Expedition Torres and Campamento Italiano - Day 2

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 2 of our 5 day trekking is a wake up with more muscle pain than ever before and Veronika´s blisters in a sad state - no skin and bleeding.

What sounds like "we are lucky its all downhill" does not improve the situation much given that our muscles and all the weight carried still make it painful.

After several stops along the way to try to reduce the pain on Veronika´s blisters we arrive at the starting point and when Veronika removed her socks we decided it was not possible for her to continue. Even with a second skin which a Spanish couple had given to us, there was still 80 kms ahead of us (some in very tough conditions) which would not be possible with such injuries.

So with great sadness for both of us we decided that Veronika would take the bus back to Puerto Natales and rest in the hotel to repair the injuries and guarantee she could walk in the rest of our trip, while I would continue "solo" on the rest of the expedition which we had established as a personal challenge of endurance (we love walking but to be sincere we had usually not walked more than 10kms in one day and never with rucksacks loaded with food, tent, clothes, etc).

Anyway, given my new responsability of making it for both of us, I put myself to it and increased the speed to the maximum I could walk. My target was to cut the time expected at "average" in the map by at least 10-20 minutes each time (including stops for food, rest and drink, which are not included in the averages). I would make sure at the same time that I took sufficient pictures of all the walk so Veronika could enjoy it and want to do it the next time we are back (whenever that is.... :-))

The first 2 hours seemed quite easy, and I started thinking all the talk about this "W" trek was overstated. However, after 4 hours my shoulders were in serious pain, and a couple of annoying blisters had appeared (one in each foot to make it simpler). Also the sun kept its show with temperatures of over 21 degrees celsius with no wing (absolutely no wind!).

After 4 hours and 11 kilometres I walked into Campamento Cuernos which is the camping before my target. My body requested an automatic stop and rest until next day, but it was simply not acceptable as it would throw my plans in the "W" out of order...I needed to walk another 2 hours to Campamento Italiano!

2 hours in the map appeared as 5,5 kilometres, which is nothing in day to day life, BUT with broken shoulders, blisters, high temperatures, no wind and a rucksack in which the dehydrated noodles appeared to weigh as gold strips it was daughting. The only  positive element was that everyone else that arrived (except the profestionals) at Campamento Cuernos was totally exhausted.

So after 15 minutes rest (sufficient to plaster my blisters with everything I had), I pushed myself to the last 2 hours walk. I can only say from then onwards there was little physical pain, it all turned into self-motivation mixed with admiration for the scenery, the mountains, the lakes, overtaking other suffering trekkers...

Did I make it you might ask? Of course...the only other option was to walk back 11 kilometres and that was not in the plan.

Making a long and painful story short, I walked into Campamento Italiano (which strangely had the correct name, it was like Italy - everything seemed to work but there was a lot of chaos around the place and the rubbish had not been picked up in a few weeks making it close to the Naples Rubbish strike). I pitched the tent in the first spot I found (it is a free camping) and prepared to cook dinner when it hit me....Pooh Camp 2!!

The stench of pooh was unbearable, but escaping it was just not possible - it was all over, and it greatly depended on the wind direction. Apparently the toilets were clogged and the smell was all over the place. Anyway, with the tiredness I had in the body I just resigned to cooking next to the river where the air was fresh, and asking myself - "is there anything that can smell worse than me after 2 days trekking and 20 kms on my soles without a shower?" (psychology at its best!).

I attach a photograph of something that brought a smile to my face in Camp Pooh 2 (Italiano) when walking around after dinner. It was "Wilson"...the football which appeared in the film with Tom Hanks (the film was "Cast Away")...excellent to find it in the middle of the forrest.
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