We went over our last pass of this phenomenal trek shortly after leaving our camp at 4,500m. I am not sure what was going on with my belly but it felt as if I had five portions of breakfast. I had woken up around 6:30, no longer starving. Perhaps my body was a bit overworked trying to stay warm having to get up four times during the night to go to the bathroom. It sure is hard to drag myself out of my warm cocoon into the cold night. The bonus, however, is seeing the phenomenal night skies; brilliant black speckled with dazzling stars (I don't know constellations in my part of the hemisphere let alone those in South America -- suffice it to say that the stars are impressive) and a waning moon (which was still with us in a bright blue sky as we headed out of camp at 8:00).
We just got to camp on time as it started to hail and to hail and to hail, accompanied by strong winds. Talk about feeling among the elements. From our tent we looked out onto glacier capped moutains. I walked about when there was a break in the weather and was seduced by the mountains -- all I had to do was descend into the valley and up the other side -- so seemingly within reach. But so not.
Breakfast was outside today; the morning was the complete opposite to the night. The coffee was strong, the oatmeal pipping hot and, as with all the other mornings, the company was superb.