Long Distance Trail in Chile

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sgyoung
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Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by sgyoung » October 9th, 2018, 10:39 am

This long distance trail though Chile looks pretty cool. Anyone up for a thru hike?

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texasbb
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by texasbb » October 9th, 2018, 5:45 pm

Wow, that does look interesting. Where are the pictures??

'Course, I've got a lot of trails to check off here at home before galavanting around in S. America.

pcg
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by pcg » October 10th, 2018, 9:54 am

Wow! My first reaction, having hiked extremely small sections of this from the northern end all the way to Puerto Williams in the south, is that it would be a logistical nightmare because of the water transit involved. Also could cost big $ for said water transit. And portions of it would be a weather nightmare because of the freezing wind coming off the Pacific.

That said, Chile (and Argentina to a lesser extent) has an amazing park system and, if you think we have rules, it's nothing compared to what you find there, which is good IMO. The popular trails are heavily patrolled by rangers who will kick you out of a park if you go off-trail and throw you in jail with a fine if you use your stove in a non-designated area. The non-popular areas not so much, since it can be difficult to even find a trail. Only a very few sections (i.e. Torres del Paine) are extremely popular, but the vast majority of this you would not see anyone for weeks.

Also, it says it goes to Cape Horn, but it actually only goes to the Cape Horn forest. A boat to take you from there to actual Cape Horn will set you back $2k US. They aren't dumb as there are plenty of well-heeled touristas willing to pay that to say they have been there.

No way to do this in one season. Lastly, the Chileans are very friendly to Americans. This would be the trek of a lifetime.

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sgyoung
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by sgyoung » October 11th, 2018, 7:08 am

texasbb wrote:
October 9th, 2018, 5:45 pm
Wow, that does look interesting. Where are the pictures??

'Course, I've got a lot of trails to check off here at home before galavanting around in S. America.
The trail has its own webpage with more info and pictures: http://www.rutadelosparques.org/. The clickable map feature at the bottom of the page is great. It looks pretty amazing. I found this while pondering a big trip to Patagonia (pure fantasy at this point, but some day it'll happen).
pcg wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:54 am
Wow! My first reaction, having hiked extremely small sections of this from the northern end all the way to Puerto Williams in the south, is that it would be a logistical nightmare because of the water transit involved. Also could cost big $ for said water transit. And portions of it would be a weather nightmare because of the freezing wind coming off the Pacific.

No way to do this in one season. Lastly, the Chileans are very friendly to Americans. This would be the trek of a lifetime.
These are all good points. The logistics of a thru hike on even well established routes are intimidating to me, let alone a newly established long distance route. Interested that it would probably need to be section hiked over multiple seasons. Would north bound be the best option?

Steve20050
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by Steve20050 » October 12th, 2018, 3:56 am

I have posted before about going to South America a few years back. I spent about 8 months just traveling between Chile and Argentina. It was considered the "gringo trail" back then thou it was roads and scenery that most were using there. I hit a lot of national parks in both countries as you weave back and forth across the international border of the Andes and try to remember if its Posho or Pollo. Chile is about as beautiful a place as anywhere in the world thou my knowledge is limited. I can say it is the equivalent of everything on our west coast from Baja to Alaska and up to one hundred miles inland with the Andes topping out with Aconcagua at just under 7000 meters. The scenery is often spectacular thou far south is Patagonia with the southern icefields, ( Can you say Wyoming) Yes I lived in Wyoming so I'm sure, other than the ostriches running around :) The north the Atacama desert and some more rather high elevations inland. Other locations, The lakes district you'd swear you were in the Pacific Northwest. Volcanoes and enormous lakes dominate the scenery. Lots of empty California type coastline. An enormous off shore island with some islets off shore as well. Chile also has territories like Robinson Crusoe Island and Easter Island.. Wow do I sound like a tourist advertisement. LOL. So if you ever want to visit a Socialist Democracy ;) with fantastic scenery, it would be at the top of my list. Costs when I was there were about 2/3 the US.

As for the rules. Well. Some of them "people" get around. I got into a heated discussion with a ranger in Bariloche Argentina as I wanted to hike out into the Araucaria forests around Volcan Lanin and camp for photos. They won't let me. "Its prohibited". Why? "Its prohibited" Why? FIRE. To be fair there are just as many stupid people with fire there as here. Much of Bariloche south into Patagonia has had fires and the wind there is notorious. Anyways, I talked with someone who worked in the tourism center and she informed me that the rangers did it all the time. So I went out on a tour bus and got dropped at the local ranger's station with them returning in a week, Yikes. So a guy wonders up from a resort across the road as it is autumn and slow time of year like after labor day here. He says the ranger is gone to town, I often heard this one. He offers me a camp spot at the resort, and bathrooms but I had to leave early in the morning. So he lets me pitch my tent on the third hole putting green with the sun setting on Volcan Lanin. That was about the most comfortable tent pitch I ever did. So anyways the ranger interviewed me and I showed him my stove and that I wouldn't lite fires, camp above tree line etc. Point is how much time do you have to deal with this stuff and what type of trip you want. With 8 months I often squandered my time....
Attachments
Volcan Lanin.jpg
Got my photos with a bit of work and time.

pcg
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by pcg » October 12th, 2018, 7:46 am

Wow! Gorgeous photo! I miss the lenga forests.

