Tuesday, January 10

Priceless Moments

On my trip to Argentina especially on the climb to Aconcagua, there are moments that I can say it will forever leave a mark on my heart.

Dinner with the Areros (Muleteers)
I am privileged and lucky I am one of those climbers who are able to mingle with them aside from the fact that their food really taste so good. The Asado is just really juicy and tasty. I only got a chance to taste the beef but I can say it was really the best.

Lunch on the trail
One particular lunch that I cannot forget is on our second day of trek when we just sit down on the side of the dry river bed of the Vacas River to eat lunch. The view is just great seeing line of other climbers from a far with the mountain range on the background.

Little conversations with Cesar every time I am right behind him on the trail but one particular moment that will be forever remembered is on our approach to Plaza Argentina, when I was on the mid between Zean, Lito and Tito in front and Mondy and Cesar way behind, Cesar finally asked me to just join them rather than trekking alone. So the three of us walking, Mondy on the last, we just talk about lots of things, about his adventure, about my adventure until I got hungry and needs to eat and they go ahead of the campsite.

Another moment that makes me smile every time I remember it is when I am right behind Lito and I will start asking him questions about his adventures in life.When I will start to crack jokes of him when we are resting on our way to the higher camps or at the campsite. One particular moment was on our way to the exit of the park, when he told me to do this climb again, and there I opened up to him about my life as well. Another moment was when we are about to end the trek, few meters away from the gate, when he asked me how come I do not use an i-pod or mp3 player, for it's useful on long treks like this.

Snow at Plaza Argentina
It's summer they said, that's why it's climbing season once again in Aconcagua. But summer as it is but not on the higher camps of Aconcagua. When we arrive Plaza Argentina, our base camp on the traverse route, it snowed at first slow fall until it covers the entire campsite up into the mountain ranges of this plain. Beautiful site to look at, an early white christmas for us but it's cold. Making it challenging to move, to go to the latrine, to go to the mess hall, to empty my pee bottle, etc.

At the Tent on the Higher Camp with Zean
When we are not on the trail especially on the higher camps, myself and Zean will just stay inside our tent until we will be called to acclimatize or for dinner.  It's very cold outside that we even let go of watching the beautiful sunset at Guanacos because we prefer to just be inside the tent. Our tent is the warmest place to stay on the higher camps. One time on our conversation, I said, who could have thought that one day I will be staying on a 4 season summit series TNF tent for a long expedition. This is only done by my TNF idol athletes like Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, Rennan Ozturk, etc. And I only see this on their expedition video. Indeed, this is a dream come true for me. And he agreed to that.

At the end of trail
After almost 8 hours of trek, we are finally about to end the expedition. Emmanuel, Zean and Cesar with other climbers are already waiting for us at the car and we can see them from afar. I am with Lito walking fast, can't wait to finally take off our packs from our back and relax a bit. But despite our being on the lower elevation now, the wind is still blowing. As we are walking now on paved road and about to reach the car  with the wind blowing, I spread my arms and feel my entire body flowing to the blowing of the air. Lito turn to me and said, what are you doing? I told him, come on, do the same, it feels great. Truly it feels great just flowing through the air, I can feel the energy coming into my body. Indeed, that was priceless.  

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