Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 6 - Camp De Agostini back to Camp Poincenot and out to Chalten

Today we totally lucked out on the weather.  We had great views of Cerro Torre with clearing clouds and by the time we trekked back over to Mt. Fitzroy it was under blue skies.  After we got back to town we found our amazing bed and breakfast and celebrated Christmas Eve in town eating some delicious pizza and local beer.   Click the title to read on......

The weather turned over the night for us.  When I got up to pee (the wine) I could see stars above in the middle of the night which was a good sign.  I woke us up around 7:15am so that we could do a short pack-free hike out to a mirador above the glacial lake we were camped below.  With blue skies above us I was hopefully for views of Cerro Torre but when we started our trek up the glacial moraine the peaks were clouded in.  Something told me to just keep walking though and as we got further from camp around the side of the iceberg-filled lake the clouds began to break up a bit.  I just kept walking with camera in hand uphill around the lake until we nearly reached the Mirador.  

Finally, the top of Cerro Torre punched through the clouds and we go a full view of the amazing peak.  There was also a massive glacier pouring down the mountainside into the head of the lake that was even bigger than the glacier we had seen the day before (but smaller than the Perito Moreno - which is a world heritage site btw).  We waited for about 15 more minutes in the chilly wind and then turned around to return to camp, continually checking the view as we walked back.  Just before leaving the moraine we had one more amazing view of Cerro Torre.   
We packed up our gear as quickly as we could and left camp around 10am.  The original plan was to descend down to Chalten from here but with the weather clearing we made the choice to trek back up and across the high lakes again in hopes of finally seeing Mt. Fitzroy.   Although our legs were tired and it would be a very long day with heavy packs we made the right choice.  After the tiring climb out of the valley to the lakes we came around a corner and could see the full front of Mt. Fitzroy.  

As we walked the view just got better and better as more of the face of the mountain came into view with every step.  We hurried but stopped a couple times to make sure we got some photos of us in front of the most famous mountain in Argentina.  At one point I got a shot of the mountain with nothing but blue skies behind it, which, according to local lore means that we both have pure hearts to see it cloudless.  As we approached Poincenot again and our return trail down to Chalten we could see a large cloud bank approaching behind the peak.  

As we began our tiring descent down into the Chalten valley Mt. Fitzroy was once again completely engulfed in clouds.  I had entertained the thought of possibly forcing my legs back up to Laguna de les Tres but with the clouds quickly covering the peak it would have been a worthless effort.  It felt like a long descent back to town with our legs exhausted and sore feet from about 14 miles of carrying heavy packs all day.  We stopped for a much needed rest along the way and got back to town around 4pm, giving us plenty of time to relax on Christmas Eve at our hostel.

Hosteria Kaulem was simply amazing and very welcoming.  Upon walking in the whole place smelled of waffles (fresh cake and bread made there) and was very warm.  We were shown to our room by a very nice and very pregnant Argentinian woman.  It was a wonderful room with a huge king sized bed with plenty of privacy.  The hostel was well built and Emily loved the interior design.  We settled in, showered and relaxed a bit before heading into town for dinner.  The shower, with strong pressure, felt wonderful on our tired shoulders.

We headed out to dinner around 7 and ended up at a local brewery and pizzaria called Patagonico?  We ordered a large pizza with lamb meat and a couple pisco sours (our first ones so far) which was delicious.  I also ordered a home made stout which came in a very 600cc bottle that Emily helped me with as well.  Our waitress was very nice and got a kick out me opening the bottle with my wedding ring.  After a couple more Pisco sours we were headed back through town to check it out and then back to our hostel.

Back at the hostel we spent some time relaxing on the couches downstairs listening to the wind howl past the hostel and watching the local packs of dogs chase skateboarders, quads and loud trucks.  We met a nice couple (Brian and Anna I believe) from Toronto who gave us advice on finding a place to call home on Christmas.  We gave the Argentinian host our dirty laundry to wash for us over the night and bought a bottle of wine from behind her desk to drink while relaxing.  I checked out some Patagonia guides to read about the history of the area and a cool photo book of the endangered Humuel deer that we weren't lucky enough to spot while hiking.  

Emily tried to teach me how to place chess which was an utter failure.... the pisco sours, beer, and bottle of wine didn't help her cause.  Before closing up for the night our host chatted with us about the economy and horrible politics of Argentina and how the people there desperately seek out US dollars as the peso could be worthless to them one day to the next, and they must keep the US dollars hidden and out of banks as the country takes them from them.  She also provided us a complimentary bottle of champagne for the holiday and headed home with her husband just as the sun was setting at around 10:45pm.  It was truly a perfect Christmas Eve for us!

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