Published: March 1st 2012February 25th 2012
Mirador to the Grey Glacier and Lago Grey
So, Torres del Paine National Park. A vast protected wilderness in the Andes. You can walk the circuit which takes 8 days, but I have decided 4 night 5 days is enough to walk the 'W'. This involves hiking up to a glacier, back down on myself the following day, across to a campsite which from there walk up a valley to watch avalances. Back down and then the big push to the torres /towers, standing over 1000 meters. Most campsites have no or very basic facilities. have a set of clothes to walk in, a clean set for evening, tent, roll mat, sleeping bag, some food and first aid kit. No internet, wifi mobile.perfecto
Day 1. I am writing this journal entry in my diary from the edge of Lago Grey. There is not a soul about at the moment and I am looking at the biggest glaciers I have ever seen flow down form the high Andes to the lake. There are mini iceburgs in the lake. Green all around me and snow covered mountains. A picture beyond words. So, arrived at my hike off point by Catameran and then hiked 5 hrs up hill mainly to camp.
on the trail
me and my backpack for 5 days
This section of the park was destroyed by a huge fire around christmas time when some Isreali guy decided to burn his toilet paper. 17,000 hectares destroyed. Still saw a woodpecker, llama type animal on my hike and lotsof fire damage
Came across my first mirador/viewpoint. from high up looking across the lake to the glacier I had seen from the plane. not sure how wide it is when it reaches the lake but suffice to say it is the biggest glacier I have ever seen..
After 5 hrs my legs are like jelly. no blisters though. pitch tent and walk up to lake where I am penning this entry. Such peace and quiet. Not a sound exept the gentle lapping of waves against the shore and the odd noise of thunder which of the glacier cracking. Total solatude with nature.
woke at around 2am for a pee and went outside. looked at the sky and it was truely amazing. with no light polution I could make out stars i had never seen before and the milky way was clarly visible. A big 'WOW' momwnt. So pulled my roll mat out of tent, got into sleeping bag
avalanche central. the noise of an avalanche is like thunder.
and lay down and in the still of night looked at the night sky. truely memorable moment.
4am, massive cramp in right knee that wakes me in pain. knee has seized up. this could be worrying for next fre days.
Day 2.knee is very painful. Take some pain killers and hobble off. Destination Italiano campsite and bottom of the valley francaise. 10 hrs of hobbling 11kms with rucksack. finally arrived at campsite before dusk. utterly exhausted. A Canadian guy, Kevin, who I met in P.Natales saw my plight and helped me erect tent. A coffee and bed. Too tired to heat food. fall asleep to sound of avalances hpappening on the mountains behind me. amazing. Then disaster. I had not screwed my water bottle up tight enough and it has fallen over and soaked the sleeping bag. So i am freezing cold, wet, and thoroughly hacked off. I #ing hate camping.!!
Day 3. up early and put out wet kit to try and dry. walk up to first miridor, knee still painful. amazing view of the mountains and lakes. watched avalanches on the mountains. This place is truely amazing. a hobble to the next campsite where I
peace in patagonia
just me and the sound of the mountains
am told a beer can be had. arrived around 4pm. decide to eat at refugio for dinner. 10000 pesos but who cares.I am starving. A glorious afternoon. sat on deck of a refugio with a fellow hiker, Tiago from Brazil chilling out. still no blisters.knee seems better. go to bed with full stomoch. still hate this camping lark, as sleeping bag still damp, but all sins forgiven at the moment.
Day 4. so long hike today from 78mtrs above sea level to 887 mtres and the torres del paine.leg seems ok. around 12 stop for lunch before the big climb to the top begings. stop by a stream eating chicken I had 'doggybagged' from the night before. utter peace and calm. just sat under a cloudless sky listening to the sounds of the mountains. For a busy trail not a soul came by for 40 mins. Truely great moment on the trail. I am so glad I stopped here as up to lunch the terrain had been pretty forgiving. Then # me. A three hour slog up a very step hill in the sunshine.Just keep on going Reynolds. In the distance i can see the hotel Torres, my pick
Torres del paine
5 days and one f#cked knee later, made it.
up point tomorrow. was so exhausted humping my back pack up the hill I was shouting down ' taxi for reynolds'. Some horses and mules came by laden down with gas canisiters from a refugio near the top. Was so tempted to offer the man all the pesos in my pocket for a lift. arrived at refusio Chiliano for 2.30pm. paid extortionate amount of peso for a coke and crips and then final push up to 649 mtres to campsite and bottom of the torres. my knee now is really hurting again and a 1hr hike took me 2 hrs. But I made it, pitched tent, took some painkillers and then began the ascent to to the mirodor for the torres. 1 hr straight up to 887 mtres. was it worth it. you betcha. made it for sunset. these three towers reaching up to the sky with the lake below. an incredible sight. the setting sun chaning the colours around me.
Day 5. well, I was to get up at 4.45am and climb the hill again to watch the sunrise on the towers. my knee had other ideas and I could barely walk. so made a coffee and from
me and my stick
make to 887 mtrs above sea level
the campsite watched the top of the towers glow red, the orange, then pink then white as the sun came up over the Andes to herald in a new day.. incredible colours and totally awe inspiring.
I hobbled back to the chiliano refusio. Two Autralians from Melbourne who I bumped into some days before saw my struggle and helped carry my bag so I could make it for breakfast. I only know three people from Melbourne, Jackie and now James and Susie and all of them amazing people. Took my last painkiller and then hobbled/hiked to the pick up point some 500 mtres below.
not having had a proper wash for 5 days i was a bit stinky so straight back to hostel for the 2nd best shower I have ever taken (the other being under a waterfall in Vietnam), food beer, picso sour and bed.
Torres del Paine. utterly amazing place and one a natures miracles. Not a drop of rain fell on my head for 5 days. (Simon Bolivar looks over me). Am I glad I achieved everything I set out to do when walking the 'W'. YES. would I do anything different. Yes, take
a well earned beer
in the mountains. at 3000 peso a pop / 4 quid, wilderness in chile don't come cheap.
bacon and eggs for a sandwich in the morning. oh, and some PG tips!!