Till the night before we weren’t even sure of how to get there, and where we would meet Valentina, our volunteering partner from Chile.
After a Nutella breakfast we leave with Eusebio, he will be in charge of the reparation of the bivouac at 5.000 mt. With a public minivan we reach the village of Marcara where Chino, the refuge supplier, drive us to Puente Paltay, where we collect Vale and from there to the starting point for the trek. We say hi to the rangers and introduce us as the new volunteers and then, carrying our heavy backpacks, we start the walk. There is no other way to get to our destination. So every heavy stuff goes with the donkeys.
14 km climbing, but not too hard, taking advantage of the lookout points to rest. We even stop for a picnic with real Italian ham and then start the last climb. With our pace we get there in 4 hours.
The Mountain refuge Ishinca is at 4.350 meters above sea level and it’s one of the refuges built by the Italian NGO O.M.G. Operazione Mato Grosso. It’s very beautiful, and the place is amazing. We are at the feet of Tocllaraju, with its white summit overlooking the place.
We are welcome by Angel, aspiring cook and altitude handyman, weight a hot mate and home made biscuits. This will be our home for the next 2 weeks, with a glacier over our heads changing colors every hour; donkeys, horses and cows eating freely all around, creeks going through the plane and the thick air of 4.350 mt altitude.

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