01 Torres del Paine (Chile)

A dramatic orography of black granite peaks and towers shapes Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Declared a biosphere reserve in 1978, it occupies an area of 242,000 hectares around the Paine mountain range and is the habitat of species such as guanacos, rheas, foxes, condors, armadillos, and pumas. Inside the park, there are hundreds of kilometers of marked trails. The longest circuit is the one that completely surrounds the mountainous massif following the course of the Paine River and then continues along the Grey River to the park administration offices among ñires forests, peat bogs, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. The path runs first through the middle of the mountain and then up to 1,350 meters. The route, of medium-high difficulty, can be completed between seven and ten days of walking. Camping possibilities range from shelters such as Lake Dickinson, which has hot showers, electricity and the possibility of eating hot meals, to a simple meadow where to plant the tent.

02 Andean Footprint (Argentina)

Argentina’s first Grand Tour trail is a signposted route of more than 500 kilometers between Neuquén and Chubut that crosses five national parks. In total, 24 stages, between seven and 21 kilometers long, detailed in a guide that can be downloaded from the Internet.

03 Cordillera Blanca (Peru)

The perfect pyramid of the Alpamayo (6,120 meters) and the snow-capped summit of Huascarán (6,768 meters), in the Cordillera Blanca (Peru), join 23 other peaks of more than 5,000 meters to draw some of the most spectacular landscapes of the Andes. Huaraz, a town at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters, is the base of the treks and expeditions in the area: Veneras y calabazas, two symbols of the Camino de Santiago, in a village in Leon on the Jacobean route.

04 A way of St. James and Silver Route (Spain)

Following the trail of the stars of the Milky Way, pilgrims and travellers from the confines of Europe have travelled for centuries to the end of the known world, Finisterre, in the Galician Costa da Morte (Spain), in search of the tomb of the apostle James or, according to some, the tomb of the sun in the sea of the dead. Nearly 450 kilometers -more than half of its route in Spain along the French Way, the most frequented route, runs through Castile and Leon (the section I have traveled), where the Jacobean route threads some of its most suggestive stages as it passes through the provinces of Burgos, Palencia, and León. Magic spaces, such as the monastery of San Juan de Ortega, in Burgos, where twice a year, coinciding with the spring and autumn equinoxes, a beam of light penetrates the interior of the church to illuminate the Romanesque capital of the Annunciation; or like the Iron Cross, in the mountains of the north of León, a place where, for centuries, pilgrims on their way to Compostela have placed a stone before entering the places of the Bierzo. As it passed through the community, the Way has left behind landmarks of medieval and Renaissance art, such as San Martín de Frómista (Palencia), the Mudejar churches of Sahagún (León), the hostel of San Marcos de León and the Romanesque frescoes of the collegiate church of San Isidoro, also in the capital of León.

Roman bridge in the parish of Furelos, Melide (A Coruña, Galicia)

The other great route of communication that crosses, from south to north, the Peninsula, the Via de la Plata, has its origin in the Roman road that linked Emérita Augusta, the current Merida, with Asturica Augusta, Astorga. The Vía de la Plata enters Castile through the mountains of Béjar, to enter the pastureland of Salamanca and Zamora and Salamanca towards the region of La Maragatería, in León, where it joins the Camino de Santiago. The Roman imprint follows along the roadway, where paved sections of the original pavement and numerous milestones, carved stone columns with inscriptions that allude to the emperor and the distance of the route are preserved.

Wading a river in Kings Canyon, one of the National Parks that crosses the Pacific Massif Trail

05 Pacific Crest Trail (United States)

I already told you about it in my previous post, following the publication of the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, which today serves as a hanger for me. A route that runs through the United States from the Mojave Desert on the border with Mexico to Canada, through the mountain ranges of the western coast of the United States.

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