mapping my hikes & bike trips

For summer 2019 I’ll use the Relive app.

It generates Google Earth videos with the photos you too included.

Here’s an example from the FREE version of the software.

The free version adds a maximum of 10 photos. For up to 50 photos you must join the CLUB which costs US $60 / year.

Mapping works in conjunction with Strava, Runtastic, Endomondo, Garmin Connect, Suunto, Apple Health (Watch), MapMyRun, MapMyWalk, MapMyRide, MapMyHike and Polar Flow.

I might be using the free version of Strava. Otherwise I’ll use Apple Health.


my GoPro Hero 7 Black set-up

As of May 2019.

I tried and gave up on drones.

I tried and gave up on gimbals.

GoPro works for me. Small. Tough. Durable. Waterproof.

For BikePacking travel I’ll be carrying:

  • two tripod(s) … one a selfie stick
  • Bike handlebar mount
  • Bike helmet mount


  • aspect ratio 16:9 (not 4:3)
  • cool kids like me use 4K/60fps 

Click PLAY or watch a 4K sample on YouTube.

  • zoom is digital — so I won’t often use it
  • HyperSmooth (new video stabilization)
  • Protune is ON
  • once on a trip I’ll turn on QuikCapture (video with one click)
  • time clips (15 or 30 seconds) are useful
  • TimeWarp

For reasons unknown, GoPro stopped supporting their Apple Watch app. I use my watch a lot for iPhone, but will have to use voice control rather than my watch for the GoPro. (There is a 3rd party app called EasyBlack 7 that I might try.)

Click PLAY or watch a sample of Slow Mo on YouTube.


Typically I delete audio replacing it with some soundtrack.

On my last trip I tried using the audio. That can be tricky as the GoPro is not great at audio. It’s not easy to edit audio.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Time Lapse (Hyperlapse) mode

  • I’ll use this occasionally to speed up lengthy videos

Click PLAY or watch a sample on YouTube.


  • SuperPhoto mode
  • photos at 4000×3000 pixels (4×3) default
    • it’s slow, uses a lot of battery, best on tripod
    • I won’t take many photos with the GoPro. The iPhone is better.
  • I won’t use Burst or Continuous photo

This GoPro photo came out as .tiff — huge at 96 MB. When I exported it to .jpg it was still large for web (1280 x 960) at 735 KB. It’s not been edited.

click for larger version

cycling Horne lakes to Port Alberni

For years I’d heard it was possible.

For years I’d heard those roads were blocked. And there are signs on the roads heading west from Horne Lakes Caves saying there is NO through road to Alberni.

Happily, on the gravel road I bumped into a cyclist coming the opposite direction who had just ridden from Port Alberni. He told me it was pretty easy on a bike. The roads are blocked for motor vehicles.

This is logging country. Seems to me the wood left behind is an extreme fire hazard.

I’d originally been headed up trying to find hiking trails near Cherry Creek.

Instead, I decided to wild camp at a lovely spot beside Lacy Lake.

I had trouble keeping my eyes open ’til dark.

Up early with the sun. Enjoyed several mugs of coffee.

This trip was a gear test for longer BikePacking trips. And my system was NOT perfect.

There are many ways to get to Port Alberni. The advice I got was to go as direct as possible. I took this rough trail.

That worked. But it would have been better on a mountain bike than my hybrid.

I came out close to the Motocross Track.

From there on to the lovely Log Train Trail into town.

After a stop at Tim Horton’s I decided to cycle the highway back to my parent’s place in Parksville. It’s busy. Many trucks. But there is a fairly wide shoulder.

The highlight was a stop at Cathedral Grove.


planning my Pacific NW bikepacking tour

Brainstorming stage at this point.

Most likely start in June and finish early August.

I want to hit as much of the planned Great American Rail-Trail as possible.

Originally I’d planned to start on the Cowichan Valley Trail. But it turns out I need to work in Vancouver before departure so I’m now headed first to Galiano Island.

1. Vancouver to Galiano Island

2. Islands to Port Townsend WA

I’ll make it up as I go along. Looking for the most scenic route via Canada’s Gulf Islands and the American San Juan Islands.

3. Port Townsend WA to Rattlesnake Lake WA

Sidetrip down the Mt Baker Highway (542) for hiking.

4. Rattlesnake Lake WA to Tekoa WA on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

5. Plummer ID to Mulan ID on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Sidetrip to Stevens Peak ID

From there … I’m not sure.

Perhaps Montana.

Whitefish and West Glacier?

North to Castlegar.

Eventually I’d like to loop back via the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail.

Hope to Vancouver.

Vancouver to Parksville.

CHILE to ARGENTINA the hard way

Once in Villa O’Higgins, Chile you have two choices for continuing south to Fitz Roy National Park in Argentina.

You can backtrack and drive 19h 43min (1,072.4 km) or …
continue by ferry and on foot.

This must be one of the wildest (legal) border crossings on earth.

I knew it was complicated and often fraught with complications. (e.g. Ferry doesn’t go due to too much wind.)

I knew it took 1-3 days … depending. 🙄

So I figured I’d best do it the easiest way possible —> signing on with the expensive Robinson Crusoe tour company.

I paid them C$160 and figured they’d get me across in 1 day. … And stopped worrying.
That was a mistake. 😕

We left Robinson Crusoe lodge at 8am for the short mini-bus ride to the first ferry. There were more cyclists than passengers on foot.

Boarding was confusing. There were two companies. And Robinson Crusoe had two different boats.

I was NOT welcomed on the nicer one.

Turned out the nice one does a side tour to a glacier. If you pay extra for it you can’t make the crossing in 1 day.

My boat was smaller and rougher. Though faster.

Once across to no man’s land, you check out of Chile.

This was to be our biggest problem. A very diligent border guard was SUPER slow processing anxious travelers. I was there nearly 2 hours.

Once stamped out of Chile you have to walk 22km to the border post for Argentina.

As I paid good money it was ASSumed that my tour company would somehow shuttle me that distance.


I walked like everyone else. It took me about 5 hours and I only made the second ferry with 30 minutes to spare. (I did send my backpack on a vehicle for 15km. That cost an extra C$10.)

It involves a climb of 700m.

Worried that we wouldn’t make it on time, our spirits were greatly cheered when we got our first glimpse of the famed Fitz Roy peaks in the distance.


15 years ago I’d been there and not seen even the base of these mountains. It’s an infamously horrific microclimate.

Clouds rolled in and out over the afternoon, but this is still one of the very best vantage points.

Turns out most people plan to camp at the second ferry landing in any case. And catch the boat next day. That way they are not rushed.

Some — including Sam from Calgary who I hiked with — tent here and then hike out along the lake next day to save money. (In fact 3 Calgarians met up on the trail this day!)

We were worried about an 81-year-old man from France. He almost made it.

Instead, someone loaned him a tent so he and his wife could camp.

Myself and the very widely traveled cyclist in this photo did get on the boat. He and his girlfriend had cycled London to Hong Kong before heading to South America on this trip. They had the smallest gear I’d seen over the past weeks.

There were good views on to glaciers from the second ferry.

The lakeside trail looked pretty tough to me. There won’t be a road put in here … ever.

I fell asleep on the mini-bus ride to town. This was a non-stop 12 hour travel day.

Still, I was thrilled to return to El Chaltén, one of my top 10 hiking towns in the world.

Chaltén’s changed a LOT since I was here 15 years ago. Back then it was a sleepy little dead end town. Now it’s party central on the backpacker circuit. My hostel has a restaurant open 24 hours a day!

Here’s the whole trip.

related – Stingy Nomads trip report