In the Frilly bit of Chile!

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
Trip End Mar 03, 2013

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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Monday, January 7, 2013

We made it back across the boarder from Argentina to Chile without any issues...apart from having to surrender my marmite! It took a little while for all the bags to be scanned so we arrived at Puerto Natales a lot later than expected! The next day we rented all the camping gear we needed, stocked up on cuppa soups and pasta and packed our bags for trekking Torres Del Paine for a few days. We also ate out at a great little wood fired Pizza place which was fantastic and a great way to get tips from hungry hikers that had just finished their treks.

Torres Del Paine is famed for its 'W' shaped trekking route and the large granite spires at its peak. We opted to spend two nights camping and three days hiking. Up early the next morning, we spent a couple of hours on the bus to reach the park and caught the lunchtime catamaran across Lake Pehoe to the paine grande campsite. A great spot with fantastic views of the mountains and the lake, if not a little windy! We set up our little tent, filled up on cheese sarnis and chocolate and set off on our 6 hour round trek to Glacier Grey. We immediately noticed the fire damaged landscape, even where we pitched our tent. (In 2011 there was a massive fire that destroyed much of the park). It was still absolutely beautiful!
After around 3 hours walking up through valleys and forested areas we reached the neck of Glacier Grey, a great view. It was pretty cold, the rain was getting heavier and we discovered the waterproof trousers I'd rented were not waterproof, so we started to make our way back to camp. After cooking our dinner in the little hut we crawled in to our tent before it got blown away! The winds can get very strong in the park but we were nice and warm in the tent, it was actually quite nice to listen to the whistling wind and rain outside.

The next morning, we packed up our tent, had a breakfast and made our way back to the jetty to catch the catamaran back across Lake Pehoe. We had some time before our connecting bus so we walked a few kilometres to visit a waterfall. I've added a couple of photos, again, very windy but we also saw more guanacos and condors.

Once at the other side of the park, we set off from Las Torres with the aim of staying overnight at the Torres free campsite before getting up at 4am to hike to the top for sunrise. It probably took us about 4 hours with lots of uphill! We were pretty lucky with the weather, just a little drizzle on the way up. There were however extremely strong winds that were pretty scary! It actually knocked me to the ground at one point! Early evening we arrived at Torres, set up camp and cooked up our pasta. At 4am we jumped out of our sleeping bags and set off in the dark following the steep trail to the base of the granite spires, it took about 40 mins to reach the top. It was definitely worth getting up early to see the sunrise, it was a lovely clear day and we watched as the sun hit the spires and turned then orange. After sitting there for an hour or so, we made our way back down to the camp to pack up and head back down. It was a beautifully sunny day so it was a great walk back... and there was more downhill than uphill!

Back in a Puerto Natales we recharged, refuelled and made plans for our trip up to the Atacama desert
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