There was originally talk of us being able to arrange transport at the bottom today to pick us up at the end of the trail, save us the tedious 3km hike along the road to a bus stop. But someone mentioned last night that it had been cancelled – think because they were all partying and didn´t want to have the driving job to do today, never mind the 4-6 hour hike down to get the transport – but weren´t we the lucky ones to find this morning that it was possible. We just had to get there by 4pm. Easy! Well that’s what they claimed todays hike would be – easy – so it would be no problem.
Thing is, if you discounted the 1st hour it probably was easy. However having done so well yesterday, poor Fi was put on edge yet again today, quite literally. We started with steep scramble down as good as a sheer cliff edge, quite exposed and she wasn´t a happy bunny, but she did it and we´re very proud of our novice trekker. We were promised a wire bridge to cross and told we should bring a spare pair of shoes as we´d most certainly get our feet wet. Disappointed! There was a small wire but only an aid to crossing some stepping stones. It obviously would be a wet crossing had the river been higher. Other than that the walk today was pretty spectacular, we were all sore after our scree running yesterday and going down steep parts was proving painful. Huw made the other giggle when he said he was navigating how far we´d walked by counting the valleys.
What happened to the dog? Well we ate it last night of course. Only kidding! We asked at the Refugio, his name was Negro (Blackie we´re guessing) and he was his own boss, just choosing who and when to go for hikes back and forward between various huts. What a life, and good planning on his part, there´d have been lots of bones and leftovers from last night’s celebration meal for him and the other couple of dogs we saw at the Refugio. He set off today with some other guys, we were obviously too slow setting off or too much of a liability for him to want to spend another day with us.
When we got to the bottom and the track end there he was flaked out in the sun. By the way, it was 1555 when we all got there, the bus turned up about 1640 (it was 40 minutes late), we weren´t panicking at all that it might not show and we´d have to walk out having paid for the it never mind psyching ourselves up for the lift.
Back at Bariloche around 7pm we went for a celebratory drink (yes we were all stinky, but yes we were allowed to sit in a garden), joined by a German couple who´d been camping at the Refugio and we´d been chatting to last night. It was only one beer, then the plan was back to the hostel, shower, eat the pasta we hadn´t had last night and if still hungry and still awake go claim our free dinner too before having an early night. Robert Burns has a lot to answer for! Best laid plans and all that….
Yes we shower, the least we could do, but then we hear from Avi and Liza, it’s their last night, they´re off tomorrow. Surely we´d join them for a drink of two. Not sure which one of us caved in 1st but before we knew it we´d skipped the pasta course and were heading to our free dinner (with our new roomie Michael, Ausie bloke from Sydney), then onto the neighbouring bar for our free drink and yep you can guess it was a rather messy night. We got back around the same time as our last outing, Fi on the other hand (with hardly a word of Spanish) hooked up with some Chilean’s and joined them to their campsite for a singsong and got back around oh 2pm, mas or menos, tomorrow!