When we get to Torres del Paine in mid-November the circuit is not even open yet due to snow conditions as well as some ladders and trails needing major maintenance
. Though a bummer, this is actually a bit of a relief for us (mostly Lydia) as we arent positive if we are in good enough physical condition to take on this hike without being in agony the entire time. Both of us being especially active and athletic in our younger days we spent the better part of college and post college being gluttons, putting on weight, losing muscle and tone, etc. We resent having done this and hope to regain some of this physical stamina throughout this journey. Anyway, during our 15day volunteering effort the trail eventually reopens on the 1st of December with warnings of still a lot of snow on the path. As we begin the trek we still aren't positive if we will do the whole thing or just the W.
In total, we hiked over 115k in six days to complete the circuit. Approximately 20k each day, which was about five- six hours of hiking each day. (The next post will detail this journey.)
The two major hikes through Nacional Parque Torres del Paine are the "W" and the "Circuit". If you think really hard you can imagine what these two trails are shaped like. The W is a 3-5 day venture and is what about 30% of the people who enter the park end up doing. It is easy to moderate, with most places being of medium difficulty level. The circuit, on the other hand, is done by only about 2% of those who enter the park and consists of the W trail as well as several other camps including one stretch that is rated as difficult. This trek takes anywhere from 8--10 days. We came to Torres del Paine to tackle this Circuit trail after we spent time volunteering in the park with the group AMA. This will have been the longest trek either of us has ever attempted.