To our lovely followers,
Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything from ourselves or this website in the coming days. We’re completely leaving behind human civilisation and are heading out for a 9 day hike in the fabulous Parque Nacional de Torres del Paine.
This was one of the prime targets of our trip and also the main reason why we had to get to the southern part of the continent this fast. Winter is approaching fast over here and we’re part of the final load of trekking tourists that pass through here before everything gets closed down for winter. Some of the bus connections have already been closed down as have some of the refugios in the national park. But we can gladly accept these minor downsides knowing that the park will be almost completely for ourselves.
Torres del Paine is seen as the most impressive national park in South America, Lonely Planet described it as the hikers’ Kubla Khan (I didn’t know what it meant before looking it up either). There are different trails available, but the two most famous ones are the “W” and the “Circuito“. The first one is the shortest and lasts for five days during which it covers the principal attractions of the park. The latter one, which we’ll attempt to complete in the coming days, takes up 8 to 10 days depending on the fitness of the hiker and the conditions of the trail and weather. Next to the W part this also goes around the back-side of the Torres and should be an amazing experience.
Yesterday in Punta Arenas we’ve already bought quite some hiking stuff (tent, gloves, hat, pants, thermos, …). Today we got some useful information from the guys of Erratic hostel where we are staying and further completed our shopping for food as well as renting high end sleeping bags (night temperatures are around 0 °C, ). Afterwards we spent most of our night trying to decide what we should leave behind, what we could cram into our 40 liter backpacks (first time we regret taking such little bags with us) and pouring ourselves another glass of great Chilean red Syrah wine to inspires us for these both questions.
During the bus ride today we also had some time to figure out how we would plan out our weeks to come. The idea by now is the following: after Torres del Paine we cross back in to Argentina to the city of El Calafate. From there we can make a daytrip to the Perito Moreno Glaciar, one of the most impressive ones on the world and also one of the few that is still growing. Next on the agenda in El Chalten, another hikers village in the Argentinian part of the Andes around the prestigious mountain Fitz Roy. This leads us further on the Ruta Nacional 40 towards the village of Los Antiguos, where we get back in to Chile. This is the area of the Carratera Austral, one of the nicest areas in the South of Chile, taking us along Coyhaique and Chaiten. At least that’s the plan, you can visualise it a bit on this map.
We’ll be back in 10 more days, until then you can be mesmerized by the picture below.
Tom & David