trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Sunburn was my biggest worry at this point. I had plenty of No-Ad Sport Sunscreen slathered on, but this sun is unrelenting. I was wearing socks on my hands as they were most burnt, so far.
I made one last climb up to the “corner” of the valley to see if it looped back over a pass in the direction I wanted to go …
The cows thought I was crazy.
I was crazy. Odds were slim that it would work. I turned back here.
It was a relief, actually, to finally know where I was going.
River crossings are a big issue here. There are no bridges. Happily this was the most difficult I crossed. Not bad.
Descending to the hot springs, the group had already vacated. I had the place to myself.
One last look back up my side valley.
Mid-day I took the shade and studied Spanish for 90 minutes or so. Then resumed my high traverse of the massif.
Today the two condors came to check me out.
I was clinging to life yet.
People curse slogging through ash. Personally, I like it. Very soft on the feet. The best screeing surface possible.
I was surprised to come across 4 Chilean hikers in the afternoon. They had put up the tents and got directions from me to the hot springs. Two had just been married. This was part of the honeymoon. Both were just about to move to Montreal for work. Small world.
One of the guys asked me if I knew the way back to the Pass. Of course I did. I’d just come from that direction.
How could I get lost?
I got lost.😦
Things truly do look completely different when walking the opposite direction.
My good camera had broken, the telescoping lens mechanism wrecked.😦 I wasn’t in much of a mood to take photos in any case.😦
My audio book – Red Rising by Pierce Brown – kept me going.
I was first diverted for about 2 hours. Then about 30 minutes. (Several times I considered backtracking to the honeymoon party tents. I could have walked out with them next morning.)
But – finally – I found the way back to Ánimas. I set up my tent above the lake at this junction of alpine meadow and desert. My best campsite.