Up, packed and out by 11:00 - a lot later than I wanted. I still feel drained, have no energy and hobble along. I think I've bruised a few bones in my feet, they kill! I'm pleased I have an easy day today. I reach Campamento Guardas and stop for lunch. It turns into a feeding frenzy! I eat 3 (not 2 but 3!) tortillas with cream cheese, 2 biscuits, some fruit & nut mix (usually reserved for breakfast) and a toffee mint! Gee, I must be starving!
For the past week I've been wearing a neoprene ankle support on my left ankle and it's worked wonders to settle the pain I'd been feeling. But for the past few days I've been crippled by a different pain on the heel. I decide to take it off... and instant relief! It seems the bruising had been caused by the support seam digging into my heel with the tight boots.
During the past week I've passed a lot of people on the path (well, on the W) and I assess their looks, decide if they're British / American / Native English Speaker (usually rather easy) and greet them with either a "Hello!" or a "Hola!" Now what bugs me is that every single person I've passed greets me with "Hola!" I mean, do I look Spanish? For some reason it's really beginning to grate.
I literally stumble into the Camping Grey campsite. Despite my huge lunch (compared to other days) I have no energy. I set up home and grab a hot shower (well, a hot dribble!) and exit reborn! I no longer smell like a homeless person! This campsite is back on the tourist W trail so stuff is open. I pitch up in a cool spot - on the edge of a dirt beach overlooking the lake and gigantic floating glacier chunks. It was cool until some Americans decide to pitch up right in front of me, stealing my view. Yeah, cheers.
I stick to my original plan which is to go on a glacier ice hike tomorrow and book myself in with Big Foot Adventures for $135 US. My plan also allows me to eat an evening meal at the refugio to give me energy for the ice hike. I wanted to be self sufficient for the circuit and as there's only a 3½ hour walk left (which I could stagger right now if I had to prove myself), I've practically completed my original goal.
Booking so late (17:44) I was lucky to be fitted into a second 20:00 dinner seating. Dinner (compared to my usual dried noodles) was pea soup, pork chop and cream potatoes and salad with tinned apricots for dessert. Lovely. Washed down with a couple of beers of course! I got talking to Liz and Claire who (forgive my sweeping first impressions again) appeared to be a couple of middle aged lesbians. Liz had been working at a research station in Antarctica for the past 18 months, stabilising the stilt legs on which all the buildings sit on. Previously working as a chippie in the UK she said she found the job advertised in the paper! They both should be joining me on the Grey Glacier tomorrow.
Posted by Steve Eynon