Monday, February 8, 2010

Ski Town Hiking

The view of Uspallata from high above
The summit of the wooden cross mountain

Julie hiking up the scree & talus in the 36 degree heat

A great rock to stand on, after the shot I looked down and got scared!

The road in the background that we tried to come into town on...but it was blocked by water apparently.

Feb.6, 2010
We woke up this morning still full from last night's meat extravaganza at El Rancho. Despite this we decided that breakfast would be a good idea since our plan for the day included a long, hot hike up a nearby mountain.
Greg's Argentinan mama (who fixed his coffee for him each morning just the way he liked it) gave us vague directions on how to get to the trail head and insured that we had our sunscreen and lots of water with us. Greg is super paranoid about loosing his wallet and all his money when we go out and do things so he opted to roll up 130 pesos into a ball and shove it into his pocket of his shorts along with the camera instead of bringing his whole wallet in the backpack.
By the time we got to the trail head 2 km's out of town on a dirt road, it was about 10:45am and the sun was already beating down on us with no relief and no clouds in site. We found a single track, dusty beaten path lined with small cactuses and scrub brush in a mostly barren landscape over looking a lush green valley inwhich the town was situated. The accent was moderately steep in places and the meandered to and fro following the contours of the land which Greg invisioned to be great mountain bike trails. We made our way to the top in about an hour and a half, there were no other people in sight for miles. The bluebird sky and snowcapped mountains of the Andes made for spectacular vistas and we sat at the summit for a while to enjoy it. On the very summit there was a wooden cross erected with a pack of Malboro smokes and a tattered (most beloved) baseball cap stuffed among the rocks as an offering.
We took our time decending and found a different way out toward a small farm on the edge of town. After a short through the town's streets we arrived at the helado shop and decided we deserved a couple of strawberry milkshakes. When it came time to pay, Greg reached for his crunched up 130 pesos to pay our 12 peso bill, only to realize that his pocked contained only 2 pesos. I ran back to the hotel to retrieve his wallet so we could pay the bill.
After stressing out for two hours (and drinking a litre of Stella Artois) over the lost 130 pesos, I went back to the hotel for a nap and Greg decided to rent a mountain bike and head back up to Jesus mountain to find his hard earned pesos. It was hotter than 38 degrees and no clouds in sight when he headed up for the second time that day. Greg retraced our steps as best he could as we did not follow any particular path down the side of the mountain. The afternoon wind had picked up and Greg knew that finding the money was a lost cause. Not all was lost, as the trails were indeed great for mountain biking and he enjoyed six hours of the unrelentless afternoon sun and I thouroughly enjoyed my afternoon nap.

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