Monday, October 12, 2015

Santiago, Chile Camping (AKA Andes espalda rota)

Shared a most incredible adventure with Mr. Spooner this weekend, camping in the Andes Mountains outside of Santiago Chile.  After the conclusion of a work conference we drove 2 hours east to the base of the snow line and hiked three hours laden with packs equipped for serious winter camping.  Camp was established just as the sun seeped below the horizon.  Despite the bone chilling temperature, we pan cooked and gorged on steak for dinner, before taking a night hike further up the mountain to keep warm.  At the conclusion of the hike, full of food and exhausted, we collapsed into the comfort of  layers of sleeping bags.  Once morning came we packed camp, stashed our bags, and ascended the mountain to the top of the range, an elevation of just under 12,000 feet.  At the top we were joined by a stray dog, who spent the next hour descending the mountain as our companion and playfully sliding down the steep slopes and rolling in the snow.  After completing the decent we made our way to a lower elevation trail below the snow line and hiked into an entirely different type of Andes terrain; high, arid, and somewhat void of vegetation, spare a few small shrubs, thorn bushes, and occasional lonely tree.  At the trail terminus we set up camp and collected what we could find of dead, bone dry shrub branches, and a bit of a lone dead tree.  We made grub before sundown, and as the sun made it's way below the horizon started a modest fire, protected from the wind behind an embankment or rocks.  It was a beautiful night.  The next morning we awoke to the sight of wild horses in the distance.  Not wanting to waste further adventure we packed up, hiked out and spent the better part of the day skiing at a nearby resort, before making our way back down to Santiago for a quick shower and drive to the airport for an overnight flight to NYC.

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