The next day, all I have to do is get back to Paine Grande, where the catamaran dropped me off to start my hike the day before. This time I have a full day instead of a half day to cover the same distance, and the weather is much improved, so I decide to add a little bit of unofficial distance to my W trek by hiking an hour north from Grey to the abandoned campground of Los Guardos.
The payoff is supposed to be a closer view of Grey Glacier, but for me the real highlight of this brief side-trip is a shaky wooden suspension bridge over a deep gorge. There’s a group of three French hikers who I saw on the path yesterday with the same idea as me. I’ll keep running into them not only along the W but throughout Patagonia as the weeks go on.
Finally I get an up-close view of Glacier Grey and take a few photos. It’s tempting to head further north but I don’t really have a clear turn-around point, so I decide it’s time to turn around.
After turning around at the old Guardos campground, I head back south, past Refugio Grey. The weather is considerably better today — somewhat cloudy but not raining, and since I’m not in any hurry to get to Paine Grande, I can enjoy the journey much more. For example, I can hear a massive waterfall that I completely missed on the way north yesterday.
I reach Paine Grande with the sun still up and patches of blue sky shifting around, so I spend an extra hour hiking south along the hillsides lining Lago Pehoe. At night I’m staying in Refugio Paine Grande, one of the biggest refugios in the park, although not as comfortable as Refugio Grey. It does have a little shop to pick up extra snacks, although I’m pretty well stocked, and even something called a “post office,” which, after being directed to three different windows, turns out to be actually a “mail box” which doesn’t do me a lot of good without any stamps. Pisco sours, sadly, cost about a buck more than they did at Grey.
A few of the following photos are again from this sort of super dramatic, not really photojournalistic photography I was doing, but the clouds were really pretty wild:
And finally a few more normal shots: