometers without much contact to civilization and sometimes not even a road crossing for weeks, if the hike is planned well. On the other side it is possible to resupply without logistic hassles like this might be the case in more remote places like northern Canada or Alaska.


Greater Patagonian Trail northern part- summary and conclusions

The most important question regarding this trek is, did I enjoy it and would recommend the GPT to others: The first part of the question is easy to answer, I enjoyed walking the northern Part of the GPT very much! The diversity of the landscape from dry cacti country to high mountains, lush forests, colourful mountain deserts, towering volcanoes and beautiful lakes is fantastic, especially since the weather was very good, for most of the time. And one aspect I liked very much, might be not so welcome for others. The GPT is not only one trail, but a huge network, so everybody can create his own route, and there is still a lot of room for exploration! While the current "main trail" has a length of 3000 kilometres, there are about 12000 kilometers of route options!
Before I get into more detail, here come some pictures which illustrate the variety I found on the trail!
But I must emphasize, that for a huge part of the trek I didn't follow the main route but explored more remote options.


Greater Patagonian Trail 9 Volcan Antuco- Guallali

On this stage I climb the volcano Antuco in very difficult conditions and run next day into serious problems with the authorities...
At the end of this stage I enter again another world, Araukaria, the home of the Pehuenche and strange trees...



Greater Patagonian Trail 6 Laguna del Maule- Lago Dial

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.

                                                                           Dust cloud



Greater Patagonian Trail 4 Siete Tazas- Rio Colorado

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...


Greater Patagonian Trail 3 Los Quenes-Rio Colorado

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.


Greater Patagonian Trail 2 Coya- Los Quenes

After a good breakfast at the hotel I start rather late. To my surprise the sky is grey and some raindrops are falling. But soon enough it is warm and sunny again.


Greater Patagonian Trail 1 Santiago- Coya

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


Switching to english language

As I realize that many of my readers would prefer that my blog is written in english language, I decided to switch.
So starting soon with my stories from the Greater Patagonian Trail will be the start of this new era...
Apart of "About" I will keep my older posts in german, but probably when I find the time, write english summaries for each trek.
Please leave a comment what you think about switching to english!


Welt aus Granit- Auf dem GR 20 durch Korsika 2

Am Morgen beträgt die Temperatur lediglich 2 Grad und ein leichter Dunstschleier liegt über dem See und dem breiten Wiesental durch das ich bald laufe.

                                       Kühler Morgen hinter dem Lac de Nino

Im Tal weiden sehr viele Pferde, die offenbar zu einer nahe gelegenen Bergerie gehören. Ich steige ins Tavignano Tal ab und bin begeistert von den knorrigen Hutebuchen, die dort wachsen.
Nach dem Refuge de Manganu beginnt ein weiterer spektakulärer Abschnitt des GR 20. Die Route steigt auf zur Breche de Capitellu auf über 2000 Meter und folgt dann lange Zeit einem Grat oberhalb der Seen Lac de Capitellu und Lac de Melu. Es gibt auch einige Kletterstellen, die wie immer auf Korsika, schwieriger aussehen, als sie tatsächlich sind. An einer steilen Felsstufe die mit Drahtseil gesichert ist, lege ich meine Stöcke nicht aus der Hand, werde dafür aber von einem entgegenkommenden Wanderer ermahnt...


Welt aus Granit- Auf dem GR 20 durch Korsika 1

Bereits seit vielen Jahren steht der GR 20 auf Korsika weit oben auf meiner gedachten Liste der Wanderwege, die ich gerne laufen möchte. Er soll einer der schönsten, aber auch schwierigsten Wanderwege Europas sein, und verläuft über 180 Kilometer durch das Hochgebirge im Inneren der französischen Mittelmeerinsel.