We confirmed the route again and wrote down some instructions. I must add when we asked for directions the woman told us to walk from antenna (Cellphone) to Antenna. That seemed easy enough. She said we will cross a couple of streams but it shouldn’t take us very long to get there. Then we went down to the bakery to buy “medialunas” (croissants). I couldn’t believe how expensive these small touristy places are. They charged us a fortune for 4 medialunas and a bottle of water (13 pesos!). Hiking out of La Cumbrecita was murder. It is an extremely steep hill to climb and it doesn’t seem to stop. Finally we saw the first sign. When you ask the locals for directions they use very simple descriptions e.g. a wooden pole..OK we found it. We got to the dirt road next to the first Antenna.
We had to follow the road until we see a white wooden gate. We found that without difficulty.
Then you get to the pine forest. From here we couldn’t find any signs. We decided to walk through the forest maybe we would be able to spot the antenna from there.Walking through the wood was awesome. I could sit there for ages and listen to the wind rustling through the pine trees. This is not a natural forest. The Swiss people who came here many years ago planted all the trees. Now it is a protected forest. The smell was incredible.
We crossed through the first forest and got to another wooden gate. We must have been on some body’s farm because in some places we had to climb through fences.
The nature was really breathtaking. I love the open spaces. It such a far cry from the busy city life. While we were walking across one of the fields we saw cows grazing. I went up to one and asked Andrey to take a photo of me next to the cow. But the cow was not impressed, maybe it was my hat, and ran away. A couple of laughs and then it was time to move on.
We saw many beautiful flowers along the way. Andrey decorated my hat with purple and yellow flowers. We also saw very interesting rock formations and small caves. This one in the photo below is an example of one.
The hike was starting to get difficult. We were going mountain up and mountain down. Some places were very difficult to get off the mountain. I had to give my backpack to Andrey and crawl backwards off the mountain.
We still could not see any path or antenna. The only thing to do was to use logic. We knew more or less in which direction Villa Alpina is. We also knew that the entrance to Champaqui is close to a white house on the mountain. We started to follow a new direction. We crossed another difficult mountain. The view from the top was spectacular.
We came to a beautiful river and we decided to camp the night here. We figured that Villa Alpina should not be very far. At most another hour which we will easily do the next morning. Here is nothing. A river, soft sand and the magnificent view of the mountains. What more can you ask for? We decided not to sleep uncomfortable again and smoothed the sand with our hands. I was hoping for a more comfortable sleep.
For a long time I was just listening to the sound of the wind. Andrey was cooking and boiling water on the fire. We boiled water from the river for drink water. We had to search for wood and managed to find some. Andrey said it was incredible to think how much wood you need to boil 1l of water. After we had our 2nd day of noodles we both got quiet and found a spot to update our diaries and reflect on the day.
I sat down and thought about our hiking adventure for the day. I was very grateful that we are still young enough to be able to do this. I was thinking about all the different flowers, birds and plants that I have seen today. The breath taking view from the top of the mountain. The absolute peace and quiet. I am so happy that we came here. For a couple of days I have no contact with Internet or the outside world. I am in a world of my own. The hike today was 3 1/2 hours and we are still not close to Villa Alpina.
We sat on a rock in the river and watched the sun go down. Another day has come to an end and even though my muscles are stiff and aching, I have a song in my heart and a skip in my step!