Oh boy! Hiking in the shadow of Mount Fitz Roy

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pioneros Del Valle Hostel

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

I woke up just before the alarm at 6am feeling so incredibly tired, I vowed never to let the Lady stock up on wine for a few days supply as it is always gone that night (Erica Edit:  We were doing the Argentinean thing and sharing - it was sociable). We got up managed to confirm one of the flights and left the hostel at 7am. We had to stock up on cash again (the problem with our hostel is it is pay your bill at the end which after 3 days is a significant bill), before walking into town then up to the bus station for about 7:30am, we exchanged our voucher for tickets and were on the bus at 07:45 still feeling rough. We got on the bus had our tickets checked and everything else, sat in our seats before being approached by a lass who started angrily telling us we were sat in the wrong seats, her friend wanted to sit in our seats, we showed her our tickets and thus our seat numbers and she started shouting "this bus does not go to El Chalten, get off, get off the bus". Our fellow passengers (all of whom were going to El Chalten) all got a little confused and the lady in front ended up getting off to find she was indeed on the correct bus and going to El Chalten, she came back in the end and her and her husband started giving each other an Eskimo kiss for about 1 minute out of every ten (or should that be Inuit kiss..... racist!). Not surprisingly while I wrote the blog for the last few days, the lady 'rested her eyes' for three hours. The views of the iconic mountains on the way in were quite simply breathtaking, after the reviews of consistently bad weather in this area we seemed to have been lucky again.

The bus stopped at the park headquarters but instead of stopping we were put in a room and given a talk by one of the park rangers. The guy was fantastic, talking about safety and were most injuries occur. He also covered the rules of the park but in a context of “how you can help” it was quite obvious stuff but it was put across really well. The most amusing bit was about the wildlife of the park, they are trying to keep the town dogs out of the park so if a dog befriends you and tries to follow you leaving town simply shout at it and if it doesn’t go then throw rocks at it, this was dead serious, at first I thought he was joking but he wasn’t there are endangered species here which the dogs will try and kill. We then got onto the subject of Puma’s, if you are lucky enough to see one, enjoy the experience it is likely it will run off when it sees you, if it does approach you, make yourself look big and start shouting, if it doesn’t back away, you guessed it, pick up rocks and throw them at it (do not turn your back and run) then go back to the park headquarters afterwards and report your sighting. I just had a vision of us throwing rocks at a puma. The guy finished by saying how lucky we were the main ranges are only completely visible about 30 days of the year and today was “a very special day”. We got to the hostel at about 12:45, after about 30 minutes lost in such a small town but with no street signs we got nowhere quickly. We checked in and by 1pm we were on our way to do one of the hardest and longest treks in the area the Laguna de los Tres at 25km and climbing about 800m on the way it was tough going and we wished we had listened to the warnings of the guy in the hostel that we were too late to attempt it, seeing lots of people coming the other way we had the trail pretty much to ourselves in our direction. The guidance note said “very steep trails! Dangerous when windy and rainy”.

The trek was pretty awesome but having probably already walked about 5km with the rucksacks in El Calafate and El Chalten getting on and off the busses we started to feel the pain before we got to the main climb, I was trying to push us on as it was getting so late. The views on the way were spectacular and the views of the mountains were incredible, we realised just how lucky we were to have such a clear and unwind day. (Erica edit:  Standing at the top looking out over the valley and then up at the top of Mount Fitz Roy, one of the world’s most difficult mountain climbs (we were not attempting that even though Andrew insists that he is an amazing rock climber, I am yet to see evidence of this though) it really was awesome and worth the exhausting climb).   We got back to the hostel at about 20:30 quite frankly we were knackered. We didn’t even bother with tea, managing a quick shower and straight to sleep, perhaps this was the walk or perhaps just the fact we only had a few hours sleep the night before wine and beer as well, perfect preparation to walk about 16 miles! Our six bed dorm only had one other person in there an Israeli guy whom when we ‘hola’d’ him suggested we never do that again as he doesn’t speak Spanish, I don’t think we spoke to him again, but we heard him having a poo in the middle of the night which was a nice treat.  En-suite dorm rooms really don’t do it for us - I mean what is the point?  It’s just gross!
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bryantpark on

Hi. I've been following your blog particularly when you were in the Philippines. I
must say that it has truly been inspiring and I'm thinking of embarking on my
own adventure in the future myself. Any plans of coming back to the Philippines
as there are more amazing islands you missed that's also worth a visit?

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