Torres del Paine - Day 3, The French Valley
Trip Start Mar 29, 2010
23Trip End May 24, 2010
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To get to the French Valley, we backtracked two hours to Campamento Italiano. With fresh legs, we scampered across the same stones that gave us so much trouble the night before and arrived at the beginning of the trailhead a little after 11 AM.
The French Valley is a steep hike that comprises the middle point in the "W" trek, famous for its 360 degree panoramic views of Los Cuernos, the French Glacier and Lago Nordenskjold
After scrambling over number of large boulders in a rock field opposite the French Glacier, the trail entered into a covered stretch of forest. Because of the higher altitude and the season (it’s fall down here), the trees displayed a variety of autumnal colors – reds, yellows, and oranges. It was beautiful.
We reached the first look-out point after about an hour and half, and stopped for a boxed lunch. The first video in the post provides a panoramic view of what we saw.
Though the afternoon was getting late, we decided to push through to the second lookout on the French Valley trail – Campamento Britanico. The path continued upwards through another stretch of lenga forest, only with brighter fall foliage. Though scenic, I was tired, a bit anxious about the time of day, and frustrated we had yet to reach the second lookout.
In a fit of frustration, I exclaimed “This f---ing hike is overrated.” Monique humored me by smiling politely, and shortly thereafter, we arrived at the second lookout, where I took the second video in this post (see below)
At 2:30, we decided to head back towards Refugio Los Cuernos. Since the trail to the French Valley was predominantly uphill, we made the descent in two hours and found ourselves back at the refugio around 6:30. In all, we covered 22 kilometers. Monique was hobbling again, but the foot held up well.
We were now more than halfway through the “W,” and while the toughest hike was yet to come, we were relieved to have an easy day ahead of us on Day 4.