Puente del Inca

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    • Day 13

      Départ pour l'Aconcagua !

      January 11 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

      Départ dans l'aprèm pour Puente del Inca !
      4h de bus le long de la ruta 7 plus tard, on arrive chez les arrieros qui vont emmener nos sacs avec leurs mules au camp de base.
      Il est déjà 20h, il pleut, alors ils nous proposent de dormir dans leur grange. On accepte, on mange et on passe la soirée avec eux. On goûte leur maté de coca, c'est pas mal 😋Read more

    • Day 35

      Border Crossing!

      April 30 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 27 °F

      We finally crossed the Andes into Argentina on Sunday! You would think we’d summited Mt. Aconcagua* on foot by how excited we were.

      You may recall that we initially tried to cross this border two weeks ago, before experiencing vehicle issues that lead us back to Santiago.

      I’m not exactly sure where those two weeks went, but we were all set to try again last Friday, having left the garage with a rebuilt fuel pump the day before. Unfortunately, our pre-departure checks revealed some fluid leaks (diesel and coolant), so it was back to the garage for us on Friday afternoon to get those taken care of.

      In the midst of all this, we learned that the border would be closing on Friday due to weather conditions in the mountains, and could possibly stay closed through the weekend.

      We agonized about what to do, but ultimately decided to head north on Saturday to position ourselves closer to the border, should it open sometime on Sunday.

      We’d hoped to make it to one of several riverside camping spots we read about located 20 km from the border, and we got close, but we ran into a blockade in the road about 12 km before our planned stopping place. As we stood considering our next steps, we saw a car bypass the blockade and decided to follow (don’t judge us – we figured the blockade was meant for the trucks we saw lining up off to the side up ahead).

      We proceeded another couple of km and found another blockade, this time with a short line of stopped cars leading up to it, and several bunches of people sitting and standing around over on the opposite shoulder of the road.

      We pulled up and we jumped out to survey the situation. The first group we encountered was a Chilean family traveling together and we learned from them that the border might open in early evening, but if it wasn’t open by 6 or 7, it wouldn’t open until 9 the next morning. We also learned that the folks in line were planning to spend the night right there, and be first in line to cross in the morning.

      Khalilah and I looked at each other and exchanged a few words to seal the deal: “Looks like as good a camping spot as any…,” and “Looks like fun!.” We’d be spending the evening in the middle of the road in the Andes.

      A bit later in the evening we met Daniel and Jacqueline, who were a few vehicles ahead of us and first behind the barricade. They were traveling in an instant conversation starter—a Ghostbusters themed camper. Though they spoke no English, we managed to have a great conversation with them, first on the roadside, and then in their camper over coffee and cookies. They pulled out a deck of cards and we tried to identify a game we had in common, settling on them teaching us Carioca, which we learned is a Chilean game similar to Rummy.

      We offered to move the party over to our camper which was a bit more spacious and were walking over together when I noticed a puddle of liquid on the ground coming from the front of our vehicle. This was another coolant leak, this time even more significant than the last.

      I opened the hood and started to investigate and Daniel jumped in to help me. Before I pulled out my own, he ran to his camper and grabbed a mat and flashlight, and was on the ground trying to help find the source of the leak. I got down there and eventually found it—the coolant was leaking due to an apparently loose hose clamp, but I couldn’t access the screw to tighten it from the bottom, nor could I see it from the top.

      Removing the heat shield didn’t do the trick but I figured it was under the big hose that turned out to be the turbo intercooler hose. After removing that one, the culprit was in plain view.

      The clamp on the radiator pipe, I believe was replaced the day before at the garage, was indeed loose. I started to tighten it but Daniel had the good idea to turn the clamp so that I’d have easier access if I ever needed it, but I couldn’t turn it so I loosened it a bit more to make that easier.

      Bad move. Coolant started streaming out at a much higher volume while I tried to turn the clamp, until I gave up and just tightened it up where it was. After tightening everything back up and adding water to the radiator fill line. Khalilah turned the key and she started right up. We didn’t see any fluid leaking, so we shut it down and started cleaning up and putting away tools.

