If you think about Patagonia you probably will think about dark skies, snow, ice, glaciers, waterfalls and after all you will probably think about a rough and unpolished nature.
Torres del Paine is one of those National Parks which has it all. Through this park a hiking trail leads along many wonders of nature. Although it is no Disneyland, around a half million people a year drag themselves over those rough trails, so did we. Enjoy...
Our map and planning for the upcoming 5 hiking days.
Early in the morning we leave our hostel in Puerto Natales to catch the bus at 7am.
Check, the bus is still there.
After an 2 hour bus ride we arrive close to Campground Central. The views are nice already.
On our way to the campground to check ourselves in and put up our tent.
Wooden floors against the water and trees against the wind. The place is not to bad at all for a campground.
The view from the campground into the mountains. In the far distance a bit of the Torres del Paine can be seen already.
It's still early in the morning so we leave our stuff at the campground and start a dayhike to the Torres del Paine (the granite towers)
The way up starts smooth with some river crossings. (max 2 pax)
Warning: Falling Rocks!
The view is getting better.
We pass campground Chileno halfway the Torres del Paine.
At this campground we spot this Andean Fox.
It's is sniffing around for some food.
Not afraid of humans at all.
We continue and climb higher in the mountains.
A sign with a preview of what we are going to see up the mountain.
Torres del Paine is coming up.
We are not the only ones around.
After a while we start moving back to our campground.
The trees pointing all in the same direction. Off wind.
Back at the campground Arjan makes dinner in the white tent. This is the only place where it is allowed to cook. In the past they had huge bushfires in the area because of people not using their camp stove correctly.
Our hiking profile of day 1.
The next morning we start off early again to hike to campground Italiano.
We fill up our backpacks and start hiking.
View over Lago Nordenskjöld
We did bring a bunch of empanadas. (filled meat pie's) Yummie although we like them more when they are still warm.
We pass campground Cuerno.
Route over the beach.
Trees still pointing in the same direction.
Our campground for the next two nights is coming up: Campground Italiano
Campground Italiano it is.
We put up our tent and start cooking dinner.
Cooking also here only allowed at certain places.
Hike profile day 2.
Breakfast the next morning. The plan for today is to hike up and down to the Frances glacier and to lookout point Britanico. We leave our tent and most of our stuff at the campground and hike lightweight today.
Glacier Frances is coming up.
We climb higher and higher.
Glacier Frances. Ice and snow is falling all the time. Even at the campground we could hear it falling at night. If we didn't know better we would have thought the sound was a thunderstorm instead of falling ice and snow.
We continue to the lookout point.
Still not at the look out point but the views are stunning already.
True: Life is a long weekend!
Yes, there we are at Lookout Britanico.
At the lookout we meet Frank and Jacinta again. The Dutch / Belgian long distance cyclists we met on the ferry as well. (see previous blog 😉 )
Together we hike back down. At Campground Italiano we will have a coffee break together. Frank and Jacinta will go to Campground Frances after that.(They are walking the hike in the opposite direction from us.)
Langlaufen in Chile? 😀
We tap water from the glacier river and make dinner.
Hiking profile day 3.
In the morning it rains.
After a dry breakfast we take off to Campground Grey.
Rain turns into snow.
Welcome in Patagonia. The weather changes so fast, sometimes it can be a bright sunny day with blue sky and in 5 minutes it can be like this; grey dark sky and raining or snowing.
Or everything at the same time. Snowing with a blue sky above it. Weird!
After a while the weather turns better.
Burned forrest because of bushfires.
What a view 🙂
We pass Campground Paine Grande and find this weather forecast.
We continue to Campground Grey.
Still those trees pointing at the same direction.
Burned forrest because of bushfires again.
Other hikers taking pictures from some wildlife.
Glacier Grey in a far distance.
Wild water in a narrow canyon.
At Campground Grey we check in and put up our orange shelter again.
Have a beer.
After we warmed up and had our beer we hike to the lookout point just 10min from the campground to watch the fallen glacier ice from close by.
Some info about this glacier. Too bad we still have the global warming getting worse and worse. Maybe in a 100 years or so no glacier at all anymore? 🙁
Hiking profile day 4.
Cornflakes and noodles for breakfast 🙂
Tent down. Last day of hiking.
We start the day with first going further up the mountain to hanging bridges number 1 and 2 to see more of the glacier before we go down again to the end of the trail at Paine Grande,
Kim at Hanging Bridge 1.
Bridge 2 is even longer.
Arjan at bridge 2.
What a view.
Looking down.... deep!!!
A little bit after bridge 2 we arrive at another stunning lookout point.
What a huge glacier.
We start hike back down again.
Hard Patagonia winds.
Back over the hanging bridges again.
We picked up our backpacks at Camping Grey again and continue to Grand Paine from where we will take the ferry and bus back to town.
A last view at Glacier Grey.
Down down down...
Lake and the end of the trail in a distance.
Welcome at Paine Grande. For us the end of the Torres del Paine trail.
Hiking profile day 5.
At Paine Grande, waiting for the ferry.
Bye bye Torres del Paine.
In the bus back to Puerto Natales we see a nice sunset and fall in sleep....
Back in Puerto Natales we stay an extra day at our hostel with campground. From here we will continue cycling to Ushuaia, our final destination of our 1,5 year cycling trip. It's around 780km to Ushuaia, not far anymore but we will go via an isolated bikepacking route over artic tundra and along a colony with 1,2m high King Penguins.
When we arrive in Ushuaia we will try to put the last blog online before we hop in the airplane back to Holland at the 22nd.
Will be continued...
Thanks for reading, Kim & Arjan