Heeeello you sexy readers! How are you? Let's hitchhike to Villa Cerro Castillo in Chile, part two.
This is the continuation of the last post about my stay in Villa Cerro Castillo in Chile, a beautiful place that I carry a lot of appreciation and respect for. It also brings memories of me shouting to the mountain for difficulting my life while I was feeling miserable with a strong headache, but this is the part of the story you'll only discover reading. Hah!
If you'd like to check part one, the link is down below.
On that part 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, an idea that will have its consequences on this post. 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. Wine... lots of wine. Drinking so much the night before a tough trail was not the wisest idea I've had in this life; it'll possibly not be the last bad idea, but I'll make sure to find a better timing next time.
On that fateful morning I could barely open my eyes, the least amount of light would split my head into two and I could hear my brain pulsating for mercy - if you ever had a wine hangover, you possibly know what I mean. I believe the group was also feeling like crap that day, justifying our late departure.
Waking up felt like going to war, simple tasks like packing all the gear inside the backpack required all the strength left on my body, which was not much I'm afraid. The freezing water to the face helped a lot restoring the spirit, but the spirit doesn't carry a 15+ kilograms backpack. The first steps outside of our hidden camp were not easy, I could see the effort on my mates faces as well. But we made it.
That day we had planed to do the trek from Vill Cerro Castillo to the camping Los Porteadores, which represented a 10-15 km walk up the an elevation of 875 m. Not a really difficult task for those who are not suffering from a ferocious headache or if you know where you are going.
The small paper map had general directions, altitudes and distances but it didn't tell details of exactly where to enter, nor there were signs to point. We must've walked for one hour on a dirt road until we decided to ask a farmer.
- Ola, senhor! We're looking to the trail that goes to Los Porteadores, any directions? - I asked.
- Oh si, si. Cross that fence, you'll pass amidst some cows pasture field, you'll contour the mountain, then it goes up. - The farmer said.
Simple it seemed, if it wasn't by the fact that the sun was pouring hot for Patagonian standards, we continued our walk of shame still dizzy from the wine party.
- Dudes, it's strange, this thing is not going up. - Louis said.
- Indeed, we've been following the river bed for almost an hour... - I said.
- Let's keep on going and we see... - Juiliet said.
And so we did, a few more meters the river took a right turn sinalizing a good sign, as it was turning towards the mountains. The trail became a small slope, the slope turned into a uphill and the uphill showed us that we'd need to give our soul if we wanted to get up there. Sweat pouring out of my body, backpacks feeling heavier, head exploding. To our right an uphill wall, to the left a ravie full of trees and rocks, on the bottom the river with its icy cold waters and waterfalls. One slip there and it was all gone, dead, caput.
- Guys, steady! Don't freakin miss a step - I said from the back of the line.
The trail led to a crossroad. Going right of it seemed to be a nearly vertical uphill in between rocks and roots, impossible to climb without slipping. Going forward we'd need to go over some fallen trees in an even narrower trail.
- I think it's forward, yes, yes. it's forward, fucking trail though! fucking mountain too! - The fast talking Isi said.
- Let's go forward then... - I said.
We went over the fallen trees, it was hard to pass in between the big roots with such a loose terrain, but we kept on going. After fearing for our lifes a couple times, another crossroad, another decision. Same situation, right to a steep climb or forward to an even worse trail.
- Hey! I'll go up this time, without my equipment, you stay here. - I proposed.
I was leaning on a tree trying not to fall on the valley down bellow when I undressed my front backpack, then the big backpack.... when...
- FUCK, HOLD!!!! - Isi shouted.
My smaller backpack had rolled down the mountain hitting two treets, stopping on the third, one little shake there and it would be gone with my camera and other important stuff inside.
- Quick, hold my arm, HOLD MY ARM! - I said nervously.
Isi anchored herself to a tree while I was holding hands with her so I could go down the ravine, streching myself to the maximum to reach my backpack. Streeeeetch.
- GOOD, PUUUUULL, NOW! - I shouted.
Louis pulled Isi so I could get back to the trail, my backpack was safe again and my heart pulsating ferociously. What a terrifying moment. My adrenaline was so high what I climbed that terrible piece of trail as fast as I could, I was angry for being so miserable amidst that freaking forest.
- Why don't they fu**ing build the trails? Why don't they mark them properly? Bastards! - I was thinking.
One last push and I found a flat land, right in front of me the right trail; we had been on the wrong path the whole time. So stupid.
- Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! The trail is heeeeeeeerrreeeeee! - I shouted from up there.
They didn't hear. I went all the way down slipping on the dark soil, I was happy, the trail was there!
- And? - Isi asked.
- The trail is up there!! Let's go. - I said.
By helping each other we managed to bring all the backpacks up without killing ourselves, how great it was to lay on the flat land and just relax for a moment. It felt incredible to be on firm soil again, without a valley sucking us to death, a horrible death. Unfortunatelly, photos of the trail could not be taken, otherwise I wouldn't be here writing this story today. However, I have some pictures of the flat lands on top of hell.
Beautiful view after suffering.
After this we went even more up.
From there on the trails were marked, to be honest I think they were marked from the beginning, it's just that we lost it somewhere. It was a constant uphill following forests and rocks, wild animals and birds, the river noise, the sun.
It was hot and at some point moral started to decay, for how long have we walked? It could've been hours. We were hungry and desperate to cook something, even Isi was silent , she was generally the one speaking. The funny fact is that her backpack was almost her size, a gigantic and fully loaded pack weighing nearly 20 kg; until this day I don't how why she needed so much stuff, but she always had what we needed, even if it was the most bizarre item. Although it was funny for us, it was clearly frustrating for her, as time passed and the camping site could not be seen.
- Fuuuuuuuu** this mountain! I can't keep up anymore, this fu**ing camping site doesn't appear. - She shouted.
- Chill, sit, drink water, regain your breath. - Louis advised.
- You guys can go, I'll be here resting longer... don't worry... - She said.
- Ok, I can stay too just so you don't go alone later. - I said.
Our friends Louis and Juliet continued meanwhile Isi and I remained there, we were tired of course, but with a little more effort I'm sure she would continue, we remained in silence for some minutes.
- Dudes, why taking so long? - Louis said while approaching us without his equipment.
- Wtf?!? Why did you come back? - I asked.
- The camp is right down here, 10 minutes walk... hahahahahaha... - He laughed.
We couldn't believe how happy it was to know that the camping site was just 10 minutes away, we grabbed our packs and rushed down the mountain, crossed the river. Relief!
Los Porteadores camping site in Cerro Castillo.
Happiness after concluding the first part of this trek.
Time to place the tents and eat like wild animals after hibernation.
On the same day we walked unpacked to the next camping site, but that represents another adventure that I'll tell on the next episode, or this post will be massively big.
To be continued...
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~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.