Wednesday 19 April 2006

Episode 2. Torres del Paine Day 4 'My last day at Work'

Woke up last night, cold. I'd been asleep 4 hours. It was only 11.30pm. Another 7 hours to go before I could escape the night.

Yup, today, 19th April, is my last paid day at work. Maidenhead or Patagonia... not a tough choice.

I had a very pleasant walk from Campamento Grey down to Lago Pehoe (pronounced Pe (as in Pistol), We (as in Wistol), not Pee Hoe). Final views over the glaciar.

A sunny day, I was in the shadow of 60m year old Paine Grande until I finally reached Pehoe. I sat down to have my lunch in the sunshine by the lake, gazing across to the mountains beyond. Immediately it clouded over.

The going had been good in the morning but my pack felt heavy in the afternoon. I thought about ploughing on to Albergue Los Cuernos and having a nice hot shower and maybe some dinner and even a bed. I stuck to my plan and stopped at Campamento Italiano, at the bottom of the Valle del Frances. Tomorrow I'll head up to Campamento Britanico and beyond to the mirador above.

I met a couple of American travellers at the campsite, John and Jeffrey. They'd met on the Navimag boat from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas. Jeffrey had spent the last 3 years travelling, doing occasional work, in Australia, New Zealand and South America. He was carrying his whole world with him. He had a lot of little luxuries like spices for his food and really good tea. It's amazing how important these simple things become.

John, from Seattle, had like me left his job. He was on a 6-month trip. He'd already passed through Asia and was now in South America.

Jeffrey insisted on building a campfire and I insisted on sitting by it. What a great fire! It was ringed round by a circle of stones to keep it from spreading but also to hold the heat in. It kept us warm till about 10.30pm. A late night for me!