400m elevation change
I’m glad we rented the tent again from Vertice because the rain was nonstop last night. The day started off good again with some eggs from the tienda and indoor cooking.
This morning was even shorter day, but a wet one. I haven’t seen many Chinese people on the trail, so when I hear a group of them hiking I chatted with them. Turns out they are Chinese immigrants who have been in the states for decades like my parents. The difference is that they are living in the Bay Area and have the energy to do such activities.
After a short hike, we reached Italiano campsite. This was another free camping option, but it seemed run down and almost abandoned. There was no ranger at the post, all the bathrooms were boarded up except one (who knows when it was last serviced). Nonetheless there was a row of 40 packs lined up against the ranger building as this was the spring board for the “in and out” hike to the Britanico valley. It was raining still so we squeezed in with a bunch of other people huddling under the only sheltered eating area.
As we hiked toward the look out, I took a fall and scraped a big chunk of skin out. I left my first aid kit back at the campsite, so I hobbled along with one hand keeping the pant leg up to avoid getting the blood on my pants. Eventually I gave up on the wound drying up and just let the blood soak the inside of my pants. We only went as far as Frances lookout because the visibility was terrible if we went any farther. It was also hailing here, although just below at Nordernskjold Lake several kilometers away it was sunny.
As we left Italiano, I saw that indeed there was a new campsite under construction just 1 kilometer away. Frances campsite had all the amenities as the other refugios, but it was pretty basic and I was not a fan of the layout. Everything had to be staggered because the entire place was on a hill, the tents at the top, restrooms at the middle (newest and nicest so far), and the restaurant/store/domos at the bottom. To walk from one end to the other took about 10 minutes. The only advantage was that all the tents had to be on platforms off the ground because of the slope. This keep things cleaner provided a place to hang stuff to dry. The biggest gripe I had was how tiny the cooking area was. It was about the size of a small bedroom with only 2 barstyle counters and benches. Everyone huddled underneath and people had to eat while standing. The bathrooms were too annoying to get to, so I did all my business after dinner so I won’t have to return again at night.