Beautiful People, Estates, and Vistas

11.11.2005

On the way to Mercedario

In the last couple of days we flew from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina. We had an overnight and got groceries. We then headed to Barreal, and were stopped by the Argentinean Police. They searched our luggage for about an hour, looking for something to leverage a bribe, although they didn’t find anything except a bunch of camping gear and dehydrated food. I got some pretty interesting pictures of that. We drove into Barreal, which is literally out in the middle of nowhere, a little desert town in the middle of the mountain valley, nothing but beautiful vistas, estates, and beautiful people. We drank yerba maté with Frederico and Annabel, which is their national drink and was excellent. Frederico is a former national champion mountain biker, both downhill and cross-country. Unfortunately he doesn’t speak English like the majority of the population here, so I can’t understand him well, but we shared maté and had good times. We saw Mercedario today from the road. It looked incredible. The weather is excellent about 90 degrees and humid during the day, but will get colder as we move higher. We are at only 5,000 feet right now. Tomorrow we’ll load up the mules with our gear and start hiking in. I’ll report back once we get to base camp and get setup. I miss you all and will be in touch soon.