Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mendoza Misadventure: Day 2

Because so many things happened during the Mendoza trip that I want to talk about I'm breaking it up into a three part series. Check out Day 1 and come back to read Day 3!

After dealing with the loss of my stuff, I was ready to get this adventure started. Lucky for me, the group of friends I have found here in Argentina have a major interest in the great outdoors and figuring things out along the way. Mendoza City is about a hour or so from the actual mountains though you can clearly see them from where we were at. One of the biggest things we wanted to accomplish on this trip was going hiking in the Andes.

Asking around our hostel and the tourist information centers, we got a lot of confusing answers. Mostly, we were told we needed to hire a guide go through a packaged program to go hiking. But being the college students we are, we decided that there was no way we were going to pay money just to have someone lead us around.

Heading out!

So we set out on our own and caught a bus to the small town of Potrerillos, located at the base of the mountains. When the bus drops you off, there's not much there. A small information center, a food truck and some empty looking buildings. After speaking with the woman at the information center, we were off. At one point we even walked through someone's yard, they were kind enough to point us in the direction of a narrow walking path that lead up the side of one of the smaller mountains.

Expecting it to be cold, because it's winter here and mountains are generally cold anyway, we were all layered up with clothing. We quickly realized that the steep hike would keep up plenty warm and wound up with practically a second wardrobe in the backpacks we brought.

I'm going to be honest here, I didn't realize just quite how out of shape I was till my friends started deftly sprinting their way up the side of this mountain. I thought I was going to die, but that may have also been the two pairs of pants and 3 shirts and a winter coat I was wearing in probably 65 degree weather.

On top of the world!

The landscape once we reached the top was so beautiful I can't even being to explain it. It was what I imagine heaven must look like. We had a terrific view of the snow capped peaks, the small town, the bluest lake I've ever seen, and the Mendoza desert. And we were standing on the top of it, there is no greater feeling.

After spending about an hour taking pictures and enjoying the view we began to pick our way down the mountain side, during which we completely lost the path. We found our way down eventually and saw a giant storm drain pipe, that we of course had to climb into. Get ready, because this is where today's mishap comes in.

The pipe.
While climbing back down from the pipe, I didn't have the common sense to jump down and away from the rocks and instead slide down them on my butt. About two seconds after doing this, I realized something was terribly wrong. I had ripped nearly the whole seat of my yoga pants open and massively scratched myself.

This is all I could think about!

After laughing for about a good 10 minutes straight about the fact that I just destroyed the only pants I had left on this trip, I caught a break in my bad luck streak and was able to wear one of the extra pairs of pants we had in the backpacks. Thank God we had layered up so much otherwise I would have been in quite the pickle, in the middle of the Andes with shredded pants.

Can't believe I personally witnessed this!

The rest of the day went smooth and as we watched the sun slip down behind the mountains from the shore of a beautiful lake at the foot of the mountains we were near. As an added bonus to my day, I sat next to a very friendly Argentine named Pablo on the way home that made me converse in only Spanish for the entire hour bus ride. Though, it wasn't exactly easy it was easier than I thought it would be to carry on a conversation.

Today was again one of those things that I feel like had to happen to give me more writing material. Because seriously, who else would lose their clothes then rip their only pants while hiking?

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