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reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

In Patagonia Day 16

March 8th, 2018

In Patagonia Day 16
El Chaltén

Thoreau called Katadhin a “cloud machine,” a well-deserved appellation though the day Bennett, Tom, and I summited to finish the Appalachian Trail, it was perfectly clear. We could see what seemed the entire state of Maine. Mount Fitzroy is also a cloud (and wind) machine. Today was one to get organized for a couple day (probably rainy) trek in Glacier National Park to get close to Fitzroy and Torres, but I took an 4 km stroll up to a mirador to see the mountain I’ll be following for a few days. It is a 3000+ meter magmatic upthrust of pure granite surrounded by a number of shorter but still sharp and jagged peaks. The terrain around is also volcanic in origin, primarily rhyolites. Every morning, the buses from Calatafe disgorge their passengers, many of whom are here for the day, so they put on wind gear, strap into day packs and take off up the mountain. A well-designed and maintained trail, it probably could use two lanes to deal with the traffic. The town is completely devoted to tourism with every bar and cafe supplied by local breweries competing for the best happy hour. They all seem successful.

T. Hugh Crawford