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“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” - Lao Tzu

18 February 2010

Building muscles in Bariloche

After our lovely stop off in Puerto Madryn we headed to the spectacular mountain town of Bariloche, where we all fell in love. The hostel we stayed at Refuigo Patagonia has the most amazing set of owners that are so kind and caring. This little mountain town nestled in the the jagged mountains of the northern part of patagonia is just like a swiss mountain town. Although this pueblo is the largest in patagonia it still has that small mountain town feel. Despite being very touristy because of the skiing in the winter and the trekking in the summer it is still one of our most favorite places in patagonia. I love it so much I am considering living there, the problem of course is the work visa and finding a job.

Let me tell you though having desayuno everyday looking out at this view from the kitchen makes you want to stay in this tranquillo mountain town forever. It reminds me that the rockies have spoiled me and that I will never be able to get the mountains out of my blood.

The other amazing thing about Bariloche besides the swiss mountain town feel, the chocolate, the amazing views, and the hostel we stayed at is they have amazing trekking. Let me tell you our first trek of this trip was very epic. We went for three days two nights and did a total of 30km over two mountain passes. Since it was three days and there is so much to write about I will refer you to Doug's blog for the second day account http://dougsouthamerica.blogspot.com/ and Morgan's blog for the dinner fiasco of the second night and the third day account http://hokeblot.blogspot.com/

Our first day on this trek was amazing, beautiful stunning and fun for all of us. We had 8,5 km of uphill hiking to do and we were ready. Throughout the day we often felt the heaviness of our large packs but we expected that and rested when we needed too. The day was hot with lots of flys (yeah for me and my natural bug spray!) but these things were only small prices to pay for the beauty around us.

After 3-5 hours of hiking (I can't remember exactly how long it ended up taking us) up to the first refuigo we arrived tired, a little sore but ready to get our tents set up and eat some dinner.

The first challenge of this was choosing a camp spot. Although there were several spots already set up one had to be wise in their choice because the wind was whipping around the mountain top and was not stopping any time soon. We ran into one of our friends from the hostel who had set his tent up in the afternoon and by the time he came back from dinner it had blown into the valley and only pieces remained. So we choose our spots and began to set up our tents. Doug and Morgan ended up moving theirs, and I had a guest to help me set up mine. A cute little white cat that's home was in the refugio decided to come crawl under my foot print while I was trying to keep the rest of my things and my tent from being ripped out of my hands by the wind.

After a few hours of getting blown around we finally got our tents set up. When I finished mine I went and helped Doug and Morgan build a little rock wall near their tent in order to give them a little more protection. After heading back to my tent and putting even more rocks around my rain fly in order to keep the wind out I just sat there listening to the wind and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

While trying to keep warm and debating on whether I was actually hungry enough to leave the little warmth that I had in my tent to head over to Morgan and Doug's tent for dinner they came over to my tent. I am not sure if it was the hunger or the exhaustion from the hike that made those sandwiches so amazingly good, but they were definitely amazing.

Here are some more photos from the first day of the trek and one from the second day that I had to put up just to make sure it made it to the internet for all to see!

So head over to Doug and Morgan's blog for the next days of our trekks. After the trekk we returned to Bariloche for a few days where we decided to make the long journey to the end of the world....

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