Walking Wet in Torres Del Paine

Torres Del Paine Travel Blog

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So with my heart set on seeing Patagonia, i set off from San Pedro De Atacama to.... Calama (Nth Chile), Punta Arenas (Sth Chile - by plane), Puerto Natales for supplies, then...

Torres Del Paine!

Getting there was interesting... everyone involved does their best to extract as many pesos from your wallet, pushing the limits of acceptability and greed. And it doesnt end their, once you are inside the park, it costs about $10AU to camp. Thats per person. Also, upon entering, park rangers seem to give you bogus information as to what trails are open in order to deter unprepared people from getting overwhelmed and in over their heads in the notoriously bad weather.


Teh bogus advice I received upon entry forced me into a last minute change of plans, But speaking with other hikers, renewed my confidence in completing my original intended trail - the circuit, but meant i would have to hike a little extra.

I set off alone from the visitor information centre, which was funnily enough, a not so popular destination within the park. It was raining, and I was alone wandering through the grasslands a good 18km away from the Torres, wondering exactly what I signed up for. AFter four hours of solitude, things soon changed. I camped at a choc a block full camping area with hundreds of other people, which wasnt exactly my idea of solitude in the wilderness. oh well.

From there I spent three more rainy days walking the front of the torres.
With every breif break in the clouds, I hoped that my perpetually wet shoes would dry a little, and I would gaze at the fiercly rugged mountains that towered above me. The majority of the time, you could not see them, but could still feel their presence. Despite hiking by myself, I certainly was not alone, and dont think I have said `hola`to as many people in my whole trip, as I did walking the front side of Torres Del Paine. At nights, I would share unjustifiably expensive camp sites with hoardes of people. I found a little solitude sleeping for myself, in my 1 man tent, cooking my pasta and drinking herbal tea. It was still enjoyable on the monkey trail.

But things changed drastically as I came around the last mountain, and headed off on the not so dramatic trails that were the beginnings of the `circuit`.
People were friendly, the number of people you encountered on a trail slipped into single digits, but the campsites were still expensive (maybe im being a bit dramatic - there were two free sites).  The serenity was awesome as the sun began to shine inconsistently, and you lost yourself in the kilometres of trail both ahead and behind you. Life became simple, basic activities such as setting up your tent, cooking your food, and reading your book became very interesting. A few nights were very cold, and I was a little chilled in my not quite warm enough sleeping bag, and going to the bathroom had to be carefully timed in order to prevent a midnight dash outside through freezing puddles of water. On one particularly cold night, when it snowed, I even inflated zip lock bags, and stuffed them into my sleeping bag in a vague attempt of keeping warm. it kinda worked.

i covered 150km`s in total, and felt a certain dissapointment when I came back to the information centre I started at, headed for civilization. The hike was over,  but I felt extremely happy with myself.
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Torres Del Paine
photo by: Vlindeke