Day 4 - Fitzroy Base Camp!
Today we ascended to the base camp of Cerro Fitzroy. Very windy to start, and it came back with a vengeance several times throughout the day, just to remind us we were in Patagonia!
For our first trekking day it was a 25km return route, so a bit hard on the feet, starting on a gently rising path to west of Valle Rio de las Vueltas, and rising steadily through the ubiquitous beech woods.
The first Fitzroy viewpoint gave a flavour of what to expect for the rest of the day, albeit with clouds progressively building up behind the range. The final pull up to the principal viewpoint involved 400m of steeper ground, with a little scree at the top, achieved in 55 minutes by yours truly.
Big views of Fitzroy and its sister peaks were enjoyed from the viewpoint at 1240m, towering above Lago de la Tres and Lago Sucia, and later we were to observe wonderful spiralling cloud-forms on the Fitzroy summit as the weather deteriorated slightly.
We visited Lago Capri on the return route and the sun reappeared to give us great views of Valle Rio de las Vueltas in the early evening light and the rich, distinctive vegetation that is unique to this region, with stunted beech trees (genus: Nothofagus Antarctica or Ňire in Arentine), rising from the lush green slopes of sheep grass and the thorny plant called ‘Mother-in-Laws Pillow’ or more correctly known as Neneo (genus: Mulinum spinorum).
Above us condors took flight from their nests high on adjacent volcanic cliffs. A great end to a long fulfilling day, an 8.5 hour round trip in total. Another dinner in town, then early to bed! Tomorrow we have the ascent of Loma del Pliegue Tumbado (1500m)!
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