Mount Fitzroy Trek - Hiking from Campamento Poincenot to Campamento De Agostini
Even with it getting light at 5:50 AM and the sun setting after 10:00 PM there still aren't enough hours in the day. We have been maxing out for 3 days now. Up before sunrise and in bed/bag by 10ish without much of a break in between. We don't know how we will be able to keep this up for 8 – 10 days on Torres de Paine, we're definitely going to have to back off. The problem is we feed each others enthusiasm for trekking and photography. Can't say enough what a great team we make. Share and share alike. We both make each other better photographers, trekkers, and campmates.
So today we got up again for the sunrise. Nice, but not as spectacular as yesterday, although the fox came by again. Our plan was to do an easy morning hike down the trail to the campsite we weren't going to (Rio Electrico) before breaking camp and take the first side trip to a lake that was described as impressive and bleak. An odd combination if you ask me.
It all started well enough, but we turned too early on what looked like a trail. Sadly our trail started to disappear, but after yesterday's "trail", we figured we would keep going. We were very wrong. We climbed straight up a pretty crazy rise (according to the GPS we average a 37 degree incline the entire way, which means it was much more the 37 most of the time as I was creating makeshift switchbacks in an attempt to reduce the incline) and all I could think of was how we were going to get down. As we take turns carrying the pack when we have camp set up I was carrying it up. It was tiring, but I was glad not to have to worry about carrying it down. Little by little we continued to zig-zag up. We weren't even sure there was a way to get up, but our work was finally rewarded as we reached the summit and a glacier view, Fitzroy, the lake, and icebergs. It was indeed impressive yet bleak.
Looking around we realized we had not been even close to the right path, but we were not 100% sure where the right one was. We assumed it had to be by the lake outlet and the river that followed, but it was way steep down a slope of scree, boulders, and lots of unstable rocks. It all looked quite harsh.
We started down, ever so carefully focusing with each step as to not twist an ankle and end our trip or more. Foot by foot, we progressed down. Praying we would make it to the river below without incident. We did, just as someone came up the "right" trail. He had the look of "Wow, that was tough." Little did he know how we got there. We followed the "right" trail out and got back to camp a lot later than expected. We skipped breakfast to get in the good light, but made up for lost time by eating breakfast and lunch.
After a little bit of procrastinating we packed camp and headed to our next campsite. We had a choice of two, but figured we could see which made a better sunrise shot. After a brief back track along the main trail, we split off to catch a side trail that would lead us to another 2-day trek trail. It was crowded at first, with lots of day-trippers and then it dawned on us that we timed it horribly. It was Saturday and Sunday, no wonder it was so crowded.
After a few minutes of down the trail it got really muddy. Bad on the shoes and pants, but it cleared the path of day trippers. The first part of the hike went by two beautiful lakes (Laguna Madre and Laguna Hija). Some guys were walking around in way to skimpy bathing suits, so it kind of ruined the photos, but the lakes were still awesome.
After the lakes we headed back into the forest with lots of yellow wild flowers. Slowly we worked our way around to the campsite. Tired and sore we passed the 1st site because we felt the second (Campamento De Agostini) would have a better view of sunrise. Indeed it did.
We dropped our loads and just sat there in exhaustion for a bit before getting to the chores of setting up camp and cooking dinner. We crashed at night to the soothing sounds of the roaring river just 30 feet or so from our tent.
The story continues...