|After the mud episode, we proceeded to Rio Gallegos on the Atlantic Coast. There is nothing worth a tourist's time there. The idea was to find an all pavement route to our true destination of El Chalten.
We had a reasonably good stay in Rio Gallegos. We shared a room and bath with only three others including our group leader. More on him later.
Six if us went to a local restaurant found via Google Maps, and all six of us had the "menu of the day," though the exact fat to lean ratio of the beef varied from plate to plate.
A not bad drive on all paved roads got us to El Chalten. The detour from our muddy "stuck" road meant we had driven an additional 900 kilometers.
In El Chalten, we decided we needed some privacy, so we opted for our first room upgrade to a private. The only smelly feet would be ours.
After the usual ATM, dinner, and orientation walkabout, we prepared for a hike scheduled for the morning.
It rained overnight. I expected the worse: four to six hours walking in rain with no views.
Instead, we had the most incredible of mountain gifts: clear skies, dramatic views, and comfortable weather.
Fitz Roy is one of the most difficult climbs in all mountaineering. Sheer faces, horrible weather, difficult approaches. I merely wanted to see it. And did we. For most of our 25 kilometer walk, the towers of Fitz Roy, Torres, and the rest soared magnificently as silent stone watchers.
We had been advised our walking route would take about six hours. After about nine or more hours, we dragged back to town. Our feet hurt, backs and shoulders ached, and knees wobbled. Mo staggered to our room, and I went to fetch empanada and Coca Cola for dinner.
Mo and I are former mountaineers, and we know what it's like to be exhausted and in pain after a long day on the alpine setting. But rarely have I, for one, felt so grateful and satisfied.