Pride is more important than water

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
Trip End Dec 22, 2010

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Where I stayed
in the mountains

Flag of Chile  , Magallanes y Antártica Chilena,
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

With 7 days of food, 20+kgs packs and tape on our heals, Johannes and I where ready to hike through Torres Del Paine(Towers Of Blue Sky).

Iīve walked many kilometers before, over hills, through forest and rivers, slept in various positions on different landscapes, from desserts to swamps. But this was with the army, under time constraints. Restricted by rules, with no freedom to enjoy what nature had to offer.

This time itīs different. There is no need to rush from A to B. If we come across an area we like, we can stay and admire it. If Iīm tired, I can rest. Hungry, I can eat. I don't have to hold up a section in the middle of a patrol to go to the toilet. If it takes longer than 7 days, itīs no big deal. There is no mission that "needs" to be complete.

The morning Sun creeps over the horizon. "Good morning" it sings to the sleepy rock faces. They wake up expelling a glorious orange glow. It was a glorious start to our hike, witnessing an amazing sunrise on our first morning in Torres Del Paine.

I looked down into the lake below the 3 narrow mountain peaks (3 Torres), I felt like a swim. A German guy was making his way from the lake. "how cold is it" I asked. He lifted his thumb and finger showing 2 inches in between. "about this! cold". He was right... it was about that cold.

Cooking by the rivers, with views of mountains and glaciers. What more inspiration can a chef ask for. To bad that inspiration didnīt come out in our food. Meals consisted of pasta, soup, oats, chocolate and on special occasions sausages. Everybody wanted our sausages..... on one occasion "I want his sausage" was spoken to me in Hebrew, then translated to me by her friend. Resulting in me almost spitting out a mouthful of food on the floor.

"Crack!" a thundering boom penetrates the air. "Lightning?" I ask Johannes in a confused manner. "Woo ah" escapes his lips as he stares up in awe towards the mountain slopes. Instantly my eyes follow suit and we are witnessing a mini avalanche of snow falling onto the glacier below. This on our third day of hiking.

I lay there in my warm cozy sleeping bag, tired from the past few days trekking. Listening to the pidder padder of rain drops, lightly bouncing off the tents surface. As we drift off to sleep, we hear funny noises outside of the tent.

"Mice"? asked Johannes. "Na bro, probably insects" The noise grew louder and more frequent. I sat up suddenly "shit mice". We had food in our tent and herd stories from people about maniac mice eating through their tents to get food. I checked our food bag, there was a hole at the bottom "bastards". I went out of the tent in my underwear and hung the food from the benches outside.

We woke up early the next morning to dodge the camping fee, gathered our food from the bench and left without eating and with no water. I noticed a water source on our map and felt comfortable about that decision. Who would of thought the only time we really needed water, the river would be dried up... 2 girls walked passed with water. We made a joint decision that pride was more important that water and didn't ask them for assistance. Needless to say we were slow moving that day and learned from that lesson.

As I slowly walked around yet another bend in the track, an ominous glacier (glacier Gray) sprang into view; as if to say "look at me, I'm the definition of beauty". An amazing moment for me. Its edges engulfing everything in its way, swollowing up the huge rock face that stood in front. Suddenly the need for water faded. Johannes and I found a place to sit and chat with a cool chilian guy named felipe and his girlf friend for a while, to discuss its beauty.

Itīs a great feeling discovering a natural beauty within the earths landscape. More so when you havenīt seen pictures of the features prior. Now that I understand this, I will refuse to see pictures of places Iīm going to. So I can truly enjoy an unbiased moment which has not built my hopes up to a certain expectation.

Unexpected Beauty, Unexpected experiences, brings Unexpected joy.

A last look at Glacier gray as we head over the pass. At the top, a small mound of snow with a tiny creak trickling down the rocks. Walking down the pass into the valley; it was intriguing watching that tiny creak turn into a stream, as additional water from small glaciers joined its path. Further down the pass; the stream turning into a fast moving, powerful river before finishing itīs journey at the bottom of the valley as a tranquil lake.

Night 5, whilst planning our route, we received some advice from a strange Dutch guy with stories that didn't quite add up. He informed us of a shortcut. Which turned out to be a long cut, leading to cliff faces with 200m drops. The "short cut" was covered in prickly thorns which pierced through my pants, ripping my fragile skin.... "Fucken Dutch guy".

Night 6, Not wanting to pay for camping, Johannes and I decided to sleep for the night in a Quent spot next to a running river. We were proud of ourselves and our spot selection, I arose the next morning in my underwear to wash in the river, only to be attacked by swarms of mosquito's. These aggressive bastards were feisty, with the power to bite through peoples clothes. I quickly retreated back into the tent, deciding to sleep 2 more hours in hope of their disappearance, Johannes sat in the tent, laughing at my stupidity.

Day 7, "Wow I love this tree" Johannes proclaimed. I looked up to see a burnt down tree, forming a crisp, black monster like shape. We were now surrounded by dead trees. 3 hours later....still dead trees. I turned around to Johannes "still love these trees bro"? He didn't answer, steering at the path in front of him. 10% of the National park was burnt down by a man cooking unsafely, expelling a grim cold cemetery ora through the area.

The Patagonian wind reared itīs ugly head with such force Ive never felt before, shoving me about like a rag doll.  Luckily it was pushing us from behind, cutting our 6 hour leg into a 4 1/2 hr one.

I thoroughly enjoyed hiking through Torres Del Paine; approx 123km. Even more so with Johannes camera. I feel disappointed comparing photos on my camera, to photos Iīve taken on his. I have a strong urge to bye a professional camera with good lenses. However Iīm not sure if I can justify such an expense.


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