Right, rattling thru a few days. We ended the bus journey from hell in El Calafate in Argentina. After speaking to the guy at the hostal we spent two days there at the fesival taking in some Choripan and proper Argentine culture, then we went to Puerto Netales in Chile and the gateway to our Patagonian adventure proper - Torres del Paine.
Puerto Netales was small with a proper barron feel. I tried to replace my knife but there was nowhere sophisticated enough for that type of thing. Like everyone else we were there for the Torres del Paine park and on Del and Lindas recommendation stayed at a good hostel. After getting a chat about the park in the hostal we decided we could do our trek in 4 days rather than 5 and got our gear together. After gathering supplies and learning about the tent we were happy we could to it, after our ´training´ in Bariloche.
So, day 1 and we get the early bus to the ranger station and our maps. A transfer to the boat across the lake which afforded high waves due to the severe wind and spectacular views. By 13.00 we set up camp and went on our first hike, up the valley to see Glaciar Grey. This was our first proper view of a glaciar and was absolutely phenomenal. Our training did not let us down as we got pretty far, but the light was fading so never made it past the glaciar, but still it was enough.
On the return we had a good conversation, if not a little disappointing. Firstly, Kim thought Glaciars were moutains. I forgave that, but then came a shock...
Kim was surprised that the further South you gom the colder it got. This confused her as when she went to London, or Spain, both south of Glasgow, it got warmer, but south of Santiago, it got colder. This led her to consider the equator and ask me where that was and what was goin on. Yes, Greener, I cringed too!!! Particularly as this is Harry Barrys´ daughter and I thought some knowledge may have rubbed off....But apparrently not.
After recalling A-Level geography and explaing a quick run-own of why parts of the globe were dry and desert, some were rainforest and some were cold, she claimed she got it. I think I just bored her and was happy with where the equator was and outside that it got colder. It took me a while to get over the lack of knowledge tho, even general as it was.
Mocked for some time after we returned to camp (that we set up in now usual calm and efficient style) and I continued to play Gordon Ramsey with my outdoor culinary delights. But Coke still stole the show.
A good campground, and sleeping mats, gave a good nights´rest before we set off towards the East and Valle Fance. AND WHAT A VALLEY!!!!
Lots of up led to a fantastic `mirador´ (our now excellent Spanish since Maddy left allowed us to know this meant `lookout´) and to see right over the valley. We had the valley and lakes below, theTorres del Paine on one side, and glaciars constantly collapsing under their weight on the other. The wind was so strong some waterfalls from the glaciars were being blown upwards. Phenomenal.
We continued to climb to get to the top of the valley. But at one moment I allowed Kim to take the lead. Now, the path was clear as dat to this point, but then Kim said it went into the forest. In the interest of trusting her judgement I went with it. I should have trusted my instinct. After 30mins we never seen another marker and were at a dead end. We got a great view of the back of the Torres, which we susoect was the end point, but we completeky missed a canpsite we were supposed to pass!
After this I took control of getting us down. The screw up was lessened as we passed two guys, who looked accomplished hikers (much more than us two eejits) as they got lost. Anyway, the path down was found, even if the campsite was not, and we relished the views to the bottom.
En route to the next campsite we met Andy and Zoe, a young couple form the south of England who were doing an 8Day trek. After seting up camp not so calmly due to the gale that was blowing mea nad Kim had some Pisco Sour cooled by the mountain stream and sat by the lake. Itwas a beautiful, peaceful moment. Ahhhhh.
After a shower I did my customary Gordon Ramsey impression we sank a bottle of wine while chatting to Andy and Zoe and a Chilean couple pitched beside us.
The night drew to a close but bit before an amazing event. The moon actually rose above the pass above ot bath the campsite in light. The show put on by the Milky Way was indescribable. I tried to take a pic but deleted them promptly as there was no justice done. Plus we were running out pf space on the memory card and the best yet to come...