      We briefly discussed continuing with the original plan but unanimously joked that perhaps that was our game for the night, and said buenas noches to Daniel and Jacqueline.

      After a decent but cold rest, my 7 am alarm went off. We were told the road would open at 9 at the earliest but for whatever reason I thought I wanted to make sure to be ready and set my alarm a ridiculous two hours early. Rather than jumping up, I reset the alarm to 8 and tried to go back to sleep but I just couldn’t, and so I was up and dressed by a quarter after 7.

      At about 7:20 we started to hear some commotion outside and less than 5 minutes later the police are driving down the long row of cars with horns and loudspeakers blaring, yelling “Andale! Andale!”

      We shoved everything we could into a cabinet and a few minutes later were once again headed up Ruta 60 towards Argentina.

      The morning and the pass were absolutely beautiful, and we arrived at the joint Chilean-Argentine border control complex, located about 20 minutes on the Argentine side of the frontier, at around 9, pulling in right behind Daniel and Jacqueline, who we caught up to and trailed about halfway through the journey.

      The paperwork part of the crossing, while complex due to our vehicle situation**, was pretty painless thanks in large part to an excellent prep session that Mike and Geneva did with us. After about 30 minutes, most of it spent waiting, we exited the complex with our first bureaucratic win in-hand–the all important TIP, or temporary import permit, allowing us to bring the vehicle into the country. The sun shone bright on the mountaintop that morning.

      After completing our paperwork, we waited for Mike and Geneva, who pulled in shortly after. Once they completed their crossing, we ventured on to explore a bit of Argentina together.

      * At 6,961 meters or 22,838 feet, Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Americas, and lies just north of the Los Libertadores border crossing, on the Argentina side.

      ** We’re traveling under the previous owner’s registration until ours is finalized, requiring a document called a “poder” that’s essentially a power of attorney, that was notarized and apostilled (notarizing the notarization)
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    • Day 35

      Geocaching and more!

      April 30 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 32 °F

      Inca Bridge

      Our first stop in Argentina was the Inca Bridge Natural Monument, just a little ways past the border. This natural geological formation creates a crossing over the Mendoza river that Incan’s used in pre-Colombian times. The Inca developed an impressive road system extending 25,000 miles (40,000 km) and passing through Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. A second road system ran along the coast from Ecuador down to Chile.

      The red and yellow colors seen on the hillside are mineral deposits from hot springs that run through the area. In the early 1900s the brick structure pictured was built to house thermal pools, along with a hotel for visitors. The hotel, Puente del Inca, was quite popular and drew crowds for decades before being destroyed in 1965 by avalanche. This site is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

      Puente de Picheuta

      We took some time to relax by the Picheuta bridge. This bridge was said to have been used by José de San Martín and his troops in the early 1800s. San Martín led, the Liberation Army, a group of Argentinian and Chilean soldiers over the Andes and into Chile in a fight to end Colonial rule. They eventually defeated the Spaniards gained independence for Chile 1818. San Martín later led the Army of Peru gaining independence for Peru in 1821.

      The river looks to have changed course since the bridge was built, but it was a very relaxing place to hang out and listen to the sound of the water rushing by. Several people had set up tents right along the river to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.


      Did you know there was a global game of hide and seek being played by people all over the world every day? Mike and Geneva introduced us to geocaching which they’e been playing for over a decade. The way it works it that someone hides a small container call a geocache, with log a book and small trinkets. The geocaches vary in size, some as small as a pill bottle others a little larger. You use gps coordinates in the geocache app to find (if you’re lucky) the hidden cache. Once you’ve found it you sign the log and take something out if you find something you’d like and leave a little something behind for the next person.

