I just love El Chaltén. The impressive mountains are so close and the little town is very relaxed. There are panaderias with the most delicious lemon pies and cones stuffed with dulce de Leche, a heladeria with one of the best ice-creams I had so far in south America (Super Domo which is chocolate with real cherries and three different types of dulce de Leche…), bars, restaurants and a handful of supermarket (which are usually half empty, expensive and fresh stuff looks poor).
A day hike to Laguna Torre and Cerro Torre
The day after the Huemul Circuit I felt still full of energy and decide to go for a day hike to the Laguna Torre to see the Cerro Torre. I even make it for a fast hike, running up the 11km to the Mirador Maestri in 2 1/2h. The sky is covered but higher up, so luckily no clouds are hiding the Cerro Torre.
The hike is pretty easy and the lenga trees once more dressed up in wonderful automn colours. I decide to not make a big tour and just turn around afterwards to relax in the hostel.
Hiking to Laguna Capri for sunrise.
After Cerro Torre it’s time to see the Fitz Roy! I decide to start at 6.30am even though the weather doesn’t look too promising. In the complete darkness I walk with my head torch a few kilometers up to the viewpoint of Fitz Roy, stopping on my way for a few pictures of the colourful sky before sunrise.
At the viewpoint a handful of people are already enjoying the view. Although Fitz Roy is covered by clouds, I am not disappointed, the view is still amazing with the sun colouring the sky all pink. Hard to decide whether to watch the sunrise on one side or the magically sunlit Fitz Roy on the other.
The clouds pass around quickly but during the hour or so I spend watching the sunrise, the mountains become less visible and it looks like rain is coming. I suddenly feel very tired and decide to not continue up to the Laguna Los Tres but return to El Chaltén after a quick detour to Laguna Capri.
Back in town I have coffee and lunch at my hostel and call some friends before heading out once more. The sun is shining in El Chaltén and I am unhappy to have returned. I decide to at least walk to the viewpoint next to the ranger station which is only some 2km. Up at the viewpoint I cannot see much at all, the mountains are completely covered, so I can be happy again about my choice to turn around. I sit in the sun and read a book before suddenly it starts to rain and I run back into town.
On the way I meet again the Dutch couple I am running into since Isla Navarino and we go for some ice cream and chat. Later, I have dinner with Oliver (I met on the Huemul Circuit) and some other guys from his hostel. Jéhanne joins us later for drinks before we have another bottle of wine at Oliver’s hostel and only end up in bed around 1.30am. The next day is entirely spent relaxing, meeting Jehanne and Oliver for cake, registering and organising a few things for our hike tomorrow, waiting in line half an hour in the small supermarket to buy some fruits and vegetables, preparing dinner, packing and reading. Wonderful!