Random rain drops were falling all night just sufficient to damp my tent but at least there was no wind. We moved on immediately in the morning because our water supplies were over and there was no river close by. After approximately twenty minutes we came across a big river and stopped for a snack with whatever was left from our supplies.

At the end of the path our ways were dividing - the French wanted to go to Los Torres and I wanted to exit the park in order to visit an interesting lake with a nice panorama outside. When I reached the next place designated for a shop it turned out that there was not any bread. Therefore, I was forced to buy simple biscuits for 1000 pesos (around 2 dollars). When I was wondering whether I should buy them or not, I met Rejis and Vivi once again. They gave up going uphill to their previous destination because it was cloudy and they would not be able to see the mountain tops. Whence, in a little while we carried on together towards the park exit. Then, they wanted to follow another path where some vicuñas could be found. We were standing by a road so we hitch hiked the first truck that passed. Naturally, it picked us up and let us in the carriage which was low and restricted from the sides. Rejis was amused. “They carry us like livestock” he said :)) Down the exit they gave me 2 more of their loaves saying that they would not need them due to one day shorter stay. I should say that their regime was also quite strict - certainly not enough for the heavy burden we shared already 5 days.

Lots of people were waiting for the bus to Puerto Natales and I was convinced that hitchhiking out of the park would be easy…moreover the French had arrived here also this way. I ate the two loaves but they were not enough and I bought a loaf of bread for 1900 since I was still starving. The usual seasoning was just some mustard and ketchup
- my main flavorings all throughout…especially when the few sausages I had were over…

When I was satiated, I decided that it was too early to leave the park and that there was enough time to follow the path towards the vicuñas.
Up on the rocks I could still see Rejis and Vivi eating so I grabbed my bag-pack and headed in a hurry towards them. When I reached them I abandoned my bag-pack in a ditch by the road and we continued uphill.
The path was very easy and quite soon we saw the first animal, then another one and another one. There were a couple of them chasing each other in the distance and all of a sudden a whole valley full of them revealed. My two companions had long left me behind because I was over-occupied with shooting photos around thus I remained alone now. I stayed in the little valley for a long time observing these animals which are not afraid of people. They let you approach them to about
7-8 meters and if you advance further they just step back away from you. Notable, there is always a vicuña on the high hills around surveying for pumas so that the rest of the herd can remain safe and calm in the valley. From time to time, the silence was broken only by the snorting and neighing of a couple chasing each other with a furious speed. Real natural beauty!

I came across an amazing number of bones along this path. I don’t know whether they are remain after a puma attack or some other kind of disaster but they were really lots. At this location the park was confined with a wired fence which normally is not a barrier for the vicuñas. Neverhteless, I spotted two places with carcasses of animals who did not estimate well their jump and were trapped, their legs entangled in the wires…I assume that such a death was slow and painful…if not from a puma, than probably from hunger.

Towards the nightfall I climbed down to the park exit, got some water and headed towards the lake where I wanted to spend the night. There was a strong and unpleasant wind since nothing around in this region could stop it. After approximately 5 km, I arrived at the lake and went along its shore in search for a place to settle down. When it got really dark I finally found it, three hundred meters away from lots of vans settled as well on the shore. There were no prospects of rainfall so I again tucked myself only in my sleeping bag.

When I woke up in the morning for the sunrise, I found that despite the mountain peaks were hidden in the clouds, a nice view still uncovered. Besides, at one end of this salty lake there was a flock of flamingos.

I packed up and started hitchhiking early. Some of the vans went by so I attempted stopping them but they did not want to take me and there was no other traffic from the park. Almost all vans were German with the exception of couple of Austrian and Dutch ones. It appeared like they were a big group which is crossing the two Americas. At last one of them stopped and told me I had to try another one following it behind with free space. There remained only three so I asked them all.
They told me it was no problem to join them after they repair the ignition system of one of the vans. Approximately twenty minutes later they managed and we were off.

We were advancing quite slowly with only about 30 km/h due to the large cars and bad road conditions - there was no asphalt cover. After many kilometers we finally reached a good road but then the problematic van just died - the generator did not charge its battery and it was completely discharged. It was necessary to drag them till Cerro Castillo at the border with Argentina. The entire group was going towards El Calafate where actually I was going too but I could not follow them this time since I had a large part of my luggage still in the factory in Puerto Natales.

After they left me I waited only a minute when a girl with a pickup stopped and drove me to the city. Her name was Karolina and she was working for some sort of a big slaughterhouse that was buying sheep from the farms around. I asked her for her salary and found out that while her job required a university degree she topped 1200 euros a month. She was very talkative and her Spanish was amazingly clear to me so the 50 km left to the city passed fast and cheerfully. She dropped me about 2 km away from the city after which I headed towards the abandoned factory to pick my belongings and decide what is next.

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