Patagonia - El Chalten - Fitz Roy (well it did before Christmas!) / by Mark Boyd

I woke early again.... had a good breakfast, loaded my gear on to my back and set off in the direction of Fitz Roy....

The trail was a joy.  A tad steep here and there, but that's what I was here for.... As I walked through a densely tree populated area I heard a drumming.... and again... there was a woodpecker about.  I wondered could it be the Megallanic Woodpecker, the crimson noggined bark buster!  A truly magnificent looking bird.  Then I spotted it!  Wow!  It zipped by before I could even consider lifting my camera.

Every now and again through the foliage I'd be treated to glimpses of Fitz Roy in the distance... and it looked as impressive as ever!

I settled for a campsite (that wasn't a campsite) on the edge of the woods, nestled against a glacial river... Perfect.  The campsite had people talking loudly... I wanted silence, or bird song, or puma roar or the rustles of foliage. 

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Having walked back up the trail 10 minutes from the campsite I erected the tent, then went exploring.  I heard the drum of woodpeckers! 

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Was it the Megallanic Woodpeckers?  I wanderered, and the drumming became louder... Yes!!! It was!!!

The big male with the crimson red head (Woody Woodpecker) 'wood'nt' stay still for me to photography....  He remained high and slightly out of reach.  I spent around an hour with these guys before exploring upstream.... 

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And what a view I had of Fitz Roy.  There was no track, just me and the wilderness, making little mental notes of where I was going so as to find my way back, and thankfully I did.

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That night I ate and prepared my gear for an early rise and clamber up Fitz Roy.  When I awoke the wind was blowing hard and the rain was falling.... There was no way anyone was going up to the base of Fitz Roy today.... I needed to just hole up.... But I was aware that my food situation was potentially not suited to a two night stay.... This was going to be tricky.

I fasted for the day.... I spent the entire day in the tent.... dozing on and off.... meditating... thinking... I'd need food tomorrow morning.... I hoped the weather was going to improve....

I slept....