Breakfast: well, the drill was the same, but there were eggs this time, which was good. We said goodbye to the Princeton Alumni group, who we'd been hiking with for a few days, and then headed out. It was again strangely warm, 16C/61F, but very windy, with sprinkles here and there, and partly cloudy, though it changed from minute to minute.
The first section of today's hike was rather bland, up and over hills of burnt trees, nothing all that exceptional except for the views, which were world class :-). The wind was pretty incredible though, and it wasn't a steady wind--sometimes it would be perfectly calm then you'd get hit by a 60mph gust that would make you stagger, then it'd taper down to a mild gale, then go away again. The wind didn't really get... Manageable.. until we got back into unburied forested sections that kept the wind mostly above the trees.
The forest was moderately interesting too; this side of the park seems to get more precipitation, and despite being south-facing it seems warmer (or maybe because it's south-facing, so it's not exposed to the northwest winds?). I spotted the usual nirre and notro trees, but also canelo/wintergreen (Drimys winteri) and a fair number of flowers, most of which had already gone to seed, but there were some estreilltas.
By the time we hit Camping Italiano, we had decided not to visit Valle de Frances. Really, we'd already seen a huge chunk of the park, and the sheer number of backpacks dropped at the ranger station meant we wouldn't be alone at all. We at e some of the breakfast bars we were given as a box lunch at Paine Grande, I filled up my water from the stream (yay, no filtering water here!) and most importantly we changed into lighter clothes. While the wind was fierce, it was also around 20C/68F, so we didn't feel the need to bundle up at all... And it was still early so we kept on going. Camping Italiano was kinda gloomy as well, in dark woods, and not a nice place for picnicking.
Twenty or so minutes later, we did stop at Camping Frances though--there was an odd wooden platform just off the trail that made a great lunch spot, and the temperature had climbed strangely into the low 70s with strong sunshine; a good place to enjoy lunch. We especially enjoyed the over-the top restroom, which felt more like it was from some Scandinavian regional museum and not some campground in Chile--super modern and nice, and yep I took pictures.
From Camping Frances we headed up and over the hill to Curenos, along the lake shore for a bit with the 70km/h winds blowing water everywhere, really rather intense but also kinda fun.
We checked in and settled into our cabin, took a nap and even had a hot tub (!), had a great dinner with Linda and Jack from Rotorua. They were also amused by Team Deutschland, and had the secret Intel that the Germans were all vegan and brought an enormous skillet to go along with their two burner hob to fry their soy tofu meals. Oh my, poor Germans, do they know how much they're entertaining the rest of us?
Not much else for today--our last 'must do' is the mirador, source of the 1999 picture (how did we plan that weather back then?), and we must do a repeat, if the weather holds...so tomorrow is a simpler day, once again, of just walking and enjoying.