Camping in the rain and more mountain stories

You know what just happened? I just erased my whole blogpost I wrote… That was not smart and sets me back a few hours in my life. Not happy!! #grumpyme

Well, so just start over again. I told you in the last blogpost that we (Caroline and I) would take off for the Tronador the next day and that’s what we did. After preparing everything for the trek, talking of tent, sleeping bags, mats and food (most importantly) we were ready to take the bus at 8 am to get to the park entrance. The entrance fee is usually around 10€ for foreigners but we were so nice and “pretty” (well, not that pretty with our hiking gear) that we got in with the national entrance fee which was only half the price. That made us very happy :-) and the journey into the park started.

I unwrapped my hitchhiking skills and started to convince the first person arriving to the park to take us 50 kms to the starting point of our trek. I would say, my skills are very professional and we directly got a ride with this American guy traveling on his own in the car!

After around 2 hours in the car (dirt road all the way) we got off and started the trek. The trek is 12 kms one way with a slow start which got quite steep at some point. You walk through the different vegetation zones from forest to bushes up to rocks and the glacier. The hike wasn’t too hard but with our heavier backpacks, it still cost us a bit. Almost up the top the wind started like crazy and rain was falling. We were lucky though because we still got to the Refugio Otto Meiling pretty dry, not like all the hikers afterwards, that were soaked.

After setting up our tent (yes, we got it right the first time. Yay to engineering skills!) in the rain, we relaxed a few hours in the mountain hut and went to “bed”. As if you could call this tent a proper bed….. NOT! The tent got wet inside and it was pretty freezing right next to the glacier. Unfortunately neither of our sleeping bags was warm enough to have a good night sleep and we are not even talking of sleeping on this thin mat which wasn’t much better than sleeping on the floor. Caroline and I didn’t get much sleep but it was worth the freezing to death experience for the view we had the next morning. The clouds cleared up and it was beautifully sunny. Obviously we took maaaaany instagramable pictures (we had to prove we were up there at the end) and started the walk down.

The road back to the entrance of the park is only one way, meaning, it’s open for getting in from 8 am to 2 pm and open for getting out from 4 pm to 6 pm. During the night it’s both ways. So we had to wait until 4 pm to get out of the park. We took advantage of the time we had left to drink coffee :-) and find ourselves a ride back. Luckily, there was an Argentinian family right next to us at the table and we started talking until they decided to take us out off the park in the bag of their pickup. It was a very bumpy ride but the daughter of the family, which went to the Marine by the way, sat with us and totally enjoyed this ride with us. At the park exit, Caroline and I were about to get out off the car, when the family decided to take us all the way back to Bariloche illegally in the back of the pickup. People here in Argentina are so nice and helpful! They don’t expect anything in return for helping you out. We should definitely take them as an example in parts of our lives.

After coming back from the Tronador, I took a “rest day” and only went up Cerro Campanario the next day to see the sunset. It’s very close to the city center and you could also take a chairlift up but you feel better climbing it. The views were amazing and recommend anyone around Bariloche doing it because it’s a short and easy hike but has very rewarding views.

On my last day in Bariloche (I was almost crying when leaving it) I climbed the 6th Cerro in nine days, the Cerro Lopez. It’s a short hike distance-wise but quite steep. To the Refugio Lopez it takes you up to four hours but you get the best view when you climb even further up. Yes, I am talking real climbing with your hands and feet to pull you up all the way. It’s not that easy and there are no ropes or ladders to help you on your way up but it is totally worth it because you have a 360 degree view and see the Tronador (again, but not complaining ;-) ) on one side with all the other mountains surrounding it and Bariloche and the lakes on the other side.

I am very happy I got the chance to do all of the different treks, share so many good times with my Couchsurfing host Nahuel, eat good chocolate (even though someone from Belgium does not agree with me *coughing* Caroline), and just have a wonderful time with perfect weather in Bariloche. It might not be the last time I have been here!

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