The Beauty of Wandering

I woke up this morning exhausted from the exploring of the day before. The night before, I had already told myself that today was going to be a day for relaxing. No arduous hiking trails or anything. Just a day to enjoy my immediate surroundings and catch up on some reading. When I first arrived in Bariloche a few days ago, I ran into a local who I asked if there were any hiking trails in my general area, that didn’t involve me walking the mile or so it takes to get to the bus stop. She leisurely pointed in the direction of nearby street but didn’t get into much detail on what was over there or how the hike was in general. Today, after going through my morning wake-up routine, I ate a hardy breakfast (7 eggs and ton of cured salami and smoked salmon), read a few chapters in my book and then realized I could just relax all day. So I grabbed my camera and go pro, recalling the direction the local pointed me in and started walking. I had nothing but time on my hands so even though I didn’t really know where I was going, I figured I’d keep walking if just for the mindfulness it brings me.

The local’s vague instruction left me with literally one road to reference, so I got on that road and stayed on that road. Now, I specifically asked the local if the trail was in this general area, and I guess she was technically right, it was within a 25 mile radius of where we had the conversation, maybe, but I just assumed we were on the same page in thinking that I meant something not far as hell. I was wrong.

I continue to walk, not really sure what I’m looking for, really just hoping to come across a sign that says “big ass trail that way,” but said sign never showed. I finally get to an opening that looks like it could possibly be the trail she was talking about. It was a dirt road wide enough for cars to drive on, so my thinking is if this isn’t the trail then this at least leads to a trail, and boy did it.

After a decently long trek up this winding dirt road, I start to see some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen in my life. Because I had no idea where I was, I didn’t know the name of the various mountain ranges and bodies of water, and I didn’t care to know. I was just happy that my hopeless wandering brought me to this place. It was a massive body of water, surround by mountains of all sizes, some snowcapped, some completely green. Within this mountain perimeter there were small islands that broke up the body of water, really giving what I was looking at some depth. I was in awe. I took my camera out and starting snapping away. Once I satiated my photography thirst, I figured that the view couldn’t get much better than this even if i do continue to go up this mountain, which seemed like it never ended. I had nothing else better to do so I kept wandering up. The views alongside of me kept me company as I walked to infinity. I got to a place in the trail that had some big ass rocks that looked challenging but doable to climb. So, I climbed up and parked it right there. I sat there and enjoyed the world around me for a little until I was itching to keep looking. I was walking around a bend when right on the edge, I came up on a opening of the beaten path. This wasn’t an open air trail like I had been walking on. This opening was in the mountains, surrounded by nothing but wilderness. I sat there at the opening pondering whether or not I should go in here alone. I’m running through all kinds of scenarios in which a mountain lion comes out of the woodwork and murders me. I decide I can’t be that unlucky and go for it. Its pretty dark compared to the last trail I was on because the vegetation stopped all sunlight from getting through so at this point I am on my p’s and q’s, ready to go toe to toe with whatever creature wants to try it. The trail splits into even smaller trails. One going up the mountain, one going down. I take the up route go until I get to space on the mountain whose vegetation was a little more trimmed, but there is no path for walking. I keep going and it opens up to a view that beats the view I thought was unbeatable. Again I whip out my camera and snap away. I thought about getting back on the trail and continuing up the mountain, but I decided that I would hold off until my buddy could come back with me in a few days. I didn’t know how far the trail lead and what I could possibly encounter being in the real wilderness like that. Who would have thought wandering alone with no direction would bare fruits.