We wake on our platform peak to the gentle sounds of off and on rain. We heat water for coffee and wait for a rain-break, in order to pack up for a trail-break. A guide we met at the top of Britanico is now putting on her rain pants. “It is going to rain pretty hard all day,” she warns. I point out the similarity to yesterday’s incorrect prediction. She is adamant. Based on her professional experience, this is for real. John, Brian and I dutifully put on our rain gear. Mark, the non-believer, goes light. It begins to rain, but not very hard, and not for long. We are soon perspiring in our pessimism, except optimistic Mark, whose temperature remains optimal. We hate him for it.
The rest of the day we leapfrog the guide and her two Indian clients. Each time we pass we remind her of the current weather. She simply smiles and says, “Patagonia.”
Brian is not feeling well. He appears to be fighting a sore throat, but presses on. The views on the right cheek of the W (as Brian refers to it) are not the most spectacular of the trip, but they will do. We take the shortcut trail towards Chileno, then turn a corner and up the home stretch. It rains slightly off and on, but nothing to write about. Okay I lied, but you shouldn’t read much into it.
At Chileno we are assigned platforms on which to construct our tents. The screw heads on the platform stick up so far we fear our tent footprint will be destroyed. A worker lays down a strip of masking tape, as if it possesses magic anti-ripping powers.
No cooking is allowed by backpackers at Chileno, so we are required to take full board. Dinner is not until 8, so we beg the kitchen for some boiling water and rehydrate our refried beans for burritos.
Brian’s company phone, which is a replacement for one that accidentally went through the wash, is acting up. It got damp early in the trip, and he has had it off ever since. Currently it will not come on, so we have it on external lithium battery life support, with hope if not for a full recovery, at least one to a reasonable quality of life.
Tomorrow we will climb and attempt to see the Torres Del Paine. The weather forecast is 100% rain all day. We think this is good news, given that predictions have been so consistently wrong.