Thursday 17 February

I’m cold during the night and sleep fitfully. It is only in the morning that I realise that the window is not properly shut. A slow breakfast. I’m feeling a bit the worse for wear and think I might have caught Ron’s cold.

(magnify) Rio de las Vueltas Valley

It’s a free day and at ten, some of us congregate in the reception and we head off for a day-walk up to Laguna Capri. The walk up to the lake is easy and doesn’t take us long. We pass through the campsite just before the lake, turn left, and find a quiet spot to sit on the water’s edge. We spot Helen, who had left earlier than us, sitting on her own over on the far side, so give her a wave and wander over to her.

It’s a bit windy and not as warm as of late. The top of Fitz Roy is in cloud but we have a good view of the ridge that we climbed four days ago when we saw the condors.

(magnify) Laguna Capri

Feels like a bit of an aimless day. (For those not doing the Tierra del Feugo extension it is their last day in Patagonia.) Leaving the others, I head off to try to circumnavigate the lake, but I’m stymied by dense undergrowth and the lack of a path. Paddling along the margin of the lake gets me little further as I alternately stumble over rocks and sink in soft sand. I give up and return to where the others are sitting.

Helen has been swimming after a run, and we decide to go up the nearest hill for a final view of cloud-topped Fitz Roy. We scramble over roots between trees for a view that is not entirely spectacular.

Back in Chalten, another visit to the ice cream shop seems like a good idea. This time I try Calafate berry and peach – the Calafate berry is a bit like blueberry but milder, and makes a good combination with the peach. Then back to the hotel for a shower and a few chapters of my book.

Luqui has tried two other restaurants before managing to book us into the place where we had the delicious lamb at lunchtime on our first arrival in Chalten. Pam is very pleased to be back, but in the event the meal slightly disappoints. David has the lamb again, but this time it is much more fatty and without the rich sauce. My trout is tasty, but the service is glacially slow and it is not far off midnight when we leave. We’re all rather tired and the conversation is more subdued than usual.