Cordon del Plata: Day 9
“I can’t wait to get back to Mendoza to call Jen. We will have a spot on the bus tonight and I’ll sleep in a bunk bed in the center of a city. Good and bad. It’s nice and calm up here. There´s clean air and no buses thundering by outside.
My time at the hostel was marvelous. Last night we watched some American football on the satellite tv, drank wine and ate an Argentine version of a shepherd´s pie. It was probably out of a box, but after over a week with no meat, red wine and ground beef was amazing.
As usual, it stormed throughout the evening. By eleven, the boomers had pushed into the flatlands to the east and I tried to get some pictures with the tripod. It was my first time ever shooting lightning digitally. There’s much left for improvement.
I slept out on the lawn last night without a tent. I awoke this morning to a bright moon and the southern cross slowly fading into the dawn.
What a great morning! I awoke, made mate and chatted with the hostel keeper Janni. She´s training to be a mountain guide and alternates her work between here and Penitentes, a small ski resort on the road to Chile. Because of recent dry winters, there has been no work up this way for the last three consecutive ski seasons. I wonder how long this place can even survive. We are five of the ten or so occupants from last night, and we didn’t pay for a room, just drank the wine.
Janni told me that she wants to come to the US to climb the big walls of granite in California, Yosemite. I gave her my contact info and told her a bit about life in the Park working for DNC. She seemed excited at the idea. Being a park rat isn´t glamorous, but nor is hanging out up here cleaning peoples´ dishes. Her experience working here seemed to mirror a lot of mine in the park, so I bet she wouldn´t mind a different place to climb and the similar work experience.
Today I had time to do nothing but watch the clouds. I awoke to clear skies, then a small cotton wisp that grew into a ball and now a billowing white and grey mass of an afternoon thunderstorm. I doubt I’ll ever again have 8 hours to do nothing but observe a growing cloud and not be concerned for my safety on a mountain. So I took advantage and just watched the weather change.
Hopefully the bus will go down the mountain in a few hours and return us to fresh food, beer, warmth and our loved ones. The Cordon has been wonderful, but it´s time to move on.”