Because of the shorter hike today, we got to sleep in, and we took advantage of it. We slept until a bit after 9. We did a trivial amount of packing, then headed down to breakfast. We thought we were late for breakfast, at 9:45, but it was packed. The restaurant was was much more busy, so we assume everyone must get late starts. Mostly english was being spoken, and mostly from the US. Our pick up was just before 11. After we were in the van, we got Roger and Donna. Once everyone was in the van, we went north of the park to the Los Huemules Reserve. Our hike today was to Laguna del Diablo. We aren't sure the distance and elevation gain, but our best guess would be about 8 miles, and 500-600 feet of elevation gain.

The roads were not in as good of shape as in Torres del Paine. We stopped at the Estancia Los Huemules to use the facilities, then got back in the van to finish our drive. We got on the trail around noon. We weren't really feeling it, perhaps because we knew it was the last day. On the other hand, it could have been all the lamb and alcohol the past few days. As with a couple days ago, Electrico was electric, with the bright red coloration catching everyone's attention. We headed northwest, and on the walk we could see a bit of Fitzroy's north face. The walk was mostly through forest, and unlike the past two days, there was no one with us. It was (relatively) warm, with just a light breeze, but much cloudier than day before. The hike was mostly through the forest, and very quiet. For the most part, we were just following the riverbank, and it was steeper than we were led to believe. Actually, it seemed steeper than yesterday, and we wondered why Roger and Donna hadn't come with us the day before. The hike was pretty chill, and we spent the time chatting about random stuff with everyone else - us, Roger and Donna, Nico, and Arturo. It was good to finally have the whole group together.

Later in the hike, we had to move a bit away from the river, and it was getting colder, so we put on our rain jackets. At the end was a nice glacial lake, with the Southern Ice Field just beyond. Out in the middle of nowhere, it was very surprising to see a random house at the end of the hike, just across the river from us. For lunch, we had a Picada (sp?) to go with soup and sandwiches. Holding down the tablecloth were some rocks, which themselves looked like salami. That would've hurt to chew on. Only slightly less, we had some olives, and realized that they weren't free of seeds - thankfully no one hurt their teeth. The salami rock was very noticeable, and Justin found another piece that "matched" the salami rock. Crystal asked Justin to find the other two missing pieces, to complete the bottom of the rock. Sure enough, right by his foot was one more larger piece that completed the puzzle.

The walk back was a bit faster, as we had more energy. Food and water are good for that. The weather was still mostly cloudy, as the rain came and went, and was not too heavy in any event. The walk was more downhill than up. The time seemed earlier than it actually was, because of our late start. We finished up a little before 18:00. At the end, at the van, was beers and other drinks. We went back to the Estancia office to use the facilities, then took a 15-20 minute drive to the El Condor Lodge. That lodge had a gorgeous location along the Vueltas River, and resembled an African Safari Lodge. They had a full bar, with some really good Malbec. We had another picada (meat and cheese plate), and some drinks by the fireplace. They asked how we wanted our steaks, and then proceeded to cook them in the fire.

For the first hour or so, we had the place to ourselves, and then some Google employees from the Bay Area showed up from their hike. Our conversation was all over the place, and somehow it turned to sleepovers and Jolt cola. Nico was intrigued by the various ways for staying up at slumber parties. We told him why it was important not to be the first to fall asleep, since others would put their hands in warm water and try to get them to pee. He'd never heard of this before, and sounded like he wanted to try it out tomorrow at the New Year's Party at Explora. We finished up a little before 21:00, which is when we'd usually be starting dinner. We did most of our packing when we got back, putting all of our dirty clothes in the big duffle bag. Once mostly "packed" we finished up the bottle of wine that Roger and Donna gave us.

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