We woke up early to another beautiful day in the pampas and after packing up, we quickly found ourselves climbing again. There is one big hill before a mostly flat hike to Refugio Dickson.
As we crested the hill we were greeted with views of Lago Paine. And some more wind. At times it was difficult to walk a straight line as the wind gusts would push you around and you never knew how long our how strong the would be. We discovered Liz and I have very different ways of handling the strong winds. Liz crouches low and moves quickly to try and limit her exposure. I on the other hand, spread my arms out like a bird and lean into try to see if I can get it to hold my whole weight.
We fought the wind the rest of the afternoon but it was totally worth the awesome views. We really got treated today to some awesome glacier views and an epic rainbow.
Once we made it to Dickson I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try and patch the hole in my Therm-a-rest sleeping pad. Try being the optimal word here as first I had to find it. After a failed attempt with some soap and water (soap wouldn’t really suds enough to blow bubbles) I resorted to a knee-deep dip in Lago Dickson’s glacier melt to locate the holes. Liz opted to not join me for a swim and instead to take pictures from above.
With camp set-up it was time for dinner… Mmm lentils. Again.
We woke up to more blue skies; where is this notorious Patagonia weather? I mean yeah it’s windy as heck but the blue skies are no lie, it’s B-E-A-utiful here! #Foreshadowing
From Dickson it’s all up hill to the last camp before John Gardner Pass and it’s 1200m, the highest point on this trek. We made our way through the woods filled with some of the thickest moss we’ve seen and a million shades of green.
We made the 4.5 hour hike from Dickson to Perros in closer to 3.5 hours which meant we were at camp a little after noon. Awesome we’ll get the afternoon to relax before the big summit day tomorrow and maybe check out the day hike to Glacier Puma. We found Diego and Jacky already at camp. They said they were feeling good and going to make the most of the great weather and go over the pass.
I went ahead and set-up our tent and as I was coming out of the tent I look up to see what at first glance looked dog not 15 feet from the tent. What’s a dog doing way up here… NO THAT’S A FOX! I scrambled for the camera and got a couple of shots. When I told Liz she said “I was wondering why they called this camp Perros, I guess that explains it!”
We’d heard varying instructions on the pass, some saying it takes between 2 and 6 hours to get to the top depending on weather and it’s ill-advised to start after 7 or 8 am. As we sat in the cooking area debating “go/no go” we saw Brad pass through camp with out even stopping for a break; he was going over the pass as well!
It was now almost 2pm so we decided to enjoy the afternoon, do the day hike and get an early start for the pass in the morning. We went over to the Guardaparque (Ranger) Station to find out where the trail to Glacier Puma is and find out it’s closed. So we ask about the pass and they said we could go if we left right away and we’d be the last ones allowed over for the day…. so much for having to start before 8am. We already had camp set-up and decided to stick with our plan of summiting the pass in the morning.
Jose rolled into camp not much later and we spent the evening in the cooking shelter. We finished the evening with Liz and Jose comparing camp cooking recipes and I modified the door that was troublesome to close.