We re-entered Chile for the last time, where the process would’ve gone much quicker had there not been the cutest little kitty in the arrival hall who was just begging to be tickled.
After a quick stop in Puerto Natales to pick up supplies and our guides, Maria-José and Alejandro, we drove into the Torres del Paine National Park for what would become one of the highlights of my entire trip: the 4-day ‘W-Walk’, a nomenclature which doesn’t require further explanation I assume. The first night’s campsite, on the shore of Lake Pehoe, took my breath away. It was flanked by the snow-capped Los Cuernos mountains, while the resident armadillo, Marcel, who chilled out with us, added a certain gezelligheid (apologies to non-Dutch speakers) to the whole scene.
The following morning, those of us who were doing the W Walk set out early doors in order to catch the catamaran which would take us to the start of the hike, and our next campsite, in the shadow of the Paine Grande peak. On certain sections of the hike we were able to drop some of our bag contents to lighten the load, however, having learned my lesson on my Machu Picchu trek that you really need very little, I packed a very small daypack containing sleeping bag and mat, a couple of changes of clothes and a small toiletries bag. I probably carried 5kg in total, as opposed to some of my fellow trekkers who huffed and puffed with 12kg. The first day’s hike was 22km in length; 11km along Lake Grey to the Grey Glacier and back again, taking around eight hours in total. Over the next couple of days, we continued with linear hikes, sometimes having to double back on ourselves but not really minding given the spectacular scenery afforded to us in the French and Ascensio Valleys.
The third day was particularly hot at 22°C, and it was somewhat comforting to see even our guides struggling in the unusually warm summer weather. Atter lunch we rested by a lagoon and took an illegal dip in the glacial waters.
Seeing the relief and joy on our faces, one of the guides jumped in with us, telling us it was the first time he’d ever done something like this. The cool waters were exhilarating and it was a much appreciated break from the walking.
On the final day, the hike went to the three peaks which give the park its name, however due to adverse weather, they were obscured and I therefore decided to stay at the campsite and indulge in some of the best coffee I’d had on this trip and catch up with my blog.
I have been completely blown away by the beauty in Chilean Patagonia (hence the rather brief blog post as I believe the pictures speak for themselves) and I can’t wait to explore more of the region on the Argentinean side.
And when I say blown away, I mean it both metaphorically and literally. The wind here is like no other I’ve ever experienced, at one point actually knocking me off my feet. Lord knows how perishing it is in winter, but I’d love to return and find out one day.