Saturday, 23 November 2013

2013-11-21 click for more photo's
19/11/13 Los Antiguos to El Chalten
The day started well with only seven people on the coach, no difficulties loading the bikes and leaving slightly early. When we arrived at Perito Moreno a handful of people boarded and we continued the journey with plenty of space to stretch out which as things turned out was just as well. The journey was going to be 12 1/2 hrs but after only 2 hrs the trouble began. the driver had been going slower and slower and eventually had to stop as the air compressor enabling the brakes and gears failed. The driver and assistant worked for a long time trying to repair it and after 1 1/2 hrs we were able to limp to Bajo Caracoles, a village of three houses where further repairs were attempted.
After a lot of discussion on the phone as to how to repair the vehicle it was decided to give in and call in the cavalry which meant sending a replacement bus from Calafate 6 hrs away. We eventually rolled into El Chalten at 5.15 am the next day 7 hours late.Despite the delay we were glad that we had taken the bus. The landscape was very uninspiring throughout and by bussing it we were 'buying' ourselves some time for walking. It was just starting to get light but of course everyone was asleep. Not a chance of finding a hostel open. We cycled up and down for a while hoping for a camp site but didn't have any luck with that either. Not one of the finest moments on the trip until we bumped into a young man from Columbia 'David' who was incredibly kind and offered to take care of our luggage and bikes. Every one we have met on this journey has mentioned how wonderful Columbia and it's people are. It is one of our regrets that we never went there since the days of drugs and violence in Columbia are so of the past. David solved all our problems and after offering us coffee and useful information about the hike send us on our way for a hike up to Lago Los Tres with views of Mount Fitzroy. It turned out to be a fabulous walk even though Mount Fitzroy never quite revealed herself to us in all her glory.The top always remained in cloud even though we could see her shape through it. Because we had started the day so early we were the first people to reach the top which was quite special particularly when we saw so many people climbing up when we descended. What wasn't so good was the fact that we undertook this 10 hour plus hike after not having walked for more than a few hundred yards at the time since Casablanca weeks and weeks ago. We might be fairly cycle fit but we are certainly not walking fit. We limped back with very tired legs into town and found a hostel for £5.-pp and a very good supermarket filled with a wonderful choice of food and dirt cheap wine.

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