There are times in life, often we look for them, other times they spontaneously happen, when we quiet our minds from the normal daily thinking to reflect. We revisit accomplishments; good memories and bad memories; disappointments; dream about future plans; we relive the sensations and how they made us feel; we return to them and try to understand why they happened; we decide what we learned; or we simply think of them one last time to forget them forever. I just spent five days like that, without expecting it, while trekking in Patagonia.
The trek we took is called the “W”. Named after the shape of the route, it is a must-do, 75 kilometer hike through the Chilean national park: Torres del Paine (for those interested in the logistics of the trek, send me a message and I will be happy to help). The next three posts will be a first hand account of my experience throughout this unbelievable trek…
Day one: after a three-hour bus ride to the park we jump on a catamaran, drop our packs in the enormous pile of backpacks of our fellow trekkers and hurry upstairs to admire our first sights of rural Patagonia.
The scene was surreal: lost in the middle of nowhere; cruising on a still blue-green lake reflecting the mountains and clouds; a view shared only by the trekkers on the boat. Thirty minutes later we arrive at the first refugio (a hostel of sorts) and begin our trek. The first three hours are uneventful because a large part of this leg was recently burned in a fire. However, as we hike farther up, lakes begin to appear and the Glacier Grey looms ahead of us, our final destination for the day. We’ve been hiking up and down hills with heavy packs for over six hours and I keep reminding myself that is not about the destination, but the journey.
We pass refugio Grey, stop for a quick break and continue up for about an hour when I see tents in the distance… ahhh finally. Camp Las Guarnas! Exhausted and arriving with just enough daylight, we pitch our tent and catch the sunset over the glacier. Tough, but worth it!
Day two: we decide to not rush anything on this trek, to let things just happen, and wake up whenever we feel like it to let our bodies rest as much as they need. After we awake I say to Adam “guess the time?”, “hmmm… 8:30?”, my guess is 9. Surprise! It’s 11:30 a.m.! I suppose we needed some rest. After coffee, oatmeal and packing up camp we make our way to Camp Italiano. Our hike overlooks glaciers, lakes, forest, streams. By now I have developed a couple of blisters and after nine hours we finally arrive just before sunset. We both agreed that this day was the most challenging one, but again, all worth it!
To be continued…