Day 348 – 350 – Backtracking to Laguna Negra

Day 1 of the backtrack

I had made the decision yesterday to backtrack to Laguna Negra since I failed to reach my intended campsite because of inclement weather. The weather was indeed better today but it was still overcast much of the day. The visibility was not as nice as I would have liked and there was still plenty of snow I had to make my way through. It made the trip back over the ridge much slower than on the first approach. However, I was happy to find the northern side of the mountain pretty dry. It’s funny one usually thinks of the north face as the icier side but that is coming from a northern hemisphere perspective. On the southern hemisphere, you want the north face. Still the drop down was rocky and my knees were feeling every creaky  step. I definitely brought way too much food with me and that extra weight was a lot. I could probably go another 10 days with my current rations.

I made it to camp and decided to shave a little more off tomorrows trip by camping at the far side of the lake. I settled in, had a huge double meal that stretched my innards. Then I did some stretching exercises to help this achy body feel better. Afterwards I was off to my tent to write about the last 2 days on the trail.

Day 2 of the backtrack

This morning as I was digging my poo hole I brought up this insect with my shovel. I think it is an insect in suspended animation that burrows into the earth to hibernate. At least that is the story I’ve decided to tell myself.

Hibernating insect?

Hibernating insect?

Insect different perspective

Insect different perspective

For those of you wondering what a poo hole looks like, it’s this:

Poo Hole

Poo Hole

I did rebury the little guy hoping that my digging didn’t cause his demise, that is if he wasn’t already dead.

After my morning business I packed up camp and stared at the recently frosted mountain for a while before getting back on the trail.

Snow covered mountain

Snow covered mountain

Early on the trail I saw a few interesting geological features.

Crystals

Crystals

Quartz crystals in the snow

Quartz crystals in the snow

I routinely made my way back the way I had come with little stops along the way. Since the scenery was familiar and overcast I didn’t take many pictures. What did grab my attention was a patch of attractive vegetation a few hours into my hike.

Vegetation

Vegetation

Day 3 of the backtrack

One of the first things I noticed today was the colors of the rocks in this stream nearby camp. Those that were out of the water were normal colored rocks but those that were submerged were grey. I then realized the grey painted rocks were nothing more than remnants of the recently erupted Calbuco volcano. This was ash residue. I had never seen this before so I was intrigued. I stuck my hand in the water to see how bound the ash was to the rock. It turns out it was very easy to clean off.

Residual Ash

Residual Ash

Once done playing with river rocks I walked alongside the stream to the point where I could see my intended trajectory. I would have to drop into this valley and go over the mountains you see here. Just to the left of the upper patch of trees.

Down and over this range

Down and over this range

As I hiked back the bright orange color of this flower struck me. I have no idea what type it is but I thought it deserved a cameo.

Unknown flower

Unknown flower

Once I got up to the ridge I could see laguna negra again and at the far side the sweetest shelter I’ve stayed in. I took a moment at the top to enjoy the surrounding scenery from this perspective before making my final push to the shelter.

Hello Laguna Negra

Hello Laguna Negra

Ice covered mountain

Ice covered mountain

Clouds covering the peak

Clouds covering the peak

 

 

 

 

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