This is part of the 4 day trek that came highly recommended by a good friend. The first leg of the trek takes you to refugio frey, a small mountain hut next to a small lake surrounded by mountain peaks. The hike up starts at a not quite picturesque skiing station and takes you along the mountain. My initial plan to use the ski lift and get a head start was crushed by the fact that the ski lifts weren’t running anymore. Again, a drawback of travelling off season.
However I might’ve chosen not to ride the lift anyways as the mountain tops were covered in clouds. So I set out on the traditional path,wondering if I’d have a view of anything at all… As so often, luck was on my side and by the time I reached refugio Frey the clouds had dispersed and I had free skies. At refugio Frey there’s a whole bunch of small little excursions you can do. Which is a good thing, as I had once again made the mistake to believe the times given by the national park office and therefore arrived at noon at the refugio (when I planned to arrive at 2pm). I shortly entertained the notion of doing also day 2 of the 4 day hike. So continuing on the road to refugio Jakob I made it all the way to the next lagoon a little higher up. It turned out to be the first lagoon I was seriously disappointed by. Maybe also because the one of refugio Frey was so pretty. In any case, the climb and the lagoon seriously made me reconsider the idea to rush all the way too the second refugio and I ended up turning around to enjoy what I already knew was incredibly pretty scenery. On the way back down, I could enjoy what I’d missed on the way up: The view onto refugio Frey from a height. Always turn around, the best views might be hiding behind you!
After surrounding the laguna Tonchek at refugio Frey and taking in the view for almost an hour, The second route I took, took me to a viewpoint into the next valley. Lots of reds and greys from the foliage and the mountain peaks. It totally made up for the somewhat failed excursion to laguna Schmoll.
Back at the refugio, I ran into some of the volunteers from my hostel and they told me about this alternate route down, which would allow us to walk along lake Menendez and, in addition, have us reach a bus station where the busses run more regularly and are less expensive. How could I say no!?. What they failed to mention was the additional 10km it added to the hike and by the end of the day, I was getting really tired.