      Our first geocache was about 100 feet off the side of the road, part way up a rocky incline. Maybe beginners luck or maybe Mike and Geneva passed it by to give us a chance, not sure, but I was excited to find the small plastic container hidden under some rocks. Mike and Geneva carry a bag of small things they can leave behind like stickers or bracelets. They signed the log and added something new to container. I took out a tiny magnetic compass that looked like it might come in handy. We stopped at a couple of other geocache sites in the coming days, some we found and some we didn’t. I was shocked by how many locations there were. There are probably some near you.
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    • Day 27

      Sortie du parc Aconcagua

      January 25 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

      Ca y est, l'aventure Aconcagua touche à sa fin.
      On fait un sac qu'on dépose aux mules, il descendra demain. Nous on part aujourd'hui, de bonne heure, pour 30km de marche jusqu'à l'entrée du parc.
      La vallée est toujours aussi belle, nos sacs ne sont pas trop lourd alors ça se fait bien. On est quand même content d'arriver ! On se mange un bon sandwich "lomo completo" avec steak, œuf et jambon 😋 et on trouve un refuge un peu cher mais flemme de chercher plus longtemps dans ce petit bled perdu "Los Penitentes", une (petite) station de ski l'hiver.
      On s'endort presque sous la douche (oui, ça fait 15j qu'on en a pas pris !) et on se couche sans tarder (un peu quand même pcq on retrouve du WiFi 😅)
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    • Day 74

      Aconcagua - Der höchste Berg der Anden

      December 22, 2018 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

      Wir quälen unseren Sprinty im 2. Gang 28 steile Serpentinen hinauf und fahren durch die chilenische Zollkontrolle. Dann erreichen wir unser Tagesziel, einen Aussichtspunkt auf den Cerro Aconcagua, den mit 6.962 Metern höchsten Berg außerhalb Asiens. So einen hohen Berg haben wir noch nie zuvor gesehen. Wir melden uns an der Ranger-Station des Nationalparks an und wandern eine kurze Strecke zum Aussichtspunkt. Die Landschaft und der riesige Berg sind beeindruckend. Seht selbst, hier ein kurzes Video: more

    • Day 83

      Puente del Inca

      May 1 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ -1 °C

      Der erste Mai war im Kalender ja immer schon ein wichtiger Tag. Früh aufstehen ist da die Devise. Und was tut man zum Feiertag wenn die Stadt ausgestorben ist? Man geht nicht ins Gebirge, nein man lässt sich fahren. Luftlinie sind es nach Santiago de Chile keine 180km. Ein Klacks!
      Allerdings gibt die Straße das nicht her und nach 180km bin ich weder bereits in Chile noch habe ich so lange Sitzfleisch denn alleine bis hierher dauerte es dreieinhalb Stunden. Das hätten die Inca auch ohne die Nutzung eines Rades schneller hinbekommen. Man ortet die Inka meist ja ein Stück weiter im Norden. So 2.000-3.000km. Allerdings waren sich die Archäologen schnell einig dass nicht die Tehaluche aus dem Süden sondern die Inka hier einen ihrer letzten Außenposten ihres Reiches hatten. Und damit der nicht frieren musste wurde hier an einer heißen Quelle eine Bäderanlage errichtet. Auf fast 3.000m Höhe! Heute zählt diese Ruine zu den eindrucksvollsten Naturschauspielen in Argentinien gleich nach Iguazu. Dafür müssen wir in der Geschichte etwas zurück gehen. Damals waren die Anden bis runter vergletschert. Hier und da ging eine Lawine ab und riss Geröll ins Tal. An der Stelle der heißen Quelle wurde dieses Geröll nun durch Mineralisches Wasser zu Beton verkleistert . Während sich das Eis darunter zurückbildete fließt heute ein Bach mit mal mehr oder Weniger Schmelzwasser. Die Gesteinsschichten bildeten indes eine natürliche Brücke. Die ‚Puente del Inca‘. Und was wollte man früher mehr als Bad mit Ausblick.
      Es ist unterdessen interessant dass die Bäder der Inca auch nach Jahrhunderten noch bestehen, wenn auch öffentlich nicht zugänglich. Durch zahlreiche spätere Lawinen wurde ein Hotel oberhalb komplett dem Erdboden gleichgemacht. Schauen wir mal ob, so Gott will, die Kapelle die heute dort steht genau so lange Bestand hat. Zumindest wohl schon länger als das Hotel.
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    • Day 57

      Weintouren & Aconcagua

      December 22, 2022 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

      Die letzten zwei Tage habe ich die Gegend um Mendoza erkundet.
      Am ersten Tag habe ich eine Tour zum Aconcagua Aussichtspunkt, der Puente del Inca in den Anden gebucht. Das Wetter war super! Die Strecke diente schon den Inka als Überquerungsroute der Anden von Chile nach Argentinien.

