Day 8: Campamento Torres to Campamento Las Guardas
Up early and out of camp and MUDDY. Like almost as bad as Guatemala mud. As bad. Worse.
Had heard some daunting things about the snow levels on top of John Gardner Pass (the pass to get from the backside to the frontside…and over to Grey Glacier). I´ve been hiking in trail runners that are not waterproof, and so far, excluding yesterday´s mud incident, I´ve been fine.
Because it rained hard, all night last night, I am of course expecting plenty of fresh snow and hoping that the weather stays clear.
Fact: The hardest part of the John Gardner Pass is not the pass itself. Far from it. Getting out from and above treeline and to the base of the pass, and then on the frontside, getting down through tree line to camp, after all the snow, is definitely the most challenging part of the day. Why? MUD CAN SUCK IT! (And it does, luckily my shoes are tied on tight.)
Broke treeline, broke through the mud, broke through the mud hidden under the fresh snow, and climbed.
Passed a British couple who told me that there was a Romanian couple way ahead breaking trail. Word. I love slogging. I love it. I love rock hopping because I am so focused on each individual step and each individual motion that I just get lost in the slog. Slog yea!
Clear skies, occasional clouds, chilling wind, and glaciers.
After a couple sketchy ice rivers and leaps of faith, I was walking by the awkward underwear and sportsbra covered shrine atop the pass. Needless to say, I didn´t take a photograph (of the shrine).
Looking back down the valley to the lake at the base of Los Perros Glacier with a Canadian couple catching up to me.
And no words for the awestruck moment when I was blinded by the neverending expanse of the Grey Glacier. Wow.
It goes both ways, in both directions for a reallllllly long time.
Switched to boot stepping my way down so as not to slip on the powdered sugar covered rocks on the way down towards treeline.
My shoes are clean!
Not for long… mud slipped and slided for two hours and was sure I was nearing Campamento Paso, my goal for the night, when I saw a tent set up behind some trees. Well, it wasn´t camp. Rather, the Romanian couple (my parents´age), had set up all of their gear to dry in a patch of sun. After talking for a few minutes about the pass, they invited me to take my pack off and sit down for tea.
Although we were all pretty tired, our strides didn´t show it. And hiking in the late afternoon as the sun was descending provided us with an absolutely stunning, everchanging view of Glacier Grey everytime we turned our heads.
When we arrived at camp, the sun was just setting, and most of the spots had been filled. We camped on the backside of a hill right next to camp. Count of Monte Cristo is a page turner, hard to put down even when I´m zonked.