Aconcagua is not only the highest mountain in the Andes of South America, it is
also the highest mountain in the whole Western Hemisphere.
In fact, it is the highest mountain in the world outside of the
Himalayas. It is near the border of
Chile in the west central part of Argentina.
It is not possible to get very close to it by road.
To actually climb the mountain, or even to get very near it, would
require a permit and several days of backpacking.
But the views from a distance are perhaps more impressive than being on
the mountain itself. Some of the
best are from the pretty green valley pictured here, the Horcones Valley, which
is about as far as one can hike in an afternoon, and still make it back to the
road before dark.
December 16, 2009 was a beautiful clear, calm day in the Andes.
At 6:35 p.m., the ashes of Richard were sprinkled upon this golden rock,
in view of the great peak, with the words Te doy a los vientos de
coincidence, within seconds, the sun sank behind a hill to the west, a strong
wind immediately picked up, and the remains were blown off down the valley
toward the distant mountain.
I give you to the
winds of Aconcagua.
Torres del Paine National Park is the jewel of the entire Andes range, and is
the most famous national park in all of Patagonia (southern Chile and
Argentina). It is also one of the
most difficult to get to, being at the far southern end of the continent.
Even though it is in Chile, no roads go there within that country.
One has to cross into Argentina and drive south on several hundred miles
of dirt and gravel roads, and then cross back into Chile.
The famous three granite towers in the far distance are the remains of
the insides of an ancient volcano, the outside of which long ago eroded away.
They can only be reached by a lengthy backpacking trip.
But magnificent views can be had, on clear days, from Lake Azul, or from
the Cascades of the River Paine, below.
On the day before Christmas 2009, after waiting for an hour for the dark
overhead clouds to pass, the sun finally appeared momentarily, permitting a few
pictures, though the towers themselves were never clear that day.
It was at this time, at 2:45 pm, that the last of the ashes were
delivered into the waterfall.