Tuesday 18 April 2006

Episode 2. Torres del Paine Day 3

Wet. It was only light drizzle when I awoke and I hoped that it would clear. I set off early with just a few essentials in my pack to head up to Paso John Garner from which there are supposed to be amazing views over Glaciar Grey. Steady climb from 200m to 500m and then a final steep ascent to 1200m. But the rain got worse, the ground extemely muddy and slippery and those ravines less and less inviting. I reached the Campamento Guardas about 5km on, stopped to look out from the mirador over the glaciar then decided it simply wasn't going to happen. So I turned back. So I'm leaving something behind to do. In reality, since I wanted to do the circuito grande and was unable to do it, I'll have to come back anyway.

I sat in my tent drinking my mug of soup feeling something but since I can't read the notes I made, I have no idea what it was that I was feeling. Looks a bit like 'choked' but I wasn't. Anyway, I sat and watched the steam rising off my trousers as they dried in the relative warmth of the tent and watched the mist rising off the mountains once the rain had stopped. Nature suddenly seemed perverse to me. The clouds come along. Wet everything. It warms up. The water rises back up to form clouds. The wind blows the clouds into the next mountain, where they break into rain... etc... Well, somehow it seems to work.

There were a dozen members of 16 Squadron RAF, on R&R from the Falklands, staying overnight at the Refugio Lago Grey. These guys were doing it in relative luxury. Small packs, no tents, staying in the comfort and warmth of a hut. Food provided at each hut, so no need to carry provisions. I guess it worked in my favour. I chatted to a few of them for a while then one of them gave up a couple of boil-in-the-bag sausage and beans. Lovely. MoD cooked breakfast for the next 2 mornings.

Later I spent some time chatting to a Spanish couple. They had been living in Dublin. Chucked in their jobs and after a few months travelling were returning to Spain, where they reckoned they were going to struggle to find worthwhile jobs.

I took the opportunity of the downtime to do some admin: cleaned out the tent etc.Later I went to the mirador to take some more pictures. The ones I'd taken first thing this morning were probably not as good as they might have been, in the limited light.

I revised my plans for the rest of my time in the park...
  • D4 Campamento Lago Grey to Campamento Italiano
  • D5 Campamento Italiano to Campamento Britanico to Mirador then back to Campamento Italiano and on to Albergue Los Cuernos. Long day.
  • D6 Albergue Los Cuernos to Campamento Torres.
  • D7 Campamento Torres to mirador back to Camp T then on to Campamento Japon├ęs on to Valle del Silencio then back to Camp T.
  • D8 Camp T to Hosteria Las Torres then on to Laguna Amarga for coach back to Puerto Natales.