Torres del Paine
Torres Del Paine Travel Blog› entry 26 of 27 › view all entries
The Torres del Paine, national park is the highlight of the Chilian national park system, the three towers that make up the Torres are used on marketing worldwide to sell chile to the world as a tourist destination.
I am up early for a 7am bus to the parc which takes a couple of hours. At the park entrance we get on a minibus which trundles down to a very narrow bridge and we all have to get off and walk across. we arrive at the Refugio Los Torrres at around 11. I can see a camp ground a very nice modern building but not the refugio. I was expecting the Refugio to be just a basic wooden hut, but it turns out to be a modern building equiped with dining room, bar, pleasent rooms, hot tub, massage service. Glad I've gone full board !!!
I check out the bathroom and am alarmed to see a pile of rocks beneath the sinks, I scan the shower cubicles for pumas, I don't see any but hurry out all the same.
Anyway I dump my non essential walking kit and start off on the hike to the base of the torres. The map tells me it is a 4 hour hike there so I am prepared and also I can see that the first two hours are up hill. As usual the maps are not brilliant the high point which the map claims to be 2000 feet is only 1500 according to the GPS. Just as well as It was a long slog uphill. The views are fantastic looking back across Lago Nordenskjold in the foreground, Lago Pehoe behind it and lago Sarmiento to the east.
I have a good walking day, it is warm, and the feared Patagonian wind is not blowing. I make good progress to the first stop Camp Chileano, reached across a rickerty planked bridge, which judging by the newness of the planks had had a bit of a falling aprt in the not to distance past. The next section up to Camp Torres follows the river and is easily walked in 45 minutes, dispite looking for wildlife, only birds seem present in this part of the park.
For the last part of the hike, you have to scramble over boulders and rocks, which is bascially the glacial morraine that has been dumped by the retreating glacier, it is not an easy climb after an hour I reach the lake and can see the three towers of the torres del paine. Well I can see one full tower and two cloud covered stumps, which is dissapointing after a 3 and half hour walk !! Anyway i wait for 45 minutes hoping it will clear but to no avail.
Even covered in cloud, they are still impressive, at the far lake edge the rock ascends vertically into the granite peaks. I can see cerro Nido de Condor and Cerro Notre, Cerro Central is mist covered and Cerro Sur invisible.
Well if going up the boulders was hard, it was a nightmare going down them, taking longer to descend than climb. I meet an American tour group with their guide on the way down. Amanda and Gary enquire how much further and is it worth it. I answer truthfully it's worth it, I lie it's only 20 minutes and joke that there is a bar at the top. This has a galvenising effect, the guide approves at my motivation techniques !!
It's a long walk out, I stop for a cup of tea at Chileano on the way back and reach the hostel at about 6.30pm a long days walking.
A welcome hot shower a cold lager and dinner, I am admonished by the Americans for getting their hopes up about the bar and that it was never twenty minutes !! But they agreed it was worth it.
Tourist and Tour guide Helper.