Into the Elephants Eye

Just when you think the year is winding down, everything starts winding up, well that is how last week was for me anyway! I had a little bit of a crazy week that practically left me no time to write.

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A view of Elephants Eye.

So going back to last weekend, we had the opportunity to hike with Ronnie Muhl, our Aconcagua expedition leader and some of our other team members for the trip. Besides Judi and Simon, only one other team member could join us for the hike but it was great to get out into nature with Ronnie and Lisa, two of the people we are going to 3 weeks with in Argentina.

Meeting in the parking lot, we all got introduced and stood there chatting for a few minutes when all of a sudden out of nowhere something marched right up to us and scattered the group before we could all really comprehend what was happening!  There heading straight for us was the biggest, “I’m in charge” looking male baboon walking with such an air of authority, you didn’t think twice about moving out of his way. Not far behind him was a ranger with a large type of pellet gun, just in case. It was still very early in the morning and if we weren’t awake by then we certainly were after that!

Soon we were heading up the mountain, our trail, the lovely hike up to Elephants Eye from the Tokai side, chatting about Aconcagua, listening to Ronnie’s tales of previous expeditions and chatting about equipment and all things mountain related.

There was a troop of baboons moving up the mountain side along with us, with the baboon monitors following close behind them. At one point the baboons, including some babies, stopped right along our path. Behind a tree a short distance away was a lady monitoring their movement.  We stopped to check it would be ok for us to continue walking through them, to which she assured us we should be fine.

The baboons watching us closely as we made our way through the troop.

The baboons watching us closely as we made our way through the troop.

Walking quietly and slowly through the troop of baboons.

Walking quietly and slowly through the troop of baboons.

The big “I’m in charge” male baboon continued to follow us up the path, at one point taking a short cut and getting in front of us on the path. As if taunting us, with no intention of letting us through, he moved forward and then back. Eventually he moved away, possibly to join his troop again and let us pass.  Thankfully, that was the last of the baboons we saw that day.

Walking through the forest.

Walking through the forest.

Beautiful views opened up as we climbed up.

Beautiful views opened up as we climbed up.

Reaching Elephants Eye, the name derived from the fact that this mountain looks like the shape of an elephant’s head and the cave is perfectly located where the eye would be, we stopped inside the cave for a break while enjoying the spectacular views that spread out before us. It was also a great opportunity to throw questions at Ronnie about options we were considering in preparing our final packing list for our trip.

Reaching Elephants Eye, we would take a break inside.

Reaching Elephants Eye, we would take a break inside.

Some of the Aconcagua team - Simon, Anja and Ronnie at the back and Judi, Lisa and myself up front.

Some of the Aconcagua team – Simon, Anja and Ronnie at the back and Judi, Lisa and myself up front.

A wonderful morning spent on the mountain slopes with fellow team members. One that gets me so much more excited for what lies ahead. No matter whether we reach the summit or not, whatever happens on the mountain, this is going to be yet another adventure of a life time.

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This past weekend now was spent buying a few items I still need for my trip and yesterday we spent the whole day on the mountain, hiking from Simons Town to Smitswinkely Bay.  Today, I’m a bit bruised, scraped and battered from our hiking adventures, the story and pictures to follow later this week so stayed tuned!

As you know, climbing Aconcagua is more than just about the climb for me, I’m raising funds and awareness for those living with Cystic Fibrosis. If you would like to make a donation towards those living with CF, please click here. Donations of all sizes welcome. It’s a quick and easy process that can be done from anywhere in the world. Thank you for your support.

~ All Photos By Me ~

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