After spending one night in Termas del Flaco, we woke up the next morning to get ready to start our hike. We had breakfast at the hostel that consisted of pain, jam, and tea. While we were eating breakfast I was putting jam on my toast. I couldn’t tell what kind of jam it was – raspberry? strawberry? No not either of those even though the color was red. The owner of the hostel told us that it was tomato jam that he had made fresh that morning!
Once we had breakfast we got all of our packs ready. We packed our sleeping bags, extra warm clothes, sandwiches, helmets, pick-axes, and tents. We were unsure if our pack horses were going to come so we had to make sure everything fit in case they didn’t. Luckily they came and carried all of our food and our tents up which made the hike easier on all of us.
The hike was beautiful and indescribable. The first part out of town was up a grassy mountain full of tufts of grass and small dirt paths made by the wind, horses and people. We walked slow and steady to preserve our strength. The next leg of the hike was along the river that flows from the Andes all the way down to the town and beyond. This was difficult to hike because we walked along shale or as they call it “skree.” This choppy, small pieces of rock was so hard to walk on and you had to be sure you wouldn’t slide down all of them. At one point Emilio slipped and fell down them, ripping open his pants and getting a cut. Along the way we would take breaks and look for fossil remains, drink our waters that were full of electrolyte powder that made them either blue, red or purple.
The moment we finally arrived to base camp was amazing. We reached this valley of beautiful green after only seeing rock for hours. The pack horses were there waiting for us. It truly was amazing to get to this point and take our packs off and drink straight from the springs. Making it to basecamp is always an amazing feeling but this basecamp was the most beautiful scene I have ever witnessed. I would do anything to go back to it.