42 km Circuito Cerro Castillo
Ola GP Extended Family -
It's been just over a week since our last update. Tyler and I are enjoying our last night in Coyhuique, which has been a sort of portal into the Patagonian south that we've heard so much about. The past nine days have been some of the most mentally, emotionally, and physically difficult days of our trip so far, but we're happy and dry, full of food and ready for the adventures of the coming week.
Our trip has been a wet one these past nine days - this region, we've learned, the hard way, the wet way, is a rainforest that gets a lot of precipitation this time of year. The past nine days have featured driving winds pushing massive cloud and storm systems across the mountain ranges, bringing rain, ice, and sleet to the towns and mountain passes we've traveled to. So these things go. We continue to learn LOTS, every day, something different and important, and are growing as backpackers and backcountry travelers.
This weather, plus the busy pace of our trip and the difficult hiking & rafting treks we are stringing together put us into a sort of low place leaving Raul Balmalceda that was exacerbated by a 24-hour ferry that turned into a 36-hour ferry to Puerto Aysen. Then a paddle we attempted from Puerto Aysen was wrecked by vicious winds and an insistent tide. Doesn't seem so bad writing it down, but let me tell you: Moral was low.
We needed to hit a reset button. This came after two days later, when we decided to attempt the 43 km Cerro Castillo hike.
Circuito Cerro Castillo
Cerro Castillo was a highly difficult and technical trail that brought us up and over two passes deep in wilderness territory. Our first day featured unexpected river crossings.
The next morning brought a safe weather window for us to attempt the two passes. Descending the first pass we saw ice blue glacier-melt cascading down orange rock cliff faces, forming the river that we'd follow deeper into the valley, before turning upwards again towards the second pass.
This second pass was a scree-turned-talus slope loosely defined as 'trail.' We hiked up and around another glacier, coming to a view that gave us a panorama of the southern valley, all the way to Chili Chico, where Tyler and I hope to spend the coming weekend. This view gave rise to our new favorite phrase 'Pano Porn,' for obvious reasons.
Tomorrow we head out to Rio Tranquilo, where we, dirty cheap dirtbags that we are, will attempt to save $100 each and packraft around some caves, rather than pay lots of money for a boat ride. From there we'll hop on another river, let gravity and rushing water do the hard work for us, and arrive in Puerto Ibanez in time (we hope) to catch a ferry to Chili Chico. Just in time for Christmas.
Happy holidays. I hope that the coming week brings you all close to the ones you love. Tyler and I are thankful for each other but are missing home. I hold each of you close to my heart. Sending love and gratitude this Christmas season.
Reese & Tyler
Nacho y Tigre