"W" stands for WOWSER!
Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
36Trip End Jun 12, 2013
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After learning the hard way the meaning of Crudo, we continued our journey further south to Puerto Varas. The town is set on another huge lake which genuinely makes you think you're at the ocean and is surrounded by big mountains and volcanos. While we were only in Puerto Varas for a day or two, we made the most of it with a day trip into the nearby National Park and a walk around one of the volcanos. The trip into the National Park was our first glympse at the bright blue rivers and lakes that Patagonia is famous for. The weather was pretty wild around the volcano with near knock down winds and horizontal rain - thankfully the complementary wind burn chemical peel was avoided this time. We met some great people on this trip and headed out for dinner and drinks with them afterwards.
The following day we made our way to Puerto Montt and took a flight to Punta Arenas and then a bus to Puerto Natales - the gateway city to Torres Del Paine National Park and one of the highlights of Patagonia. We spent a day looking around town, gathering our supplies, some extra gear and going along to a briefing on the park. The following afternoon we headed out to begin the W-trek: a 80km, 5 day, four night walk through Torres Del Paine and one of the most famous treks in the world.
The weather in Patagonia is notoriously variable and infact violent (120 km/h winds with hail, snow, sleet the week before) so we had decided that we would take up the option of staying in refugios along the way (alpine huts).
The W-trek was simply spectacular with the scenery amongst the most beautiful we have ever seen. The landscape throughout the park is diverse with lush forest, massive aqua-grey, glacial lakes, huge mountains, sheer cliffs, big rivers and waterfalls, glaciers that were regularly releasing avalanches off the cliffs, brightly colored wildflowers, condors, wild deer, llama and all manner of birds. Oh and did we mention icebergs?! There were icebergs of every size up to as big as football field. It's too hard to describe how beautiful it is so we will let the pictures do the talking.
The highlights were probably the Torres - three huge granite peaks at the top of the park - the icebergs around Grey Glacier and the lakes in the low lands but the whole place is genuinely amazing with these spectacular 'reveals' around every second corner.
Staying in the refugios was a good move because you had the opportunity to meet other people doing the walk (great people from all over the world - Brazil, San Francisco etc - and particularly a couple from Argentina and France), that and the bonus of a hot shower at the end of a 20km day hiking was well worth it.
The W-trek has been the most amazing part of our trip so far!