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Published: November 29th 2013
We don't need no stinkin' street signs
Dear friends and family,
(Author,s note: this entry is posted on the first anniversary of my father-in-laws death. Glen Burchby passed on to his grandsons through his daughter, my wife, Marcia, a love of adventure and the ability to connect to people. He would have loved this trip and today's blog is posted in honor of him and his favorite saying..."nothing can go wrong!")
The taxi we arranged arrived on time last Tuesday and immediately the fun began. The driver thought we wanted him to drive us up to Rufugio Jacob, a ten mile hike into the Andes. Once we straightened him out that we wanted to go to Tambo the starting point we were off, sort off. He id not really know where Tambo was, for reasons that would become obvious, and we ended up in a neighborhood from where we could see the valley we were to hike. He finally stopped and asked someone who said it would be easier to walk to Tambo than drive from where we were! But wi John's help on the map we found the drop off.
We were off, and in about a quarter mile found Tambo--one hut, three goats,
The start of the trail
Guess who is carrying the larger pack?
a pig, four horses, and three dogs.
We began the trek and immediately found ourselves following s beautiful stream that was to keep us company, and hydrated, all the way up the ascent of about 1,000 ft. The last mile was the most challenging, 700' in too many switch backs to count. But after crossing the second bridge and a couple hundred yards we saw the Lago Jacob and the refugio.
Our hostess, Ilene, welcomed us and w spread out on the rocks to rest and watch others arrive, a couple that John correctly guessed was British by the clothes and I correctly located were from Liverpool and London by accents snd a guy from Italy. later we were joined by two Americans snd that night had a great meal of soup, pasta, and fruit before hitting the bunk beds.
On Wednesday John led me on my first snow trekking adventure a we trekked up above the rufugio to the Sweitzer Pass. I will let the photos speak for themselves, but it was one of the more beautiful places I have been, with a sky so blue and empty it took both your breath and heart away.
Last night's pizza for a trail snack
after some food we found a spot between the rocks and took a nap at what felt like the top of the world.
Back at the rufugio i thought it would be good to take a swim. It would have been better called a splash as between the sustained 7-10 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph snd water that had just melted from snow I managed only to wade in, sit down, splash myself and bail!
More fun when a group of men, ages 64-81, showed up! We made friends immediately with John's spanish and their English, they taught me a card game that I intend to spring on unsuspecting family member and shared wine with dinner. After dinner a guitar was pulled from the wall and we were serenaded with sambas and tangos and a few group sing alongs. When we all piled into bed, in the now full bunk house many of them were telling jokes and laughing like kids. I got the giggles just listening to them. Of course, their snoring was quite a concert as well!
We were the first up and gone on Thanksgiving Day, followed down the trail by
two stray dogs. Do not ask me how they wandered to this elevation and remote place, butmore on that in a forthcoming post on dogs. They followed us all the way down, here they are with John a they stayed close to him as he was carrying the food.
When we reached the trail head we still had a 5 kilometer walk to the bus stop, but when we put out our thumbs the first passing driver picked us up and went out of his way to get us to a good bus stop.
Indeed, you can make friends anywhere if you just believe that nothing can go wrong!
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