Pyrenees 2010

From St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the afternoon we hiked along the chemin de St. Jacques de Compostelle to the refuge Orisson. The next day followed for a while the chemin StJdC to Col de Bentarte, where we started to follow the GR11 into Spain. Our plan was to take the Haute Route Pyreneene (HRP) but a fog came up very rapidly (not uncommon in Basque country) and since the route was not well signed at all, we decided to go down to Fabrica de Orbaitzeta. There we wanted to pick up the GR11 again, but we got lost and wandered around for a while. We went down all the way and picked up the path along the river Irati Ibaia to the Embalse de Ibaria. Meanwhile, the blisters on M’s feet were starting to become really bad (the necessary precautionary sport tape was forgotten on this trip). After some discussion it was decided to take a taxi to OchagavĂ­a, where an extra day was spend to heal the wounds and buy tape for the rest of the trip.

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Altiplano 2007

Having been to Chile two times before, the far north was still a partly unknown area and one that was subject of many dreamlike fantasies. Especially the high country (Altiplano) was something to discover. In September/October 2007, together with our friend Renger, we flew to Santiago de Chile and rented a car for five weeks from trekker-chile ( We met the owners of trekker-chile during our stay two years earlier in their hostal near Talca. It was a nice and robust four-wheel drive, and hasn’t disappointed us during the whole trip. All in all, we drove around 5600 km in both Chile and Argentina, mostly on dirt-roads. A fantastic experience!

Driving north on the Ruta 5 through the Atacama Desert

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Patagonia 2006

We started our three-months journey in Buenos Aires. After getting acquainted with Argentina, we flew to Ushuaia. It is a good idea to plan this flight in advance, because it was fully booked. Ushuaia calls itself the Capital of Antarctica but Puerto Williams on Isla Navarino claims the same. Is this the first token of the rivalry between Chile and Argentina (examples of which we will encounter frequently)? Ushuaia is getting popular, with lots of tourist. Nevertheless, going to the National Park Tierra del Fuego is a good experience with nice hiking. We encountered there the rare Magelhanean woodpecker.

View on the Dientes mountain range

After some days in Ushuaia we made the semi-legal boat trip to Puerto Navarino, a small navy basis on Isla Navarino. A small bus took us to Puerto Williams, where we started our hike to the Dientes Mountain Range after having eaten a home-made pie in the local restaurant. The trail into the mountains was very wet, and after a day ploughing through the mud, we tried for two hours to find a spot to camp. We put up our tent and fell asleep. In the middle of the night it started snowing. This meant that the following day, the trail was even more muddy! We decided to go back, since there was no way to cross the rivers and go across high passes with the snow. Back in Puerto Williams we met with other people sharing the same experience; they also went back earlier. After having spent a few days in Puerto Williams, enjoying the cooking of grandma in the local restaurant, we went back to Ushuaia. We had to wait there a few days for the next bus to El Chalten, and we spent the time by making short (hiking) trips in the neighborhood. Continue Reading…

Spanish Pyrenees 2003

After having hiked in the Pyrenees for the first time carrying full gear a few years ago with experienced friends, we did our first trekking with the two of us in 2003. Often when we go hiking in the Pyrenees, we take the highspeed train to Paris, and from there the nighttrain to the south of France. In this case our destination was Ax-les-Thermes where we did some shopping, before going one stop further to Merens-les-Vals, where we started our trip.

Map with first part of trekking

The first day is always difficult, having to get used to walking in this type of terrain, the heavy backpacks and the climbing to gain altitude. Our first camp site we aimed for was the refuge Rulhe. Upon arrival, we put up our tent and went into the refuge, where our evening meal consisted of a bottle of coke, and some potato chips. Too exhausted to do anything else than listen to a not so funny hut warden (although he thought differently) teaching a class of school kids about the mountains. Weather was really great and we continued into Andorra, picking up freshly painted trail signs from the cabana Sorda in Andorra. Continue Reading…