A Day of Rest in the Valle de Colorado . . . January 20, 2010
Breakfast at the liesurely hour of 9 a.m. followed by reading, followed by lunch, followed by a nap, then dinner, then cards, then a warm sleeping bag . . .
We took this rest day seriously as we knew that th next day was going to be a long walk. The trip back to Santa Ana would take no less than eight or nine hours and we had seven river crossings to deal with. Our post climb days demonstrated that when the sun came out the Rio Colorado turned from a respectable meltwater river to a red, swollen torrent deserving of a great deal of respect. By mid morning the river was all over the gravel plain below the camp and we knew that short of a cloudy day, we would have our hands full by the time the mid day sun did its thing. Well, that was an issue for the next day as today we had a camp to break, gear to pack up for the mules and even some hand washed u/w so we could cover 18 miles sans a good case of chafe.
The clutter in the tents came out and was spread on the ground to dry and sort into the six bags that would have to hold all of our gear for the trip down by mule. Once all but the essentials were packed, we all lazed around the camp, taking in the sun, reading the final pages of the books brought along for just such moments, and just taking time to take in the beauty of this valley. G took a two hour stroll across the valley in search of a liepre, the Argentine answer to the viscacha that we were used to seeing the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. Celeste alleged that she had seen one of these white rabbit looking creatues the day before when she, Manuel and Multi-Presa were bouldering on the far side. G took a trip to see the evasive liepre and returned unsure if the liepre was the mammal equivalent of the North American snipe.
For a rest day, the time passed very quickly and we knew that in the morning we would leave this valley. We had long since realized what a special place we had come to . . . a place that in the U.S. would have set trails, lots of people, overnight permits and park rangers but here we were alone with no other inhabitiants but for the cluster of guanacos that called the valley home. Evening came soon enough and we all squeezed into the cook tent for a final family style meal. Good food and good friends made for a mellow last evening in the Valle, all backlit by Mercedario in the light of the moon.