Our plan on day 2 was to hike to Camp Italiano to set up a base, drop off our big packs and hike up to Mirador Britanico with small day packs.
We woke up around 6am, still riding the high from our first day. The sun was just about to rise above the horizon. I love photos at dawn when the light is soft and the color is vivid. Watching the orange glow on mountain peaks at sunrise has always been one of my favorite experiences. When the sun shone on Cuerno Principal that morning, I was so mesmerized that I clutched my camera and forgot to take pictures for a minute. By the time I woke from the trance, the orange glow had passed and the day had officially begun. As I was regretting the missed opportunity, a culpeo, also known as Andean fox, silently strolled down the hillside and took a tour around the campsite. Hello, friend, welcome to day 2 in Patagonia.
Since we were up early, Tricia and I were able to slip into the dorm bathrooms and shower. Camp Paine Grande had really nice facilities. We had our leisurely breakfast and headed out for Camp Italiano around 9am.
The scenery in the morning is one the most beautiful I have ever seen. In front of us was the bulky Punta Bariloche peak to the left and Cuerno Principal to the right in the distance; the turquoise water of Lago Pehoe was now behind us but shimmering black water of Lago Skottsberg quickly appeared on our right hand side. It only took us 2 hours to get to Camp Italiano but I wish we could be on that segment of the trail forever.
Camp Italiano, as a free campsite, is more minimalist in comparison to Camp Paine Grande. There were outhouses, tent sites and a small shelter to cook. We set up our tent quickly and had a few bites of Clif bars for lunch before heading out to Britanico Mirador.
Unlike the flat trail in the morning, the trail headed upward from Italiano to Britanico. However, we were more agile now without the large backpacks. We climbed up to the viewpoint of Glacier Francis in less than an hour, and it was another hour before we reached Camp Britanico.
The road to Mirador Britanico, an end of the trail panoramic view point, was unfortunately closed for the season. But we were not disappointed by the view at Camp Britanico at all.
Standing on the ground of Camp Britanico was like standing in the center stage of an enormous amphitheater where we were surrounded, 270 degrees, by towering jagged peaks. And in the distance to the south where we climbed up from was the turquoise glacial water of Lago Nordenskjold. It was an incredible experience. I almost didn’t want to leave.
It was almost dinner time when we got back to Camp Italiano. There was a slight drizzle. We broke into our bottle of rum that night at dinner. It was surprisingly cozy to sit under the canopies of enormous trees in Camp Italiano, sipping on rum to keep my belly warm, while waiting for my dinner to come to a boil on top of our pocket rocket stove.
It was a windy night but I slept well. I remember waking up once in the middle of the night hearing trees rustle in the gusty winds of Patagonia and rain drops beating down on the top of our tent before quickly drifting back to unconsciousness while my body wrapped tightly in my winter sleeping bag. It was wonderful.
On day 3, we hiked 22km to Camp Chileno where we had our first and only prepared meal from the refugio kitchen and a beer before bed. Don’t forget to follow me and get notified of my new post on our Na Pali Coast adventure in Feb 2018 by put your email address below and follow me on Instagram @myalpinelakes.