Monday 7 February

A chilly night but no wind and I sleep well. Don, John, and Helen arrive at breakfast with tales of a beautiful sunrise over a perfectly still Lake Pehoe.

It doesn’t take us long to break camp. A bit before ten, some of us begin walking down the road alongside the lake until the bus catches up with us about twenty minutes later. It is a still morning and is warming up rapidly.

(magnify) Roadside rheas

A long drive out from the park takes us along a dirt track, back over the border into Argentina (where the track deteriorates markedly) and finally onto tarmac. There are a couple of short stops for refreshments and a picnic by the roadside where Don spies out an interesting abstract composition made up of a fence leading over a small rise and a boulder.

Approaching Calafate, we glimpse the Fitzroy range across the plain in the distance and we roll up at our hotel soon after five. The room I am sharing with Lawrence is simple and cool and the shower beckons.

We need to arrange our own packed lunches for tomorrow, but the local supermarket doesn’t seem to sell small quantities of anything suitable. I continue down the road, expecting to reach the main street where we came in four days ago, but eventually I seem to be reaching the far side of town. I report the situation back to Lawrence and we decide to team up and obtain five half-baguettes and some cheese from the supermarket. On returning a second time to the hotel, I learn that I should have turned right to reach the town-centre.

(magnify) Sunset

That evening Luqui brings his Apple Powerbook and digital projector to the hotel and gives us a presentation on glaciers in Patagonia. It is very slick indeed and we learn a lot about the processes involved.

Dinner together is in a restaurant just off the main street. I have the garlic chicken and have to wait ages for the rice. The steaks as usual are humongous.