Torres del Paine - The “W Circuit.”
Today, Tuesday October 18th, we set out for three and a half days in Torres del Paine National Park to complete a popular trek known as “The W-Circuit.”
Our first view of the towersWe started the day in Puerto Natales, so we had to take a bus ride of a few hours to get to the park entrance. The scenery along the roads on the way there was unbelievable. It was hard to believe we about to put ourselves of the middle of all the beauty to set out on foot and see what we were capable of.
To get to the starting point of our trek we had to cross over a few interesting bridges. By interesting I mean the kind where passengers have to get of the vehicle for it cross safely!
We started the first day’s hike from the parking lot of a fairly fancy hotel - you can stay there for $400 USD a night if you really want to. The trail was 9km in and 9km out, but when the day was over I think we had hiked about 21km in total, because we started about 1km short of the start and finished about 2km further on than where we’d begun.
By 10am we were headed out on out first section of the “W.” We were on our way to see The Towers, along the east leg of the “W.” The weather was beautiful at the start. I think I was down to my very last layer within about 30mins of beginning the hike. About two hours in and little bit of down-hill hiking later we stopped at a campsite called “Chileno.” We had lunch at the picnic tables outside the refugio (shelter) there. While we were eating the wind picked up, and it started to look like rain, so I changed out my hiking pants for my rain pants - it turned out to be a wise move.
Onward we went. The terrain went from the dirt and rocks on exposed land to stones and logs thorough forest. It was beautiful. There was a lot of up and down through the forest, but mostly a gradual uphill. One of the coolest things about this park was that if you needed a refill on water you could get it from the always nearby waterfalls, and it was clean!
The hardest part of today’s hike was the final kilometer. It was only 1km on the map, but the elevation change was about 400meters up! It was tough, and the whole time I was going up, I was getting a little nervous about going down. The longer we hiked, the stronger the wind became. A few times I had to stop and ground myself as to not get blown off the mountain. We had come for adventure, and we getting an adventure alright!
|Working our way to the top|
|It's just a few minutes past that giant rock, Reb!|
|Giant rock, achieved!!!|
The view at the top was unbelievable. Just like in the pictures, but even more magnificent and more unbelievable! It was mighty cold up there, too. We took a few pictures a tooled around a little. I wanted to get up close to the glacial lake, as did Mark. Brandon and Rick were already a few steps ahead of us. On the way down we saw a load of rocks falling off the mountain and into the lake. Rick and Brandon were on some of the rocks near the water. Midway through the rock fall, they realized the water was rising and their feet were nearly covered by water. A few pictures later the weather showed no sign it was going improve. Clearly, it was time to head back. We still had a good three hours of hiking ahead of us.