The landscape here
is so elemental and beautiful. It is like Eden: odd
wildlife; Guanaco, Ibises, Rheas, Condors... And the water that
runs off of
the glaciers is wonderful, the best in the world, according to the
locals. No need to filter or add iodine, just hold your bottle under a
and you are good to go. And there are countless streams so there is
always water, no need to burden your pack with a day's supply.
There are a few refugios along the routes, so I was able
to buy a few beers to go along with my dinners each evening. When I
found a campsite I would stash the beers in the nearby creek, set up
the tent, start boiling water for dinner and then have a cold beer
while I rested my feet.
morning I woke up early, made coffee and broke camp. I set off back
down the valley, reluctant to leave Glacier Grey, but eager to see the
other wonders of the park. I stopped at Lago Pehoe to wash my feet and
rest, then set off along the southern skirts of Paine Grande.
I managed to work up a dilly of a blister on the bottom of my toe:
were incredible to be around. With a sound like thunder they would
calve huge chunks of ice.
Glacier Frances sits up on top of a mountain, and it always
be dropping parts of itself off of the cliffs with a noise like the end
of the world. It starts as a low rumble and builds to a
crescendo of falling ice, the fragments being battered ever smaller
until there is just a cloud of sparkling mist in the air.
|The path was
varied and interesting, sometimes it would wind through deep emerald
green forests, sometimes through open steppes with sweeping views,
sometimes right along the shore of a lake, and sometimes there would be
ridiculously rickety wooden bridges that would cross over rushing
|I shed the
pack for a while and did a light hike up Valles Frances. It
was liberating to walk light. My blister made me wish for a set of
branch loppers so I could just lop off the whole toe and be done with
it. Eventually I donned my heavy pack and set off again. I
Refugio Cuernos and bought 3 beers and bummed a band aid off of a
Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009