December 6 2022

Day 6, Paine Grande to Campamento Frances

The night was disturbed by the mass of kids camping right next door. A change to noise of wind and rain that is for sure. We listened to their whoops and gaggle for some hours and we might have provided some entertainment in return, had they watched our tent after dark, lit up with our solar lamp. But we shall never know!

The food at Paine Grande was far from the best and breakfast, like the evening meal, was pretty ghastly. We sat with an older American couple, members of The Appalachian Mountain Walking Club, who were part of a guided group on the ‘W’. We were in no hurry, this being a short walking day. Our Russian friends waved through the window on their way to the boat, their circle was complete, and they were heading out. We stopped for a farewell photo, before we pulled on our waterproofs and set off into the cold morning towards Camp Frances.

We soon found ourselves stuck behind a long line of kids. ‘Chico’s, podemos pasar?’, got their attention and they move aside. I wish my Spanish extended beyond such three word sentences, mostly assisted by google translate. Babble got me off the bottom rung, but come our next major excursion I will do better and attend a language school.

We passed through another large area of dead trees. Apparently these were lost to a fire a few years ago. Further along we passed the track which goes up Valle del Frances, our route for the following day. Our ‘rest’ day. The main valley opened out and we began to get spectacular views across the azure coloured Lago Nordenskjold. I wondered how this lake got its name, as I struggled along. I tried to keep up with Kris and Ona who were deep in conversation, if I could listen in, I might be able to distract myself from the pain in my growling stomach.

We arrived at Frances before checking in time, so took the steep track down to the hut and sat inside to eat our lunch. It was a hive of activity, bread was being baked and packed lunches for the following day were being prepared. The weather cleared so we ambled back along the route to a lookout over the lake. It was just about warm enough to sit out and enjoy the view.

Before supper, we showered in the best campsite showers on the track. The design of the block was terrific made from wood and corrugated plastic. The experience might not have been so great had it still been snowing of course. The evening meal in the tiny hut, was also very good, on par with Camp Seron.

Safe travels Yulia and Daria, you ROCK!
Leaving Paine Grande in the bitter cold, good advert for Osprey but there is a MacPac backpack under that wrapper.
Colourful school kids from Santiago causing grid lock on the path
Dead forest with new growth on its way
The beautiful azure Lago Nordenskjold, with some crazy people standing in the way!
Camp Frances
Kris reclining in the sun!
Ona in the fabulous shower block at Frances