2011-02-21

Tales from Jujuy - Part I

Written by Michael Curcio
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Dear Reader, As I am writing this, I realize this is a tale of stupidity and error and stubborness, enjoy. Writter: But first, scene: I am sitting at the table taking some juice in my jean, which I never really ever take off anymore, and a t-shirt. It is a nice, sunny, and hot Saturday afternoon and outside a trash fire is roaring, things are being hammered, and horns are being honked, signaling the approach of hand draw ice cream carts. The thing about here is, it is either really cold or really hot, no in between, which will shortly factor into our little yarn o' a tail. On the radio, Jesus, como siempre. But second, history: So before coming out here to La Quica, I had decided to spend a night or two backpacking en “el Campo.” After I had been here a few days, it had become evident where this adventure was going to lead me. If you walk out the door and walk a few steps and look west north westish, you will see a mountain. It a rather pretty mountain, parts are red and green from clay and shrubbery and parts be the white of salt.

So I had my destination and on Wednesday before last weekend or something like that, I asked the Pastors here if I could spend the weekend camping out there. At first they were pretty nervous and warned me about perros bravos and sun and all that, but they were okay with, as long I was careful. So I started getting my things ready, first off water, lot's o' water. I had to assume that I would be able to find any water out there, it being the desert and all that. Some where in there, it came up that people had seen cities of gold and spirits and demons while out in the Campo. It was said that if you went into said city of gold, that you would be found later, either dead or loco. Now it was started to get interesting. So I got me plenty of water, about five liters worth, which can become pretty heavy after carrying for awhile. Oh well, I figured that it would be much easier coming back with less weight. Second off, food, which consisted of fruit, bread and cheese, and a rather salty soup.

Everything was pretty much set by Thursday night and I threw on the pack and walked a bit to see how it felt. All good, nice and comfy. I felt pretty good and come Friday morning I was walking out the door with a smile on my face. It was kinda cloudy and drizzling a times, but that meant it was nice and cool and, if it ever got to be too much rain, I could just pop up my tent and chill out. Which I did at one point and wrote the following journal entry: February Fourth, It's Friday, Dear Noah, Happy Friday, see you eventually. Anyways, so here I am in my tent somewhere in the arid tundra of Argentina except it's not very arid right now, seeing as how I am in my tent waiting for the rain to stop, or rather, it has stopped here, but I am waiting for it to look less horribly ominous in the direction I am going. So I am gonna write and chill out, given that it's not even eleven probably. S, It's really quiet out here and the rain is really nice, because, even if there is a little bit, all the flowers celebrate by opening up and smelling beautifully. So that's really nice and it also mean that I would be able to fill up on water if I needed to.

I am about an hour outside of La Quiaca with the vague goal of trying to climb that mountain over there, hopefully, by the time you are reading this, I will have accomplished said goal. And be able to write about the lovely view and sleeping in the clouds. That'd be cool. Now the rain be starting again, but fortunately I got all today, all tomorrow and Sunday Morning to just be out and about. To be continued rather shortly. After that, I kept me on walking and man it was pretty. The whole landscape just rolls and rolls and you come across chasms about ten or fifteen feet chasms cut by short lived but powerful streams. Fortunately, you can just jump across them and keep going up, the see the scenery, the down again to cross more ephemeral streams and sometimes a river, which may or may not have some muddy water running through it. Walking, walking, walking, goodbye La Quica, stop for lunch, and keep walking. Pass a few ranches with sheep or some such thing and then you see some black specks on the horizon. As you get closer, you realize they be Llamas, cool, llamas. Some of the even have little flowers on their fur or on their ears, how cute. By now, the mountain is getting close and I am getting a wee bit tired.

I pick a place to camp and when I get there, I am ready to set up camp and stop for the night. Unfortunately, when I get to set spot, I realize that I am rather close to a house, drats. Well, there were not much of another place to go, so I set up my tent and wondered if any one would see me or mind me chilling out here. Sure enough, after an hour of trying to siesta, I hear two claps and walk out to meet a Guacho. I asked him if I could spend the night here and then climb the the mountain in the morning. He said yes, or at least I think so, and walked away. But the adorably cute little dog that had come with him did not follow and promptly lied lied down in the shadow of my tent. I tried to sleep me some more, but by now the sun was in fun blast so that did not happen. So I pet the dog, and with time, it started to chew on most everything, my clothes, my backpack, my hat. It even started biting my toes and nose and jumped up and bit my cheek with it's teeny tiny but rather sharp teeth. Well this was unexpected. I was being terrorized by the cutest little thing I had ever seen.

Either way, I wrote in my journal as the dog alternatively chewed my tent, chewed my feet, and slept. Of in the distance, I could see colorful mountains and rainbow shrouded storms. Plus there were plenty of birds chirping around me. All and all, it was really pretty and I felt good. I ate, climbed me a mountain to see the sun set, which was pretty hard and gave me a sense of what I had in store. The thin air and steepness meant I had to take lots of breaks, but I made it all the same, which encouraged me that it could do. Now up there, it was truly beautiful, and of course I had to shout “wooo” and was gratified by a faint echo that rolled along the ridge. So it was a pretty good day, and felt great to get into my nice warm tent and escape the wind that had come from nowhere. Yeah, sleepy time, but now it's Mate Time, To be continued at a latter junction...

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