Puerto Montt, Puerto Natales, Torres Del Paine

Trip Start Aug 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2013

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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From Pucon we set off to Puerto Montt, where we boarded the Navimag Ferry for the 4 day / 1460km journey south through the Patagonian fjords to Puerto Natales. The Navimag is a working ferry, passengers were an afterthought as evidenced by the incredibly confusing maze of cabins - you could spend half a day trying to find your cabin. We opted for cattle-class (who wouldn't?!) – 4 beds (bunkbeds, much like coffins) per cabin with no window. At the time, we made fun of how 'luxurious’ our lodgings were, but once we started our trek through Torres Del Paine, our little bunk-coffins didn’t seem so bad after all, especially when you are rocked to sleep by rough seas. We spent our days enjoying the views, watching out for penguins, dolphins and whales, getting lost trying to find our room, waiting impatiently for our bad meals and preparing for our trek by drinking red wine

The organization gods were good to us in Puerto Natales and we were able to get all of our gear and food together quicker than planned. On the 19th we set off into Torres Del Paine National Park for a self-guided 5 day trek called the ‘W’. For those interested, it’s the red-route on the map I’ve included.

On previous hikes / treks we have done, we’ve had the luxury of porters to carry our backpacks and gear; we thought it seemed easy enough for the porters, so how hard could it really be to carry a tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment and food for 5 days? Turns out it is very hard; we’ll both be needing double-knee replacements within a year.

The usual squabbles over which way to go were quickly overshadowed by what food we should eat during the hike – each of us having a vested interest in food coming out of our own backpack to make them lighter. To our dismay, the world did not end on 21 Dec as predicted which meant that we did not really have enough food. It was a nice change to have to eat half a packet of chocolate biscuits to make sure we had enough energy / calories to make it to the next camp rather than eating half a packet of chocolate biscuits because ‘it’s Christmas’. Needless to say, we will not be eating porridge or chocolate for a very long time. There were opportunities to buy some food along the way but we couldn’t bring ourselves to pay $4USD for a can of coke.

We were warned before-hand to expect all 4 seasons in one day in Patagonia and we experienced this on day 2 when a blizzard – a horizontal blizzard thanks to incredibly high winds - exfoliated off the +20 sunscreen we had applied an hour before. Our rented tent, which could also be described as a yellow one-person coffin, was only kind-of waterproof which made for some pretty chilly nights despite having to sleep on top of each other  - it was our first night in these tents that we realised the cattle-class cabins on the Navimag were indeed luxurious. One morning, a fellow hiker doing the same route as us commented over breakfast ‘I had a great sleep, I only woke up every 15 minutes’; this is a pretty accurate description of the comfort levels we experienced.

The scenery throughout our entire trek was absolutely amazing; despite some pretty shocking weather at times, we had near perfect weather for the 2 main highlights – the French Valley and the summit to see the Torres at the end. Given our timing, our only option to see the Torres was a dawn summit. Following a 4am wake-up, I found myself hiking up to the mirrador alone at 4:40am after Daryn proclaimed I was crazy, stole my sleeping bag and went back to sleep; luckily there were some other crazy people doing the climb to keep me company. By this point, we had run out of food so my breakfast consisted of peanut butter mixed with an unidentifiable fruit jam and a few flakes of instant porridge; not great but it was enough to get me to the top and give me the patience I needed to wait an hour in the freezing to get a decent picture of the Torres. Actually, that’s a lie - I wasn’t patient, I was just too cold to move.

As you might have guessed, this isn’t a live blog, I’m writing this on the 24th of Dec as we make our way back into Argentina to El Chalten where we will spend Christmas hopefully do some relaxing day-hikes to see Mount Fitz Roy and of course some equally relaxing drinking and overeating.

Next stop – Bariloche – a quick 20 hour bus ride over 2 days… Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas; cheers to a safe, happy and healthy 2013! Jana & Daryn x
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Theo on

Glad to hear you've survived your trek, Merry Xmas to you both!

mom on

You're having an adventure of a lifetime! Keep on having fun!

evelyn on

Hi nice to hear from you guys, boy you sure had some fun ha,ha. Happy new Year

Ken & Karina on

Merry Xmas and festive New Year to you both! We enjoy following your adventures :0) stay safe! X

Glen and Bev on

Merry Christmas and all the Best in the New Year!!!! Loving all of your wonderful pictures, and what an adventure you both are having.

Mrs. Bells on

What an adventure - king of scary, but so much fun! I am cold and exhausted just reading about your experience... :) Merry Christmas, and all the best of continued safe journeys with the New Year.

Mom & Dad Cooper on

Merry Christmas & all the best in 2013!! We love to see all your wonderful pictures & following your adventures. Stay safe, Miss You, XOXO

Viviana on

Hi guys! Too bad we couldn't say goodbye in Bariloche, but we hope you've been enjoying the city! Happy new year and happy travelling! Viviana & Giuseppe

Megan on

Looks absolutely stunning!!!

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