This is Valle Hermoso, The Beautiful Valley, tucked into the Andes Mountains, 6 hrs south of Mendoza city. Sitting at 2000ft above sea level, in the Malargue region, it lures in only a handful of visitors a year who come in search of a piece of something wild.
On the final descent into the valley, a glistening lagoon becomes visible and several smaller pools of blue spot the valley floor, accompanied by a sweeping river divided into channels and a series of smaller creeks, each bordered by reeds and river stones, and populated by the ever-cunning trout.
The Cobre and Tordillo Rivers cut their paths through Valle Hermoso, and draw to their shores a handful of steadfast trout fishermen. Dressed in army green waders, they slowly trek through the freezing ice melt waters, flicking the long whip of fishing line through the air as they wait patiently for their next meal to bite.
When night settles into the valley, the searing daytime sun subsides, giving way to the opposite extreme – a darkness permeated only by the abundance of stars that poke their light through its midnight cloak, and bone-chilling temperatures. Therefore, packing for a trip to the valley is a highly strategic endeavor, one that includes everything from tank tops to wool socks and long underwear.
Though a small hostel and campground fence in the primary lagoon, the rest of the valley is open range – to grazing horses and cows, as well as to campers looking for a place to pitch a tent in the wild.