Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Not Fitzroy (Episode 3)

13 November

There were eleven tents at our first campsite, twelve here. But not this morning. Denise and Owen had left by the time we peered out after 7.30. Their 'round the world' equipment may not enjoy the same weather resistant qualities as our Patagonian trip gear. It may have been cool outside overnight, but not inside our RAB 400 bags.

It was still raining, and the snow line looked to be at about our height of 750 metres or so. Nevertheless, soon after 8 am we were to be found on the rising path to Laguna de los Tres. It's described in our guide book as "A short, stiff climb to a viewpoint with astounding close-up views of Cerro Fitzroy."

We met a couple of Italians coming down. They had been put off by the near blizzard conditions and tried to dissuade us from going further. They failed. We didn't see anyone else on this normally crowded path until nearly back at camp, where we met some ill equipped Spanish speakers.

We took a little over an hour to reach the Laguna de los Tres viewpoint. It was a wintry scene. Cerro Fitzroy was nowhere to be seen. You'll know the feeling if you've spent a few days in Zermatt and haven't seen the Matterhorn. (I remember that well!) At least we did see Fitzroy from the plane on Monday.

It was good to be in proper snow, though gaiters would have been handy for the sections where it had drifted. We had slithered back down to the tent by 10.30. Time for lunch. Well, time to eat all our remaining food as it's only a 10 km walk back down to El Chaltén, and we have plenty of time for that after lazing at length in the tent.

The walk back down was pleasant enough, with quite a few folk battling with the wind and rain. We kept glancing over our shoulders, but Fitzroy retained the shy side of his personality.

El Muro café has an enticing "Té/café y dolce P60" sign outside. (That's £2.50 in real money.) We couldn't resist. The home made cakes were excellent. I meant to photograph the loaded cups and plate but the moment was lost in a flurry of gluttony. Instead, the picture shown portrays the  aftermath of said activity.

Condor de los Andes was reached around 4 pm, just before a violent rainstorm.

It should have been the start of a relaxing hour or two. Far from it. The entire bag with the camera battery charger and other miscellaneous but important items had gone missing. Peter and Dorothy had taken it but "have not returned it". Panic!

We knew that Peter and Dorothy were no longer in El Chaltén, having gone to El Calafate yesterday. What had happened to the bag? The girls at the hostel agreed to phone around the likely hotels in El Calafate to track down our friends. Meanwhile, we pondered how we might manage without the bag and it's contents. A desperate email message was sent to Peter.

Despite the girls' insistence that the bag had Definitely not been returned, and if it had been it would be behind the counter, we eventually persuaded them, against their better judgement, to check the baggage store.

Eureka. What a  relief. Another message was sent to Peter, who meanwhile had been close to a coronary event, worrying about who might have nicked the bag. He managed to get through to the hostel by phone. So our good turn had resulted in an unnecessary period of worry for everyone involved.

It might even have been worth it for the euphoric feeling of relief we all experienced when the bag was found.

Ahonikenk Restaurant, recommended but empty, saw to our culinary needs once we had completed our domestic chores. Claire and Justin sat next to us. They are on a month long trip as part of a relocation from the USA to Sydney. Their US possessions left home in Ocober and will arrive in Australia in the New Year. We commended parkrun to them.

By the time we left Ahonikenk, a queue stretched outside into the rain.

Today's pictures:
Laguna de los Tres
Looking back to yesterday's route from the Laguna de los Tres viewpoint 
On the path to El Chaltén, with dwarf beeches
A view towards Fitzroy from the path back to El Chaltén
A satisfied customer

3 comments:

Alan Sloman said...

It looks like you've got the same weather as us.
Flood warnings all over the north of England.
Cracking pictures, Gromit!

Sir Hugh said...

I ,empathise over the lost bag. It seems like only a few days ago when I left my wallet containing about three hundred ponds and all my credit cards on the bus from Toulouse Airport - panic indeed. I was very lucky to get it back.

Nightbird said...

Love the photos, stunning scenery. The lost bag incident sounds horrible, reminds me of Richard's lost cag on AV1, except you had a happier ending.