I knew that I was going to be close to the famous Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Trekking it is in every hiker’s dream. I am fortunate that I did the “W” in the early 2000’s. However, it would be silly of me to pass up the opportunity again if the weather is good.
The sun was shining and forecast called for 15 degrees C. We, myself, Eva, and Kat (2 roommates from the ferry) headed for the park to hike to the base of the towers. It is the “must see” of all features in the park and it is possible to do as a day hike from Puerto Natales. It is, however, a very long day. The day started with a 7:00 AM bus ride from Puerto Natales, followed by a 4-5 hour hike up then retrace the steps. See below for the photo evidence that I actually made it. There was a couple of condors circuling overhead for a few minutes. They are so big that they cast shadows on the ground.
The 3 towers of pain
This famous trail, unfortunately, is suffering from overuse. I certainly do not remember it “as that bad” the first time. Now, most of the trail is either extremely muddy or one is walking up a stream bed. The last hour, up the terminal moraine, is much worse and longer than I recalled. The park had to reroute due to erosion. There is little money for trail improvements. Little of the money collected stay in the park as it is shared among all Chilean national parks.
The next day, I joined 3 friend (from the ferry) and rented a car and drove back into to the park. Again, the weather was perfect and the scenery was amazing.
Torres del Paine national park
Salta Grande, Torres del Paine
I am a little behind in my post as today is 5 days after I left the park and am now in Ushuaia, Argentina. The original plan was to find a cheap last minute cruise to Antarctic. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen as I would have to wait too long or pay too much for a longer rough ocean crossings to South Georgia. So I am off to Argentinian Patagonia next, flying this time.