I don’t know if it was the deliciously-crisp-cold glacier water or the constant 360 degree picturesque views but I swear I had “Blue skidoo'ed" right into a photo essay of National Geographic.
Yes, I am well aware this post comes with great delay and procrastination but in my defense this post was very difficult to type. It was difficult for various reasons: the main reason being that I was not really ready to accept the fact that my adventure in Patagonia had come and gone.
My group consisted of myself, Caroline, Kelly, Grace (Carol’s sister), Mike, Ryan and Evan. We were a solid group of 7. It is safe to say we all had no clue what we were going to do in Patagonia. Luckily, we started our venture at one the most welcoming coziest of hostels- Erratic Rock.
The Apperts, Kelly, & I (pre-departure)
There we were given a very helpful (possibly life saving) overview of the do’s and don’t in Torres Del Paine. At the meeting we were able to get expert advice to plan out our route of the "W”. Now, the “W” is a famous route of Torres Del Paine that is usually done is 4-5 days but because of flight dates we only had 3 days to hike this route (excluding some sights along the way). Nonetheless, streamlined or not, the trip was amazing.
simple map of the W
So Torres Del Paine is a portion of Patagonia on the southern tip of Chile- named after the naturally formed “Towers” (Torres) that are located on the western edge of the National Park.
yeah, we were pretty down south there…… unbelievable, right?
Day 1 in the park was very eventful…. to put it nicely. We set up tent and the happy 7 set out on our first trek without our sacks. Our destination was a view point facing Glacier Grey. During our hike it began to rain. Then it started to pour. And then came the frigid cold winds. But that didn’t break our stride or our spirits. After a few hours of trekking we decided that it was time to head back in hopes of reaching camp before dark. Well, I reached camped but it wasn’t before dark. On the hike back there was a torrential downpour. With the sun down and rain relentlessly falling, I found my way back by the grace of an angel. Really. At times, I was talking alongside (and sometimes in) a river that pointed towards camp. Not a spot on my body was dry by the time I reached camp. I had achieved the same affect as jumping into a pool fully clothed. What a great start. That night it continued to pour and I have to admit that spirits were a tad low. What the hell did we get ourselves into?!
Day 2: After a traumatic first hike the second day took some time to get used to. Walking with the fear of an impending rain storm like day one, our hike kept a striding pace. Lugging my wet clothes in a bag on mysids, I caught the strong end of a branch and was yanked back ultimately leading to me falling down a small slope. That was fun. In time we reached a lake. a beautiful lake indeed. I think that was my favorite hike of the trip. Hiking along the shore was very very relaxing.
The water from that lake is the best water I’ve ever had.
That night we witness one of the most starry skies I will probably ever see. The sky was clear and filled with twinkling specks. Catching sight of falling stars effortlessly left one short on words. I wish I had a photo to show you but sadly I don’t. You just have to use your imagination on this one.
Day 3: Definitely one of the more difficult of hikes we had that week. Steep uphills and even steeper downhills absolutely killed my knees. Definitely worse than that time I spent 2 hours trying to raise my PR in high jump. My left knee felt like it was ready to fall off my leg. That was a bit gruesome. I apologize.
oh, did I mention having to walk in snow.
This post is getting lengthy but it’s just about to wrap up. so stay with me just a bit.
It’s a strange feeling staring back after the long hike out of the park.
Torres Del Paine, Patagonia is a destination trip of a life time but she’s not for the faint of heart. Those days spent hiking were painful pero vale la pena… it was worth the pain. Patty was difficult to leave both physically and emotionally, but if there’s one thing I can asure myself- it’s that (as a famous California governor once said) I’LL BE BACK.