Laguna de los Tres

Day three in El Chalten and day two of hiking started pretty well. Apart from a lack of electricity in the place we were staying which meant a balticly cold morning for us. Luckily we had a gas cooker and were soon stoked up and ready for a days hiking, just over 20kms planned today.
Sarah popped outside and returned excited that we could see the infamous Fitzroy peaks which had previously been covered completely in clouds. So we were very excited as we had decided to do the biggest hike today which involved us catching a bus up the valley and then hiking our way back to Laguna de Los Tres where we would enjoy magnificent views of the mountain range.
The hike started brilliantly as we spent the first half hour our or so separating ourselves out from the group we had caught the bus with and ended up winding our way up through a valley in a fantastically eerie wood. The trees were squat and gnarled from the wind and weather and coupled with the fact that we had some time on our own hiking we were really enjoying ourselves. The wood had the added benefit of protecting us from the wind.
We noticed through some of the gaps in the trees that the sky had turned a dark grey and although we couldn’t feel the wind we could hear it. We geared ourselves up in preparation and by the time our path exited the trees the wind had stopped and it was snowing!!! I guess this is better than rain! It’s meant to be late spring/early summer here but boy do they have some changeable weather!
Unfortunately we needed the weather to change again for us and fairly quickly as we were approaching the main point of the trek where we would have to hike up a hill to see the mountain tops.
It was all a bit miserable and no one who we passed who had made it up had actually seen anything and most had turned around halfway up! It really was a bit ominous and I am not ashamed to admit that we turned for home. It was a real shame but there wasn’t much point if we weren’t going to see anything!!
So off we went checking over our shoulders for a gap in the weather, and even though the weather didn’t relent the rest of the walk was really very pretty. It reminds me very much of Scotland or the Lake District and even though we couldn’t see the mountains in the background the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. All the while with a howling wind and snow and cold!!!
So it was with a sense of accomplishment and relief that we got back to the town. It was really great to do a “one way” hike as most of the ones we have done in Patagonia so far have been “up and backs” where you obviously get a lot of the same views.
The other superb feature of the hiking in El Chalten is that it’s possible to walk right out of town, and even though we caught the bus out today we were able to finish the hike by walking back into town. T

   
This was the morning view of the Fitzroy mountains.  Lucky Sarah took the shot.

 
The woods we walked through at the start of the walk, just magical.

   
Our first “viewpoint” of the day.  Great to see the glacier but things were closing in!

 
Sunshine to snow in Spring.

   
This photo is meant to be of the hill we were to climb to get the view of the Fitzroy range.  In fact we think you were meant to be able to see it from here. Unfortunately it was time to turn back.

    
Some more shots of the rest of the walk.  Again Patagonia is so special, so beautiful and varied no matter what the weather.

 

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