luckily i awoke the next morning an hour after our alarm was supposed to go off or else we would’ve been really late!! we quickly got dressed and drove the hour or so into the national park to the catamaran port. there we would leave our beloved van (ché!), pack a bag for a couple nights (clean clothes!!), gather a few food items for sandwiches and games to play and hop on the boat to the refugio.
in talking with the american guys the night before who had done this leg of the hike, we decided to just do a small hike, get a hot shower and just chill when we got to the refugio that day instead of hike to glacier grey. we figured we would be able to see plenty of other glaciers up close in the next few days when we headed to el calafate and el cheltán. plus part of the trail was closed and we knew we had a long hike up to valle francés and británico ahead of us the following day. basically we were letting these 30 year old bodies rest!! :)
we reached refugio paine grande (hoping they had a reservation for us!!) and you would’ve thought we were in a 5 star hotel!! we had a bunk room with real mattresses (not the bed cushions we had been sleeping on in the van) and best of all hot showers!!
the day at paine grande was non eventful, just took a two hour easy hike, perfected my rock skipping skills at the lake, took the longest and hottest showers possible and got in a few games of yahtzee before dinner (where i, again dominated jared!).
while playing our game, a lovely scottish fellow named neil came in to chat with us. we learned that he and his wife, lana were traveling in south america for a bit. they had unfortunately just lost their jobs as contractors in the oil business on the very same day. he said they were a bit down for a while, but instead decided maybe this was an opportunity for them to travel together and see a part of the world that they had never seen. he explained this hardship had certainly opened both of their eyes and that they both would rather be exploring the world rather than behind a computer, so they had decided when they went back and got jobs they would make a pact to take a trip every so many months! we thoroughly enjoyed talking with neil and told him we would see him (and hopefully meet lana!) at dinner or after.
we decided to skip the bar upstairs even though it was tempting because we had a long hiking day ahead of us the following day. once we were done with dinner, we went to our bunk room and were pleased to find neil and lana were our bunk mates!! :) we chatted with them for a bit and then we’re off to bed, while those young rascals (i say this because while they are a bit younger than our own parents, they are certainly young at heart!) headed outside to gaze upon all of the amazing starlit skies!
the next day would be a hike up to valle francés!