Published: December 27th 2011December 16th 2011
The second night
One of the planned highlights of the Patagonian wilderness is, without a doubt, the Torres del Paine National Park. I was lucky enough to be able to spare the time to complete the highly recommended circuit - an 8 day foray circumnavigating the granite mountains with everything on my back.
To save mental capacity, I have decided to publish (the more interesting parts of) my personal diary documenting the voyage. The complete trip is very long, so I’ve done a nice thing and split it into numerous parts for you to read as you see fit:
Part Two: http://www.travelblog.org/South-America/Chile/Magallanes/Torres-del-Paine/blog-674890.html
Part Three: http://www.travelblog.org/South-America/Chile/Magallanes/Torres-del-Paine/blog-674891.html Day 1 - Windswept Moors
I awoke really early wondering if 'cooking' and eating the rarest steak I've ever experienced just the night before an 8 day trek might just have been the stupidest thing I've ever done. Probably not the kind of place I want to have acquired a nasty stomach bug. But, as of now (9.45 pm) there have been no significant side effects.
Today was a nice introduction to the park - some faffing at the start (although clearly not as much as other groups who arrived 3
Cliffs of Dixon
The direction away from Lago Dixon
hours after we did), then a tame 4 hour walk over some moors and rolling hills that could probably have been found in Scotland. The weather was lovely and sunny, although quite windy. I fear worse is to come.
We arrived at camping Serón at 2pm, but the next site is 6 hours further so we decided to bunk up. Rather stupidly, we didn't test the gas canisters before we left and thus the large (free) one doesn't fit our stove. Stupid stupid stupid - considering we left behind 2 perfectly suitable canisters in Puerto Natales. At least I'm not the one tasked with hauling the gas about. What a waste.
Dinner (pasta, tomato sauce, parmesan and salami) was delicious but ask me again in 7 days and see what I say about it. Fusilli was the pasta of choice today. We had a suitable amount although I wasn't stuffed. Unfortunately it looks like small rations are in order for the next few days.
I have a small toe issue - my right little sometimes digs into something in my shoe and cause a horrid sharp pain when I place weight on it (doesn't quite happen in
The travelled Valley
In the distance was about halfway through the previous day.
normal walking thankfully). Apart from that... We shall see... Day 2 - Span of the Lake
Oooh. Breakfast was nice. The powdered milk was surprisingly like milk, and the oats went very porridgey very quickly. Let's see how long this continues...
We ended up setting off last, after waiting for another group of guys to get out of eyeshot. We met them a few times as they clearly walked quickly and rested often, but in the end we blitzed them up a steep incline and didn't see them again.
The paths were mostly weaving through a forest or walking high up along the span of lake Something, before reaching a boggy marshland that would have been a considerably higher challenge in wetter weather. There was a wooden gangway being constructed, but the fact that there was nobody there in the middle of a perfect sunny day in summer queries when it might actually get done.
Eventually we arrived in the fabulous environment of Lago Dixon, according to the guy in Erotic Rack Erratic Rock, "The Most Beautiful Nature I have ever seen". Now that's quite a bold claim, but I have no idea what he
After a long day in the woods, we stumbled upon this gem.
might have seen in the past so I can't comment. He had a point. Mountains on all sides, a short walk to the lake, a distant glacier/ice field on one side and a sheer rock face on the other. Woo!
Today we overtook every other group from the campsite - with the exception of a mysterious 4 person group that carried on walking past the campsite last night, and were set up here when we arrived. There are no campsites in between the two.
Dinner was nice again, after a 5 and a half hour walk, but slightly better as I mixed the cheese in sooner so it melted more. This is the kind of efficiency you can build on if you practice, people.
Today my shoulders hurt quite a bit, and neck muscles. I got to a point where any adjustment of the bag would lead to soreness albeit in a different muscle group. My little toe hurt a little at the start but this vanished into nothing (numbness?) quite quickly. A blister on each heel. I have lower back pain too for obvious reasons, and the mat and sleeping arrangement doesn't help. Day 3 - The Lost Woods
As for every day, we must keep moving, which is a shame because I could have hung around Lago Dixon for some time. Thankfully today was only 4 hours. Nothing horrific. Nice waterfall.
The free provided map is rubbish - we spent the whole day waiting (not literally) for the bridge to cross the river, as shown on the map, and when the bridge finally arrived it was about 10 minutes before the end. Map no longer trusted.
We climbed to a fantastic viewpoint looking over the visited valley and onto a glacial lake and glacier.
Oh so hungry, but because today was such a short day (a rest before tomorrow), I had to wait ages until dinner..! But when dinner came, it was by the river, with fewer irritating horseflies (although I am getting quite efficient at slaughtering them) and a more fabulous view of the surrounding mountains. Especially in the late sun. Yes, no rain again today.
Carrying a 2 person tent just to myself is a little inconvenient, although by this time I am well accustomed to it. At the campsites, however, I feel like I've upgraded to the deluxe suite when the other solo campers only have the cheap rooms. Every night I'm taking the opportunity to spread my things out all over the tent.
I feel a lot less sore today, but I walked less and have rested more so I'm unsure. It's nice to have an easier day. The feet are better - no sign of my rogue little toe pain. Bed will be very early - very early start in the morning for the long hard climb up to the pass. Part two continues here: http://www.travelblog.org/South-America/Chile/Magallanes/Torres-del-Paine/blog-674890.html