Ernesto and Alberto move onward towards the town of Barioloche. The cold is so severe that they can’t face the prospect of sleeping outside, and they pretend to have a broken headlight in order to obtain shelter in a road laborer’s hut. In the hut, they meet a couple who are living in a tent by the shore of the lake, with only sleeping bags and blankets as protection against the weather. Ernesto greatly respects these people who are living and traveling in even harsher circumstances than he is.
Ernesto is impressed by the simplicity in which other people can live. Many things that he is accustomed to—even things he had once considered to be absolute necessities—now turn out to be non-essential wants. Ernesto shows his developing character by responding to privation and adversity with humility and admiration, rather than with suffering and complaints.
In the next town, a caretaker allows them to stay in an empty barn but warns them that many pumas have been spotted in the region lately. When Ernesto wakes up in the middle of the night to find an animal beside him in the dark, he assumes it’s a puma and immediately shoots it. However, it turns out to be the caretaker’s wife’s dog, and the men have to make a quick exit to dodge her fury.
This escapade continues to show the haphazard nature of the journey and the tenuous thread by which Ernesto’s personal safety hangs. However, the fact that the men don’t own up to what they’ve done and instead sneak out in the night shows that they are still immature.