Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

Last view of the Torres

The Horns over Lago Pehoe

Close up of the Horns

First view of the whole glacier

Westerly tongues of Glacier Grey

Eastern tongue of Glacier Grey - Refugio Grey in second inlet down

Part of Glacier Grey from the Mirador

Refugio Grey

Close up of the glacier wall - about 100 foot high

Blue, blue, electric blue...

Leaving Glacier Grey

On the Grey Trail

So up for a nice shower and a nice cooked breakfast - this is the way I like to rough it -and then rather than get a minibus, I walked to where I had to pick up the bus, which allowed me to se the Torres from lots of different angles and loosen my legs up again. And then a shortish bus ride to Lago Pehoe, with a good while to spare before the catamaran is due to cross the lake. This bus and boat thing saves me about ten hours walking I don't really have the time for. So I go for a short walk to a nice waterfall and some great views of these other dramatic peaks called the Horns, that look great not just for their shape, but for the way the rock changes so they have black tips as such. Ambling back, the catamaran looks a bit ready to go, about half an hour early, and as soon as I get on it, off it goes. The next day I realised this was because my watch was 30 mins out. Lucky for me I got it, it would have been quite a problem if I had missed it.

The catamaran ride gave some great views of the horns, and then dropped us all at this other fine looking refuge, even nicer than Refugio Torres. Mind you, even the camping looks great, with the added benefit of relative privacy. And then off up the valley, for what has got to be the most gorgeous walk I have done in this whole trip. A lot of pine forest, a lot of lakes, and not a lot of people, as you have to be keen to get this far. And Lago Grey covered in icebergs, but best of all was the last peak in the path, where the whole glacier was laid out in front, just fantastic! Nevertheless, I was in quite a lot of pain by the time I got to the refuge, out of practice at this kind of and degree of walking. This refuge was a bit more basic, and had a really bizarre shower arrangement that was verging on communal, though they were building some proper ones. The dorms were a lot more packed too. But to offset this, the refuge was down this little path through the forest where it came out on the lake edge, with icebergs floating past. Now how cool is that?

So I dumped most of my stuff again, and headed off to get closer to the glacier. So far it has been constant sun, so I hobbled over the cliffs, found a sunny spot and sat down to stare at the glacier for two hours. The glacier doesn't have much morraine, so looks really white from a distance, blue-white, and up close looks really blue, neon blue almost. So I spent ages just chilling admiring it in the sun, and was particularly thrilled when a big chunk fell off with this mighty explosive noise. So back to the refuge for a not very nice tea, but some interesting company, seems almost all Brits for some reason, including this old couple. They also had to bail out of climbing Cotopaxi, which wasn't much consolation to me as they were both over 60. But they did say that another big group climbing that night were all killed with their guide on Chumbarazzo (another big volcano in Ecuador) the next day! She had worked in Kabul as a young woman and had travelled absolutely everywhere and had loads of good stories and still tons of energy.

15th Nov: OKish nights sleep, despite some chronic snoring that drove other people out of our dorm (not mine). Challenging shower experience, as the cold water had ran out. Let me tell you that it is much harder to shower with no cold water than no hot water, but relatively undamaged and after breakfast I left early. First for a last close up look at the glacier, and then to wander back to Lago Pehoe at a leisurely pace. If anything, the walk was even more lovely than yesterday, and I spent much time just admiring the glacier from various vantage points on the way. Cloudy, but still no rain. And then catamaran, and three hours by bus back to town. And it turns out my Danish pals are arriving tonight too, though chances of meeting up may be slim. And tomorrow back to Argentina for more glaciers.

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