Backpacking to Base Camp – La Junta

Cochamó Los Lagos Region Day 7 – February 9th 2016

We woke up this morning way too early 7 am but didn’t get to bed till 12:30 am. We had a continental breakfast at the hostel then got driven to the trail head of La Junta. One of the other hostellers was also hiking the trail but staying in the Refugio instead. A Refugio is a bare bones hostel at the top of the trail. The lady had to pay before she started the hike so we all went to the office of the Refugio company. To get to the office you had to walk over a cable bridge which was pretty cool.

When we got to the office they told us we also needed to pay for our camp site at the office, 4000 peso per person per night. We paid. Without our hostel guide taking us to the office (which is no where near the trail head), we would have never known how to pay.

Form there we drove to the trail head and began our 13 km hike up to our base camp and the start of day hiking trails. The hike up was not too bad, a mix of flat portions and some climbs. The trail is frequented by horses who bring supplies up to the Refugio so it was well packed down. 13 km still with a 15 kg pack was hard. I don’t do a lot of distance trekking with packs so it was a good 4 hour hike. There were always people in the trail, no more than 10 minutes apart so to hike this alone would have been very safe.

Our camp site is pretty much the yard of an acreage with an out house and a tap for water. In addition, something I forgot to think about when backpacking, there are no garbage bins, everything must be brought back with u! Thank-you mommy for buying little dog poop bags from the dollar store! They have come in handy!

The amenities are not so amazing, but the location is great! To get to the site you need to cross the river with a hand powered cable cart! The camp site is in a valley with mountains on three of its four sides. There are a flock of 3 sheep on the property and are super cute. They all travel together from one area of flowers to the next. There are also 3 horses on the property.

We spent the late afternoon on a beach near our site soaking our feet in the ice cold water, enjoying the sun and thanking our bodies for the work they went through.  Some Chileans were swimming, jumping off mini cliffs and water logged tree trunks. At one point, the horses came down to the water to drink, one ducked under a girls hammock and terrified her boyfriend. It was hilarious and crazy to see.

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The evening was spent eating dinner, washing our clothes and reminiscing about university, past life experiences and adventures ahead. Just waiting for the stars to come out now, so excited to see them from this latitude.

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