Several hours into the hike we finally
get a view, and I can't resist taking a self portrait.
Fabian Bonanno reaches the valley.
Andrej Bijuklic and Klemen Valentincic are stoked to be in the Cochamo
It's kind of Pacific Northwest meets California scenery as Yoshi,
Andrej and Bojan Rusjan unpack.
We have the afternoon to relax and take in the valley.
The Cochamo River still looks a bit too
high as it flows through the valley. We debate about what to do, as we
only have enough food for one night. Eventually we secure a whole lamb
for the following day and decide that we'll kill time in the valley,
hoping the river drops a little more overnight. The valley is beautiful
but hard to explore in the rain. While it's often said to be the
Yosemite of Chile, and it has granite, it's different in many ways.
While not as gigantic and grand as Yosemite, Cochamo valley has no road
through the middle with ten thousand of tourists driving through every
day. There is some regulation, but certainly nothing like the NPS rule
set. Currently the Cochamo valley is protected as a tourist
destination, but there is a lot of hydropower interest. Let's hope it
doesn't turn into another Hetch Hetchey.
Evening fog and rain comes in.
As we're here so early in the year, it's nowhere near warm enough to
tangle with swimming the slide.
Rain falls on and off during the night,
and continues on into the next day. We hike around the valley a little,
but spend most of our time in the hut trying to stay warm and hoping
that somehow the river will fall and the rain is lighter than it
sounds. In the evening our lamb is delivered, and the local shepherd
and his wife join us for a feast. We split it in half, cooking it 50%
Chilean and 50% Argentinian.
Fabian Bonanno prepares the lamb Argentinian style.
Cooking a side of lamb Chilean style.
As our meal is almost done cooking,
talented whitewater photographer Tino Specht shows up out of nowhere,
proving that it is indeed a small world. He's working on a Chilean
television show and has come over the mountains on horseback. That
sounds like quite an adventure!
It's just a brief visit as they have
work to do. We go to bed early keeping our fingers crossed for no more
rain. If this is going to be harder than the bottom nine miles of the
Middle Kings it can only be terrifying if water levels are at all too
high. Only the morning will tell...