Patagonia travelogue 2009: hiking fitzroy

Day 4, in which we trek fitz roy and nearly drown.

Morning biscuits at our Nothofagus B&B. Visit to the park rangers office. Some of the trails in my lonely planet book apparently don’t exist. Whoops.

Afternoon start. 3 hours to first campsite, D’agostini. We should see Cerro Torre and Laguna Torre. My pack must weigh 40lbs (okay I am carrying our food cookware and stove/gas). Trekking poles, I sing thee praises! There is light drizzle. Rain jacket, I thank your gift giver!

Rain. Um okay. Have you ever walked in the rain? I don’t mean, like, from the car to the front door. Or from the subway to your apartment. I mean walk in the rain for, like, hours. It’s a problem. Dealable, tolerable. Pack cover, hood on. Another mile.

Now heavy rain.. Giant sheets of rain and mist. Fuck. We can’t see anything, mountains or each other. Rain throws itself at us like little fucking kamikazi pilots bent on everlasting glory, or our day’s ruin.. Water runs off my aforementioned awesome rain jacket and soaks my hiking pants. Did I mention it is ass cold; earlier this was some sort of alpine novelty, but now my hands hurt like FIRE. The river roars next to us. Fuck, we have to cross it. The footbridge is submerged by the surging rio– we try for some branches–SPLASH– in goes our feet, our boots soak to the sock. our eyes flash with a “what the fuck is this are we dead yet” look. (Aside: Ok, i know, I am prone to over-dramatization and exaggeration. One day I will learn to wield understatement as an effective dramatic device. In fact, you yes you can be that friend that buys me the book “How to Understate: a Guide to Quiet Living”, but until that day comes, onward, thrashing about, we go.

The next hour passes quietly as we are numb but dogged in our goal. My mind drifts back. THREE YEARS AGO. Campmor gear store. Clerk: “this hiking boot can come with goretex waterproofing, which will run warmer and is $10 more.” me: “ah I won’t need that.”. TWO WEEKS AGO. Mel’s apartment. Mel: “it says here in your email that ‘rain pants’ is part of the essential gear list. Are you sure?”. Me: “well… I guess we could do without that.”. THREE HOURS AGO. Park ranger office. Ranger: “weather reports say it rains all day today, but the next days after it will not. But it will rain A LOT.”. Me: “okay.”.

I snap back to attention when mel double checks trail directions. Mel surprises me with her fortitude. She has not asked to turn back nor has tried to strangle me for turning to her one day and saying “hey let’s go to Patagonia”.

We make it to camp. Campamento D’Agostini is cut from a grove of lengas trees, turned aurburn for autumn. We throw off our packs and pitch our own tents, water getting into the tents as we work. I jump in, rip off my clothes and shiver in my sleeping bag. I don’t talk to Mel for the rest of the night, a wall of water now separating us. I am trapped. And do unspeakable things In my tent to stay alive. I pray for a dry morning, and fall asleep.

One Comment

  • mel Says:

    “our eyes flash with a “what the fuck is this are we dead yet” look.” –again not a shred of exaggeration.

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