Day 16 – Tuesday 23rd October 2018
Day 3 : Refugio Paine Grande – Campamento Italiano
By plane – 0
By foot – 26 kms/ miles 15.81
By public transport – 0
Steps taken – 31,750
Today was meant to be a long tough day so we got up early…AGAIN…to begin our walk to Campamento Italiano which took us around 3 hours.
Can you see the fox, I’d like to say Puma but it was a fox!
It was such a beautiful walk up to this point, surrounded by green trees, mountain tops and lakes.
The French Valley ascended through burned forests, across rivers before arriving at Glacier Francés.
Our usual water source
When I walk I like to focus on the small things that make the world so beautiful, sometimes I cannot seem to do this within the standard daily busy schedule of normal life.
Once at camp we were pretty tired but we heard there were two amazing walks further up a trail. We dumped our heavy ruck sacks, packed our light gear bags and headed straight back out of camp again as it was meant to be a pretty long 3hr walk.
So from camp we headed to Mirador Francés which took around another 2 hours of walking uphill. The French Valley makes up the middle stretch of the W, and can be very slippery and dangerous with mud, snowmelt, and ice. That didn’t stop us.
I was amazed by the stunning shapes of the ‘Francés Valley’ that we were in.
It is of course a beautiful hike. As soon as we turned north into the valley, Francés Glacier greeted us.
Can you see the avalanche
We managed to reach the first view point Mirador Francés, it was stunning. There was 360 views all around.
As we sat staring at the view numerous avalanches happened before our eyes and the sound of these were mind blowing. Melting ice came crashing down off cliffs like intense thunder, over and over again.
This was our first opportunity for lunch and the perfect spot to watch some action, so out came our 3 day old wraps… delicious! We didn’t have time for dessert as we still had to reach view point number two!
Onwards and upwards we went. I’m not going to lie, this was a hard hike which went up and up and up, rock climb after rock climb.
Now this hike was all my idea so I need to be careful here in case Andy reads this but never for one moment did I question my sanity and think why did I sign up for this, a holiday, really? But believe you me this terrain pushes you to the limit both physically and mentally but in a good way I suppose.
‘Adventure may hurt but monotony would kill me’.
Eventually after another hour and fifteen minutes, with the last five minutes of more intense rock climbing through bits of ice and snow we had reached the Britanico lookout which is in the middle of the ‘W’ and is unbelievably gorgeous.
It was a very strenuous hike though which as mentioned before consisted of rock scrambling, almost entirely uphill, but we had the most perfect conditions, hot with no wind, so we were pretty lucky.
Today’s whole hike had been around 20.8km/13.12 miles in total with a lot of uphill trekking and took around 6 hours but the views we witnessed made it so worth while.
After the view point we headed back towards Italiano to pitch our tent for the night. So this is a free campsite set up by the rangers….there are very little facilities here but there is a toilet in the woods and it’s a real toilet….result!
Tent was pitched and a coffee was required.
Then we had dinner to look forward to. So tonights dinner consisted pasta, chorizo, tomato sauce, fajita seasoning and parmesan cheese….and yip it still tasted amazing!
No wine tonight though so drinks will be water from the glacier!
Ow and just for the record the toilet was not a result, the ‘outside’ toilet was much more hygenic that’s all I’m saying….I was so disappointed.
Check out the woodpecker