A Taste of Chile - 2002

We could not stay outside for very long as it was hot in the sunshine and we had dressed for a trip up into the mountains where we expected it to be cold. We almost perished in our wool clothes.

There was a narrow hiking trail along the lake. Luis told us we would see a glacier at the end of that hike; the one that feeds Lake Inca. The hike looked so tempting but we just didn’t have time for it as it was three hours one way and we were at 3100 meters. The path looked very narrow and rocky as well. The ski slopes here are used by the US Ski Team for practice in winter since it is summer at that time at home. These runs were truly awesome. Mountains were 4000 feet from top to bottom and so steep it was hard to believe they could be skied. Luis told us that many Europeans he brings here in the winter are really bowled over by the runs in both senses of the word. There are no beginner trails here. And the altitude does make itself felt. We thought that if our skiers can negotiate these runs, they should do fine in Salt Lake City. At the border station at Caracoles, we were only 5 kilometers from Argentina. Trucks are checked very carefully with dogs and human inspections looking for marijuana, especially from Paraguay, where according to Luis, a very good grade of the stuff is grown. We didn't ask how he knew. On the way back, we saw the signs of a thriving agricultural society many horses, mules and cows in the fields and massive vineyards and grape arbors for table grapes. We were excited to see Aconcagua on the horizon. The big “A” is the tallest mountain in the Americas and it proved that by being completely snow-covered all over its rounded sides. It is enormous and much higher than the other peaks in its neighborhood.

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