Today we woke and the weather had taken a dramatic change. The fog hung so low that the mountains outside our windows had become small hills. The tops hidden by the clouds. It was raining a little bit, but we suited up and headed down to breakfast.
Now, it seems that last night was fall back here in Chile. Kind of. It was supposed to happen, but the government decided to not do it this weekend, but all electronics changed. So when we looked at the phone for the time, it said 7:00, when it reality it was 8. So we were just taking things slow until we realized what time it was then it was like shit... hurry up. Grab something to eat and get to the lobby to meet today's guide for our morning hike to Mirador Cuernos.
Well, it seems that our guide had a little trouble with the time as well and was a bit late. While it did not bother us, we are on vacation for pete's sake do we really need to start at exactly 9? One of our party was not happy about the fact that the guide was late. This same guy ragged on his wife the entire way to the drop off point for the start of our hike about the fact that she had on the wrong boots. In fact she had on his boots. She talked about this the entire hike it seemed.
Our hike today would take us up to a point where we would be at a lake where the fires stopped. In case you do not know, some misguided dope started a little campfire in like 80 mile an hour winds in December and was responsible for around 35,000 hectors of burned national park. The fires lasted 29 days and the guy was fined $2000. Yes, that is right $2000 for destroying a natural treasure. It will be years and years before it all grows back.
So we start hiking thru what looks like a Tim Burton movies. Twisted black and red branches, no ground cover and very little wildlife. We walked up and up, a slow long walk. About an hour or so into the hike I started thinking hmmm... no cover.... where does one pee?
I made it to the top with my beloved, Chip was already there (all we saw of her on this hike was her behind as she lead the way) and I asked our guide – Felipi, since there are no trees, where does one pee? He smiled and waved his hand at the surrounding area. He asked if I could wait a few minutes while he explained things to the rest of the group. Sure, I can wait as I tapped my foot.
We got to the look out point across the lake from us was a forest and a glacier somewhere up in the fog. We could not see it, but we could hear it. That is right, we could hear it. It sounded like thunder, it was a piece calving off, it was spooky in a way. After that you could just hear grinding as it moved a millimeter at a time. Felipi, our guide, drew us pictures and explained the fire to us and the valley and the trails you could take.
And I tapped and tapped my foot. Then I heard new voices coming up the trail. Oh no... I thought. Luckily those peeps did not stay around long and Felipi finished his nature talk and everyone turned to go down the trail. I waited and waited until they were around the corner and then moved to my pre selected spot and dropped my pants and left a little of my DNA in Torres del Paine. Oh I felt so much better. This is the view from where I left said DNA.
We found out that one of the other couples with us was from San Francisco. Go figure. He had an English accent and I asked how he ended up there. He told me that as a hippy in the 60's in London he always wanted to live in San Francisco and now he does. He had a big smile on his face, so I think he must feel he made the right decision.
Back into the van for the trip back to the resort for lunch and then an afternoon hike to Laguna Azul. The rain had pretty much stopped for now, but that would not last.
We sat down in the dinning area, the three of us at one table. The guy mad about the late guide, (who had already complained to the manager that there was no water or anything in the van after our hike. I thought use the nice metal bottles they gave us to use on hikes nitwit) and his probably blistered footed wife sat at the next table and then the Miami Brits as I decided to call them sat at the table in front of mad guy and wrong shoed wife.
We were having a very nice lunch when they all started complaining. The wrong shoed wife had asked for an egg white omelet and then got upset because the waiter brought her a regular omelet. She tried to explain to him what she wanted, but English was not his first language (surprise) and he called one of the other servers over and she understood what she wanted. Then the woman says WELL, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO PUT IN MY OMELET (voice like nails on a chalkboard). The girl asked, what would you like in your omelet? Tomatoes, cheese, onions – YES, THAT SOUNDS GOOD.
As they both walked away she commented that “WHAT ARE THEY DOING WORKING HERE, IF THEY CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH?”
Lady you are not in Bel Aire (where they live) anymore and even there you might have picked up a few Spanish words like GRACIAS.
Then the other couple starts in about how bad the food is here (it was not). What poor quality the wine was (Miami Brit woman says like what you get in a petrol stop in Briton) as they drink a couple glasses of it down.
After about 20 minutes of this non stop complaining my beloved looks to them all and says “Please stop. Just stop. We are enjoying our lunch here and don't appreciate all the bad mouthing.” They look at here like she had two heads, but without a word they stop and a few minuets later the Miami Brits leave and we finish our lunch with the Bel Aire couple sitting quietly at their table.
After lunch we get ready for our afternoon hike to Lagoon Azul. We are in the lobby waiting and we are delighted that we will be having Felipe again for the afternoon. He tells us that we are waiting for two more people before we leave and I say “please do not let it be some of the people from this morning, we did not like some of them” He smiled and said “No, it is two other people that just got here.
We are joined by a couple from Connecticut and two other women for our trip to the lagoon. By this time is it really raining out, but that does not stop us. We travel up to the lagoon passing the millions of guanacos and always looking for pumas, just like the vigilanties. We do a little hike, not too long and not too intense we pass by lots of trees with a moss growing on them - I am informed that it is “old man's beard” and that it only grows where the air is clean. So I start breathing deeper as I walk.
We get back to the van – where there is not only water wating for us, but coffee, tea and chocolate. Off we go on a short ride to Cascada Paine – another glacier fueled water fall. This one was wide and almost an upside down horseshoe shape. Larger than the morning falls and even more beautiful and much easier to get to and yet fewer people. Go figure. Perhaps the rain was keeping them away?
We got back to the resort and caught up with the Brazilians who had gone on a six hour hike – good for them!! They said it was very hard – and since they seemed to be in fantastic shape I was glad we had not opted for such a long hike.
We arranged to have dinner with them and went off to shower and change out of our wet and dirty hiking gear.
Back down to dinner and no Brazilians. So we sat far away from everyone else with our two new friends and had a lovely dinner.
After we had been sitting for awhile the lights went out – Oh No, I thought. Power problems? But no, it was Miami Brit Husband's birthday and the entire staff that they had been bad mouthing at lunch came out with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to him. Hope they spit in the cake.
A few minutes later lights out again for another cake for the London Hippy now residing in San Francisco, we sang along to that one.
We sat talking and laughing far into the night as we got up to leave my beloved was convinced that the Miami-Bel Aire group was talking about us and I am sure they were and she wanted to go over and say something to them. Chip and I convinced her that to just walk on by, which she did and we retired for another peaceful night's sleep in the shadow of glaciers.