January 11, 2006
The weather was slightly better today. It was still gloomy, but at least there was no rain and there were not as many clouds. Mount Fitz Roy wasn't visible, but unlike yesterday, most of the mountains that surround it were. Jenny went on part two of the trek around the area today. She'll come back to the hostel tonight and leave town for El Calafate tomorrow morning. I'm going camping tonight and going to meet her in El Calafate tomorrow night.
I left the hostel early in the morning to begin my two-day trek around Mount Fitz Roy. First, I stopped at a rental place and picked up a tent and sleeping pad. The camping gear combined with the two day's worth of food I was carrying made my pack pretty heavy, much heavier than what I had to carry on the previous treks I had done on my trip. Still, the trail is supposed to be fairly flat, so I didn't think there would be any issues with the weight.
The campsite was about three hours away from town. I thought I would get lonely, but that would've been impossible because there were so many other trekkers on the trail with me. I walked most of the way with a lady named Chantel, who was originally from Argentina, but moved to England many years ago. We had some nice conversations, and before I knew it, we were at the campsite.
I ate lunch, set up my tent, and took a siesta. Going out into the wilderness without a guide is a lot more work than going with one, but I found it more rewarding as well. I had to set up my own tent and "cook" my own food (put salami and cheese on a piece of bread), but it gave me the feeling that I was free to go wherever I wanted, and it would barely cost anything.
After my nap, I left my gear behind and embarked on the most difficult part of my journey for the day: The one and a half hour climb to Laguna de los Tres. Getting to the top wasn't too bad. The trail was almost straight up, but I wasn't carrying my heavy backpack, so it felt like a good workout rather than a chore.
When I got to the top, I was rewarded with the spectacular view of Laguna de los Tres in front of the Fitz Roy. At least it would have been spectacular if the Fitz Roy had not been covered with clouds. After sitting around and chatting with some Israelis for awhile, I climbed to the top of another hill and was treated to the view of a second lagoon. This one had a glacier above it that was breaking apart and forming a waterfall. That glacial water eventually makes its way to the camping area, where people still drink straight from the stream.
I really enjoyed my hike to the top, even though the Fitz Roy wasn't visible. I think going back down was actually harder than going up because the trail was rather eroded and treacherous. Falling asleep was pretty easy tonight because of all of the hiking I did, despite it being cold and windy. The only bad part of this trek is that Laguna de los Tres is the highlight, and I've already seen it on the first day.
The photo album for this entry is here.