Hilary and I spent five days backpacking in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares around Mount Fitz Roy. On our first and last days we had good weather and amazing views of the mountain and its surrounding walls, spires, and glaciers. It was wonderful but painful as well because of the demise of our camera. At one point, after jumping in Laguna Piedras Blancas (at the bottom of Glacier Piedras Blancas) and feeling the strange warmth and exhilaration that leads me to do things like that, as we returned to the trail jumping from boulder to boulder, we looked back to see clearly Mount Fitz Roy´s fortress-like form framed by a ring of clouds above mirroring the snowfields below and the glacier winding down in glowing variations of white and unearthly blue. It was so beautiful I wanted to cry realizing I was missing the chance to take the best photograph of my life.
Our third and fourth nights we camped at a private campground located under an enormous tree covered boulder, near the wonderfully named Lago Eléctrico. We had intended to stay only one day, but the weather on our fourth day was so utterly wretched we spent most of the day haunting the refugio. It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon and evening, however, as we got to know a Belgian named Koen (pronounced "Coon"), also a nurse, whom we had seen a few times before and his traveling companion Matías, a modern dancer from Buenos Aires. We had a wonderful time cooking, talking, and drinking hot whiskey and rum together. At one point in the late evening in the middle of a particularly intense and personal conversation the rain abated and the sun briefly broke through and illuminated the startling rock faces around us and the snow that had collected at their tops. This sent us all spinning and shouting out of our cooking shelter full of the kind of joy only a respite from foul weather can bring.
Hilary and I have spent the last few days in El Chaltén where, thanks to Hilary, we found that the owner of this internet cafe, Fernando, has a friend who is good with electronics. This afternoon we returned to find our camera in full working order! Thank you Fernando!
Tomorrow we will hitch-hike to Lago Desierto to begin a walk that will take us around the lake, across the border back into Chile (no cheese!) and to a boat that will take us across Lago O´Higgins to Villa O´Higgins, according to our guidebook, "one of the most isolated settlements in Chile...(a) pioneer village founded in 1967," which would make it 18 years older than the town we´re in now. It might be a while before we get to a computer again. Please send us your impressions of Obama´s inauguration as we will be miles from radio, tv, or internet.
Love to you all.
6 hours ago