Published: January 14th 2012December 23rd 2011
Torres Del Paine Hike to the Towers
Today was the day to do the hike to the Towers, a grueling 19km and 800 meter gain with a bum knee/leg. Our fearless leader Fede had arrived after his 2 day bus trip and never having been before he literally walked to the wrong Torres camp site, dragging ALL his luggage with him up about 15 km round trip getting more and more pissed off. He had ranted about it at dinner considerably however it was quite funny truth be told.
Christian and I had discussed me trying the summit at my own pace and he suggested that Fede go with me. City boy who just spent the last 2 hours bitching about the mountains and how he would never do it again. Michele kept teasing him about his upcoming lazy day (unbeknown to him) and when he found out I thought he would get mad but he was surprisingly ok with it.
So Christian 2 was up early, made us coffee and a simple breakfast and off we went at 07:30 as I wanted a head start as I knew this would be a long day. The first 2 hours were spent listening to Fede whine about
the previous day, but admitting that the scenery was much more enjoyable when he was only hiking with his day pack. He really was a great source of entertainment, and listening to him helped to keep my mind off my knee. He did remind me (frequently) that if I fell he had no plans to help me; other than to take my food and go back to camp, saying he just 'lost me'.
To describe the hike would be difficult; about 3 hours into it, the group caught up with us and I was a bit humbled by how supportive they were. It's amazing how quickly people can bond, especially when spending 10-12 hours a day together trekking, and even Fede said he'd never seen the level of bonding this quickly before. Nor had he done trekking trips either - admitting his favourite is the comfort style. David kept hi-fiveing me and their support really gave me energy and even more determination to complete this and see the Towers at the top.
Scenery was spectacular and because it was at my pace I took plenty of photos. What was so ineresting is the variety of landscape; from a
boulder field to lush forest, to open cliff walks and spectacularly coloured flowers with the elusive towers always in sight. Even having the ability to drink fresh water from the streams (no beaver fever problems here) was wonderful, most delicious tasting water and refreshing and it also kept the weight down as well as it was always your fingertips. Torres Del Paine exceeded my expectations of it's sheery beauty and the weather was perfect, I couldnt' imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
Pain and fatigue did try to dampen my spirits, and the last portion of the trek running parrallel to the boulder field was the toughest. Not only did it have a lot of natural steps it was incredibly steep and some steps were so high I had to semi turtle my way onto them. Fede did a lot of laughing and when no one was looking, helped me as well, it was a slow process and my 'good' leg was getting extremely fatigued from carrying all the weight and stress. God Bless my stubborness.
Finally. The summit. We had arrived. I almost broke into tears (but that wouldn't be cool) instead I just hi-fived Fede and
Fede, my partner in crime (and whine!)
took some photos of us and Jill at the END of the trek with the ominous towers staring down at us. What a view. We saw the group down at the base of the glacier lake and I didn't think I could go any further (it was a boulder field again) but a random stranger told me I could do, bad knee and all so we went. And yes, it was worth it! Lots of hugs and hi-fives from the group; ate my delicious white bread and cheese sandwich while staring at the beauty of the classic Towers of Torres Del Paine. Wow. Moments like these are breatless and, well, simply perfect.
Of course, it was soon time to return, and the home trek is always a bit anti-climatic but a necessary evil. However walking back gave us the opposite views of the way up so it felt like a new trek for most of it, and again with my eternal chatty hiking partner (who knew there was someone who talked more than me?) it did go relatively quickly, even with the chocolate stops:-)
I must admit the last hour and a half was brutal; I was exhausted,
The summit, the view. Wow.
dirty, in a fair amount of pain and just wanted to sit down. I then was very thankful for Fede being there as I'm not sure I could have finished that last bit on my own, I was that tired. The camp was in our sites and as long as I kept Fed talking we could do it.
We made it back to the fire, with cheers and applause from the group; Christian came up and gave me a big hug and a kiss; he really didn't think I could pull it off. HA! It took us 12 hours but was worth it. Fede and I had become long time friends at this point and as described by the group we sounded like an old married couple by the end of the day bitching and grumbling at one another in good humor. I initially didn't want to do this with anyone but we did have a lot of fun and the last couple of hours I needed the moral support as I was truly exhausted. He even admitted it was much better going slower and with no luggage but he still didn't want to get into hiking!
We had our fabulous BBQ that night that Carlo cooked up and they grilled up some yummy veggies for me and the rest of the group had a carnivorous feast of multiple dead animals; chicken, pork ribs, sausages, tenderloin. It was like watching Vikings feast after a long battle, with the only sounds of smacking lips and crunching.
After the shower, we sat around the fire basking in our physical achievements and I even stayed up long enough to see dusk, first time on this trip (11pm). Was a fabulous day but despite my physical exhaustion my mind continued to wander the landscape of my soul.