Talk about luxury! We slept until quarter to eight,then had a lovely buffet breakfast, a treat that was included in the price of the room. The sun was shining brightly and we anticipated a great day. So we packed up and set out on the trail up to El Chileno campground/refugio.
The trail was clear at the beginning, but soon the weather turned to snow. Some hikers returning down the trail told us that the refugio was closed. (These refugios are closed because the season is ending.)
The higher we hiked the more snow we encountered.
Here I am at the junction of the trail leading to El Chileno campground
or to the Torres campground futher up the mountain.
At the campground everything was covered with wet snow, and more was coming down steadily. There were two other tents in the campground from the night before. The young couple from one of them told us that they had awakened in the morning to find two feet of snow over everything. They packed up and went down the trail. Sometime in the afternoon the other set of campers also packed up and left.
We set up the tent under some tall trees and found that was a mistake as snow "bombs" were falling on us as we worked. A low tree would have given some protection against this. D.S. cooked up a quick rice dish for lunch and we decided to hike up the trail for some distance, just for something to do that afternoon. This is definitely not like summer camping, sitting lazily around a campfire, reading, drinking coffee, making s'mores.
We hiked up toward the Torres campground for about an hour and half, and then decided to come back down. This picture was taken on the way back down.
We were alone in the campground that afternoon and evening. It was becoming quite cold. We sat on a little sheltered porch of the closed refugio, enclosing ourselves somewhat with some sheets of pressed board lying there, and cooked a supper of
pasta, plumped up with two cans of fishy
things. One was a can of squid which D.S. chopped up very fine, so the squiggly parts weren't noticeable.
Once in a while we got up and tramped in place to warm up our very cold feet. By 8:30 it was becoming dark and we retired to the tent and put on some wonderful DRY socks! Most of the snow had melted by that time, but the wind had grown colder. We climbed, fully clothed except for our Goretext jackets into our sleeping bags and talked for a few hours before falling asleep.
What a cold night that was! I was completely buried in my sleeping bag which had a hooded top, but found I could sleep only facing into the tent. If I faced the door, the cold wind coming under the fly made sleep impossible. It was during this night that something, a spider or some insect, walked over my face along the hairline, biting as it went. I'm just glad I wasn't awake for that!