Saturday, January 23, 2010
Recap of Day 16 - The Long Walk Out
A huge breakfast of pancakes topped with, the now group favorite, Dulche de Leche (a mucho deliciosos carmel spread) with loafs of toast on the side was quickly put down by the team in the deluxe dinning tent.
By the time we had all changed into our trekking clothes, which had been swung around the mountain on mules along with our day packs, trekking shoes, etc. during our climb, and we had repacked our loads, it was nearly 11 AM. It was a strategic advantage to be in relatively fresh clothes and carrying a super light pack once again as we faced the final obstacle of our adventure: the grueling one-day 18 mile endurance trek dropping 4,000 feet down the Horcones Valley to the trail head.
Once again we were blessed with prefect weather, perhaps not quite enough of a breeze. Although our feet were killing us and our quads were still burning from the previous day, we carried on though out the day. Everyone was feeling great and the conversations on the trail were joyful and full of laughs, smiles, and high fives.
Straight out of Plaza de Mulas, the trail drops down a serious, steep set of switchbacks that posed an unenviable challenge for the mules that were shuttling their heavy loads up into base camp. Cool pictures were snapped as we waited for them to pass. Photo ops were prevalent all day along the sometimes canyon-esque, sometimes wide open plain river side trail. Stopping for hero shots every so often was the rule of the day.
Around 4:30 PM, we reached Confluencia camp where our outfitter again has a sizable presence and we were are to enjoy an ice cold drink under shade before pressing on. Finally we crossed a small rope bridge that apparently was used in the filming of “Seven Years in Tibet” for our final river crossing and 30 minutes later at 7:10 PM our journey was complete as our feet touched the Horcones trail head.
A wash of joyful satisfaction rolled over the eight of us and we could almost taste the cold beer that would be filling our mouths after the 10 minute van ride to Los Pennitentes.
Posted by Kurt Hunter at 12:23 PM