January 12, 2006
My tent was a rental, so it sucked. Some of the attachments for the poles were broken, the screen had a hole in it, and the bag was ripped. Seeing that everyone else who had used it had abused it, I somewhat rolled it up and quickly stuffed it in the bag, creating an even bigger hole in the process. I had a quick breakfast of yogurt and salami and took off.
The first two hours of my trek took me past the Lagunas de Madre e Hija, which I had first seen yesterday from the Fitz Roy mirador. Next, I walked another hour to Laguna Torre. The view was once again great, but it was too windy and cold to enjoy for very long. After a quick lunch, I walked three more hours back to town. The trek overall went smoothly, although my shoulders were sore at the end. Carrying my own food, tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag put a little more weight on my back than I'm used to, but I guess I'll have to suck it up if I want to do any more treks in the future.
I got back to my hostel (owned by a man named Bruno) at 4:00, in plenty of time to catch my 6:00 bus out of town, but there was a problem. When I tried to open the door to the dorm room where I had stashed my stuff I didn't use for trekking, it was locked. "Bruno's gone fishing," said the guy who was remodeling the house. "He'll be back at 5:00." That was strange. I had been at that hostel for three solid days, and that room had never been locked before. Nobody else had a key, either, so I was stuck waiting.
5:00 came and went, but Bruno was still gone. I started to panic. Not only was my bus ticket expensive, but I was supposed to meet Jenny at a hostel in El Calafate later tonight. El Chalten is a pretty remote town, so only two buses leave every day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Missing the bus would mean losing my money and letting down a friend. I had to get on that bus.
At a little before 6:00, it was apparent that Bruno wasn't going to be back in time. The hostel employee and I ran to where the bus was about to leave from and got my ticket changed for tomorrow morning.
Changing the bus ticket was easy, but getting ahold of Jenny was not. I tried calling her at the hostel, but the lady who answered the phone wanted to know her room number. Obviously, I didn't know that, but I wouldn't be able to talk to her until I did, which would be never. Jenny is going to be pissed.
I went back to the hostel, but Bruno still was not there. Some other people came in looking for a room, but the employee wasn't sure if any beds were still free, so he had to deny their business. It's not easy to find a room in town because it's peak season, so people can't wait all night at a hostel on the chance that they might get a bed. Bruno was letting down a lot of people.
Finally at about 10:00, Bruno walked in the door, fishing gear in hand. He didn't see what the big deal was with him being five hours late. I know it's a relaxed culture, but if you're going to run a hostel, you have to take at least some responsibility for your actions.
One good thing did come out of the night: I met an Englishman named John who is interested in doing a long trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. He already has a tent and stove, so it would be a pretty sweet deal if it worked out.
The photo album for this entry is here.