day 3 – Laguna Ánimas to Hot Springs

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | info Condor Circuit  

Another lovely dawn. I packed up before the sun hit my tent. Fearing sunburn.

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Pretty Laguna las Ánimas is a jewel in the midst of volcanic destruction.

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Atop the next plateau I was surprised to find yet another alpine meadow.

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If this region were not so volcanic, it would be very green.

Higher there was yet more water. But the scenery grew stark. Weird and wonderful.

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Looking back on my morning route.

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Above Ánimas there are no signs. No official trails. You are on your own. I’m sure people get lost and die here every year.

I hoped that was my highest pass up ahead.

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It was. 🙂 I left a Summit Stone.

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It would be an excellent idea to enjoy the massive and impressive Mt. Decapitated vista from here. And turn back.

Laguna Mondaca

Laguna Mondaca

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I dropped down to the other side crossing this field of snow and ash.

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Laguna Mondaca looked too great a descent for me. I’d really rather not drop down that far and have to climb back up.

A high traverse trail on the right looked much more tempting. Quickly I decided to stay as high as I could. Returning by the same route if that trail didn’t loop around back to Valle de Indio.

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I LOVE this kind of brutal & extreme landscape.

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Surprisingly, it’s quite easy to find water here.

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Wildflowers were still thriving in January.

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The unofficial trail was excellent. I stayed as high as I could.

Laguna Mondaca

Laguna Mondaca

Though I could see for miles in every direction, I’d seen no wild mammals at yet. Goats were grazing very high up, circled by two very interested condors.

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I tried to find some shade to take a siesta mid-day. This was one of the best.

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I set up the tent to keep flies and wasps away.

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This was a long but comparatively easy day, mostly gradually downhill. I decided to enter a side valley hoping it would loop back to where I started. (My GPS did not work and I had no map, so this was wild speculation.)

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Entering the valley I smelled sulphur. I’d stumbled on to one of the many natural hot springs in the area. But a horse group was already camped there. I decided to wait until next day to have my bath.

I set up high and out-of-sight since there were cattle and people in this valley.

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day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | info Condor Circuit  

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