The Fabulous Four in Cerro Castillo

A pregnancy announcement, one huge bear, and a beautiful castle.

So there you have it. We met the perfect people to hitchhike with not only because they were going the same way we were, but they were awesome people to be around. Our first stop on our road trip as the fabulous four was Puerto Aysen. This was going to be our hub for figuring out how we would hike Cerro Castillo along with gathering all our food for the trip.

The iconic bridge of Puerto Aysen.

The iconic bridge of Puerto Aysen.

We spent some time driving around the city, then made our way to the local grocery store. This is where, unknowingly, Heather became “pregnant”. Haha.. yes, that sounds terrible, but just wait it’s actually quite funny. We had all finished our shopping and were waiting in the extremely long lines when a new checkout stand opened up. We gave it some time before jumping into the line because this line was preferred for elderly people with canes, handicapped persons, or pregnant women. While we were waiting in line a grouchy old man started ramming the back of us with his cart and yelling at Heather, “Excuse me! Excuse me!!” (in Spanish of course). We all looked at each other and decided we would just ignore him because he was clearly not needing to get in front of us due to an old body, but was instead just an old grouchy man taking advantage of the sign. After continuing to badger us about trying to get in front of us, Ignacio turned around and said, “Excuse us, she is pregnant,” then pointed to the preferred for pregnant women sign. To put it simply he was dumbfounded and so embarrassed that he was ramming a pregnant lady with his cart. He apologized and then quietly stood in line the remainder of the time. Now yes, you could say this was wrong of us to do, but the man was being so rude and we had to stick him with something good, and oh man, are we glad Ignacio did!! We made our way through the line and out the door and just started busting up laughing. Who knew being “pregnant” was so simple!!

Does pregnancy look good on me?

Does pregnancy look good on me?

After our big pregnancy announcement, we drove for about 30 minutes to a random lake where we camped for free, had a great relaxing fire, and a huge bear attacked us!

Our campsite for the night!!

Our campsite for the night!!

After our fire, we all went to bed. We had been in a deep sleep for a few hours when Heather wakes up to a snarling, growling noise of a huge animal just outside the tent. She lay there worried to make even the slightest movement in fear that the animal would hear/see the commotion and attack. But ever so slightly, she was able to wake Jason up for some comfort. We lay there; scared, petrified. In one instant there was no noise or movement from outside, then in the next instant there was a huge animal that ran right into our tent, something crawled under the tent and scared Heather and Jason even more than before. When the animal rammed into the tent, somehow it had so much force it even popped part of Jason’s air mattress. We were both unable to decide what to do because the animal was literally right outside the tent (probably planning its next attack), we decided it was time to wake up Ignacio and Antonio in the other tent to have them see what it was. The guys peeked out of their tent and the sight of the animal was astonishing. This huge animal that sounded like a big ravaging bear was actually in fact just a mid-sized cute dog most likely playing with a wild mouse. But man, for those ten minutes of torture we were sure we were going to die!!

The next morning, we all woke up for some breakfast. Afterwards, Ignacio and Jason decided to take a morning dip in the freezing cold lake for a little shower. Once camp was all packed up, we all made our way into Coyhaique to get information on the 4 day hike in the Cerro Castillo (Castle Mountain) National Reserve.

Our morning view..

Our morning view..

On our way to Coyhaique!!

On our way to Coyhaique!!

One huge last dinner!!

One huge last dinner!! Talk about healthy eating!!!

Once getting everything squared away, we made our way to the first campsite that was 90 kilometers (55 miles) outside of Coyhaique, and 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from the main trailhead for the Cerro Castillo hike via highway. We set up camp, packed our bags, and tried to get one last shower in before going to bed. Showering was a bit tricky here. There was no electricity and you have to heat the water with a fire, so our showers were quick and cold, but it was fun to pretend we were in the Stone Age!

6:00am came early the next morning; it was cold, the sun hadn’t quite risen yet, and we had 7 kilometers to hike on the road until our first steps on the trail would be begin. After about seven stops within the first 7 kms, due mostly to Jason’s tendencies of stopping and taking a long “bathroom break”, we finally arrived to the trailhead—so we thought. In all reality, we just arrived to the dirt road that leads through a bunch of different gaucho campos (cowboy ranches) for the next 14 kms eventually ending at the trailhead. Nonetheless, it was all beautiful and provided little peaks of the towering Cerro Castillo in the distance. Now after 21kms of walking on roads, we really finally made it to the real trailhead of Sandero de Chile Cerro Castillo. He we were greeted with a few park rangers and paid the entrance fee of CH$5,000 pesos (8USD). We then picked up our bags and continued on another few kilometers to where we would be camping that night. This site provided an epic view of the Cerro Castillo.

