Laguna Torre

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April 12th 2009
Published: April 12th 2009
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After we arrived yesterday we sat down and decided what treks we would do. There were two long treks recommended. One of the was called Laguna Torre and we decided to do that one first. We slept most of Friday afternoon as the few drinks, early rise and bus journey had taken its toll. We went to the supermarket and got a few bits and pieces for ourselves. Fried rice with vegetables was on the menu and always a great filler when hungry. We haven’t eaten out now in over nearly two weeks and find cooking for ourselves much better. You can have what you want for dinner and it’s probably much healthier. Also, you can meet lots of people in the kitchen that you can’t meet in the restaurant. While we ate last night they showed the film Marley & Me. For those who haven’t seen it look away now. Why would you put on a film about a lovely golden Labrador that dies and is all sad at the end. Why??? I like dogs so much I actually couldn’t watch it!! I had to stare at the wall and eat my food. Everyone watching it was either in tears or about to burst out. I hope this evening it’s something a bit more cheerful. Southern Argentina is full of dogs. They look like strays but they are too well fed to be. They’re very friendly and will walk with you every now and again. If you sit they will sit on you and if you stop petting them they will nudge you until you do so.

This morning we found out that breakfast was not included in the price of our room. That’s pretty crap to be honest. Luckily we had a supply of porridge, boiled eggs and some Lyon’s tea bags. We were fed up with bread rolls anyway so it was no harm at all. We had made our lunch for the day the previous night and soon we were all packed and ready to go. Our trek was 3hrs and 12km’s one way. As we have found out, the first 20 minutes of any trek is the hardest. You kind of contemplate whether you want to do it or not or whether you are really up for it. After a short while you settle in to your stride and solider on. Our trek wasn’t particularly hard but it did have plenty of ups and downs. The worst thing about going down hill is you generally have to come back up again at some stage. We walked for an hour a got to the first ‘mirador’ (viewing point). From here we could see the snow capped peaks of the mountains and some more glaciers. We trekked on, enjoying the views as we cut in and out of the forest. We eventually reached Laguna Torre. This is a small lake in a valley created by glaciers. The lake contained plenty of floating ice that had fallen of the not too distant glacier. We found a nice big rock down by the lake and set up our lunch. We sat there with our cup of tea and ham and cheese sandwich’s and admired our surroundings. As we had been trekking our jackets were off as it was too hot. Soon though we began to feel the cold as we cooled down from our trekking. We took some photo’s there and walked a little further towards the glacier. We saw a sign saying ‘no-one beyond this point with out a guide’ and decided it was best to return the way we came. The trek’s are very safe and well sign posted and the worst that can happen is probably twisting your ankle. Anyway, with Michelle in control of the map we’ll never get lost! We hit the trail again to return to El Chalten. Along the way I had to stop as mother nature would not let me travel any further. We stopped for tea and while Michelle was making tea I ventured down the hill to find a nice bush to hide behind. I knew my supply of toilet paper would come in handy some time! Just as I was getting settled, Michelle started coughing. I took it that some one was coming. I rushed trough my business only to realise that I could be seen through a hole in the bush. Two German’s were looking out at the views and all I could here was Michelle, dying laughing. She later told me it was the sight of me in my long johns through the hole in the bush. I waited for a while hoping the two lads would go. Oh feckin’ no. I swear they stood there for ages. I could see them through the bush but I was unsure if they could see me. I knew Michelle could as she was gesturing to me and laughing. Eventually I gave up and reappeared from the bush. The two lads didn’t bat an eye lid. I wandered up the hill as if all was normal. God knows when they print the pictures of the distant glacier what surprise they’ll get in the corner of the picture!! It could only happen to me.

We finished our tea and motored on towards the end of the trail. We had completed it in six hours. It was about 25km’s and our legs were now a bit stiff. It is a great sense of achievement completing each trek and with many more to come hopefully the Inca Trail for 4 days wont be so bad. On the scale of Croagh Patrick (read previous blogs), Laguna Torre was a -4. As we are out of reach to communicate with the outside world with any of the technology we are carrying, we had to use a pay phone to ring home and say all is well.

Our hostel that we are staying in is not exactly our favourite. Breakfast is not included and the kitchen for guest use is absolutely crap. Two bowls, one spoon, crazy gas, to many people, no plates and feckin’ filthy. Our room is fine and we have our own bathroom. We have a little corner in the room where we have all our food supplies to make our daily lunches. It’s a big impersonal hostel that’s hard to meet anyone for longer than a few minutes in the kitchen, where you feel more like telling them to get out of your way than asking them how their day was. This place was top rated on the internet and beyond us how. I think we have been spoilt recently with the hostels we have stayed in and come to expect certain standards for what you pay for. They also want to charge 40 peso each for a 20 minute bus journey, yet the 4 hour bus to here only cost 70 peso. They also charge nearly €1 per 15 minutes for the internet. The staff I have to say though, are excellent and always helpful. I think anyone staying in El Chalten might be better having a look around rather than staying in Rancho Grande.

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: Dancing on the ceiling - Lionel Ritchie

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11th March 2011

Rancho Grande
I stayed in that hostel when I was in El Chalten in 2010. As much as I had an OK stay there, the kitchen and dorms were something to be desired with a lack of cutlery and the dorms were never locked and didn't provide lockers!

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