It’s been a long time since we’ve done any outdoorsy activities as we’ve been lazy bums after leaving Nepal. We’ve also been carrying all our hiking gear, which takes up about 50% of the space in our packs, so it was time to whip them out and we were really excited!
Torres del Paine is an extremely popular trek, as noted by the massive transport system that shuttles people to and from the park. From leaving the hostel to all necessary goods/park rules, everything was very smooth and simple to follow, and with the trails marked as they were it was almost impossible to get lost! We’re pretty confident even in North America, outdoor gear stores do NOT stay open until 10pm, and buses to hiking trails do not run 5+ busloads daily.
We both had our hiking gear, and packed our food+stove and were on our way. Inside the park, there are free campsites with bare minimal facilities, and there are refugios which felt more like a fancy travel log cabin with camping sites around it. Problem was, they charged a LOT !!!! So we were already self-sufficient, and being able to save quite a few bucks. One jerk move though, is that the campsites in the middle of the W were now all closed, but you can ‘sneak’ yourself in if you arrive too late to the campsite and it was unsafe for the park rangers to send you off on your way…. we felt like they were being jerks, and a lot of people just ignored them and camped there anyways!!
Day 1: Hike up to the base camp for Torres del Paine. Pitch our tents, cook dinner and were in bed by 8pm.
Day 2: Wake up at 5:45am and start heading up to the view point to catch the 7am sun rise. A steep 45min hike in the dark moonlight later, we arrived at the towers synonymous with the national park. Honestly…. the towers were nice but we felt it a bit overrated. We hiked until 7:30pm and camped at the ‘closed’ camp site. That’s a 28km day!!
Day 3: Sleeping in until 8am, we took a leisurely pace making ourselves some tea for breakfast. No rush, we thought. We hiked up the middle of the W for 270′ view of the mountains. We pushed on and got to a paying campsite, and took a much much needed shower!!! Not sure, but we feel it was overrated again! The best part about the hike though, are the crystal clear streams that wind its way around the trail. Water is totally drinkable, and tastes DELICIOUS! We drank stream water the whole time we were in the W!
Day 4: Hiking up to the western side of the W, we FINALLY got a taste of the infamous Patagonia weather. The skies were clear when we started out, then out of nowhere the winds started to pickup, and as we kept on it started raining SIDEWAYS! The winds were so strong, the rain feels like hail when it slams into your face. Soaked from head to toe, gale force winds, and before we knew it it was gone just as quickly as it came! Crazy!!
Day 5: Hike back out in massive plains of golden wheat with the mountains behind our backs, we actually felt this last part of the hike was the prettiest. Either way, no matter how you walk the W, there’s definitely something for everyone! Along the trail, we met some great people, a HK couple who were also traveling the world for a year, a Swedish psychologist, and a German kid who’s taking a gap year before going to University.
We ended up the hike by dining together with our new found friends, drinking delicious Chilean wine and eating grilled meats. The night was wonderful and we had some great conversation. Fun!! It was good to get back to society, but we wouldn’t have minded if we can continue to trek….just no more of that Patagonia winds please…
There’s a lot of pics, enjoy!