Tag Archives: hiking

We’re going to South America!!

So I’ve been keeping a secret for the past little while but now that I’ve finally put in my notice at work I have some exciting news! We’re going to South America!!

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Mount Fitzroy, Patagonia. One of the hikes we have planned for while we are there. They say Patagonia is a real life Narnia. I can’t wait to see it in person! Photo credit: http://www.tcktcktck.org

Like the hippies at heart we are we both quit our jobs and are going backpacking again! This time with a proper backpack instead of a giant suitcase on my part.. As you can tell I am extremely excited! I’m also super excited about what we’re going to learn down there. We first heard of the wwoof organization (Willing Workers On Organic Farms or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) while in Australia 3 years ago. We actually just stumbled upon a membership book on the free bookshelf at our hostel and thought it was the coolest thing ever. We contacted a couple farms nearby and heard back from one with a kangaroo petting farm and eco-tourism style venue where they held parties and weddings and hummer tours through the rainforest. I know a hummer is not the most eco-friendly vehicle but it was pretty cool nonetheless. We had planned on wwoofing again while we were there but sudden flooding in the area forced our plans to change as the farms we contacted were now housing their neighbours.. It also cut off our route south so we stayed put at another farm planting watermelons and pruning mango trees.

Anyways before I get too side-tracked reminiscing.. This time around we knew we wanted to learn as much as possible about sustainable living and what better way than get some hands on experience in a place we can’t wait to visit.  Many of the organic farms are almost completely self-sufficient with water collection units, solar panels, woodstoves, and yes even composting toilets. Not only do they grow all their own food including animal husbandry for meat or wool they try to use their own water, heat, and energy sources. I’m hoping that after spending a few months living like that we will pick up on enough tips and tricks to put it in action back home.

If you haven’t heard of WWOOF I suggest checking them out. It’s an international organization with branches in many countries and probably has some farms enrolled close by to learn from if you don’t feel like traveling. Another awesome thing about the organization is that the only fee is your membership unlike some eco-tourism trips where you end up paying thousands of dollars just to go volunteer with them. In exchange for a few hours work a day (normally 4 or 5 with a day or two off a week depending on the farm) you get free accommodation and food. It’s really a perfect way to travel the world, learn about their culture, and for us hopefully learn some Spanish as well! We’re landing in Patagonia and will be working our way up Chile, then hopefully heading over to Argentina, Brazil and back through Bolivia and ending our trip in Peru or back in northern Chile. We’re hoping to do lots of hiking while we’re there as well. So far we’ve planned two hikes in Patagonia. The Torres del Paine “W” circuit in Chile and another 4-5 day one to Mount Fitzroy, Argentina. Maybe a little ambitious after only ever completing a 3-day hike lol.

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Stunning photo from the Torres del Paine hike in Patagonia! Photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

I’ll try to blog as often as possible while we’re there and share what I’m learning and probably a million pictures of cute animals since we’re both big animal lovers. Anyways that’s all for now! Hope any of you in the US are having a wonderful thanksgiving!

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From an article on wwoofing in Chile. Photo credit: http://www.oneearth.org

We survived! Details of our first 3 day hike!

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So happy we made it to the top!

We survived our first of hopefully many more long distance hiking trips! I had an unreal time. It was hard, especially the very steep parts, but so worth it. The first day was mostly uphill through forested trails but towards the end of the day the trail opened up into a huge meadow full of marmots. One which we didn’t notice until we were almost on top of it just sat there eating tubers less than 5 ft away not scared of us at all. Our first campsite was in a treed in area in the middle of the meadow. The campsites were really cool, winding trails led through tent pads from the picnic table/food area to the food storage area and also an outdoor toilet with one heck of a view.

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Day 1

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Mr. Marmot

The second day we started off through another meadow going up even further into the mountains. Then we hiked across the side of a sandy/rocky range and up to a glacial lake which was the most beautiful shades of green/blue and incredibly clear. I wanted to dive in so badly! After that was an intense climb up over the mountain top behind the lake. It was like being on a Stairmaster for an hour straight after already hiking uphill for 3 hours that day. We took a lot of breaks.. The view from the top was just amazing and it only got better as the day went on. We stopped to take a short video at the highest point of our hike. It was super windy at the top. At one point we could lean almost all the way into the wind and have it keep you standing upright.

