OK. So in the interests of keeping these relatively shorter I am failing badly, instead I am just putting them in more sections!
So, we have got to Frey and now up, after our sugary start, and going to the next campsite. Remember, we are here for the easy/medium ones! But we couldnt see an obvious path out of the campsite. Now, remember that lovely scene I tried to paint, yeah, the one with the steep-sided, bowl-shaped valley with irregular peaks? Well we were about to get to know that a bit better than we liked.
Walking 30mins round the lake we had to climb about 700m up over rocks, very unstable rocks, that were nicely alligned in a vertical fashion. We only wanted to practice walking with our packs and camping by ourselves. in training for Torres Del Paine! After our slimey trip the day before we were not in the mood for this.
But, to be fair, after reaching the FIRST summit it was well worth it. Hidden just up over the pass was the most beautiful little lagoon that provided a much-needed shelter from the sun in the shape of a massive boulder, and a nice spot to cool our genial hats.
After that, more of the same. A massive rock-filled, vertical valley with only a small pass was the only option out. We thought that our few hillwalking exploits in Scotland would help out on our holiday hikes, but with the heavy packs and the heat, the vertical ascent on really dodgy rocks was causing real concern. When we reached the top of the pass a further 500m up we could hardly enjoy the great views as the ridge was so small. A quick clamber down lead to a short flat section, but respite would not be long-lasting.
We reached the edge with an amazing view, but again, difficult to take in as that was superceded by the concern for how we were to get down. It was now officially scarier than the volcano as reaching the precipise on the other side of the valley exposed us to high winds as well as coping with a drop so vertical it was difficult to see the pass. And we had to balance on the unstable rocks with the 12kg packs. Now, Kim gave me hassle for not making the volcano sound as scary as it was, so I hope this is coming over loud and clear!
So, onward I advanced, not voicing my concern re the fear of not seeing a decent, easy path, so as not to further alarm the now almost paralysed weith fear Kimbo. Petrified, her progress was slow, but I was so keen to get down the imbalance, and both being petrified, led to a wee `discussion´, after which we worked much better together, Kim giving her best ever SpiderPig impression to date. For those of you unfamiliar, go see The Simpsons Movie, but this involves Kim overcoming all tricky decents like any child tackles the stairs, on her bum!
It took as long to get down, maybe longer, than going up, but we did make it. Brassed off with this Easy/Medium walk already, the relatively tranquil 1hr hike to camp through flat forest and marsh was even too much. Exhausted, we got there, set canp and retreated to the lake to cool off, work some more on our moon tan, and get properly refreshed with a few Cokes! The tough day had me forget about Kim´s habit-kicking.
Too lighten the mood it is worth mentioning as Kim edged her way down the rock to the lake, her typical balance and poise came through as she slipped, fell on her ass and soaked herself. Her shorts drenched, this time it was too late too stay out of the cold water!
Up the next day and the consistency of the porridge was much better, as was the walk. Predominantly downhill, with no rocks, we made the exit road after a few hours. The only tricky bit was another string to the Kimbo´s now extensive extreem-sports bow - crossing a 20m river as it roared over boulders while balancing feet on one wire and hands on another, with aplomb! Is there nothing this girl can´t do!?!
Unfortunately, the ardous trip saved what is probably the worst till last. A long, dusty road in the heat of the day. No wind, no shade, just heat. And length. It was only maybe 3-5K, a distance we should have covered in no time. But it felt like eternity. Lack of road signs also left us wondering if we were even going in the right direction, tho I was cnvinced of my map-reading skills - cheers Al! When it finally did end, the bus stop was close and it came quick.
A bone of contention for us has been my protective nature, given the warnings I have had from Kim´s Nanny and Mum. But our relationship thrives on our independance. Unfortunately the one time I let my guard down (and closed my eyes for TWO MINUTES on the bus, I woke to see our stop go by! Reluctant to repeat Kim´s bus-dismounting exploits in Santiago we stayed on, hoping it would do a full loop.
15mins later, in a field way outside the town, we reach a run-down bus terminus in a dodgy part of town, and the end of the road! Luckily, Kim´s now fluent grasp of the Spanish language since Maddy left helped identify the next bus back was about to leave. My special powers of observation identified the stop. Great teamwork. After another little `discussion¨!
We could not get back into our really nice hostal so made-do with a lesser one with a big fat party animal who came in at 2am and threw up violently in the toilet. After that we were glad to leave Bariloche.