An adventure of my life time!

Posts tagged ‘trail’

410. SA Trip (10): Base Torres—A LONG Hike

Base Torres is one of the most famous spots in Chile. It is a 22 kilometer (about 13.5 miles) hike to the foot of the three granite towers, Las Torres del Paine, which rise vertically 1000 meters in front of a small glacial lake.

 A mini tour bus picked me up around 6:30am from my hostel. After picking up a dozen more passengers and driving 2 hours, the driver took us to the park entrance (Torres Del Paine National Park). There was a long line of people from other large tour buses. It took us almost an hour to get the ticket. The driver doesn’t speak any English. He pointed to a guide who can communicate somewhat in English.

It was 10:20 when we started hiking. I asked the guide what time we needed to come back, and he said the hike took about 8 hours. “Turn back from the lake at 3pm.”

Everyone on the bus seemed younger than I am. I was concerned I would be the last one coming back. So I paid attention to time, especially I love taking pictures, which takes time. The first part of the hike was relatively easy, with some uphill. The last hour was a steep climb with muddy, rocky steps (I saw three people fall). I arrived the lake before 2. The view was fantastic, out of this world. But I stayed until 3 and started hiking back. It was 6:20 when I returned, exactly 8 hours from the time we started.

I was the first one. Within minutes, a young couple from Austria showed up. A half-hour later a family of three with a teenage son came back. Then, slowly people returned. But the last two didn’t come back until almost 8:30! They were guys in their late 30s or early 40s. Were they really that slow? Or they didn’t care about other people waiting for them? I don’t know.

Well, maybe I’m just a better hiker than most. 🙂

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406. SA Trip (6): Tierra del Fuego National Park

Spent a full day in the national park hiking (Costera Tril) and kayaking.

(Black-necked Swan)

(A family of Kelp Goose)

 

404. SA Trip (4): Amazing Laguna Esmeralda

Unable to speak Spanish is very inconvenient. Most people don’t speak English, even the people in the tourist business. The Google Translate works for simple phrases but doesn’t work well for conversation.

I booked a tour bus ticket to Laguna Esmeralda (starting 10:30am and ending 4pm) via the hotel. There is one lady who speaks English. Later, another lady came by and tried to talk to me. After struggling for a while, I understood that the bus wouldn’t come until 12. By coming back at 4pm, how could I finish a hike that requires at least 4 hours? Via Google translate, she told me something like I could communicate with the driver to set the return time (now I know this is what she said, but at the time, it wasn’t clear). I was so frustrated that I canceled the ticket and walked to the bus station, hoping someone there could explain clearly.

No, the lady selling the ticket doesn’t speak English either. She tried to tell me the same thing that I could communicate with the driver to set the return time. If I had so much trouble understanding them, how could it be easier to talk to the driver? I imagined the bus left me and I was stranded at the trailhead. It was cold and windy at daytime (around 45F, but felt chilly). How cold it would be at night?

As I struggled with the decision if I should go and take the chance, a young couple showed up. The girl can speak English, and they were going to the same place! I was elated. I asked her the questions, and she promised to keep me informed. There was another couple from Canada who couldn’t speak Spanish. We did part of the hike together.

Laguna Esmeralda is prettier than the pictures I’ve seen. And the weather was really nice. I loved it.

By the time we returned to the parking lot, the young couple wanted to take another hike in the area. It takes about 1.5 hours, and the bus would pick us up at 7pm (they called the driver). It was 5:20pm. Well, no big deal. We started hiking. Up and up it went a steep hill. In an hour, we were so much higher than the other trail that we could see Laguna Esmeralda in the distance.

The trail became so muddy and wet that my shoes were completely soaked through. But we made it back at 7pm. And the bus showed up just in time.

Without the young couple, I wouldn’t have this adventure. Certainly I wouldn’t be at ease and enjoyed the whole time.

399.    “Crawl” up and down Mt Humphrey with a Fever

I must be “cursed” by Mt Humphrey, the highest peak in AZ. Last time I was sick with high altitude (12,633 ft) and “sleepwalked” up the mountain (Post #212). This time was even worse.

I had a stomach ache the day before and still felt my stomach churning in the morning. Since both Libby and Phil were going, I didn’t want to change our plan because of me. As soon as we started hiking, I knew something was wrong. I had low energy. Libby wasn’t in any better shape. With her Vertigo (due to a head injury when she was on duty), she felt dizzy all along the way. Still, neither of us said a word to turn back. We kept going, slowly.

It was very slow. It took us 6 hours to hike 5 miles with 3400ft elevation gain.

I thought coming down would be faster. Well, by then I had no energy left. My whole body ached, and I was chilled. Clearly I had a fever. All I wanted to do was to lie down and fall asleep. Libby wasn’t doing any better. She slipped and fell half a dozen times, fracturing her tailbone.

It took us another 5 hours to hike back. I fell asleep as soon as I was in the car.

The only funny part was, even both Libby and I were in terrible shapes, we perked up whenever we saw mushrooms. We picked 12 pounds, and poor Phil had to carry them.  

The next day I had a fever up to 101.7F, and even after four days’ rest, I still had a fever that comes and goes.

395. Exploring the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, with David (1): Ouray

Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, Ouray is a hiker’s paradise. Miles of trails take one to mountain ridges, lush forests, deep gorges, waterfalls, and old mining sites. Although we had only a few hours, thanks to David’s knowledge of the area, we hiked to some of those beautiful places.

PS. Hot spring is another big attraction to this quaint tourist town. 🙂

394. El Morror National Monument, NM

Located in western New Mexico, El Morro National Monument features a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. For centuries, travelers have left their mark upon the rock face. The top of the mesa is my favorite.

 

 

 

398. Desolate Coal Mine Canyon

Coal Mine Canyon is located about 15 miles east of Tuba City in northeastern Arizona. It’s remote and little-visited. One can drive to the rim of the canyon, but there is no official trail going down except an unofficial path which is very steep and crumbly. But the hike (more like slide) is well worth the trouble if you can overcome the fear. I’m glad that Libby and her husband were there; I wouldn’t go down without them. We were the only ones among the multi-colored and strangely-formed sandstones.

 

 

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