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We woke early to find that the sun had finally come out to play, making it a perfect one to day go back into Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja. We’d first noticed the shrines along the road that leads to Argentina yesterday. Back at Curalemu Leonel told us that they commemorate the lives of the young army soldiers who died during a horrific snow storm here in 2005. Apparently the weather was so severe that it took days to dig them out. Some of the seniors who’d ordered the conscripts out in the snow without proper clothing were eventually prosecuted and regulations were changed as a result of the tragedy, but what a way to go. The full story can be read here.

There’s even less traffic on the road than there was yesterday, although we did pass a farmer walking his goat. Cielo’s thermometer reads 12 degrees Celsius but the sun is now blazing and I strip down to shorts when we park up. We plan to walk up into the hills to a lake where we may see woodpeckers. Unfortunately as we ascend we both convince ourselves that we’ve left Cielo’s lights on as the sunlight is reflecting on the rear, and rather than risk getting stranded in the middle of the park should the battery die, we decide to turn back before we reach the lake. The views however are still absolutely breathtaking, and we get a good uphill workout whilst Volcan Antuco towers over us all the way. We even sight our first Andean condor! I have to take a tryptan as a migraine has decided to rear its ugly head and we hope that it works its magic so that we can walk some of the Sendero de Chile when we’ve sorted the car out. By the time we get back and realise that the car lights are not on though the migraine decides to up a level and bring on the nausea stage, so we forego more walking and picture taking so that I can drive us back as quickly as possible, and at least be sick in the comfort of the cabin. Still, yet another excuse to go back to Curalemu and the park in the not too distant future.

We’re home by 4pm and I have to go straight to bed, which is a great shame as the weather is perfect for a swim. Leonel indicates that the local schoolchildren have been peeing in the pool lots today though, so Rich decides to potter around with the daft doggies instead, and talk to Leonel about his and Curalemu’s story. For me the rest of the day and night passes in a migraine fog so Rich cooks leftovers for dinner and catches up on his reading. Between vomiting bouts I remind myself that I have to pace myself and should be drinking more water etc etc etc, but when you have health issues it’s so easy to overdo it when trying to make the most of feeling fit days, something which we’re both guilty of. Life is short, and we’re determined to live it to the full.

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