I'm an early riser anyway, but the elevation headache has got me pretty good this morning. Gee whiz, aspirin anyone??
Besides, I was so excited from what I saw last night, I couldn't wait to have a wander in the morning with my camera. We're going to be here for 2 or 3 days. I know the boys will sleep in a bit. They have been working hard since the moment they arrived from overseas. I'll be back soon enough to put the kettle on for them.
I liked this photo from the still water. Without the reflection of the house, I'd nearly think it's just dirt to walk across as well.
Anyway, the refugio is just that. A little refuge for people so far from civilization who need it (or want it) if it's available. Door open, no fees, but we do have permission from the park authorities in Copiapo.
Just a building, nothing inside. There are 4 rooms, one I used for the kitchen and the other ones we sorted out for sleeping.
My room. I used my normal tent floor to cover up the dirty mattress. Along with my sleeping bag, it was quite a comfortable place.. Cold, but comfortable. I was quite happy about staying here!
I'd show you Walter and Lukas's space, but I better not. Don't want to embarrass them... ;-) Barton stayed outside in his new red tent. He thought we were crazy for sleeping under a roof. I get his point, but this has it's pluses too. We have plenty more opportunities for the tents coming up.
My little kitchen. Three of us have cook stoves we carry for camping. We bought a big pot at the supermarket, so I can make loads of hot water, for tea, Milo and hot porridge each morning.
The view out the front door.. LOVE IT HERE!!
There are flamingos everywhere. I've always thought of flamingos as a warm weather bird. We saw heaps of them in the Galapagos. I didn't expect to see them here at 3700 cold meters! (12,140 ft)
Better get back to see if any movement in camp. I don't want to get fired from my day job.. I must have wandered over an hour, but I'm safe. Not a sound from any of them yet.
Once the boys did get up, it was time to play with the bikes. They've done a lot of work preparing the bikes already, but they have many more things to do. I'm not technically minded, so if I try to explain what they are doing to alter their bikes for high elevation, I'll get it wrong. Besides alterations, they are just setting up their new bikes in general. Everyone has a different idea of how to make the bike their own.
I'm busy in my little refugio sorting out all the food we bought. Everthing was still in boxes and grocery bags, and I wanted it organized. Breakfast food, lunch food, dinner and snacks.
Then I counted and wrote down everything I have so I can keep track of it. I have no experience in keeping an expedition fed, but I will soon! And I want to make sure it's all sorted (minus all the tins of tuna for Lukas.. ha!) For instance, the first night I made pasta and heated up a bag of that pre-made pasta sauce (ick). It turned out one bag was not enough to feed 4 people. When a packet says "serves 4" it should be more specific. Two adults and two children? More like four little children? I have 3 hungry men!
Every now and then I'd peek out the front door and LOVED watching the weather change. The colors are amazing here.
The next day is another beautiful day in the Chilean Andes.. and more bike works..
Walter doesn't mind the oncoming weather. He keeps tinkering away at whatever needs tinkering..
Another morning and a beautiful view of the snow that last nights little dark cloud storm left behind.
I've put my foot down and being the 4th day since I last washed my hair, I'm ready to do the arctic dip.
This is my bath 'tub'. The boys told me where to find it. I waited until after they were fed, dishes clean and gave the sun time to warm the little pool up. Then with a little warning, "do not come down to the lake for a few minutes.. " I managed to get clean. It was actually very nice! Yes, cold. But once I was used to it, I loved it! And how could you complain about taking a bath in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I would be one of only a few who ever have or ever will in this place. I actually feel really honored to take a bath here.
You know what was in that pool? Lots of tiny little shrimps. Really cute to watch. Now I know why the flamingos are here...
I started walking back to the refugio when I spotted something. It's a vicuna that was actually really near my little bath. Heck! He/she doesn't seem fussed I'm here! At the time I didn't know if it was alpaca or llama. It's neither. Vicuna is actually a member of the camel family.
In the 1970's they had been hunted and the population sunk to around 500. Since they have been protected, they have bounced back. And lucky for me in 2012, I see one right close to my bath. It didn't have much fear and let me get quite close for a photo which I needed as I'm only carrying my little point and shoot.
What a little sweetheart. And with the flamingos and ducks in the background, this place is pure magic. ;-))
Arriving back to camp.. and being teased. "Hey SJ, we got photos of you with the zoom lens.." Aw, bugger.. ;-/