We warned our peeps we’d be offline while trekking in the Andes. “Go!” they advised in unison. “Shit be crazy here in the US,” they proclaimed. “Bring us back toilet paper as a souvenir!”
We chuckled and headed out for the Hielo Azul (blue ice) Refuge. The extremely rickety bridge over the river was obviously intended to deter us, but our spirits were high and we could not be dissuaded.
Once on the trail, I marveled at the bright red and yellow signs that made it difficult for even me to lose my way. And my incomprehension of the metric system made me oblivious to the distance in front of me. 15 kilometers? Fantastic! That’s about one half of a fathom, I believe. We were happy, fully oxygenated, and living our dreams.
I drank from the glacier melt stream, declaring its properties of good health. Chef, who believes that meat does not need refrigerated, disapproved of my remedy. But I could feel the healing churning in my belly.
When we returned to the Refugio, several new people had arrived. We were glad to have our tent since the cabin was going to be crowded. One couple chatted with us and asked where we’d been traveling. We told them many of the tales I’ve been telling you and they asked if Nahuel Huapi National Park was open when we were there. I guffawed because this is a very big national park in Patagonia and undeveloped like the Salmon-Challis National Forest. The idea of it being closed was absurd. Why do you ask? I inquired, trying to disguise my hunch that they were too inept to drive through the national park.
Coronavirus, they answered. Somehow, the Spanish pronunciation of virus, which sounds like veerus, seemed more menacing. Uh-oh. March 17, Día 13 of the trip, was starting to get a little weird.
We’ll talk about that in Episode 7.