Monday, 6 February 2012

Hiking and training in Yerba Loca

This weekend V and I went to Yerba Loca again. It's only a short drive outside of Santiago, it's not very popular to go far along the trail so it can be really quiet and we love seeing a glacier. The idea was for us to do some hiking and for me to sleep and train at altitude for the weekend in preparation for the altitude during the Atacama Crossing.

We started off late on Saturday and put in a lot of walking, about 5 hours until we reached Camp 5. I was planning to go for a run, but by the end of the day we put in some serious mileage and I was taking strain from lugging my heavy pack. I had our usual camping gear and an extra 5kg that I've been using to weight my race pack during training. It wasn't easy on the shoulders, but when I did run the next morning I felt incredibly light!

We did a lot of walking this weekend.

We slept as well as can be expected at altitude and with minimal sleeping mats, but still found it cold and a little uncomfortable. I think I had a better night's sleep at a higher altitude than our last trip so I was pleased and gave myself a pat on the back for getting up that high before the race. When I started out in the morning with my race pack I came across a number of frozen sections of water which showed that it was much colder than we had thought during the night (but not colder than we felt).

Frozen water near our camp for the night. It as cold as we thought!

In the morning I headed up towards the glacier. I thought it would be a flat route as it appeared to be in the valley next the river, but after about 5 minutes and around the first bend I was already hiking up a monster mountain. I managed 5kms in just under an hour and a half, took some great photos and headed back to camp in a frenzied 20 minute downhill run.

The river runs along the trail all the way from the glacier to the entrance of Yerba Loca.

The glacier can be seen on lots of sections along the way, but it's a long way to get up close.

As close as I got for this weekend.

After my run we walked back to the car enjoying the slightly easier downhill route. It was a tough weekend and we were very ready for an early night on Sunday.

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