January 16: Campamento Grey to Hosteria Las Torres

(4 hr hike, 10km to ferry dock at Campamento Pehoe, bus to campsite at H L Torres)

It was a noisy night in spite of the weather…the “bigfoot’ group insisted on playing loud top 40 American dance music until 11pm much to the annoyance of the other 50 campers on site. Grrrr! I wonder if they heard us early hikers pack up and go…breakfast was a coffee and can of tuna. This was to get me going for the four hours walk to Albergue Y Campamento Pehoe and the 12:30pm ferry. Ron sets a grueling pace, no doddeling allowed.

Happily, it’s a stiff tail wind and it shoves us from behind, assisting our progress. There is fresh snow on the peaks from last night and more evidence of calving bergs last night. The occasional boom echoed through the camp (despite radio and wind noise) throughout the night, and this morning, the bay is littered with various sized pieces. Is the calving more active at night due to temperature changes? I ponder this as we walk along the shore and view the lake. 

Looking back toward Campamento Grey from the trail. Weather has socked in, I’m thankful for the six days of relatively dry weather we had.

There is quite a crowd waiting for the ferry to shuttle everyone across Lago Pehoe to a parking area and Pefugio Pudeto at the other end of the lake. Sometimes, in really windy conditions, this ferry does not run. It’s a relatively smooth 30 minute ride, many passengers are lulled to sleep by the warmth of inside conditions. At the other end, huge tourist buses are waiting, rocked by wind gusts so extreme in one instance, I wondered that they didn’t blow over. From there, it is a 30 minute, 24 km back to the east park entrance (Guarderia Laguna Amarga), $10,500 pesos each. We transfer out of the larger bus and after a short wait, board a mini van for the last 7 km drive where we are deposited back to the Hosteria Las Torres parking lot.

Horses wander over to browse the grass in the campground. Some were branded thus I guess belong to some estancia or else the on site hotel which offers riding trips.

It’s a food bonanza when we return to our starting point and more importantly, the car where all our extra stuff was stored: goodies to eat, clean clothes, towels and shampoo for the waiting hot showers. One of the great things about coming back from a camping trip is getting clean and the pleasure of food with crunch (compared to camping food that so often seems mushy). Later, Alfred gave the Coleman cooler, extra camping gear, food to a family of four who were visiting the park from Puerto Natales. They looked cold and chilled but big smiles all around with this gift. Our Spanish was poor, they spoke some English

Snack of cheese, break, fruit with a ‘real’ bottled wine at the Hosteria Las Torres. Ron – Katherine – Alfred : we celebrate like we’ve successfully completed an expedition to the North Pole!  Its turned into a miserable chilly evening with drizzle and fog, we linger inside, reminiscing about the trip, my memory already selectively editing out the unwanted bits.