Autumn is a really nice time to drive around the province of Mendoza. The temperature is no so hot as in the summer, the air is crisper, the sky is blue, and the colours are vibrant. You can feel that Nature is about to take a rest. Taking advantage of being alone at home, I decided to leave the city for a few days of exploring and wild camping in the mountains west of Mendoza and further to the north, towards the province of San Juan. I spent 3 nights and 4 days, discovering new trails and expanding my comfort zone.
The difficulty here in Argentina is that some roads are shown on some GPS applications or maps, but not on others, or they are marked as passable public roads on some and un-maintained/not recommended on others. Basically, once you venture out of the main highways you are pretty much entering unknown territory. But since I am looking for adventure I don’t mind risking having to turn around or having to spend the night in an unplanned spot before turning around the next day. I had a few surprises on ruta 13 driving down towards Uspallata because the rains have dug trenches that weren’t there before along the centre of the track, and because it is steep and rough downhill, reversing is not an appealing option. Of course you discover the trenches once you are well engaged downhill! Fortunately there is room to drive outside the track on the side, and some other vehicles had already sort of cleared alternate ways. Then I also had a few surprises the following day in the quebrada along ruta 159. Some sections have been washed out and again others before me had built very rough alternate ways, but even with the high clearance of the truck I scraped the rear bumper on loose rocks. These are tracks that do not get any traffic during the week, just a few adventure seekers on weekends and holidays. And since you are along on a 100 km stretch of off-road trail, if something happens you are on your own. It’s always somewhat of a relief when you get back on the pavement 🙂 But camping in the middle of the desert or the mountains, alone, is well worth the effort to get there. The silence is deafening, the starry night sky is mind-blowing, and the mind relaxes, relieved from all the sensory inputs and aggressions that our senses are constantly subjected to during life in society. Priceless! For my next trip I would like to go to some place and stay put a few days without any “distractions”, no driving to do, no photos to take, no hike to do, no book to read, not the single link with society, just me against myself for 2 or 3 days to see how the mind handles it, if I get any worthwhile revelation maybe 🙂 Stay tuned to find out if I do it and what the result is!