Hiking in Patgonia

Trip Start Jan 17, 2012
Trip End Apr 05, 2012

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Where I stayed
in a tent

Flag of Chile  , Magallanes y Antártica Chilena,
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So we just arrived back from completing the W trek in Chilean Patagonia. We Did the W trek, which we did in six days, bringing our packs, food tents etc. with us. "Us" of course is Renee, Carlos, Oliver, and I.

            After flying from Santiago to Punto Arenas, then taking a three hour bus ride to Puorto Natales we found a place in an empty hostel where the silent proprietress lit our heater only on request (in a place where Penguins live nearby) with a piece of cardboard. Unfortunately it soon smelled like gas in the room and we realized that the heater had gone out. We shut it off and opened the window; luckily each bed had 8 wool blankets and we were warn as long as we were under the covers.

            The next day after renting the appropriate tents sleeping bags etc, we headed out on another three hour bus journey into the park. The first hike was in some ways the hardest, though not the longest. We had all of our food for the week, it was fairly steep and we spent a decent amount of time putting layers on and off, convinced it was going to rain, which it didn't.  It rained that night, but amazingly that was our only rain the whole trip. There was a little snow while we hike up to Torres del Paine day two, but just enough to know it was snowing, not enough to be a nuisance.

            The towers (Torres) were pretty spectacular, but maybe even more so in their context. Throughout the course of the hike, every way you turned or corner you passed you felt you could be in a different continent. Look one direction and there are towering stone spikes, across the valley imposing black streaked mountains, down the valley rolling hills of scrubby multi-colour bushes and lakes of varying shades of blue, and under your feet giant rubbly rock tossed there by a glacier.

            The towers and mountains where amazing, the long hikes along lakes were so that they were enjoyable for hours even with a heavy pack, and Glacier Grey at the end was massive and impressive, but I think for me the most surprising thing that I enjoyed experiencing the regular rumble of avalanches. Oliver and I were hiking up to the French Valley and we heard a distant rumble. Oliver named it thunder and we thought we better hurry to the shelter, but we looked up at the clear sky and it just didn’t fit. 10 minutes later more rumbling. I had never seen or heard snow avalanches, but it is an impressive experience. In fact the sound is much more impressive than the appearance. It echoes throughout the whole valley, and you watch a distant waterfall and poof of snow move down the mountain. Luckily, safely on the other side of the valley you can sit and watch, without any danger at all.

            Overall, it was a challenging, fun, and generally mind blowing experience. And for those of you interested, no, we didn’t stay at the same hostel on the way back. We stayed at a different one, where the worker showed us our gas heater, but refused to help us light it since he had already burned himself on it earlier. We lit the little gas stove sitting directly on the carpet successfully, but decided to turn it off before we slept.
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Maxine Corea on

I'm glad you two made it through. It sounds overall like a fantastic experience. There were a number of things that could have gone wrong. I didn't think of a gas heater being one of them or avalanches for that matter!

Carley Fairbrother on

Looks amazing. Happy to hear you guys are back, and am very jealous.

Evie on

Super photos. I'm looking forward to seeing more and hearing more.

megan burbidge on

wow the scenery is absolutely incredible. It sounds like you are having an amazing time! Stay safe!!

Brenda Jiss on

Congradulations and so glad to be able to share your adventures. Love the photos Stay safe.

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