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A cool boulder patch we went through.

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Amazing view..

Then the trail continued across the mountain range and finally, near the end of the day, headed down to the campsites back below the tree line. We set up our tents and went to have some dinner with a Belgian couple we had met the day before. The final day was mostly a downhill trek back down the mountain and to the parking lot where our car was waiting having taken the shuttle up to the start of the hike. We lucked out with weather and had beautiful sunny days the entire trip. I honestly could not have asked for a better first 3 day hiking trip. I can’t wait to do it again. I figured I would include a list of the food we brought with us. I was considering trying to do the hike solely on plant based foods but I caved and brought some cheese.

Food for both of us for 3 days:

  • 2 wholegrain bagels and 2 wholegrain and berry bagels
  • sliced sharp cheddar cheese
  • cherry tomatoes
  • trail mix
  • freeze-dried primavera pasta
  • wild grain rice with a can of vegetable soup (transferred to a Ziploc baggie) and croutons
  • Oatmeal mixed with brown sugar and dried cranberries
  • Blueberry granola with powdered milk (Shadoe’s breakfast)
  • 2 dark chocolate bars and an eatmore bar

We could have done with a little bit more food. The primavera pasta we thought would have been enough for us both but turns out it was a single serving. Otherwise, a very good menu for our first trip and most importantly 100% vegetarian! Next time with a little more planning I think I could make it entirely plant based by subbing in some homemade vegan cheese. I just ordered “Artisan Vegan Cheese” by Miyoko Schinner off amazon and I’m very excited for it to arrive! I also ordered 5lbs of pickling cucumbers and 40lbs of canning tomatoes plus dill and basil from our organic food box so adventures in preserving should be starting right away. I’ll keep you updated =D.

Adventure time! Planning my first 3 day hike!

It’s been my goal for the summer to complete a multi-day hike and since the summer is almost over I figured I had better get my butt in gear and just do it. I’ve gone on an overnight hike once before and it was awesome, definitely something I’d like to do more often. We made our own trail up a mountain in the Yukon then camped out just below the summit. It’s such an amazing feeling to work so hard and then reach the top and be able to just relax and take it all in.

After reading “Wild” By Cheryl Strayed at the beginning of the summer I became hooked on the idea of doing a long distance hike but I figured I had better test out the waters by doing a 2-3 day hike first. Luckily we live pretty close to some amazing hiking territory. After looking up a few hikes and getting some recommendations we decided on the Skyline Trail in Jasper, AB. It’s a 44Km hike of which 25 kilometers are above the tree line. I’m a little nervous having only done much shorter distances in the past but I’m always up for an adventure! I’ve been reading nonstop on what to pack, how to pack and how to reduce weight in your bag. We have almost everything we need already but I’ve been debating splurging on a new lightweight sleeping bag. I’m almost always cold when we go camping so lately I’ve been using a super thick sleeping bag but it’s not something I want to drag up a mountain. Especially when I just found a warmer, more compact bag that weighs at least half the weight and would take up half the space.. Problem is I already have to purchase a sleeping pad a a few other things and I want to invest in quality gear. This is definitely where kijiji comes in handy. So far I’ve found a sleeping pad for $40 instead of $70 at the store and sleeping bags for much less than in store. Unfortunately all the sleeping bags for sale are larger than what I’m looking for so that might be one thing I need to buy new. I wish I had planned a little more in advance and spent more time looking online for used ones. There has got to be lots of second hand bags in great condition as it seems everyone just buys new everything nowadays. Just where/how to find them… Worst case scenario I just end up hauling my huge sleeping bag around for a couple days, better than being cold!  

Now to reserve our spots on the trail and spend the next week gathering supplies. Oh and try to and get as many runs in as possible. I’ve kind of been slacking in the running department since getting sick last month and a little worried my legs won’t be up to all the uphill climbing. Yet excitement is definitely overcoming the nervousness as I hope this is the start to many more hiking adventures for Shadoe and I.

10 days and counting! 

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Hiking in the Yukon!