Blown off my feet on my birthday!

Trip Start May 20, 2010
1
107
195
Trip End Sep 05, 2011


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Where I stayed
Pioneros Del Valle Hostel

Flag of Argentina  , Santa Cruz,
Sunday, January 23, 2011

DOMINIQUE HERE:

Day : 253
Temperature : Dunno...cold!
Weather : Wind like we've NEVER seen before!

Happy birthday to me...Happy birthday to me...Happy birthday to mee-eeee...Happy birthday to me!

Well, I've never before had a birthday quite like it.....I was literally swept off my feet. I woke to the sounds of Kev, Christian and Sylvia singing happy birthday to me, whilst they brought  8 little chocolate cakes on a plate with a candle in the middle! I was really touched, so if you're reading this...thanks guys!

Outside, the weather was better than the previous few days. At least there was some sunshine. We'd arranged to spend the day with Christian and Sylvia, and we set off mid morning for the short (8 hour! Ahem!) hike to the Mirador Pliegue Tumbado....from memory I think this is the correct name. We walked uphill more or less continually for the first couple of hours, over the hills to the south of El Chalten. We had lovely views of the town and the mountains in the distance. The trail then continued through some woods which seemed to go on (uphill) for ever. We'd been walking for 3 hours or so by this time. When we passed some people coming down in the opposite direction we asked if it was much further until the viewpoint. We were told that it was VERY windy up there and we were advised to be really careful. We continued on, making a bit of a joke about this. When we finally cleared the woods we could feel the gusts of wind, and when we walked over the next field into the open the wind smashed right into us! Wow! This was fierce wind and we all huddled together leaning forward so as not to lose balance....but somehow I still managed to end up on my backside, thankfully on soft grass and not any hard, jaggedy rocks! A trip to the local hospital on my birthday would not be a good idea!

Once recovered, we decided to keep going to see how far we could get. After another 300 metres we were now scrambling over loose rocks and Sylvia and Kevin decided to turn back. Christian and I decided to keep going just a little further. We battled our way uphill, trying not to lose our balance when massive gusts of wind caught us off guard. We nearly made it to the Mirador, but with only a few hundred metres to go we both decided to turn back....it was simply too dangerous. We knew that we would seriously injure ourselves if we fell on the sharp rocks. Moreover, the wind was actually picking up tiny grains of rock and literally sandblasting us with them...it really hurt! We did stop to take in the views which were fantastic, but by this time the clouds had descended and so we couldn't see Fitz Roy or Cerro Torre. It was also raining and it didn't look like it was going to improve.

Christian and I returned to Kevin and Sylvia about 20 minutes down hill, where miraculously the sun was shining and it was hot. After a relaxing picnic on the grass we continued back down hill towards El Chalten. By the time we returned to the hostel we'd been trekking for just over 8 hours and we were exhausted! I would definitely advise anybody to do this hike...on a good day. Even with the weather that we had, the views were amazing. On a clear day they'd be breathtaking!

Once back at the hostel we celebrated my birthday huddled round the computer with a bottle of wine and watching a scary movie, then proceeding to terrify each other with scary stories. When finally our eyes were drooping and our bodies sagging we dragged ourselves to bed (still a little scared) since we knew we would need some good sleep before another full day of trekking the following day. Next trek...Laguna de los Tres.
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