      Am zweiten Tag habe ich mit Rebeka die Weingüter um Mendoza besucht und auch den ein oder anderen Tropfen probiert😆

      Gerade sitze ich im Bus nach Santiago de Chile und sage nach fast 2 Monaten Tschüss zu Argentinien🥲🥲
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    • Day 13

      Puente del Inca 🌨️🗻🗿

      May 2 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

      Casi llegando a la frontera con Chile 🇨🇱 paramos en el conocido como "Puente del Inca".

      Este lugar es una formación rocosa natural ubicada a unos 2.720 metros de sobre el nivel del mar (casi la altura del Machu Picchu) 🪨

      🤓 Este lugar se formó a partir de un manantial termal que surge de las montañas. Este agua contiene minerales que, con el tiempo, se acumulan y forman una estructura natural similar a un puente, que atraviesa el río Las Cuevas.

      Según la leyenda local, los incas utilizaban este lugar como un lugar de descanso en su camino hacia Chile, y se cree que los curanderos incas utilizaban las propiedades curativas del manantial termal para tratar a sus enfermos.

      A lo largo de los años, el Puente del Inca ha sido afectado por avalanchas y terremotos. Concretamente, había un hotel justo encima del puente, del que actualmente solo quedan las ruinas. Tras 58 años de actividad ininterrumpida, en 1965, un alud cayó encima y su onda expansiva contribuyó a los daños que hoy en día pueden verse aún en la zona 😯

      Hace mucho más frío del que me esperaba 🥶 De hecho casi estamos a 0ºC. Con esa excusa del frío propongo ir a comprar unos alfajores de chocolate, ya que nunca son suficientes 😂

      No obstante, los colores son preciosos y nos quedamos un ratito observando las montañas que rodean la zona. Estamos muy cerca de una estación de esquí, que abrirá en poco tiempo, ya que se acerca el invierno en este hemisferio del planeta ☃️
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    • Day 13

      Cerro Aconcagua 🪂🏔️🧗🏼

      May 2 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

      Siguiendo el camino, con este frío de invierno, llegamos a la entrada del Parque Provincial Aconcagua 😃

      🤓 Con una altitud de 6960.8 metros sobre el nivel del mar, el Aconcagua es el pico más eminente de los hemisferios sur y occidental y el más alto de la Tierra después del sistema de los Himalayas (Asia). Por lo tanto, esta es la cima más elevada en toda América 🏔️

      Entramos y hacemos una corta ruta desde la que tenemos buenas vistas del parque y de los cerros que rodean al Aconcagua. Esta cima está prácticamente todo el año con nieve 😯

      Al hacer un día tan bueno, con cielo despejado, podemos apreciar el paisaje mientras la temperatura baja de cero grados ❄️😎❄️

      Cuesta creer que en este momento estemos a poquitos kilómetros de la frontera con Chile 🇨🇱, país que comparte gran parte de la Cordillera de los Andes con Argentina 🦅
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    • Day 5

      Los Penitentes - Base Confluencia 1

      January 15, 2003 in Argentina ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

      Vun Los Penitentes sinn mer iwwert d'argentinesch Douane an Noman's Land tëschent Argentinien an Chile gefuer. Laanscht Puente del Inca ass et bei d'Entrée vum Parque Provincial Aconcagua op 2850m gaangen, vun wou aus d'Expeditioun endlech zu Fouss laanscht den Rio Horcones weidergaangen ass. Bei der Laguna de Horcones op 2950m konnte mer fir d'éischte Kéier déi gewalteg Südflank vum Aconcagua gesinn.Read more

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