Absolute breathless, legs aching to the bone and getting to the “top” of the hike. I’m gutted to find I’ve still got another 50m to go! Once there, you are still breathless. The view is simply astounding and all that hard work – that hard slog up a steep incline – suddenly becomes totally worthwhile. In front of me is a semi frozen lake with the semi snow capped Cerro Fitz Roy. This is Patagonia. Unbelievable.
This is the ‘must do’ hike of El Chalten is the trip to Laguna de los tres. It’s a long days hike. Most people start the hike at the edge of town, which also means coming back the same way. However, there is another way you can go. And it’s much easier on your legs but still takes the same amount of time.
The bus is early and leaves at 8am in the morning. And drops us off at a hosteria. The trail itself is pretty clearly marked and you get different views of the surrounding mountains include the granite spires of Mt Fitz Roy. It takes about an hour to get to the start of the hike uphill.
And this is the really tough bit. It’s when you start to climb up to the Mirador. It’s a good 1 ½ to 2-hour scramble up steep gravel incline that is near towards 90 degrees. The going is tough, but look around you and you actually smile. You keep thinking its not too far – I can see the top. Only to actually get to that point and realise “Oh shit, there’s still another bit to go”.
But once you get to that point, you immediately forget the burning of your lungs and your legs and admire the surrounding view. Its not everyday you get to have a bit to eat over snow-capped peaks, glacial lake, and not many other people. It’s a spectacular sight. There are two lakes actually, and both are worthy of the same amount of time. This is Patagonia at some of its finest.
The walk back is not hard, but exhausting none the less. Mainly due to the fact you just climbed up a steep incline for 90 minutes. But you keep looking over your shoulder and going “Wow am I really here?”. Its incredible this scenery.
Back in El Chalten, it’s a quick shower and then head to the nearest net café as I need to receive some important news from the parents. However, that news is good. It’s the news that I stumble upon that really shakes me up. Only to be absolutely shell shocked by the sudden death of a close friend. And its one of those disbelief. It takes a few double takes, check the media sites and it’s all true. I don’t think I’ve been that way for some time.
I don’t really do much afterwards. I’m still in shock. Words really can’t describe the feelings I felt that day and the coming days. It’s hard losing a friend, but it’s also hard to lose a friend and not have anyone nearby that you can talk to and just reminisce.
One minute you are incredibly stoked to have seen what you saw that day. And then it all plummets around you and things aren’t that good. Highs and Lows. This was one of those occasions. With a big difference between the two.
Ok a quick side note. Jenna you were a truly inspiring human being who brought so much happiness to the animals you cared for and the people you loved. The world is now without a wonderful life and we all still miss you. You won’t be forgotten for a long time. Miss you Jenna.