Today we left Guardas at 8;45 for what we new would be our longest day - hiking to Campamento Italiano. We ate breakfast (oatmeal with cooked apples from Will) and took off. Walked along the glacier till it gave way to Lago Grey where the trail turned fairly monotonous. Nothing to write about. We arrived at Lago Pehoe Refugio, which is an enrmous lodge, linked to the world by both trail and catamaran, and took a break to buy drinks and snacks and charge the cameras. Left it's comfort at 3:45. Torres del Paine's iconic views came into sight. We hiked closer, nearing Valle de Frances and our camp. at 5:45, we were hungry and exhausted from our 22km hike. Arrived in camp (Italiano) at 6:00 pm. Cooked dyhdrated BBQ chicken. Ate the snacks we bought, which were hot dogs and crackers. Ate the rest of our cheese block. Drank the beer we bought at Pehoe Refugio, and ended the meal with hot Tang. Finally, we got full. Italiano is another free campsite. We will hike Valle de Frances tomorrow, and camp here again as a rest day.
Slept in a little, till 8:00, and ate a leisurely breakfast. We will use today as a much needed rest day. I can hear the glacier crashing down every 20 minutes or so, sounding like distant thunder. Courtney and I got some inspiration and possible new direction this morning. It is wonderful to think about, and gives me hope and excitement for the future.
We hiked up Valle de Frances, it was beatiful. We are lunch while watching glaciers fall. So cool! We decided, after returning to Italiano, to hike to Cuernos camp. It was a two hour hike past gorgeous lake seashores. We skipped rocks into the lake and re-gained hi spirits. We at dehydrated lasagna for dinner, enjoyed some wine and beer we bought in the Cuernos refugio. We even traded one of our extra fuel cans for wine and cookies. Beer here was $2500 CH ($5 USD) and wine was about $9 USD for a box. This was the most expensive camp at $6000 CH per person ($12 USD per!).
We woke up early. We packed everything and were hiking by 8:00 am. It was a rolling hike until the shortcut up to camp Chileno. We decided to hike fast and hard, all the way to the towers, and back in time for the 7:45 bus back to Puerto Natales. We made it off the trail after over 10 hours of hiking that day! It was an unbelieveable trek.
One more thing, we cooked our final bit of food (powder soup) at Hosteria Las Torres while we waited for the bus. We ate every scrap of food. Arrived back in Puerto Natales at 10:30 pm, stumbled to Erratic Rock II and got their last room!! Then, we were so hungry that we went to a local restaurant and ate meat and potatoes...it was incredible! Slept great that night.