Cuernos, the beautiful horns
Torres Del Paine Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
The return trek from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande on the previous day was uneventful as we were just retracing our steps. Moreover, I was exhausted from the heat as it was a very warm day of over 25 deg C with no wind. It was nice to be back in the comfortable Refugio Paine Grande.
We were a bit slow in the morning with the packing of our stuff and went down for breakfast only at 9am. By 9.30am, the staff was already cleaning up the dining area and hurrying us to leave the place. We had no choice but to take our huge oranges and ate them outside.
After having the same tuna sandwich for the past three days, we told the reception while checking in the day before that we were allergic to tuna and if the kitchen could prepare a different sandwich for us for the next morning.
It was a cloudy and warm morning again. The 7.6km trail along Lago Skottsberg towards Compamento Italiano was fairly easy and straightforward. The spectacular view of Los Cuernos del Paine right before us was like a motivating force to keep us moving towards it.
Los Cuernos del Paine (The Horns) with height of more than 2,000m is one of the most famous mountain formations in the park. It is an essential part of the treks within the park and offers one of the most beautiful views that can be seen along the shores of Lago Nordenskjold between Hosteria Las Torrs and Lago Pehoe.
Formed by the earth’s tectonic forces and shaped by the glaciers, the Los Cuernos is unique in its composition with contrasting colours of sedimentary rock formation at the base and at the top (basalt) with granite in the centre. Its imposing walls and majestic forms make the Horns one of the most interesting and wonderful mountains to admire.
During one of our breaks, we saw an Isreali trekkerpassed by with a huge rucksack on his back and a slightly smaller one in front.
Shortly before arriving at Rio del Frances, the magnificent Cerro Paine Grande with its hanging glaciers came into view. Omg, it was just so beautiful. As we crossed the Pasarela Bridge over the French River, the view of the mountain and the French Glacier was even grander. Campamento Italiano was just across this bridge.
The next 5.5km trail to Refugio Los Cuernos seemed fairly easy from the map and was supposed to take only 2 hours to reach. However, we did not expect that a part of the trail to be steep, sandy and slippery while on the descent to the shore of Lago Nordenskjold which took us nearly two hours to reach. Moreover, we could not see the refugio from the trail but just the extensive lake. So it was a question of how long more we had to walk before reaching the Refugio.
Anyway, the calm Lago Nordenskjold looked really inviting to just jump in and cool down.
The next half an hour trek was a rocky one as we walked next to the shores of the lake. We finally arrived at Refugio Los Cuernos at 5pm. A pretty refugio sitting at the foot of the Los Cuernos mountains, it offers also camping facilities and private cabins. As we would be staying here for three nights, they were very nice to give us the only room with three bunk beds. The other two dormitories had eight bunk beds each.
The dining room with its open kitchen had some of the best views with the lake on one side and the snow covered Paine Grande on the other side. It was lovely. Dinner was great as we had tasty pea soup with fresh breads, grilled chicken and rice and strawberry pudding.
As we planned to be on the trail already by 7am the next morning, we had to wait for after dinner at 9pm to collect our lunchbox for the next day. At least we were not disappointed as it was chicken sandwich instead of tuna (probably leftover from dinner!). Instead of oranges, we had apples and instead of biscuits, we had chocolate brownie. At least it was a pleasant change. We went to bed early but the refugio was quite noisy with the wooden floorboards squeaking every now and then from the movement and our room was next to the reception office. I finally fell asleep at around midnight when it was all quiet.