On a Thursday morning in late November I took the bus from the Argentinian town of Bariloche to the nearby village Colonia Suiza. I was headed for a two day hike up to the lake Laguna Negra which is located in the northern Patagonian national park Nahuel Hupai.
I stated my hike on the outskirts of the Swiss colony. I walked slowly through the woods, following a well marked path. The path itself was nothing particularly challenging, but since I was carrying a 15 kilo backpack, I had to make regular technical stops to admire the scenery, while at the same time catching my breath.
The path cris-crossed through a valley along the Goye river, with impressive mountains on both sides. The weather was in a sense both good and bad. I was happy with having the clouds to protect me from the spring sun, while at the same time I would have liked an occasional blue sky in order to get better lighting for my photos. But as they say, one cannot have their cake and eat it.
After four hours of walking I reached Laguna Negra, a small lake at the bottom of a bowl, surrounded by magnificent mountains. Although I did have enough energy to walk further, I decided to relax in the mountain cabin, saving my energy for a morning walk the following day since the weather forecast looked significantly better. Hence, I spent the rest of the day reading, writing and chatting with other residents of the cabin — two cabin staff members, two park rangers, three teenagers form Bariloche, a French hiker and an Argentinian photographer.
Although the weather forecast was better for my second day, the weather turned out to be worse. Th cold southern wind blew down into the bowl and the surrounding mountain tops were mostly covered in clouds. It was quite a different reality from the blue sky that had been forecasted.
I did not let the weather change my plans, and had a two hour morning walk up to a nearby mountain peak. The first part of the hike was challenging, as it ran through a snowy slope and below me was nothing but an icy slide, leading directly into the ice-cold lake. However, the risky walk paid off with a beautiful view from the top, although the highest peaks were surrounded with clouds.
After the refreshing morning walk, I picked up my backpack and returned down to Colonia Suiza, energised after a nice and chilly two day hike in the mountains.