Five days of cold, hard trekking

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 29, 2010

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Where I stayed
Campamento Italiano
Campamento Torres
Campamento Paine Grande
Campamento Grey

Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not previously being avid trekkers, we decided to jump right in on the 5-day, bring everything you're going to need, up multiple peaks and down numerous valleys type trek. Each of the four nights we camped in a different terrain: just below the tree line high forest, river-bed low forest, grassy pampa (plain), and sweet, sweet sandy (ice) beach. We won’t bore you with a literary onslaught of our awesome experience, instead we’ll just give you the highlights and lowlights (in no particular order).

Simple pleasures abounded.

1)      Drinking the freshest, cleanest glacier water from just about any river or stream.

2)      A hot cup of Starbuck’s Via in the morning (thank you, Amber!).

3)      A boiled box of wine in the evening.

4)      And the colors, oh the colors! (Mary Dhooge, see photos, and especially one video just for you.)

5)      Eating food – not only for the sustenance but for the sheer fact that you knew it was making your pack lighter.

6)      A hot shower after day four, after being in an average temperature of 30-ish° F. Hard to say which was better – being warm or being clean.

7)      Testing the waterproofing on our awesome REI boots in true T-Ball fashion, over-splashing in all the puddles and streams. Our feet never got wet.

8)      Sitting and listening to the sounds of snowvalanches from Glacier Francés every 15-20 minutes, whether or not we were looking (although it seemed to happen less when we were looking, especially with the cameras ready).

9)      Discovering the custom timer for an automatic photo, allowing more than 10 seconds prior to a shot (see photo: This is as far as Jayson got in 10 seconds).

Challenges also abounded.

1)      Nights/mornings were so cold! We were afraid to look at the temperature, an indicator being that Sara’s fingers didn’t work. And it took 2 hours of hiking until she could feel her toes again. We wore every layer we had on several occasions, and Sara stuffed her shoes with heat packets. (Mmmmm, heat packets.)

2)      Jayson injured three of his fingers, on separate occasions, playing with rocks, sticks, and spiders. (Nothing time and a little first aid couldn’t fix.)

3)      Mice and hungry foxes wanting our food, although they posed less of a challenge to us and our tree-hanging mechanics than they did to others, who lost days worth of food. (Aunt Rikki: we did, however, have one mouse break into the metal tube of lavender scented hand sanitizer, probably thinking it was lavender jello and likely resulting in either extreme gastrointestinal troubles or death somewhere, luckily not in our bag.)

4)      Our tent began exhibiting signs of trouble after day two (of total use) with a split pole, but not yet broken. We’ll see how long we can nurse it along – we have duct tape! (Thanks to the first aid kit from Andy and Jamie!)

5)      When the going (feet) got stinky, Polyana reminded us to be optimists, and provided us with a silver lining in the form of floral-smelling talc.

6)      Wind… really, wind!... almost converting us and our packs into polyhedronal human kites. Seriously, the word viento sounds way too nice for what we got.

Fruit of the labor: 47 miles (yay, 47!!) and 30 walking-hours of some of the most amazing, dramatic views we’ve ever seen.  Highlights of course being the Torres towering through the clouds, the Valle Ascencio aflame with the colors of fall, the deep blues and Slurpie-purple colors of the icebergs in Lago Grey, majestic views overlooking Lago Nordenskjold, and the acquisition of stronger legs ready to trek again in El Chalten!

P.S. We learned the difference between fresa and frutilla after eating frutilla for a whole five days, wondering what it was. But we won’t tell you.
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Dr.Dive on

Awesome!! Great pics of glaciers and mountains. Yes, besides your high latitude, the southern hemisphere is heading into winter, so good thing you did this part of the trip now rather than later.

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