A Travellerspoint blog

our own private Yosemite

I dont want to tell you where, Chile

sunny 60 °F

coch21.jpgcoch29.jpgSometimes while in Yosemite I wish that none of the infrastructure was there. No roads, no garbage trucks echoing through the valley, no tourists with pizza slices, etcetera, etcetra. In essence, what if I me and my friends were the only people around for miles.

coch25.jpg Well we got a taste of what that would be like because it happened to us. The rumours of a valley flanked on all sides by towering granite walls was enough to peak our interest, so we set out for what is known as the Yosemite of Chile. It is relatively close to civilization, and we found out that once the bus drops you off its a 6 hour hike in. "6 hours? must be pretty far in", I thought. Turns out the time is due to the fact that the trail is a sloppy, wet, muddy mess. Most of the hike in is through dense temperate rain forest that doesnt allow for the sun to dry much out. So for several hours it is an obstacle course of avoiding mud. Balancing across a log. coch30.jpgHopping from a stone to a semi submerged branch, not knowing which may just sink under our weight, that sort of thing. The reward however was incredible as the dense trees and mud give way to open sections of fields and views of clean, gigantic granite domes.

In actuality the valley isnt completly unpopulated.It is actively used to raise a few cows, and aside from the occasional seemingly deserted cabin and an awareness that somebody is around somewhere, we felt very isolated.
coch27.jpg coch09.jpgWe set up camp in the middle of a lush green pasture and proceeded to do a bit of exploring. A river runs right down the middle of the valley with others feeding in from adjacent side valleys. Walking a little ways up one of these we found a waterfall that would make a Vegas casino designer envious. Multi tiers of granite overflowing onto a smooth apron into a turqouise pool thta belongs somewhere in the tropics, but not here! The water is So clean and pure you cant resist pushing your face in for a drink.
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Next day we set out on the 2.5 hour trail up to the base of one of the granite domes. And when I say up I mean UP! the entire time is a steep often bushwhacking experience. Some of the steeper, muddier sections have permanent ropes left from climbers accessing the area. The trail often disappears and is only found by bits of orange plastic tied to the occasional branch.
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Once at the base there are obvious sites where climbers camp for several days during the climbing season as going up and down the trail daily is pretty much out of the question. From here we accessed the gully between two domes in an effort to gain one of the summits. After an hour of more straight up crumbly scrambling we were faced with some dicey moves to get on the very top. Going up might not be so bad, bud coming back down was certainly dangerous. We decided as painful as it was, it wasnt worth the risk. Knowing if there was an injury out there, even if one of us was able, it would be a couple days before someone was found to even ask for help let alone access the place to evacuate the injured.

Anyway, it was totally killer! but thoughts of returning to climb are tempered by the effort just to get in and touch the rock.

here is a link to the video

Posted by retomer 18:11 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking

A word about dogs

no spca here

rain

I just have to talk about the dogs down here in South America. They are everywhere on the streets. At home it is actually a little suprising to see a dog running loose with no master anywhere in sight. Here they run in gangs like something out of Oliver Twist.

They hang out on corners and run into the streets barking and chasing cars. Returning to the curb for a breather to do it all over again.

2-3 am we are woken up by the sound of at least 20 dogs running together barking, setting of a chain reaction of barking from all those other dogs locked in a yard. They are obviously flaunting their freedom. This goes on for hours at a time.

We learned real quick not to pull a bit of food out on the street. We now know that dog eyes are scanning everybit of sidewalk for just an opportunity. Once they are aware of you and your snack, you might as well just give it to them, or eat it in one huge bite.

The real horror of it all are the ones that are clearly suffering from mange and mutilating injuries from car chasing.
I want to have pity on them but it is usually over ridden by the fact that I really dont want a dog with open, bleeding sores to be anywhere near me. In fact my pity is more along the lines of "someone should just kill these dogs and put them out of their misery".

Posted by retomer 11:30 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking

Fjords, Fun and lots of Food

Excursion cruise to Cape Horn, Chile

all seasons in one day

Well we thought we couldn't go further south than Ushuaia, Argetnina - but we did! Walking down the main street in Ushuaia the sign for the end of the season discount tickets on a 'luxury' expedition cruise coaxed me into the travel agency. After a night drooling over the glossy pamphlets and dreaming of all you can eat cruise buffets, we secured our cabin with a very friendly guy who gave us a cabin upgrade. We soon boarded the Mare Australis with 100 others on an adventure to Cape Horn, gorgeous fjords and one rough channel crossing.

The beds had the most comfortable sheets and pillows, and the cabin window was quite large so we could watch the ships progress through fjords and channels and around islands. The zodiacs expeditions were exciting and often wet, though worth the early morning starts. The food...well, suffice it to say we gorged - gourmet cuisine (lots of perfectly prepared wonder beef and tables of lovely fruit and enough desserts to even satisfy me.

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Posted by retomer 10:37 Archived in Chile Tagged tourist_sites

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