Heeeello you sexy readers! How are you? Let's hitchhike to Villa Cerro Castillo in Chile, the Final Part.
Righty dear readers, after a small pause let's go back to our adventure in Villa Cerro Castillo, Chile. On this episode I'll let the pictures speak for me, they are not master pieces of photography, but you'll get the idea. What really happens you'll only discover reading though. Hah!
If you'd like to check the previous parts, links are down below.
On part one we crossed the General Carrera lake on a ferry and hitchhiked in the rear box of a truck to Villa Cerro Castilo. There I sold some power bars to tourists to gather some extra money, we also slept on the city outskirts with a beautiful view of the river and peaks. Later I met Isidora, a fast talking and hyperactive travel friend; we all drank liters of wine the day before climbing the trails, a terrible idea. On part 2 we finally started the trek up the mountains, a tough ascend where I almost lost my backpack. A lot of suffering that will pay out in this episode. Enjoy.
Click any of the images to enlarge!
Obs.: This story is part of a bigger journey that I plan to tell you one day. Since it would be incredibly long I've decided to release parts of it, featuring the most crazy bits. It'll not follow an order of events, but I'll put it in a way that you can read as parts of a book. Hope you enjoy.
This happened when I was hitchhiking Argentina and Chile in summer 2017. Carrying only the essentials and little money for the journey. I had left Buenos Aires in early January with the main goal to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the Americas. Plan was plain an simple: Work if needed, camp, hitchhike all the way, have loads of fun and let my desire guide the way.
February 4th, 2017. After a tiring and eventful ascend to the Los Porteadores camping site we were finally able to pitch the tents and eat. For lunch, the classic recipe: tuna fish with pasta. To be honest, a delicious meal after walking so much.
I wrote on my diary that day.
We are now in Los Porteadores mountain camping, outstanding forests, very green rembering me of Brazil. We'll leave our tents here and go up some more without the equipment, talk to you later.
I closed my note book and got off my tent when I heard my friends calling me from the outside, it was time for our quick trail to Neozelandes camping site, a 3,5 km uphill walk. This time a pleasing one without extra weight.
With a partially blue sky and a clear trail ahead we started our fast paced trek, Isi, the fast talking chilean friend, was ahead with her single trekking pole. How much easier it was to walk uphill when you don't have equipment on your shoulders! The green forest looked like something out of a fantasy game, animals could be heard on the background, the soil was humid and required firm steps. Up and down, sometimes the tree tops would open up to give a glimpse of what we were about to witness. Sometimes we'd follow the valley on our left, a gigantic cut on the rock made by the river during mileniums.
Cerro Palo on third plan.
We dindn't know what to expect from that exploration, the only information was that the Neozelandes camping site was a meca for rock climbers, and all the way on top there was a blue lake formed from the glacier above. That didn't matter actually, because walking there was already paying out for the previous hours walking below the sun. Isi was ahead when we heard her saying.
- Duuuuudes, check this out! - She said.
We entered amidst the trees and found an open area with a beautiful view and an incredbly green grass.
- Oh man! I would build a cabin and live here for ever! - I said. My friends agreed.
Wouldn't you live here?
Absolutely clean water.
We could've spent the whole day there contemplating and laying on the grass, I could live there forever with only my tent, I would even learn how to climb. Maybe one day, who knows.
Treking after passing the Neozelandes was the tough part of that exploration, steep uphill on loose rocks, jumping from rock to rock trying to be as gentle as a ninja; gladly I was wearing running shoes instead of heavy boots, it makes the feet more sensible against the rocks giving a safer grip. If you are walking in such conditions, always make sure that the rock below you is firm, never put your foot and hands in between rocks, try to walk gently, paying attention if the surface is not moving and always walk with your knees a little bent, helps a lot to keep body balance.
The impressive rock formations.
Going up to Laguna Duff.
The trail started out pretty and easy, then it got steeper and rocky. We kept on going, no signs of the lake. Juliet had given up already and the ascend was getting sketchy, I was feeling that our limits were near and sun light would be gone soon, the lake could still not be seen.
There's this common sense thing that you need to keep in mind in places like this, the thin line between excitment and safety can not be broken, otherwise you'll be in trouble. It's easy to forget about the dangers when you are in such a place, you want to go higher and higher, because the view keeps on getting better, but is it worth it? Are you evaluating the risks?
At some point we had to take a decision.
- Guys... the lake is even higher... do you think it's worth it? we've seen dozens of lakes already... - I said.
- Hmmm, I agree, and I'm tired as well... - Louis said.
- Let's send the drone up there and see if it's worth it. - He continued.
Sending the drone as our eyes was the wisest idea! The small device fought bravely the patagonian winds, but it showed us that the small lake was not worth the risk. Fortunatelly.
We spent some time contemplating the view from up there and quickly went down again; that's the good thing about going up, going down is a hella quickier - just pay attention to where you step.
Back to Los Porteadores we spent the rest of the afternoon goofing around, taking pictures and talking to other backpackers. The vibes on places like that are incredibly positive, nature providing fresh air and water, like minded people sharing experiences. We also did some cooking sessions - Mountain bread, the house specialty.
Our ultimate goal for that ascend was to reach the Laguna Cerro Castillo on the base of the peak Cerro Castillo, at 1600 m. From there we could descend via the alternate trek back to the town. Not a difficult trek technically, but it would require food and energy to go up again with all the equipment, once going from Porteadores to the Laguna it goes up quite a lot.
However, it's not easy to decide what to do in Patagonia, the weather changes everyday not letting you know whether it'll be sunny or not. My food supply was being consumed quickly and I felt like my energies would not last for another ascend. I wanted to get on the road again, to move. Isi was also draining my energy with her non stop talking, a feeling that Louis and Juliet were also having.
The dialogues before going to sleep that day were a combination of decision making and Isi getting upset; Louis, Juliet and I were going back to the city while Isi would go up alone, a sad and strange good-bye to our friend Isi.
February 5th, 2017. Isidora didn't wake up early to give us good luck, so we left a small note expressing the importance of her friendship and saying sorry for leaving her alone. It was time to go back to the city.
The last view.
The Villa Cerro Castillo journey ended with us on the street eating tons of bread with tuna . Gosh, how hungry we were! That happy meal closed our stay in that friendly little town and my plans for now are to go back there and conclude the multi day full trek, hopefully with money this time.
Enjoying bread with tuna.
From Villa Cerro Castillo we hitchhiked up north following the Carretera Austral, one of the most beautiful routes I've ever been.
This Patagonian adventure story is far from the end. If you'd like to know more about Patagonia, drop a comment down below, I love talking to you!
If you liked this post, please, consider leaving your upvote for a hot coffee.
~Love ya all,
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.