Would you pick us up if you drove by us??

Would you pick us up if you drove by us??

The two best friends that anyone could have!!

The two best friends that anyone could have!!

And so it begins!!

And so it begins!!

This little guy was just perched right outside the ranger station!

This little guy was just perched right outside the ranger station!

Bathroom/peel off layers of clothing break!!

Bathroom/peel off layers of clothing break!!

The view on our first day!! Gorgeous!!

The view on our first day!! Gorgeous!!

Our camp for night one!!

Our camp for night one!!

Well hello big, huge, gorgeous mountain!! Lovely view from our first camp!!

Well hello big, huge, gorgeous mountain!! Lovely view from our first camp!!

When you get blisters on the trail the first day this is how we treat them.. And yes.. we know the toes are in the shape of like a w.. and yes.. we had a full conversation on how weird "American" feet were!!

When you get blisters on the trail the first day this is how we treat them.. And yes.. we know the toes are in the shape of like a w.. and yes.. we had a full conversation on how weird “American” feet were!!

{Traveler’s Tip.. The entrance to the dirt road you walk on before actually entering the park is not marked. Be sure to ask in Coyhaique where to start the trail if you’re not planning on starting it from the town of Cerro Castillo!}

The next day we hiked to a spot just below a laguna, overlooking the whole valley that we had hike through earlier that day, while also being perched just under the massive jagged peaks of the Castillo. This day of hiking was so much fun and filled with so much beauty. The pictures below explain it the best!!

Fabulous Four in action!! These boys were such a blessing to us!

Fabulous Four in action!! These boys were such a blessing to us!

When there's a hole in a rock you have to attempt a cool picture!!

When there’s a hole in a rock you have to attempt a cool picture!!

Snack time!!

Snack time!!

Snow!!!

Snow!!!

We spent a good hour searching for fossils!! Antonio found this one.. not really sure what it is, but it's pretty cool!!

We spent a good hour searching for fossils!! Antonio found this one.. not really sure what it is, but it’s pretty cool!!

Spent an hour enjoying this view playing in the snow and being scientist!!

Spent an hour enjoying this view playing in the snow and being scientist!!

Could not have asked for a better day!

Could not have asked for a better day!

The pony tail boys!

The pony tail boys!

Our God is way too good!!

Our God is way too good!!

Breathtaking!!

Breathtaking!!

Perfect view!!!

Perfect view!!!

Pretty yellow flowers on the trail!!

Pretty yellow flowers on the trail!!

Protruding rocks all around!!

Protruding rocks all around!!

We could stare at this view for days!!

We could stare at this view for days!!

Gorgeous place with wonderful company!!

Gorgeous place with wonderful company!!

Have to get our backpack picture for all our treks!!

Have to get our backpack picture for all our treks!!

Our camp for night two!

Our camp for night two!

Day three of the trek was our day to peak out at the crest of Cerro Castillo and then trek back down the mountain to camp in a beautiful meadow. We woke up early to get a good start on the ascent and were super bummed that the entire morning the entire Cerro Castillo was in a cloud. We sat at the top trying to wait for the clouds to blow away, but were only stuck in rain after! We began our decent down so we could get out of the rain and get to camp at a decent hour.

Starting day three with a water crossing!! We can't even count how many "river" crossings there were on the trail.. luckily we only had a couple times where someone fell in!

Starting day three with a water crossing!! We can’t even count how many “river” crossings there were on the trail.. luckily we only had a couple times where someone fell in!

The Laguna we camped near!! Just below the towering Cerro Castillo!

The Laguna we camped near!! Just below the towering Cerro Castillo!

Peaking out above Villa Cerro Castillo!

Peaking out above Villa Cerro Castillo!

Cerro Castillo is hidden within the clouds!!

Cerro Castillo is hidden within the clouds!!

Even with all the dirt the glacier is still pretty!!

Even with all the dirt the glacier is still pretty!!

Made it to the top!!!

Made it to the top!!!

Waiting for the clouds to clear!!

Waiting for the clouds to clear!!

The decent was twenty times harder than going up! There wasn’t really a trail at all, and the markings that were there for the trail were extremely hard to see in the weather we had. We were slipping and sliding all over the rocks, and were so grateful to be in a group of four people instead of just the two of us. We can’t even explain how happy we were once we got done with the slippery slope! We continued on our way to the first campground to have lunch, and then hiked the next little bit to where we would stay for the night.

Clearing up for a bit of our hike!!

Clearing up for a bit of our hike!!

Tonio getting lost on the trail!! Blazin' his own path!!

Tonio getting lost on the trail!! Blazin’ his own path!!

