In the heart of Patagonia

Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
1
21
35
Trip End Mar 15, 2013


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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wow, what can I say about Torres del Paine. Honestly, staying with a local family in Puerto Natales was the biggest blessing because:
1. I was able to borrow equipment for hiking.
2. I got help getting a tent and bus tickets from the family.
3. I got vital advice to maximize my trip.

Since I only planned to spend two nights and three days I had to know where to go. It was slightly nerve-racking but there was nothing to fear. It was a place where they were used to tourism and the routes & connections were all designed to be easy to do. The times for catching the boat/buses, were another story but I eventually figured those out too.

The route that I took was almost what's called the W circuit. Here's a summary of what I did. It might be easier to look at the map to get a better idea:
 
DAY 1
– Bus ride to park entrance
– Catamaran ride to Lago Pehoé campsite
– Set up tents in Lago Pehoé campsite
– Hiking to the vista see Glacier Grey along Lago Grey = amazing!
– Slept at Lago Pehoé campsite

DAY 2
– Hiking to Valle Frances to see the hanging glacier = really cool!
– Hiking back to Pehoé campsite
– Catamaran & bus ride to Las Torres campsite
– Slept at Las Torres campsite

DAY 3
– Early morning rise at 5:45am* to start hiking @ 6:30am, 
– Made it to vista to see most famous towers/mountains of the park = WOW
– Hiking back in high winds (a bit scary)
– Met people from Ohio on the way down!
– Bus back to Puerto Natales
– Ate the best tasting hamburger at Baguales with Peruvian beer = definitely recommend it!

* – I had to frantically silence the alarm as not to annoy the others still sleeping.

What I did was close to the W circuit (see map) but between I took the boat instead of hiking between routes 2 and 3. It was more like a V + I. The benefit of doing that is that I didn't have to carry my backpack and stuff with me for any of the routes except for arriving at the campsites. All in all, it was about 7 hours of hiking per day and over 20 in total. Sometimes I wonder how I was able to hike that much, but then again the scenery was always there to distract you from being tired.

Since it's too hard to describe how nice it was there, I made a video to commemorate my time:
https://vimeo.com/60611134 – Hope you enjoy and get a taste of what it was like there! 
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