Day three: today is all about the middle leg of the W, the French Valley. We feel great, strong, healthy, and have lots of energy. By now we are comfortable with the uncomfortable. My blisters and Adam’s knee pain are easier to ignore. It is a laid back day compared with the others, less ground to cover and we get to leave our packs at the camp site since we’ll be returning tonight. It’s also a fun hike; we follow a river through the forest, climb some huge rocks, and look out over lakes and beautiful mountains.
As we decided at the onset, we take everything easy and unlike the majority of the people who woke up to alarms at dawn to hike, we get a later start and have the trail to ourselves.
— Humans are a funny animal. Despite leaving civilization to trek in the remote parts of Patagonia, we still can’t help but over plan, worry, set alarms, and lug in some part of our everyday lives. We saw countless examples of worried faces, bustling hikers, and over prepared and over thinking people. I consider Adam and I to be a bit opposite of that from time to time, and it’s surprising how much more gratifying life can be when you are. A small challenge next time you find yourself in such a position: rather than worry that bad weather might set in, the next camp site might be too full, the alarm won’t go off, or any of the many things you could invent in your head that might go wrong… just roll with it. Wake up when you wake up, set out without rain gear, don’t take a watch, and don’t make a plan for when you’ll return. You just might find yourself on a trail all alone, with a light sprinkle cooling off your already soak drenched body, taking in a sight that few in this world will ever see, and most importantly, you’ll have a clear and present mind while doing it. Remember, the worst case scenario usually isn’t that bad. Adventures inside of adventures are what Adam and I really seek, and we savor it when we are lucky enough to find them. —
Enjoying lunch all alone sitting atop the highest lookout of the French Valley is an incredible experience. We return after six hours of hiking, cook a tasty hot noodle soup, relax, and snuggle in under the veil of the dark night at Camp Italiano.
Day four: The longest day of all, we try to start early to get to our last camp before sunset. It will take us almost eleven hours. The first six are very easy, we hike up and down short hills and by now we have better control of our minds and our legs feel stronger. Every couple of hours we take a moment for a snack or a picture and admire the views surrounded by the vast landscape of lakes and mountains. Our final destination is the nearest camp to Las Torres, the biggest attraction of the park. The last two hours are tough, we climb up a steep valley on our way to Camp Las Torres, but the stunning green forest and fun trail make it easy to bear.
Tomorrow we finish off the trek at Las Torres!!! To be continued…