Valle Frances to Paine Grande:
On Wednesday (Day 2 of hiking), we trekked 17 km from Refugio Frances up Valle Frances and then down and North to Refugio Paine Grande. Conditions included scattered light showers with strong winds. See the weather for December 9 in the photo below.

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Our group assembled after a break in
Camp Site Italiano

Weather forecast posted in Camp Site Italiano

Hiking trail through Beech forest as
we hiked into Valle Frances
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Beach forest along trail Pan de Indio (Indian bread) on Beech tree
Cyttaria darwinii is an edible fungus.
Yes, we ate some.

Patagonia mistletoe (Misodendrum punctulatum)
on Beech tree
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Glacier fed streams along the path
are a good source to refill drinking bottles.
Megan partakes of the water supply.
Liza in our group took my photo at the overlook
(Mirador) we reached in Valle Frances. I hadn't
done any appreciable hiking/backpacking since
College. It took me a while to adjust to new
fabrics and to realized that in most cases,
less is more. In this photo, I was overheating
because of too many layers and a photo vest.
Stream at the top of Valle Frances
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Hanging glacier at top of valley. We never saw
peaks on this cloudy day.
View looking back over valley below
Valle Frances
View of Los Cuernos and Torres del Paine
at bottom of valley on the path to Paine Grande
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Lady slipper (Calceolaria uniflora) Dog Orchid (Palmita) Codonorchis lessonii Dog orchid. These were distributed
individually and in packets throughout the park.
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Prickly heath (Chaura)
Pernettya mucronata
(another sweet
berry eaten on the trial.) Dani showed us
which berries could be picked and eaten.
These berries were very sweet with a slight
bitter aftertaste. Other berries we tasted
(without photo documentation) were
Calafate (Berberis microphylla) and wild
currants (Ribes magallanicum)
Patagonia Pea along the hiking trail.

Our group walking into Refugio
Paine Grande for a shower, meal, wine
and conversation near a wood-burning stove

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View of Los Cuernos and Los Torres from
Refugio Paine Grande
Male Upland Goose at Refugio
Paine Grande
Female Upland Goose and goslings
at Refugio Paine Grande
Dani orients the group to the next day's
hike to Grey Glacier