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Published: October 12th 2018
Woke up way too early this morning so only got about 4 hours proper sleep, so not the best way to start this day, doing the most difficult trek on offer, the Los Torres Sendero del Ascencion or in other words the trek to the base of the three towers (Los Torres) which our hotel is named after. This trek turned out to be very close to the hardest physical challenge I’ve had, the other being the 23km uphill cycle ride in Yunnan province in high altitude. I joked that yesterday’s tour was called Full Paine but it was a more appropriate name for today’s hike.
The hike is 9kms one way then 9kms back the same way and is basically in three parts, the first is 5km, fairly steep to the rufugio where back-packers trekking the W circuit stay and then a more level hike of 3 kms (but still a lot of ups and downs) to the bottom of the final 1 km climb over rocks and streams which is very steep. The tour was again led by Josie from our first tour and the hikers were myself, Ron and Maria from our little group yesterday, Joseph and
Marta (newly-weds on their honeymoon whom David and Mary had told us about), Kate from Canberra (whose spouse opted out due to bad knees, sounds familiar) and a couple from Madrid. The hike started from the hotel at 8:10 and started level but soon we were starting to go up but sometimes down again through a typical lenga tree forest, creeks and bridges until we got to the rufugio at around 10am. This took about 90 minutes, and was a good toilet stop and chance for a rest
We completed the second leg at 11:45am. Legs were starting to get tired and steps were getting shorter. At this point, Josie told us to put our hiking poles away as we would need our hands to do some climbing. As we got closer we saw snow and just before getting to the top we had to traverse some narrow snow covered trails. I managed to knock the viewfinder attachment off my camera and it landed about 3 metres down a snowy slope but it looked too dangerous to try and retrieve it so I told my companions to leave it. However, on the way back, someone told Josie about it
and she climbed down and retrieved it for me.
Finally arrived at the lake at 12:40pm. All the photos I’ve seen of the lake have that glacier blue but as it is still cold, the lake is still mainly frozen with the blue appearing at the edge where the ice has started to melt. It was a bit surreal for me sitting there having lunch with this iconic scene in front of me. The weather had held up well. The forecast was for light rain and we did get a tiny bit during the day and very light snow at the lake. The clouds were also kind enough to keep the towers in full view. Sometimes they are clouded over and you can’t see them at all.
We left at 1:30pm to make our way back. This wasn’t as tiring but still quite precarious in places and you had to watch your step. I could not have done it without my hiking poles. On the way down Marta injured herself after a couple of falls and when we finally reached the refugio, she and Joseph decided they had to hire horses to ride back. We had a short
rest here and continued our way at 4:10pm. The sad thing is that I had forgotten that we were still 5kms away and thought we didn’t have long to go. Finally got back to the hotel at 5:35pm and we all headed straight to the bar for drinks. I discovered that all our drinks are included in the all-inclusive package so had a couple of non-alcoholic cocktails which were lovely.
I wasn’t sure where Daisy was but she turned up around 6:30pm at the bar and we all exchanged stories of our day. Daisy was very excited because they got up close and personal with a puma on one their tours. We then met everyone from our little group at 7:15 for another enjoyable dinner chatting with everyone. Just as were having our main meals we saw Joseph and Marta returning after their horse ride back, so this a good two hours after us. They must have waited quite a while for their horses. We then said our farewells to everyone except for Ron and Maria who will also have an extra day like us.
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