The Aconcagua Provincial Park occupies 71,000 hectares and is accessed from Route 7, at the height of Puente del Inca. There you can do numerous activities such as Aconcagua hike, climb Aconcagua, etc. Upon entering the Visitor Center, registration is required as a mandatory procedure. As a natural area, the park is in the Andes mountain range, in the so-called Andean high floor, where Mount Aconcagua, the highest in South America, and essential glaciers, source of life for a large part of the population of Mendoza, are erected. The park’s most extensive area is arid, but four levels of vegetation can be identified, which differ in height. There are 200,000 annual visitors to the Horcones circuit, of which about 8,000 go trekking and ascend Aconcagua, one of the main natural attractions in the province. My group concentrated on the place called Horcones, 2,800 meters above sea level, and from there, we left shortly afternoon. Each member carries their belongings (coats, food, and water) on their backs. The first two kilometers are made by a street that ends at the Rangers Operational Center.
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The Horcones lagoon Interpretive circuit takes place for approximately one hour, the shorter version and access to all public. Then the journey is along a zigzagging mountain path, which begins to climb to the edge of the Horcones river valley. The vegetation is reduced to very few species, the coirón grass, rays of the sun, and a thorny bush with yellow flowers called “goat’s horn,” but in the lowlands, the green is multiplied by the presence of slopes. If you want to do an Aconcagua climb, you will have to walk a lot.
The long walk added to the decrease in oxygen, demands increasing effort, breathing becomes agitated, and each step requires a lot of concentration, and the poles are essential. After an hour’s walk, we reached the suspension bridge that crosses the river, the first break on the journey. Despite the difficulties we encountered when walking, the comments are of admiration for the postcards observed: the colors of the minerals in the rock, the contrast of textures, the enormous space that encloses us in the valley and at the bottom, our objective. The path goes up the slope, a narrow track with loose stone, which encircles the walkers. There is hardly any talk because the air is vital; only the pounding of the sticks on the stone is heard. The climb is constant, and along the ten strenuous kilometers, the height affects several when planting limits. As we climb into the distance, we see an Argentine flag that the wind keeps unfurled; then the park rangers’ box and the camp. It seems that it is within reach, but it is challenging to get there; the sign at the entrance to the camp marks “Confluence 3,400 meters above sea level”. Up to that point, we have already walked four and a half hours. The Confluencia camp (named after the union of the Horcones, Superior and Inferior rivers) is in pampa surrounded by mountains and is a place of passage and rest on the way to Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Francia.
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