Aconcagua Preparations

Puente del Inca Travel Blog

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Sunday  28 December 2009


In the morning, I woke up and thought we’d just run errands during the day. I ate breakfast and ran into the hopeful Aconcagua summiters who were about to leave for the government office. I told them we’d go later. What I didn’t know was that Nick planned on going with them and being at the office promptly at 9am. When he woke up, after the guys had left, he panicked, quickly explained the situation to me, and we made a mad dash getting our belongings together and grabbing a cab for the permit office.


When we got there, we held our cab, while I ran to get 600 pesos at the bank for our permit fee (which actually wasn’t enough), while Nick ran up to the office to get the lowdown. While I filled out our forms, Nick ran back to the bank to get the correct amount of money, (330pesos each in high season), pay at some place down the block and ran back to me. “Are you trying to catch the 10:30 bus,” the woman at the desk asked. “Yeah,” Nick replied as he shuffled around. “You’re not going to make it.” At this point it must have been past 10am. The lady pointed to the stack of papers she had to attend to, before ours. “We could have made it if we went with those guys,” Nick said. I ran into them leaving the office as we were just arriving. Oh well, communication error on our part. We needed to move on. I was beginning to feel anxious just as we were starting to slow down.


All the people standing around seemed like they were part of expedition groups and had private rides. Yet Nick insisted that we talk to people. He found out that there was another bus leaving in the afternoon at 3:30pm. Also, there was apparently a small store to buy food at in Puente del Inca. So we patiently waited for our permits, and after quite some time poking around, were the last to leave the office.


We had a few hours to spare for the afternoon bus, so we stopped by the supermarket in town. At first, I thought Nick and I would share meals, but he said from his camping experience, that doesn’t work out. So we were to make our own food lists, making sure we got the right number of calories per day, and take turns shopping. Again, we didn’t take into account that it was Sunday. So by time Nick went in to shop, he had a ½ hour, and then the store closed. What a day of bad luck, I thought. Now, I’d have to shop in some tiny ass store in the middle of nowhere, where the prices were probably twice as expensive because it was – in the middle of nowhere. We had a short amount of time to find another store, but I didn’t want to miss our bus, so we just booked it to the station.


As we approached Puente del Inca, the mountains were beautiful. I couldn’t refrain from gawking out the window. It was so unbelievably picturesque. We stopped at one point and ate some ice cream. On the bus, we had met a guy who had already trekked the trails and we honed in on his advice. I prompted Nick to read my notes, since at this point he was pretty unknowledgeable about the mountain. I pointed out my suggested itinerary and we asked the trekker for feedback.


In the evening, we arrived a Puente del Inca. It was nearly 8pm, but didn’t seem like it as the sun was still shining. As we stepped outside the bus, the wind hit us hard and cold. Cold weather!!! I was excited. I needed a break from the heat. Puente del Inca looked barren except for a few travelers and shopkeepers. We found one of 2 hostels in town and checked in. I found the tiny store with a very limited selection of food. Nick helped me pick out appropriate camping food. There were a few restaurants, a hosteria, and a campground in town.  Also, there were small outdoor shops that were closing down at this time. The rest of the night was spent packing, hanging out with English speaking tourists and making dinner.

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Puente del Inca
photo by: AndySD