I am spending the first 11 days of 2011 in South America. Buenos Aires for New Year's, then Iguazu Falls, wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina and finishing up in Santiago, Chile. However, this is the "non-active" part of my vacation, which started with a backpacking trek in Patagonia. I didn't think it was fair to be 11 days behind in the 2011 in 2011 Challenge due to a vacation that actually included a lot of exercise, so I am going to count my trek, even if it technically happened in the end of 2010.
The trek itself was a circuit around Torres Del Paine National Park that took 8 days and covered roughly 70 miles. The net elevation (highest point - lowest point) is nearly 4000ft, but if you include all the ups and downs in between it's something like 15,000 ft up and down.
It is among the most hard core things I have ever done. It was pretty tough physically -- especially the day which crossed Paso John Gardner, the highest point on the trek -- but what made it even more awesome was the feeling that it was just you against the wind and the mountain. I hiked with my friend Alyssa, and we met another girl named Lisa, so I wasn't completely alone, but we were more or less fending for ourselves -- no tour guide to watch out for us.
We hiked between 4 and 7 hours a day -- usually between 10 and 20 km. Our packs weighed about 25 pounds, and the trek often included climbing over rocks or crossing through streams. By the end I felt a little like superwomen -- my legs were made of steel. I'm hoping those muscles are still around by the time I get home -- I'm going to need them if 2011 in 2011 is going to become a reality!!
Current km count: 113.5