Cochamó

My feet are crinkled, my shoulder muscles ache, my hair smells like bonfire smoke and I could barely keep my eyes open in my exam this morning. That’s the reality of the day after a two-day trek.

Cochamo was a very spontaneous decision. I have one week left in Concepcion and I wanted to spend my last weekend exploring what this country boasts best – magnificent scenery.

The night we left I was actually second guessing my decision. I really didn’t know how to get to the park once we arrived in Puerto Montt, the tent barely kept out the water and there was 15 minutes to go until we had to be at the bus terminal and I still hadn’t packed. But as Machi reminded me, everything will work out.

The next morning, once we had arrived at the bus terminal of Puerto Montt we simply asked where to go at the information desk and hopped on a bus to Cochamo. Simple. It was getting off the bus when we find out the difficult part.

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I thought we had to arrive at the entrance of the park, walk for about an hour, set up our tents and then explore the nearby hikes. But that’s not quite how it worked.

We got off the bus, registered and began the 12km hike to La Junta, the centre of the valley and the base for our tents. 12km is not an hour stroll, particularly not when its raining. It’s a whole day hike, jumping over puddles, sinking into mud and scrambling through the trees on the side of the track to avoid the knee-deep mud. It’s intense. And we sure felt it when we arrived at the camp site at 5pm.

But I can’t ignore it’s beauty. Walking between looming cliffs, dodging between green vines and glimpsing the aqua river flowing through the mountains, it makes the walk worth it.

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Arriving at the camp site, we eat the pasta we had previously packed and crash for the night. I don’t think I have been to sleep earlier all year. I wish I had more time to appreciate where I was rather than sleep so early.

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But I made up for it the next morning. We took the only walk we had time for, to the nearby waterfall toboggan, which the campsite owner recommended us to slide down. If it was at the end of my walk, I may had taken the plunge, but I felt too cold to get wet at that point. Luckily Machi did it for us.

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After packing up our gear we head back along the same track as the day before. The same deal, except without the rain and a 20 minute run at 4:15 when we realise we may actually miss the last bus out of Cochamo valley.

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