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Bek’s favorite place to date! It took us a full day of hitching just to get to the trail head from whence we could start the five day trek. From Coyhaique we needed five rides, two from Coyhaique to Villa Cerro Castillo (100km) where we dumped some of our excess baggage and a further three rides to get back 25km to where the trek started. A bit of a complicated day, but we got there in the end – thanks to all the people who picked up two random hitch-hikers.

The first 2 days were mostly trekking through an estancia (ranch) to actually reach the national park. We encountered only 3 people those first 3 days. The first was a park ranger who had spent 3 years in the US working on ranches in Fresno CA, Colorado, and Wyoming. The other two were hikers doing the trek in the opposite direction; they were also accompanied by a cute little dog. This dog allegedly followed a cyclist from Ushuaia all the way up to Cerro Castillo and the cyclist had somewhat adopted him and gave him a bandana and fed him. When these trekkers met the cyclist, the dog decided to join them instead and ditched the cyclist. Unfortunately the dog then decided to join us. Up and over the same steep & snowy pass and down a dodgy (doggy?) descent that it had just completed. It was a long day for us, longer for pooch!

The following day the dog stuck with us for an hour or two, then ditched us!!!! Kinda floored us after the hospitality that we had extended to it. Fed him from our meager rations, let him sleep under the fly of our tent, cleaned the burrs from his fur, and then he ditched us? The third day of the hike was the most magnificent. We spent the day trekking in the shadow of ragged peaks cloaked in glaciers. There were at least 4 different glaciers we saw that day; each one precariously perched on to the sides of these intimidating peaks. Waterfalls gushing & forming gorgeous lakes and ponds. The main peak, Cerro Castillo had a huge hanging glacier and protected an intense blue-green lake. It was magnificent. From the lake we hiked up the opposing mountainside to enjoy a wonderful view of Cerro Castillo and its lake and glaciers, and the river valley on the other side. Words can’t describe the solitude and beauty of this place. We had a very steep descent through loose rocks then down a very very dusty path to the river and our next campsite. Two more days of trekking brought us back to Villa Cerro Castillo and some very welcome and much needed hot showers. It was with quite a bit of reluctance that we left this beautiful locale behind us. It was only the promise of future adventures that lured us forward. Otherwise we may have done the entire trek over!!


 


Tammy
03/01/2013 9:41am

That is where I need to go! Peace and Solitude, yes please!!

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