Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Special Evening

March 29, Tuesday
We had a leisurely breakfast of hot oatmeal and real coffee, packed up our tent and all our gear and were on our way to Los Cuernos refugio by 10:45. It was a good hike, with some rain, some sun. The trail was quite muddy in places. Today's hike was much more moderate in terms of climbs than yesterday's and included lots of this sort of scenery.

It's almost hard to believe that these are the same Cuernos we saw yesterday gleaming golden in the sun.

We arrived at the refugio and campground about 2:30 and picked out a good spot for our tent, under the branches of a low-hanging tree, and got it set up.

Then we went into the refugio where a wood stove was creating an island of warmth and cheer. There were several long plank tables lined with simple stools for us to sit on. By this time the weather was cold, windy and
rainy, with some heavy showers. We spent the rest of the afternoon by the stove, along with many other backpackers.

The refugio also has dorm rooms and free showers. We gladly took advantage of the showers, cleaned up and changed our clothes.

We didn't cook for ourselves this night, but had dinner in the refugio. Just when the dinner was being served the electric lights went out, and only the gas mantle lanterns remained to give us a bit of light. First course was a delicious cream soup. Second course was a bowl of something, but it was too dark to see what it was. I took a spoon full and found excellent scalloped potatoes along with some vegetables. Later I found a delicious chunk of chicken. Dessert was poached dried fruit compote.

Because of the wet weather we hung around the refugio that evening. A convivial atmosphere was created by the low light level, music, crowding next to one another, hearing lots of languages. People from all over were sharing their experiences, accepting one another, recognizing people from having seen them on the trail. It was a great evening, and one of the special experiences in this special time.

It was raining when we went to the tent and rained much of the night. Everything was very wet in the morning but by then the rain had stopped.

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