The first day of our W trek had finally arrived - we had been anticipating our 4 day trekking adventure in Torres del Paine for a while and even felt a bit nervous when we finally got on the bus in Puerto Natales - fully equipped and ready to go. We had packed everything and were ready for blizzards, rainstorms and freezing temperatures but it turned out to be sunny the whole trip. Oh well, better safe than sorry.
We had booked the so-called W trip through an agency so that we didn't have to camp, carry tents or make our own food. Expensive but in retrospect: Worth it! We arrived in the national park which was absolutely stunning - we soon found out that the refugios we were going to sleep in actually were really nice and comfortable. Score!! I guess you call it "glamping" when someone makes all your meals and you sleep in a warm bed but that's the way we like it. We met a very cool Kiwi couple (Deane and Tanya), an Asian Kiwi (Benny) and a young English fellow (Matt) on our first night and without knowing it had started a small group that we would be spending a lot of time with on the trip. The next morning we were so ready for our first day hiking so we got up early, had our luxury breakfast (it was just eggs but it felt very luxurious when you are in the middle of f****ng nowhere only surrounded by nature).
Day 1: Andreas was carrying 90% of our stuff so with 15kg on his back (and 5 on mine) we started the hike up to the next refugio (Chileno), which was a tough 2 hour uphill hike. Drenched in sweat we got there and could leave our bags before continuing the trip (uphills) to the Torres del Paine Mirrador. We had to walk another 1,5 hours but it was so worth it when we finally got up there overlooking the Towers of the South (yes you guessed it: Torres del Paine) and a green lake. We had our lunch up there and relaxed in the sun for a bit. Andreas took his wet t-shirts of to dry in the sun and SURPRISE: the wind got a hold of the shirts and carried them in to the lake. After he fished them out he was now topless which was not really ideal when winds are blowing 20km an hour but extremely funny. We made it back to the refugio by 2pm and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun meeting new people. By now our little travel group had been extended with Nikki from San Francisco. We also met a true copy of the guy from Into the Wild and ended up giving him some of our snacks since we brought enough for surviving out there for 2 weeks.
Day 2: Bags back on our backs we started the decent from refugio Chileno towards refugio Cuernos. This was the easiest day and it took us about 4 hours to get there. This place was located at one of the lakes in the park so we could hang out by the stone beach and swim in the lake. We were surrounded by mountains and snow tops and every half hour the sound of the ice breaking pierced the air and impressed us all with views of small avalanches. We spent the evening with our new friends playing cards and werewolf (aka murderer or mafia) and had now met a trio of Americans from Georgia Atlanta (Matt, Rob and Kelsey).
Day 3: The hardest day. We had to walk 2 hours with our backpacks, before leaving them at a camp, then hiking 3 hours up and down the French Valley with views of the glacier. Back down to pick up our bags and then another 3 hours to our camp site, refugio Torres Grande. The hole day was amazing, beautiful, exhausting and fun with views and nature we hadn't dreamt existed. Pictures can't really justify what you experience out there. And words sure as hell can't. So I wont even try, J
Day 4: Our last day. 11 km in up to Glacier Grey and 11km back . A huge glacier that you sit and stare at for hours. Ice is just very fascinating when there is tons of it. Again, hard to explain. We had lunch with our new friends at the glacier. Matty (the Brittish guy) decided to take a swim amongst ice blocks in the glacier lake - pretty impressive (I am sure Andreas' is still a bit upset that he didn't do it J). We got back to the refugio around 4pm and just hung out waiting for a boat to take us back to the busses that would take us back to Puerto Natales. We arrived back in the city at 10pm and even though we were all completely exhausted we decided to meet up for beers and junk food at the local pub to celebrate our glamping achievements. We were all quite proud of ourselves - with good reason of course.
We got back to our hostel at 2am so ready for bed but the receptionist had forgotten to tell us that you need a code to get in when you come home after 12 so Andreas had to climb up to the first floor and jump through a window with the help of a very stoned bypasser who couldn't stop laughing. After 4 hours of sleep (I couldn't sleep at all because my body and brains were over stimulated) we got on the bus to leave Puerto Natales and Chile. Back off to Argentina, El Calafate where we are now. Checked in at a great hotel a little outside of town had a looooong shower and are now ready for dinner and an early night as we are going ice trekking tomorrow on glacier Porito Morenio. Can't wait J