Sunday, December 2, 2007

Torres del Paine - do you want iceberg with that?

We set out to Torres del Paine expecting the worst but I think somebody somewhere up there likes us as we had brilliant sunny views of the spectacular scenery. There was some of the famous Patagonian wind of course but you´d almost feel cheated if you came here and didn´t get knocked over by the wind a few times (see my hair in the photo below)!
Our first day´s hike was up to the Torres (or towers) themselves - dramatic high rocky towers formed into spikes by wind erosion.
We were completing the famous ´W´circuit of the park over five days. A night we were camping but have to confess to ours being the ´luxury´camping option i.e. someone was transporting our luggage, putting up and taking down tents for us and providing us with lots of food.
We got lots of dirty looks from all the hard-core trekkers who were carrying huge packs all day (probably filled with rocks for extra suffering). We´d been expecting freezing nights but it wasn´t cold at all at night really and each nice we had a nice lodge to eat together inside. There´s even been hot showers which we completely weren´t expecting.
The second day was a short hike and we were all in shorts and t-shirts it was so warm.Beautiful views and sunset from the mountain lodge where we stayed that night out over the glacial lake which is a deep green colour during the day.
The third day was a long day with a nine-hour hike up to view one of the glaciers in the valley and then on to our camping area lake-side. Unfortunately I´ve developed a bit of a knee injury which has make hiking a bit tougher but hasn´t stopped me doing anything yet. Hoping it´s just a short-term thing.
On the fourth day we hiked over to the Grey glacier where we took a boat trip right up to the impressive glacier wall where it meets with the lake edge. Quite bizarre with icebergs floating by on the lake (made sure my life-jacket done up tight just in case). Our complementary Pisco Sour came with a bit of iceberg floating in it that they had just fished out of the lake! The glacier is an amazing blue colour in the crevasses.
Our last day included a short hike to a view point of the whole mountain range and again we were very lucky to have a clear day. Some people come to this park and see absolutely nothing for five days which must be just gutting. We felt the full force of the Patagonian wind on our way back as it literally blew us down the hill and we just had to give in to it - luckily we weren´t hiking on a cliff edge at the time. It really is a stunning area and not sure that my photos will do it justice but hopefully you´ll get a taster here.
After a night back in Puerto Natales we travelled today back into Argentina to the town of El Calafate. Tomorrow we are off to the Moreno Glacier where again we will be doing a boat trip along the glacier wall. The following two days we are off to Chalten and a couple more days hiking in the parks here some hopefully catch up in a few days time.