Patagonia greeted us with a tough choice right off the bat. We had been warned that our intended route was impossible, that the pass in four days hiking was closed due to a large rock slide. All good reason would have been to follow the rainbow and the handful for other hikers leaving on the same day… We took inventory of our supplies and discussed the possibility of failing to get around the rockslide… Somewhere between the belief that we could get over the pass and a desire to find ourselves alone in the wild we chose the path less traveled!
As daylight dims we spot Refugio Dickson, our home for the night. We were told that the refugio was closed for the off season. Our plan was to camp outside using the building to shelter us from the strong winds we had encountered earlier in the day and feared would return at night. We had expected to see the only other person we knew had also chosen travel to the backside of the mountains, Xinping a photographer from China, to also be camped at this location. As we approached the “closed” camp we spotted Xinping’s tent already set up. To our surprise out of the refugio appeared a smiling Chilean named Andy. He greeted us and explained that the refugio was in fact closed, however he was the care taker and it would be a few days until he would be finished with his final duties for the season. We were welcomed to use the building as we wished… toilets… showers… a kitchen… and a fire to dry our already wet gear!
Day four we leave the comforts found at Refugio Dickson. The caretaker from Camp Perros, our next destination, had arrived the night before and assured us two things. First, that the camps ahead of us were all truly closed, we would need to fully self support from here on. Second, that the landslide which we intended to find a way around was impassable and a risk that was mutually agreed was not worth taking. So we entered the magical forest which followed the Perros river knowing we would ultimately have to return the same way and back track multiple days to see the front side of Patagonia…this extra effort proved to be worth it.