words & photos anastasia miari 

Morning at the Refugio and all is silent. I woke up at 6:00 AM with a sense of urgency. So I slipped out of the twenty-five-person dorm, leaving those cocooned in sleeping bags to their slumber.

I’d needed to pee all night but refused to step into the minuses to use the outdoor bathroom. So I tossed and turned. Now I’m the only one awake, unless you count the black cat. It strikes me that he must be lonely, being the only cat that lives in this cabin at the top of a mountain in Patagonia.

Refugio Frey looks pretty against the dramatic peaks dusted with layers of snow. The sky is white, a sign of the forecast rain.

We hiked uphill for five hours yesterday to reach this peak. Cerro Catedral. The last hour was tough. Black jumper drenched in perspiration. Noses beetroot from the sun reflecting off the snow. Our warm welcome was this refuge, with its rock climbers, hikers and hermits. No Wi-Fi. No hot water. A basic kitchen. A bunk for the night. Views of a glacial lake. Free tea. 

Outside in the silence before the stirrings of morning, this place is perfectly at peace.

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