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I’ve enjoyed hiking and walking all of my life. One of my most memorable treks was the Inca Trail in Peru. Hard to believe it’s been 25 years since my brother and I did that walk, and I’m glad I did it then because my worn knees would not be up to the task today.
The hike lasted four days and wound its way up and down and across the Andes, starting in a desert climate and ending in a cloud forest. Our highest altitude was 4200 m (13,800 ft), a level at which it’s quite cool even when so close to the equator.
The trail has a lot of ups and downs, and it’s hard work as the pitch is so …
One of the most memorable places I’ve visited was the Khumbu region of Nepal, home of the friendly Sherpa people. The main town in this region is Namche Bazaar. It is not an easy place to get to. You don’t just drop by. Most people fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, where they start a one to two day trek to Namche Bazaar (depending on how fast you go). This is the route those going to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal take, gradually acclimatizing as they ascend.
There are no roads here so all goods are brought to Namche Bazaar either on the backs of human porters or beasts of burden, large cattle at this altitude, yaks at higher …
Our next stop in Patagonia is the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina. This town rests in the rain shadow of the massive spires of the Patagonian Andes and is a dry, windy and cool place.
The region around El Chaltén is part of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is very remote. It is usually reached by taking the bus or driving from El Calafate some 220 km to the south, El Calafate itself a remote town which we’ve previously discussed here.
The town resides in a glaciated valley adjoining the Rio de las Vueltas. The most dramatic aspect of El Chaltén is the beautiful mountains that frame it to the west, including the amazingly steep and narrow spire …
I’ve had some gut-wrenching plane landings (and take-offs) in my days. The first as a young medical student flying with a bush pilot to remote First Nation (American Indian) villages in Western Ontario. The plane was outfitted with large skis so that it could land and take off from frozen lakes or rivers. Unfortunately we were traveling at the time of the spring thaw and the ice was starting to melt. Landing on the puddle dotted ice was bad enough, but the feeling of the plane trying to accelerate as it kept dropping down and breaking into the soft ice still gives me nightmares as I thought we were done for (thought the pilot wasn’t phased in any way and …