Refugio Dickson –> Campamento Los Perros (11.8km)
Forests abound with glimpses of distant towering mountains.
After the first two days of the hike, my biggest concern was how bad my knees hurt. In fact, two days of carrying around an extra 40 pounds was enough to make me wonder if my knees would ever be the same again (they are, for anyone who was wondering). But after a long, warm night’s sleep at Refugio Dickson, I woke up feeling 75% better and ready to take on another day. As a bonus, this was a short day! It was also the day that I found a mirror and discovered I should have been wearing sun screen previously.
Above is one of my favorite photos of Chester, my rabbit companion. It’s mostly a favorite because I didn’t deliberately take it, so I imagine he was taking a selfie.
Although it was a short distance day, the hiking was all steadily uphill. I ate breakfast while talking more to the woman from New York, and headed out as early as possible. It wasn’t long before the trail started ascending through a pretty dense forest, obscuring all of the beautiful views from the day before. After a couple of miles, the trail opened up again, revealing more distant mountains before dipping back down into the forest and crossing a river. At the river, surrounded by trees, I could almost believe I was back in New York state. It definitely wasn’t the most exciting part of the trek, but it was a change from the previous two days and served as a nice breaking point for hikers looking to grab water and take a rest.
Beyond the halfway point of the hike, the forest began to thin. After a final push to climb, the views opened up to our first close-up view of a small glacier (made to look even smaller by a wide-angle lens). From there it was a short distance to the night’s campsite, Campamento Los Perros. Los Perros was surrounded by trees and decently protected from the wind, a small relief in my mind. I set my tent up at the start of the next day’s trail, wanting to get as early a start as possible. Because the next day was the big one: the massive climb up to John Gardner Pass, and the following descent to Lago Grey. After forcing myself to eat dinner again (I wasn’t hungry for the first several days of this hike), I hunkered down in the tent and tried to rest up for the following day.