5th April 1835

Mendoza to Santiago (Day 19) – Ojos del Agua
A long days march across the central ridge down to the Ojos del Agua. This was near to the lowest Casucha on the Western slope. — These Casuchas are round little towers, with the floor elevated above the ground & steps outside to reach it. — There are eight in number; formerly in the time of the King of Spain, stores were kept in them, & the Couriers took with them in the Winter master keys. Now they only answer the purpose of caves & are miserable dungeons; seated on some little eminence in the wild valleys, they are not ill suited to the surrounding desolation. The zigzag ascent of the Cumbre or partition of the waters is very steep & tedious: the road does not pass over any perpetual snow, but there are patches on either hand. — The wind on the summit was very piercing; but it was impossible not to admire again & again the intense color of the Heavens & the brilliant transparency of the Air. — The scenery moreover was grand; to the West there was a fine Chaos of huge mountains divided by profound ravines. — By this time of the year there have generally fallen a few snow storms, & not infrequently the Cordilleras are shut up; but we were favoured with the brightest fortune, & everything happened well: the sky was cloudless, excepting sometimes a few round little masses of Vapour floated around the highest peaks; such little islands in the sky are seen from a distance, when the Cordilleras are beneath the horizon to mark their position. — We met during the day several parties & Cargo troops; the road is well frequented, I suppose during the whole passage we met at least ten different parties.

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