Trekking Torres del Paine – Part 2

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.

French Valley

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.

Plenty of fresh water

Super heroes!

The kitchen

Tomorrow we finish off the trek at Las Torres!!! To be continued…


13 thoughts on “Trekking Torres del Paine – Part 2

  1. Hello
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  2. I am happy for you. This looks amazing, the blisters and aches will help you to remember this experience. Not to mention, the awesome pictures. Are you headed to Punta Arenas next? It seems like the next stop after Natales and Calafate. Keep blogging, Im living vicariously through you.

  3. Hello,

    I’ve just come across your blog from Trip Advisor and have been reading your South America for the last half hour (I am hoping to visit Brazil, Argentina and Chile in December) and have to say this is probably the best thing I’ve read in a long time. It is very descriptive and enlightening to get such first hand information. I have already changed part of my plans (will try and do a road trip around Salta) just by reading your blog.

    I wish you safe travel and all the best with the rest of your travel.


    • Hi Pat, It makes me happy to hear my blog has helped your plans! I am sure you are going to have an amazing time 🙂 Feel free to ask me any other tips, I am glad to help.

      I recently relocated my blog to it’s the same info, but all the updates will go there.


      • Hi Pamela,

        If you don’t mind I do have a couple of questions to ask. I would love to the same 5 day road trip as yourselves but due to the shortage of time do you think its possible to have a 3 day trip ; salta to cafayate (day 1) cafayate to cachi (day 2) and cachi to tilcara/purmarca/salinas grande and back to salta (day 3)

        the other question I hope you dont mind answering relates to torres del paine. I hope to visit this in my trip too by flying to el calafate and staying there for a night before catching public transport via puerto natales to the torres. As I am not really into hiking, do you think its possible to see a good area of the torres in 2 nights, instead of the normal W 4 day hike. I don’t mind just getting a feel of the place rather than a full on trek.

        On a separate note, I see that you are in Thailand. Not sure what your ongoing plans are but I would recommend Cambodia, I was there a couple of years and have to say Angkor Wat and Phnom penh are really interesting places. Think you would really like these Cambodia


      • About Salta- Yes, you can do it in 3 days. I like your plan. The drive will be long the second day but is doable. Make sure to have an early start and don’t even bother to stop in Jujuy. My favorites were the road to Cafayate, Tilcara, Purmarca and Salinas Grandes.
        There is a faster way to get from Cachi to Salinas Grandes (through San Antonio de los Cobres) instead of going to Tilcara and Purmamarca first but the roads are sketchy, you would have to ask a local for the road conditions.

        About Torres, you can get a feel for it in 2 days, many people just go the side of the W, where the torres are and stay at a hostel close to last torres, then hike in the morning to see them. I recommend you go to an information session the day before you go to las torres. Erratic Rock hostel host info sessions every day and they are very helpful!

        About Cambodia, it is our next destination, i am excited to see Angkor Wat!


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