After more than one day of continuously ascending in dry mediterranean landscape I reached two alpine lakes - and a herd of wild horses and cows.
I must admit that I ignored the spectacular mountain scenery for half an hour while checking on my smart phone what had happened in the world.
The descent was as long and dusty as the ascent and when I finally reached the valley bottom I could not even find a campsite!
I woke up next morning to a rare phenomenom in this area: fog! I even had to pack a wet tent ...
But where the route presumably turned off the road there was a huge fenced-in private property with a farmhouse right at the entrance. No way I would be able to sneak in there. So grudgingly I continued walking on the tarmac road which meant a huge 10 kilometer detour!
The GPT route took me along a very popular valley where now dozens of families were picknicking and camping. At the end of the dirt road a locked gate was decorated with several "no entry"-signs. All the locals ignored it and there was even a soical path around the gate ...
Unfortunately a couple of kilometers later there was another gate like that with even more "no entry"- signs. I climbed it and felt very uncomfortable. I walked several kilometers with seeing anyone and already felt relieved when all of a sudden I heard a truck approaching. I disappeared into the bushes. The car stopped just a couple of hundred meters later. I decided to walk around it off trail. Very bad idea! I ended up fighting my way through blackberry bushes, lost half an hour of time and got several scratches.
When I climbed out of the valley I encountered a group of arrieros descending you told: "If we had know that you are here we would have brought wine ..." Luckily they were going the other way ...
And when I finally had found a nice campsite I was visited by a lonely cow.
I was now a bit worried about the rest of this section because there was a river crossing ahead which Martin had not been able to do two months ago. I hoped that the river would now be passable after snow melt. I fortified myself with a lot of blackberries which were growing at lower elevation.
I had been warned by other hikers but the route now took me through one of the worst bushbashes of the entire GPT. Apparantly now cattle was driven up here and therefore there was no trail. But when I finally reached the pass the view into the next valley more than rewarded me for all the hard work. It is so typical for the GPT to go from "this is horrible" to "this is so beautiful" within five minutes ...
But this is the GPT and therefore it had another surprise waiting for me: When I emerged onto the brandnew and paved road there were plenty of trucks carrying sulphur from the mines - but no bus!
|Beach near Valparaiso|
After some brainstorming in the hotel I decided next morning that I would indeed spend my last week in Chile sightseeing instead of returning to the trail. The last missing sections were not the most attractive ones and I basically had had enough. I spent my last days in Valparaiso and Santiago de Chile before flying back to Germany.