Known for its mysterious energy, the mountain pulled us to Capilla del Monte. How could we resist when we heard that the town is full of “alternative” culture and that you could trek up the mountain? We translated this into hopes of vegan food and visions of Jodorowsky´s The Holy Mountain.
We arrived into Capilla del Monte by bus from Cordoba and were soon greeted by Shorty, a local dog of the town who showed us to the office of tourism. He waited outside as we grabbed a map and located camping areas. Shorty started to show us the way but was quickly distracted by Big Body, another local perro so we wandered around on dirt roads until we found a place. It was more a bit more than we wanted to pay, but offered a kitchen area, a pregnant cat, a cute puppy and a whole assortment of animals living on their eco farm. Plus the guy gave us a handful of walnuts from a tree on the farm and walked us over to a spot on their land where you could see the sun setting its glow on the mountain that had lured us there, Uritorco.
We camped there for 3 nights another tent accompanied us for a night and others stayed in the hostel rooms they offer as well, but mostly we were alone. It seemed as if every block in Capilla del Monte was home to some sort of natural food, herb or artisan store. We found granola, tofu, soy milanesa, organic mate and a handful of other items to meet our cravings.
Sunday we packed our small bags with plenty of water, snacks and a lunch for the top of Uritorco. We were told it would take 3 to 4 hours to reach the top and about 3 hours to trek back down. I managed to twist my ankle a bit a couple of days before in the city, and thought nothing like a trek up a mountain to help this situation out.
The hike, as expected gets steeper as you reach the top but overall is not very strenuous. We were happy to find that it remained rather rugged for most of the trek. Some small stretches were worn down more than others but they kept the signs minimal, arrows here and there and 7 labeled points telling you how far you had gone and how much further you had to go. We reached the top, 1,979 meters (6493ft) in 2 hours and 45 minutes. This included my hopeless attemps at trying to find birds and photograph butterflies. We also hung out just short of the top to enjoy the silence before we had to be around 10 or so other people who thought they should shout to their friends close by.
We reached the top and took in the view, beautiful from all angles. Three dogs also decided to spend their time a top Cerro Uritorico as well, including Mountain Mama a pregnant perro ready to birth her puppies to the mountain. Enjoying matè and soy milanesa sandwiches we took it all in for about an hour or two. It took us just under 2 hours to trek back down, I managed to only fall once but caught myself before tumbling.
The following day we cramped our legs on long bus rides making our way to Uruguay followed by an interesting entrance into the country.
Note- I left out photos of our actual hike so as to not spoil the view for someone searching about the trek. If you want to see more they will be in the Argentina folder, see the link to My Photo Albums on the right.