Hiking with Vikings

Trip Start Sep 22, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

One small step for 6ft tall giant Danish Vikings, 3 large steps for little legged Aussie chick.  

After leaving the Mendoza crew I began preparing myself for my lonely 19 hour bus ride to Bariloche. However as soon as I took my seat I knew I was about to have a new companion. I took my seat next to an Israeli guy named Yoav. It was great to have someone to chat to for the next 19 hours and it sure made the bus ride less boring. In that 19 hours we managed to get hold of some Canadian dudes guide book and plan some exciting treks. I began preparing myself for the torture of trekking for 4 days with some guy who has spent the past couple of years of his life training in the army. Considering whether or not he would be strong enough to carry  this unfit Aussie, as I was certain these stumpy little legs would most certainly not carry me for four days. Unfortunately when we got to Bariloche we discovered all the treks were closed due to the massive amount of snow Bariloche had been swamped with over the past couple of months. So we decided to take off on a nice casual bike ride along the beautiful blue lake (that occupies more space than all of the houses in Bariloche).
That night we met another Israeli guy and a Portuguese guy who also decided to come along for the ride. The next morning I jumped on the tiny seat of my bike and started pedaling away, not quite sure of what I was getting myself into. Here I was thinking we would leisurely pedal away for the next 3 hours or so. 10 hours later I had covered over 70 kms, conquered some massive uphill climbs and tried many times to out race the speeding cars who seemed to think the road was a speedway. My brain was no longer telling my legs what to do they had the hostel in sight and they just powered on. I somehow made it back to the hostel looking like an apple tied to a string and beat repeatedly against a brick wall. Especially the whooper of a bruise I received when I was thrown off my bike, after playing chicken with one of the race car drivers of Bariloche. I can only imagine what my poor bottom looked like after sitting on the tiny seat for the day. Although I would do it over and over again just to see the beauty of Bariloche. What a spectacular ride!!!
After my bike adventure I went up for dinner and met two Danish lads, who happened to be going on a trek the following day. Without a second thought I found myself in my room packing my bag ready for my next adventure, a two day trek up to Mt Frey. The next morning I woke up, thinking what on earth have I gotten myself into. I struggled to get down from the bunk bed, as my whole body ached. I am so glad I didn't crawl back into bed as I wanted to. The walk up to Mt Frey was amazing. The scenery was so diverse. One minute you were walking through the woods and the next minute you were knee deep in snow. I spent the whole day trying to keep up with my new gigantic Danish friends. One small step for 6ft tall giant Danish Vikings, 3 large steps for little stumpy legged Aussie chick. We would come to a fallen tree and they would clear it in one step as I scrambled up on all fours. I must say I was relieved when we finally reached the refugio at the top, what a view!!! We were surrounded by the most spectacular snow capped mountains. Oh what a glorious day. I pulled out my litre and a half of vodka, (contemplating how worth it was carrying all this extra weight). We spent the night starring up at the silent, starry sky and sleeping in a strange little room on dusty mattresses laid out almost on the floor. I would love to say that I spent the night dreaming of the amazing views I had just seen, but unfortunately I spent the night dreaming of bed bugs and convincing my bladder that morning wasn't too far away. 
The I decided to conquer the highest peak with Tori and John. So in my shorts and crappy shoes (that I bought for a couple of quid in Peru) we began our long journey, knee deep in snow. We would walk to what we thought was the highest peak, but as we approached there was always somewhere higher with better views to get to. The snow was hard work, so we took on the loose rocks. Tori and John thought this was a much better idea but after scrambling up the rocks and stepping on way too many loose rocks and stacking it, I was starting to think differently. When we finally got to the top it was amazing. We were sitting on top of a massive bowl of snow. We sat and watched as little avalanches took off around us. With big smiles on our faces we started our journey back to Bariloche. Not only were we smiling because of what we had just experienced but because we knew it was all down hill from here. EASY!! It was so easy that we thought why not take a different track back. What a big mistake. The track was worn away. So for the next couple of hours we scrambled through trees and rivers. Our feet were soaking wet anyway so after a while of trying to cross the rivers sensibly, we took the easier option and walked straight through them. When we got back I was wrecked. Straight to bed. No dinner, no shower!
The next night just so happened to be a Saturday so we decided to reward ourselves with a few drinks. Maybe a few too many. We ended up in some cheesy nightclub, playing really old school music. We danced the night and morning away and walked back way after the sun had risen. The next couple of days in Bariloche was spent sleeping, eating and we even went to the movies, what a treat. The rest of our time was spent purchasing new gear for our next hike. I WAS HOOKED!!
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