Adios, Torres del Paine

Torres Del Paine Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 10 › view all entries
Leaving Refugio Chileno on a fine and sunny day (that should be the trekking weather to Mirador Las Torres!!)

Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to one of Earth’s most beautiful places ..… and worst still, on a sunny day! After spending nine days in the park, we were scheduled to be picked up by the coach at 4pm for the journey back to El Calafate where we would stay for a day before flying back to Buenos Aires.

We left the Refugio at 9.10am and began on our trek to the park entrance at Laguna Amarga. We crossed Rio Ascencio and climbed up the valley before going on the downwards trek to Hosteria Las Torres. There were many trail runners that morning running up the valley towards Refugio Chileno. I assumed they must have started running up from Hosteria Las Torres and many of them were practically gasping for air and looking as though they would collapse any moment.

Trekking towards Hosteria Las Torres with Laguna Amarga in the foreground
Well, I can imagine how strenuous it is running upslope. But what a pity to be concentrating on their run instead of enjoying the beautiful scenery!

The trail towards Hosteria Las Torres was like a busy highway with many tourists and trekkers, all going towards Mirador Las Torres. It was a pleasant hike with views of the vast Patagonian steppe, the lakes and the distant Andes mountains on the horizon. Hosteria Las Torres is a huge hotel against the backdrop of the majestic Monte Almirante Nieto and the towers. It is probably a good and comfortable place for the tourists to stay but nothing beats the simple refugios out in the wonderful nature for the die-hard trekkers!

The hotel offers scheduled transport to the park entrance but since we had plenty of time, we decided to walk the last 7km out of the national park.

Can't help but to keep looking back at these majestic views
The way to Laguna Amarga via the gravel road was shared with the vehicles. As it was a windy day, we were bathed in a cloud of dust each time a vehicle passed by.

Although the distance of 7km was not very long in comparison to the distances that we had done during the treks, the road seemed never ending. Perhaps it was hard due to the fact that we were leaving. Looking back, the view of the mountains was magnificent and it became more impressive as we walked further and further away.

We found a partially covered spot along the road and stopped for lunch. The sandwich for the day with chicken, cheese and caramelised onion was by far the tastiest. And each time a vehicle passed by, we had to cover our food to avoid additional “salt and pepper” :-)

As we approached Guarderia Laguna Amarga, we had to cross the Rio Paine via a rickety bridge.

The majestic view as parting present from Torres del Paine
There was a sign before the bridge saying “Dangerous Bridge”. A new bridge was being built nearby but meanwhile the trekkers and vehicles had to cross via this rickety bridge. Then came two mini-vans which we had to give way to because the bridge was so narrow that the vans could only inched their way through with probably 5cm allowance on each side.

While waiting near the Guarderia, we asked the guard inside the office if we could drink the water from the tap that was situated outside in the field near to the public toilet. Without hesitance, he replied, “Better than the water in your city!” Indeed, what a silly question to ask since the water came from the mountains and glaciers. But it was nice to entertain ourselves and killing a bit of time as we had to wait an hour and half before the Always Glacier bus came at 4.

The rickety bridge Bridge over Río Paine leading to Torres del Paine and Guardería Laguna Amarga
30pm. There were eight other passengers catching the same bus back to El Calafate. I was so tired that I fell fast asleep during that 45mins journey to the border at Cerro Castillo village.

Before we could clear immigration, we had a 10mins break at the cafe next door. Since we had no use for the remaining 500 Chilean Pesos, we went to change them into coins of various denominations to be kept as souvenirs. The owner was very nice to exchange two sets of coins for us plus another 500 CLP coin which he gave us to make the set complete. Although it was not a lot of money (€0.80), but still, it was a very nice gesture from him!

After the Argentinean border, we changed from the small bus to the big comfortable coach and began on the two and a half hour journey back to El Calafate.

Silhouette of the evening sun and clouds taken from the journey back to El Calafate
At about 8.30pm and still about an hour more to go before reaching El Calafate, we saw faintly Mount Fitz Roy and the other jagged peaks in El Chalten on the horizon. That brought back very fond memories of the treks there some two weeks ago. Upon reaching El Calafate, we were again transferred to another smaller bus that brought us back to town and to the hotel.

With that, the trekking trip in the wild Patagonian mountains came to an end. Although it was a long ten years wait from the first time I saw those beautiful jagged peaks and towers, it is finally done and hooked off the list now. 

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simsing says:
I did w-trek in 4.5 days. I see you did a little bit more than W. Why didn't you do the circuit or O?

The first night I stayed at refugio Grey. Next day before going to Camp Frances I hike to those ladders and suspension bridge. It was scary but so much fun! If I manage to find a group of people I would like to do the circuit in future.
Posted on: Sep 27, 2016
mountaingirl says:
Me too! It is just sooooo beautiful! :)
Posted on: Sep 26, 2016
simsing says:
This is a place where I want to go back for another hike. It was out of the world!
Posted on: Sep 26, 2016
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Leaving Refugio Chileno on a fine …
Leaving Refugio Chileno on a fine…
Trekking towards Hosteria Las Torr…
Trekking towards Hosteria Las Tor…
Cant help but to keep looking bac…
Can't help but to keep looking ba…
The majestic view as parting prese…
The majestic view as parting pres…
The rickety bridge Bridge over Rí…
The rickety bridge Bridge over R…
Silhouette of the evening sun and …
Silhouette of the evening sun and…
Passing by Monte Almirante Nieto (…
Passing by Monte Almirante Nieto …
Part of the highway between Host…
Part of the "highway" between Hos…
The huge and most likely 5* Hoster…
The huge and most likely 5* Hoste…
Hosteria Las Torres with Monte Alm…
Hosteria Las Torres with Monte Al…
The signboard
The signboard
On the road to Guarderia Laguna Am…
On the road to Guarderia Laguna A…
The 7.5km road to Guarderia Laguna…
The 7.5km road to Guarderia Lagun…
.... just being silly to make the …
.... just being silly to make the…
The majestic view as parting prese…
The majestic view as parting pres…
So narrow that the mini-vans must …
So narrow that the mini-vans must…
Las view of Torres del Paine, Cerr…
Las view of Torres del Paine, Cer…
On the hill top above Guarderia La…
On the hill top above Guarderia L…
The Patagonian steppe with Los Gla…
The Patagonian steppe with Los Gl…
The pretty pink clouds above El Ca…
The pretty pink clouds above El C…
Torres Del Paine
photo by: Vlindeke