Waking up at 6am with the sun rising in freezing cold Patagonia has its perks:
We were up so early in an attempt to get a good tent spot at the next campsite (where we didn’t have a reservation). Us getting on trail early ended up leading to one of the coolest ‘small world’ moments I’ve ever had. We were returning on the exact same trail we had taken yesterday, and were stoped at a lookout to take in a beautiful view that hadn’t been visible the day before due to the rain.
Then, out of nowhere and with no warning, a girl from Tufts named Olivia walked past us! She was studying in Buenos Aires, and just like us was traveling around Patagonia before her semester started. We spent the whole morning hiking together, and parted after lunch. It was a very cool, and also very strange, moment:
The weather on day 2 was perfect. It was warm and sunny, and made a huge difference in both our dispositions and how pretty the park appeared.
We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon hike to our second campsite, located right at the base of the mountains of the French Valley. Here’s what it looked like:
Definitely one of the most beautiful campsites I’ve ever stayed at. I spent a good amount of time soaking my tired legs in the crisp, cold glacier water. We had quinoa for dinner and then all passed out at around 10pm.
It was raining on day 1 and sunny on day 2, so I guess it was only appropriate that we got snow on day 3. As we ascended upwards into the valley, the rain turned to sleet, and then to snow. It was really cool because we could see clear sky where we had been the day before, but within the valley we were getting slammed by wind and snow:
I’m kinda strange in that often times, the worse the weather gets, the more fun I have while hiking. It’s liberating to be in the outdoors as nature throws its worst at you and you overcome that. I was giddy the entire way up the French Valley, with a grin I couldn’t wipe off my face. It also helped that despite the clouds and snow (or maybe it was because of the clouds and snow), the hike was stunningly beautiful:
Unfortunately, bad weather had caused an avalanche a few days before and so we couldn’t make it all the way up to the top. That being said, I don’t think any of us were that bummed; the higher we went the worse the visibility got, and by the time a blocked trail forced us to turn around, we really couldn’t see much of anything.
So back down we went, past our campsite from the night before, and onwards to Refugio Cuernos. As we descended from the valley, the snow transitioned into rain, and we had a wet and somewhat miserable afternoon until we made it to the campsite. While the afternoon may have been anti-climactic, the morning had made the day more than worth it.
Next time Part 3 – my final two days in Patagonia.