All fires were strictly forbidden in the park, so we weren’t expecting make a fire at any point. But at this campground there were clearly set out fire pits and lots of wood to be collected, along with no sign saying you couldn’t have a fire in this camp. Ignacio and Antonio had made it to camp about 30 minutes before us, and they had already had their tent set up and were on a mission collecting as much wood as possible for us to enjoy our last night on the trail together. When we thought that our evening couldn’t get any better than warming up to a nice fire, it did. Antonio and Ignacio surprised us with s’more supplies. They heard us talking about how much we had been missing doing that in our backyard back in the states. (Let’s be real..how could they not hear us.. Heather couldn’t stop talking about s’mores) They had never heard or even tried anything like it so when they had the idea to surprise us with this wonderful treat on our last night in the wilderness, it was a treat for all four of us!

Camp for night three!!!

Camp for night three!!!

Ignacio's First Bite!!!

Ignacio’s First Bite!!!

And Tonio's first... They were both instantly in love with s'mores!!

And Tonio’s first… They were both instantly in love with s’mores!!

Aw man.. how good it was to have a s'more again..

Aw man.. how good it was to have a s’more again..

Way too excited for her own good!!

Way too excited for her own good!!

S'more Time!!!

S’more Time!!!

The meadow just outside of our camp!!

The meadow just outside of our camp!!

Well good morning beauty!

Well good morning beauty!

Our last morning on the trail!!

Our last morning on the trail!!

{Traveler’s Tip.. Camp at Neocelandes (New Zealanders) campground. Pass the first one that is super tempting to stay at with the nice creek by it. You only have to put in about another hour of basically flat hiking and Neocelandes is way better!!}

The next morning came and we had to hike back to the small town of Villa Cerro Castillo. Awaiting us at the end were huge Chilean sandwiches that were sold in an old public transportation bus that was converted into a restaurant. Here is the place were we feasted and were able to unwind before heading back to Coyhaique.

Can you have a better view?

Can you have a better view?

Beautiful last day on the trail!!

Beautiful last day on the trail!!

Fall is beginning!!!

Fall is beginning!!!

These flowers were way too photogenic!!

These flowers were way too photogenic!!

The road to beauty

The road to beauty

Back on the dirt roads to end out trek!!

Back on the dirt roads to end our trek!!

Best sandwich place in all of Patagonia right here!!

Best sandwich place in all of Patagonia right here!!

Too good to be true!!

Too good to be true after 34 miles of trekking!!

{Traveler’s Tip.. In Villa Cerro Castillo, go to the restaurant that is in a bus. It’s across the Carretera Austral from the main town, and it is absolutely amazing! Especially after a long trek!! Big sandwiches are around 3,500 CHP}

Once we got back to Coyhaique, we set up camp at a lovely place just outside of town then went back into town to get some dinner! We went to the only place open in town, and the boys all got steak, while Heather orders a nice stirfry. The boys had received their dinner, ate it all, and had their plates cleared from the table before Heather’s dinner was even brought out to her. We were trying to be polite and not be too upset, but Heather finally got up and asked where her food was. They informed her that it took longer to cook the veggies than the steak so hers was just now ready. Hmm.. last we checked steak takes longer, but whatever. We left with a nice discount on our food and full bellies for the boys to go back to camp to nice hot showers and our warm sleeping bags!


…Where We Have Been And Where We Are Heading…

 Let’s see.. again we continually tell you all that we are extremely behind on our blog. And it still rings true! Everything in this blog is from February 17th-February 23rd. Better late than never right?! Since this trek we have been all throughout Patagonia, to the end of the world in Ushuaia, tangoing in Buenos Aires, in the pounding water at Iguazu Falls, and are now in Uruguay. We will be in Uruguay until April 6th, and at that point we begin our journey of flights everywhere!! We will fly between four different countries in 11 days to be able to get to Jason’s grad school interview by April 20th.


…Prayer Requests…

 *Well since we are flying lots.. Please be praying for safe flights and for our flights to be on time!!

*Continue to pray for our health!! We are constantly on the move now more than ever, and can’t afford bad health!!

*Continue to pray for our friends back home that have had a baby recently or are pregnant!! Praise God for the healthy births of quite a few babies lately, and pray that the ones to come are healthy as well!

 *Pray for Jason as he prepares for his interview and that the Lord prepares the hearts of the interviewers for what He has to offer through Jason.

*Pray for patience with both of us! Our debit card got shut down due to someone using it in the Philippines, and now we are in a country that doesn’t accept our credit card as widely, we need prayer!! Prayer that our card will work when it needs to, and prayer for understanding and patience when we get in situations where it doesn’t work!

*And again.. Praise God for the beauty He has created for us all to enjoy!!

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