Published: February 17th 2011February 16th 2011
"The Yeasayer - 2080"
"The Doves - Last Broadcast"
"Modest Mouse - Trailer Trash"
At ten am on the second day of my hike at the famous, Torres Del Paine I found myself on a boat back home to my hostel. There were not many others on the boat with me! A girl from the United States with a sprained ankle, a man from Israel with a blown knee and a handful of others that had taken on the Torres and are now heading home defeated. As for myself, a knee injury! DAMN you Torres Del Paine!!!
I arrived late to Puerto Natales thanks to my near Navimag disaster! I was greeted at the Tin House Patagonia Hostel by Pato, Laura and David. Those three would represent my Patagonian family while I volunteer at their hostel for a month. The Tin House Hostel is a very nice, comfortable and quaint hostel with a max of 8 guests. So it offers a relaxing atmosphere for all involved. Laura and David are without a doubt two of the nicest people you will meet in the Patagonia or anywhere else on the planet. I am once again fortunate as I
Fire in the Sky
Sunset over Puerto Natales
continue to meet amazing people. Laura is from Texas, and she met David, a Chilean, when she came down to Chile to teach English. 4 years later they are running a travel agency together, guided trips and now the Tin House Hostel! They both accepted me as a part of the family along with Pato. Pato is from Argentina who is working in Puerto Natales as a kind of physiotherapist. As a part time job she also helps with the hostel! So my hostel family is truly amazing and I am thankful to have met them! I spend most of my time with Laura. Pato only works a few hours a day and David is often out guiding!
I obviously would suggest to anyone to stay at the Tin House Patagonia Hostel while in Puerto Natales. You can feel good knowing that not only will you enjoy your stay but your money will go towards supporting two of the greatest, nicest and most genuine people you will ever meet!
Laura calls me her slave, however she is far to nice to actually tell me to do things. Rather, she politely asks if its ok for me to do
things. Ha, yes of course it is, I came here to help!!! I sleep in their spare room in their house just beside the Hostel. The spare room, or MY room as we call it is crammed full of gear and extra clothing from people heading off to Torres Del Paine to hike the W! So I can hardly walk in there, but I think its pretty cool! Its amazing how much crap people lug around with them on their travels. Seriously, anyone reading this with aspirations of backpacking in the Patagonia, leave your extra crap at home. You wont need it!
The atmosphere is always relaxed and laid back. The town of Puerto Natales has its daily Siesta from 1pm until 3pm or 4pm each day. Shops open in the morning when they feel like it and pretty much close when they feel like it. Even the street dogs here are relaxed and lazy! No one would ever try to mug you and crime isn't an issue here probably because the would be criminals are too laid back and lackadaisical to try anything. If you ran from them, even just jogged away, they would be too
lazy to follow. "Forget that Gringo, he runs like a Gazel, lets crab a Cerveca instead!" This is the lifestyle here. Time runs differently, an hour in North America is 2 or 3 hours here! So put aside your rushed agendas and just go with the flow.
After nearly 3 weeks of helping out at the hostel Laura decided it was time for me to actually go to the park and experience the W so I can help the guests with their questions. 50 percent of the guests arriving at the Hostel are on their way to the park and 50 percent are returning. The guests that stay at our hostel before they go to the park are almost always the ones staying at our hostel arriving from the park. I have met lots of great people from all over the world and have made some good friends!
On Valentines Day I started my journey to the famed Torres Del Paine. But the Torres would prove to be a harsh mistress on this day of love! I was up early, but nearly missed my bus. 2 hour bus ride from Puerto Natales to the park in the pouring
rain to start the day. On the way I met Sean from Vancouver. We decided to do the hike together. We arrived in Torres and jumped off the buss at Pudeto where we hopped onto the Catamaran which would take us to the Refugeo. The two of us met two girls from Australia and the four of us would make up the hiking team Commonwealth! Two criminals and two loyal servants of the Crown!
We set up our tents at Refugeo Paine Grande! Then started off in the rain and wind towards Glacier Grey, 11 km away. This was day one of a 5 day hike! For anyone who has never been to the Torres, it is friggin breath taking. I lack the vocabulary to properly describe the pristine beauty that is Torres Del Paine! All four of us constantly shouted out loud how amazing it was and we couldn't believe what were seeing. There is nothing like it in the world. Those of you from Canada, NO the Rockies are NOT the same, not even close! The weather had moved from rain and wind to sun and wind! The wind is constant unless you are hiking in the
forests! The forests were beautiful and unique! We made our way to the glacier at the normal pace of 4 hours. However when we arrived we had to hike all the way back and we had less then 3 hours left of sunlight. We had to hall ass back! So we set out at a fast pace and I prefer hiking fast. It is more fun and increases the adventure to your hike! I was almost at a jogging pace jumping and hopping from one ledge to another, from one rock to another. This would catch up with me, and sure enough it did! I jumped from one rock down about 4 feet to the path below and landed awkwardly on my ankle. This resulted in the impact of my jump to focus on my left knee. But my knee was twisted to the side. My knee couldnt handle the strain and I screwed it up quite badly. My knee was in terrible pain and we still had more then 9 km left to hike along the lakes and in the forests with lots of elevation to go up and down. I was in a bad situation, but what do
you do? I kept on but obviously slowed down. We arrived back to the Refugeo 15 minutes or so after the sun had set. I could hardly bend my leg and was basically dragging it. I grabbed some food and a beer then went to bed hoping it would be ok for the next day! That night the weather decided to be a bitch! The wind picked up and howled. The skies opened up and it rained all night long. I thought this was a great chance to see how awesome my tent was or wasnt. I picked a great tent, as I was bone dry and never even felt a breeze. Many other´s could not say the same as I heard all kinds pissing and moaning about people sleeping in a wet windy tent. Hahaha, suckers! Ill be sure to let you know when I feel bad for you, I came prepared!
My knee still killed in the morning and I needed help getting my socks on actually. I said good bye to Sean and never saw the Australian girls again. I waited to head back on the first Catamaran back in the rain and wind. As I
waited I met the rest of the hikers leaving early from injuries. It sucks I wasn't able to finish the hike. BUT I'm not too upset as I still have time to heal and go try again. The next time I think I will slow down, and stop jumping around from rock to rock. Ill take it easy on my knee!!
I talked to Pato about my knee and she took a look at it. She said that I had crossed to tendons or ligaments over each other or something like that. She only speaks Spanish and I still dont completely understand all the time. But she said that it is the most common injury! With over 200 000 hikers hitting the Torres each year I think Ill trust her assessment! I reckon she sees many injured hikers!
So in two weeks time I will try the W trek at Torres once again! And this time till tame that girl, oh yes! I can´t wait!
There are more photos below