I found rangers in Argentina have a different attitude once they are convinced you are experienced and capable. They are also outdoor lovers and once they know you are experienced and capable they become brothers, so to speak. Chile I found to be more strict.
Patagonia is not for the inexperienced or unskilled, unless you are planning on visiting one of the popular parks. It is mostly un-populated and has severe weather. But wow, if you relish wild and raw, go there.
sign.jpg

Limey
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by Limey » October 12th, 2018, 8:19 am

Love that sign pcg. We should have them here.

Steve20050
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by Steve20050 » October 12th, 2018, 11:22 pm

pcg wrote:
October 12th, 2018, 7:46 am
Wow! Gorgeous photo! I miss the lenga forests.

I found rangers in Argentina have a different attitude once they are convinced you are experienced and capable. They are also outdoor lovers and once they know you are experienced and capable they become brothers, so to speak. Chile I found to be more strict.
Patagonia is not for the inexperienced or unskilled, unless you are planning on visiting one of the popular parks. It is mostly un-populated and has severe weather. But wow, if you relish wild and raw, go there.
sign.jpg
LOL. Well yeah I agree. To me it was more a national identity in what you describe. I tried their national mail service to the US. Chile was very "anal' and everything got to the US. Argentina maybe, maybe not. In Argentina I even lost stuff registered mail. My friends in Buenos Aires said well duhhh. I have had good experiences with folks in both countries that made travel there fantastic.

I had gotten out to Jeinemeni, which in my day was in the back of a woodcutters flat bed truck eating dust. And I paid for it. The rangers out there laughed and had me over a couple times as I was the ONLY camper in the entire park. They said it had been raining a bit and the Gato, man who took me out there 40 miles, probably wouldn't be back. The week came and went no Gato. I started walking and got about 15 miles back toward Chile Chico and the ranger drove buy, stopped and I jumped into the back to ride into town. So as I spoke about having more time also helped the issues no matter where I was down there.

pcg
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by pcg » October 13th, 2018, 7:53 am

Steve20050 wrote:
October 12th, 2018, 11:22 pm
Chile was very "anal'... Argentina maybe, maybe not... I have had good experiences with folks in both countries that made travel there fantastic.
Perfect summary. The world is full of wonderful people and the cream rises to the top with people who love and respect nature and the outdoors.

Steve20050
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Re: Long Distance Trail in Chile

Post by Steve20050 » October 17th, 2018, 1:15 pm

sgyoung wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 7:08 am

These are all good points. The logistics of a thru hike on even well established routes are intimidating to me, let alone a newly established long distance route. Interested that it would probably need to be section hiked over multiple seasons. Would north bound be the best option?
Sorry we didn't answer you on this. When I was there in the late 90s there were a number of these sections of trail usable even then, thou no official trail of this length. Most travelers once in Chile / Argentina head far south then work their way north. The open window of "good" weather is short down in Patagonia. A good day being with some sun and not getting blown over with your full pack on, :lol: No snow storms etc.

Obviously it would take a lot of planning. As I mentioned I was in Parque Jeinemeni and saw the trail to Villa O'Higgins. It stated it was 50 miles, that after the 40 miles of dirt road to get to the park. To my knowledge there wasn't much of anything out there, thou ranches do exist as one of the rangers was from a local ranch. I think after my visit the city council of whom I knew someone was interested in getting secure transport out there to promote the park. :)There would be long segments with little in the way of supplies for a number of years yet. Jeinemeni wasn't the only park I used a wood cutter to get out to the trail. Another was Reserve Cerro Castillo. A long walk of ? miles to the trail head. I was lucky in that another flatbed truck had come down out of the mountains to the small village in the area of the highway and they were headed back up into the area and gave me a lift. Saved a day of walking the dirt road. Some of the coastal areas are brush beats that make the Pacific West coast look like an arid area. Parque Queulat comes to mind.

The Pan American Highway is another issue that you need to understand isn't anything more than a road with some places outside towns not even paved yet. With infrequent transport even in the season. Much of it broken up by waterways. I was in Chaiten and there was a woman stuck there for several days trying to move north. (Seats on transport can be hard to get if you get out somewhere). Wanted me to give her my seat in the van because I would love to stay in the area and be the one stuck, LOL. You need a lot of time and my info is very dated now 20 years old, but I can't imagine things have gotten significantly better as the area is sparsely populated.

My suggestion would be take a trip down to help with planning. See some of the areas first and then try some major planning. Timing would be a big issue thou Chile/ Argentine are certainly " more on time" than say Bolivia where stuff happens when it happens. Another issue was maps. Chile does have satellite communications and has for a number of years as many places in SA. I'm not sure what exists now. When I was there I had to go to the military office in Santiago to purchase maps. They thought I was out of my mind as I purchased a number of maps and it cost over 400 USD with maps being something like 15 USD per. They wanted to give me a Xmas card for being such a good consumer, LOL.

Another good start would be buy a version of Hiking in Patagonian Andes. Not sure what is available today. I have an old lonely planet copy. The original author died in a tragic trip to China? a few years back, so not sure again who is the author of the newer version. I bring this up as the author had some great insight having tackled some very remote mountainous regions of the world. Again I would encourage anyone to see this area but as pcg states more or less this is some very remote and often very difficult terrain and water to get over even in segments.

So how did I manage this after what I posted? I sold my home and everything in it, quit my job and went. Had all of 20 words in Spanish and ran into General Pinochet and his body guards my second day in Santiago :( . So much for planning. It got better the longer I was there ;).

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