It was a hot week in Mendoza so we decided to head to the mountains in search of cooler temperatures and calm. Our destination was Ruta 94 above Manzano Histórico, south of Mendoza. From Manzano Histórico the pavement turns immediately to gravel and heads west towards the Chilean border. After a few kilometres there is a Gendarmería checkpoint where you have to show your ID and vehicle registration. Once that is duly recorded they open the gate and let you continue on your way. You can drive quite far up the mountains to approximately 4500m of elevation. We stopped at 3100m where we found a flat spot by the creek where we could easily park the truck and spend a quiet night. The higher you drive the less traffic you encounter. The altitude and the rough road are discouraging factors for small vehicles. After it got dark the full moon came out and lit the landscape again, giving me an opportunity to take some unusual photos of the moon-lit mountains with the star-studded sky. The next day we went hiking to Arrenales, a world-famous rock climbing site with over 500 different routes on the various granite faces, some as long as 750m. The hike starts at slightly above 2700m and climbs to 3100m, a moderate hike among rocks and boulders. We then spent a night in the municipal campground in Manzano Histórico to shower and plug in the truck to recharge the home battery. It’s always hard for us to stay among other campers. The locals stay up very late and like loud music, not our kind of camping! So the next day we headed for a spot I had visited several times but where I never camped, above the small town of Potrerillos. We had a very quiet night and lovely views, even though the weather slowly deteriorated overnight. We woke up in clouds and fog but still fairly pleasant temperatures. After a lunch picnic by the river in Potrerillos we headed home after 3 days of nature, fresh air, and peace (for the most part!).
Wildcamp above Manzano Historico at 3130m – GPS: 33° 36′ 39.3″S, 69° 32′ 14.8″W
Wildamp above Potrerillos – GPS: 33° 03′ 05.8″S, 69° 17′ 07.4″W