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Published: March 28th 2013
Day 2 begins nicely with the sun shining, but very fresh. We knew from the weather forecast that today was going to be a bad weather day, with wind over 100km and heavy rain. We quickly scoff down some breakfast and make tracks before we freeze as it takes a while for the sun to rise and heat up. We have 19km to cover to get to Refugio Dickson.
The first hours walk is similar to the day before, quite flat and following the river Rio Paine down the east side of the park. At one point when we stop to get some water mojo finds some pretty big puma paw prints in the mud, that were fresh from the night before. To get to the north side of the park we encounter our first pass, about 150 metres up at an average of 25 degrees, with some really steep bits. It was a bit of a slog and the higher we got the more the wind picked up. By the time we got to the top of the pass the wind was howling into our faces, and strong enough to knock you backwards, and if not careful off your
feet. With the really big gusts you could hear it sweeping down the valley, and you would have to crouch down and brace yourself. It was a bit hairy, but exhilarating at the same time. We found ourselves laughing one moment, then crapping our pants the next. It was lucky that the wind was in our faces, as if it was blowing from behind us it would have been too dangerous to walk for fear of being thrown of the mountain.
In the distance we could see rain coming our way and we prepare our bags and ourselves with rain gear and brace ourselves. It doesn't take long for the rain to reach us and it is intense. We are walking on the side of a mountain on what closely resembles a goat track with the rain coming in horizontal and stinging your face. Mike races off to try and get to the forest for some shelter, as he does not have all the wet weather gear, as mojo and i battle on. When i turn around to check on mojo behind me (as you cannot hear anything above the scream of the wind) i have to hold onto
The Pass to get to the north side
Mojo is making her way up on the left
my sunglasses so that they do not fly off my face. Mojo's pack cover fly's off into the never never and her poncho is rendered useless. After about 2 hours of merciless wind and stinging rain we get to some shelter in the forest and find Mike and some of the other trekkers having lunch. We are grateful for the break and whoof down some food, before getting the courage to go out and complete the rest of the trek, another 3 hours or so.
The next part of the walk takes us off the mountain, and onto the plains. It is beautiful, but very muddy. We walk through small forests of green, red & yellow trees and have glimpses of the towering peaks on either side of the valley. We soldier on, getting more and more wet and weary. It is now just a matter of sucking it up and push hard to get to the next camp. We know that at the campsite there is a basic refugio (refuge) where we can have a semi hot shower, and this thought keeps us going. The refugio's are basic shelters/hostels where people can sleep in a dorm room if
Panorama from top of the pass
You can see both mojo and I slowly making our way up
they wish and get a hot meal.
We get to Refugio Dickson around 4pm, and can see smoke coming out of the chimney of the Refugio! We get inside and find some of the other trekkers huddling around the fire drying of boots and other bits of clothing, and sucking back hot cups of tea. We strip off the wet layers and join everyone, with the topic of conversation being what a @#$%^&* hard days walking it was. After using the same tea bag in three cups of tea, I notice that they sell beer!!! The price was not too exorbitant, and it was one of the most satisfying beers i have had.
Over the next few hours more and more wet and bedraggled trekkers made their way into camp. The wind had eased off, but the rain was still pelting down. It was getting close to sunset, and we were toying with idea of paying for a bed in the refugio, which would have cost $75!!! Thankfully the rain cleared off and we went outside to find a suitable camp site, and were greeted with glimpses of the mountains above us. We found a nice spot, and
then went back into the refugio to get warm and dry off our backpacks and clothes. We also took the opportunity to grab a lukewarm shower. When it was my turn to get into the shower i opened the shower door (its outside) and a massive gust of wind grabbed the door and ripped it off its hinges. Thus leaving only one shower to service the remaining campers. whoopsie....
Dinner consisted of 2 minute noodles and a 500ml chateau de cardboard that we had carried in. For $3, it was suprisingly quite good. When we were ready to go to bed we went to grab our clothes that had been drying and found out that someone had flogged Mojo's smelly t-shirt.... Thought that this might have been an accident, but found out the next day that other people had some stuff flogged, including one poor girl's camera.
We got into our tent and proceeded to put on every layer of clothing we had and zipped up our sleeping bags so that we looked like two crysalis, with just out eyes and noses peering out. It was freezing.
Today we experienced the Patagonia that we had read about.
Tot: 2.056s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 9; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0176s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb