It has been far too long since I’ve posted on here and I apologize for the delay. Last week was nothing too terribly exciting because Sarah was sick with Gastritis and I still had work while everyone was on vacation. It wasn’t a bad week, just nothing new/exciting/blog-worthy happened. The heat finally arrived to Córdoba and let me tell you, 100 degrees without AC makes for some long nights.
Now for the exciting part of my week, camping in La Quebrada de los Condoritos here in the province of Córdoba. Marcos, my speaking partner, invited Sarah and I to go camping with some of the people he works with and their friends. Sarah obviously wasn’t able to go because I weekend filled with hiking and eating random foods we packed wouldn’t have been the best for a stomach recovering from Gastritis. There was 18 of us in all, with 6 tents and loads of food! We left from Córdoba Saturday morning, only about an hour and half after we had planned on leaving. This should have really been expected seeing as it is Argentina haha! Our “guide,” Juan/King of the mountain, was delayed because he had to heat up water for maté, a tea that is unique to Argentina and absolutely delicious. Juan is a friend/coworker of Marcos, who also plays volleyball with us, and we deemed him our guide seeing as he’s climbed Aconcagua, the tallest peak in North/South America. Needless to say, we were in good hands. Here’s a pic of the group:
After we arrived, we had about a 20 minute hike to the camping location. As we began to unpack and set up the tents, it began to rain, and then proceeded to hail. The majority of the group got their tents ready and hunkered down inside to brave the storm, but Marcos and I were less fortunate: Us trying to set up a tent in the rain/hail was a joke for the rest of the weekend, but in our defense, the tent had some broken poles! Here’s a picture of the piles of hail after the storm: Everything was drenched and three of the tents flooded during the storm. Luckily we had extra sleeping bags in the vehicles because even the sunny afternoon couldn’t dry out our soaking sleeping bags. All of my extra clothes were completely drenched so we tried to spread everything out, hoping it would dry because the sun was breaking through the clouds. I was forced to spend the whole weekend in the same pair of shorts, compression shorts, t-shirt, and sweatshirt because it was the only thing that dried as we were hiking.
We decided to make the most out of the afternoon, and after removing all of the water from the tents, we decided to hike to the North Balcony of the park. The rain left this absolutely gorgeous rainbow over the valley , but we were unable to find the pot of gold at the end. There are two paths you can hike in the park, the North Balcony and the South, and we chose the North first because it’s shorter and not quite as difficult. The hike took us around an hour and a half or so, and the scenery was beautiful. Upon arriving at the North Balcony, we were able to see a few condors before a cloud moved in and blocked our view completely. Condors are impressive birds with a wingspan of up to six feet! Here’s a pic of one that came close enough to take a picture: Once the cloud moved in, we couldn’t see anything because we were literally in a cloud. For some reason, I’ve always wondered what it was like to be in a cloud for real and not in an airplane, and I have to say, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it was going to be. It’s just like fog and you can’t see anything haha. At least I can check that off my bucket list
That night, we made pasta, which tasted delicious after a long day’s hike! The temperature cooled off rather quickly, and I’d say it was probably down in the 50′s; perfect for sleeping in a tent. It was funny for me to see how the Argentinians reacted to the cooler weather because for them it was like the dead of winter. I was in shorts and a sweatshirt and only my feet were cold, which was a result of my wet socks and shoes, but everyone else was in long pants, winter jackets, hats, and mittens. They couldn’t believe that I was rather comfortable, and I proceed to tell them about winter in Minnesota. We came to the conclusion that they probably wouldn’t be able to survive a winter in Minnesota haha. After the majority went to bed, Marcos pulled out the a little ghost that made a “spooky” noise, so we proceeded to try and scare the girls in the group as they were trying to fall asleep. Our first two attempts were complete failures, but we found success when we proceeded to scare a few people from our group who had gone out to the cars to grab some stuff before bed. We hid in the weeds along the path and jumped out with the ghost. They were terrified
Sunday, we got up, ate a quick breakfast, and headed out for the South Balcony. The hike was considerably more difficult and took around 3 hours or so to complete it. We stopped by the river to take a quick rest and refill our water on the way, and I have to say that mountain water has to be the best water you can drink. Tired and soaking wet from sweat, we arrived at the South Balcony, and here is the spectacular view: We saw some condors flying right overhead, as well as numerous other birds. The smaller birds have no fear of people and this little guy came right up next to me, looking for food: We stayed up at the South Balcony for around an hour and a half or so before prepping for the return journey.When we got back to the river, we had a little picnic lunch before scaling the horrendous mountain that lay between us and our campsite. Everyone collapsed when we made it to the campsite, feeling accomplished and definitely exhausted. We packed up camp and made our way back home after a draining but fantastic weekend. I got home with just enough time to shower before heading to mass, which I’m sure was much appreciated by the people I sat near because I didn’t change or shower all weekend
I’m so grateful I was able to go on a camping trip in the mountains down here before leaving. It was such an incredible experience and I made lots of new Argentinian friends! This will definitely one of my experiences down here that I won’t forget, and I’m hoping we can maybe organize another mini-excursion before I leave in just 7 short weeks. I still cannot believe that’s all that’s left of my semester in Argentina! Lots of events are planned for this weekend and the week to come so I’ll have plenty more stories in the near future! I hope all is well back home, and I hope you all enjoy the snow, as it should be arriving shortly I’d take snow over 100 degree heat and humidity any day haha!