IWe hiked this section fairly quickly … Long days on the trail. Truly for no other reason than just following the cues of our bodies. It is interesting out there…. If you listen intently you will know … whether it is time to stop.. Or continue on… But I must say…. There are many times when the mind speaks louder and no matter what the body says …you push onward!!
What an awesome adventure!! We joined a group called”Summit Chile” .. they provided the gear we needed and also the guides..Claudio and his team were amazing. We started with 15 people .. At the end only 6 finished !! Geared up and ready to go we boarded into a van and headed up to the chair lift which would bring us to the starting point. We filed single file up the mountain , traversing back and forth across… step by very slow step.. watching each ice ax plant and keeping attention fully focused on every foot step . It was a windy day and the snow was very icy in places. I kept my vision on the path in front of me for to look up would take my attention away from where it needed to be. There were a number of folks who should not have attempted this and I personally think it was foolish for them to even try. The mountains are very strong and constantly changing and if you have never walked a mile even … Well as a result more than half the group pulled out. Up we went. We stopped for breaks , using our ice axes to carve a seat for our packs and then we rested against those …ate our snacks and readied ourselves for more climbing .. I faced many fears on that mountain . I also gained respect for my own mind and body. I think we forget sometimes to have gratitude , for self. Each step….. precise .. every time I slipped just a little, my heart gave a jump.. calm . We had to go very very slow and stop often . A young woman , I think her name was Julie from Chicago said she was afraid of everything.. she was along with our group and she was indeed very afraid. She was tied via a rope to our guide and they led the 6 person group.. I was very impressed with her and was not bothered by the insanely slow pace because she was facing her fears in a big way and it was inspiring to watch her go through the process. Upon reaching the summit the gases from the volcano became quite intense . My throat started burning.. Others had difficulty breathing.. We took pictures, high fived each other and began the slow journey down the mountain . The views from the top were breathtaking.. But as is typical for me on a mountain high, I contemplate life and my journey … So many factors in life leading to where I am .. So much gratitude..I sigh.. I breathe.. I feel the pounding of my heart .. Both from the physical exertion and also from life itself..the journey…realizing every day the many layers of life… The many threads woven that create this blanket … This life … The journey down.. Slushy and a little slippery yet much faster.. It took almost 5 hours up and 2 1/2 hours down. We stopped midway and did a little ceremony to honor the Mapuchi people , the indigenous people of Chile. It was nice to think of those people who knew this mountain and this country so long ago and to honor their journey also. We reached the bottom of the mountain. Gave thanks to our guides, switched into our trekking mode. Unlike the others who were climbing in the van back to Pucon.. We were donning our backpacks to begin the 6 day traverse around Volcan Villareca… The volcano we had just summited!! We were told if we could find a guy named Diego he may have beers for sale!! We each drank 2 cold beers .. ate some food.. talked about our love of this life… and began the trek on….
I awoke at a lovely campsite near Refugio Negra. The Refugio is alongside an onyx lake nestled in between the mountains.. the winds come through and a chill weaves its way through my being… After a breakfast of home made bread, dulce leche… and coffee we began what was to be the most difficult day for me mentally. The hike began around the lake where at one point we had to scale up and back down the side of a grand rock utilizing a rope to aid in the ascent and descent.. it was interesting with the backpack and poles!!! Oh.. I forgot to mention yesterday was my longest hiking day thus far.. it was about 44 k.. Anyway…We had met a local guy a neuro-surgeon a couple days back.. He had suggested we hike this hike the opposite way than we eventually chose because of a very steep “annoying ” section…I am happy we went the way we did .. as going down what we went up would have been simply awful…we sat at the base eating our lunch.. for me.. Trying to build confidence…we watched a couple people come down.. it didn’t look fun.. we began and were actually stoked as the scree looked bigger and steadier than we imagined.. it quickly changed and my fear grew to epic proportions… there was a bit of a trail but it almost didn’t feel like the safest way to go…we kinda made our own trails because to follow behind one another would have been foolish if the leader(nancy) would have slipped.. I too would go … She seemed to be moving with ease… Not me.. I caused a bit of a rock slide … decided to climb the rest of the climb hugging as close as I could the rock mountainside.. Each step.. Each handhold set with absolute precision…I wanted to cry but even that emotion would take me too far from the moment and I could not afford to go there! I am not sure really how long it took to get up.. Possibly a half hour.. Maybe more .. But at one point I looked up and nancy was there and she said we are almost there.. the rest is no problem .. I sat for a moment and let tears prevail .. collected myself and finished the upward trek..we were far from finished for the day andi was thoroughly exhausted but we decided to not stop for the day and hike out.. we got back in bariloche that night at10 pm.. We didn’t have a place to stay but the folks at Penthouse 1004 placed some calls for us .. the city was full.. our room looked out into a laundry room full of blankets and quilts…a far cry from where we had been the last 4 days …it only took one day in town for me to be ready to get back out there… the trail.. the mountains .. They define you…you must be with intention out here ..just being is an option but I feel as if you must be absolutely present to immerse yourself… again I struggle with words to explain my emotions .. my life changes a little bit after every trail… as the river flows..as the condor moves with the changes of the wind.. such are the seasons of life .. I love this life
Each moment…important…Every step precisely set…What a journey. For me.. Intense day..Concentration being key.. It was an expansive day. All directions.. Life. This section of our trek has been a learning experience. The absolute importance of bring here..now. Climbing over big boulders surrounded by loose shale didn’t lend towards a stable climb upwards.My heart continually pounding and reminding me of the gift I was living. at the top of what I thought was the top every time a new top appeared !!!heart pounding.. Breathing heavy .. And another mountain to climb.. The top wasn’t well marked.. After careful deliberation.. Consulting maps and guide books we made our way… The thrill of new discovery ..because of the heavy rains the night before we were blessed with a damp trail which compacted the extremely loose rock and shale a bit . It didn’t help immensly with the fear factor but I believe it saved us from slipping..the mental component of this section was huge..the mountains were steep.. Very steep and the trail was poorly defined..challenging.. continually evaluating each step .. reaching the last rise before the descent into Lago Jakob.. The rump of Tronador loomed in the distance…We had just finished an intense ascent over major boulders to reach this view… breath taking in so many ways… the winds were strong though and Refugio Jakob was beckoning to us way down the mountain… the journey downward slow but we finally reached our destination.. at first we were dismayed.. The campsites seemed less than desirable. we decided to indulge on a cold one and reassess the situation.. It looked much better .. actually turned out to be a favorite campsite .. we shared wine and story that night with an awesome mountaineering couple from Belgium. I loved spending time with them… They were so high on life ..someday I too will find a man to share the trails with… for now I can be stoked for this lifestyle …