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Chile

Curious what backpackers do in Chile? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day189

    Torres del Raine.

    It's Autumn by every measure. The trees are red, orange, yellow, green or simply bare. The ground is wet, frozen, muddy or a combination of all three. Blustery winds gut heat from any warm space and if they sky isn't looking threatening, it's already raining. That's almost exactly what greeted us on arrival to Torres del Paine and little did we know, it wasn't about to change.

    After hours of bussing, a $36 entrance fee and a thoroughly unenjoyable wait to watch our driver eat breakfast, we finally stepped off our coach into the drizzling rain to embark on six days of pure Patagonia. TDP has several options for multiday treks, the two major ones are the 'W' and the 'O' (which essentially links the two ends of the 'W'). There is also a 'Q' which is the 'O' or 'W' with a longer entry or exit. Of course, all these letters refer roughly to the plan course of the tracks. At this time of year the 'O' is closed so we geared up for the 'W' with the extra part of the 'Q' tacked on for good measure.

    Cat and I were the only two hikers to embark from Administration - everybody else skipped that day's walk by catching a ferry across Lake Pehoe. As a result, we had the track to ourselves which was brilliant and oh so peaceful! It was a miserable start but we gave thanks for the absence of the troublesome Patagonian winds, lack of human contact (seriously, we saw two hikers the whole day) and stunning scenery. It was so nice to have such a vast park all to ourselves and for once, to be on our own clock. The rain eased and the winds held off and as we got deeper into the park, the scenery continued to amaze. Glacial blue lakes settled into shallow rocky depressions, grey rivers cut through vibrant autumn valleys and snowy mountains backdropped every vista. On occasion giant hares and even wild llamas crossed our path! It was quiet. Deathly quiet. So quiet that when we stopped walking I could hear my ears ringing in silence. The only thing missing from a near perfect day was the sun. The wretched, elusive, stubborn, meddling, flaming ball of much desired heat and light.

    It took us a smidge over five hours to reach our first stop: Camp Paine Grande. It was not at all what we expected. The camping facilities had indoor flush toilets and, wait for it...hot showers! A cooking and dining facility had also been constructed with sinks, running water and rubbish bins. That was just the camping facilities. If we had US $100 pn each to splurge on the adjacent refugio we could have had a cosy made-up bunk bed and for around $20-30 more we could have partaken in a hot three course meal from the kitchen before retiring upstairs to the bar. There was even a bloody convenience store! I honestly don't know why I bothered carrying any food in at all! Actually that's a lie, you and I both know I'm way too stingy to pay $4 for a snickers.

    That (the savings) was about the only joy I took in eating my rice and beans that night. I did however take great relief knowing that we were not one of the miserable campers from the night before, who were trying to dry their entire kit (sleeping bag and all) in a damp and cold dining hall. Our tiny two man rental tent popped up like a jack in the box and hosted two tired trekkers for a very reasonable night's sleep - all things considered. I was buzzing from what we'd already seen and excited for what else was to come.

    We were a bit slow off the mark the next day. There was plenty of reluctance and very little will to leave the warmth of the sleeping bag, and our unfamiliarity with morning camping routines made for a fair amount of faff. We still managed to set off just after sunrise (sunrise is at 8.40am - this was hardly an achievement) and begin our three and a half hour climb to Camp Grey. There was a lot of up, followed by a lot of up-down and with five days worth of food still weighing us down it was slow progress. Frequent rain showers were cause for much frustration and I'll take this as an opportunity for an aside to whine about how difficult temperature control is in TDP...

    It's always cold. At least at this time of year. Around camp you're wearing everything you could carry and still cupping your tiny gas burner for a whiff of warmth. During the day it's possible to get down to two layers but if you stop for more than about two minutes you'll be frozen again. If you try to go without a jacket it will rain - it's a park rule with no exceptions. If you wear your jacket, the track will turn uphill until you sweat your guts out so much that you may as well have just taken the rain. If you stop to take it off you'll be cold before you can put your pack back on and if you stop to put it on the rain will be gone before you can. It's a battle you can only lose and one that we would fight every single day on track. We adopted a 'no sweat' policy in the end, stopping to let nature cool us off before we wet ourselves with sweat. Slow but tactical and still quicker than playing the layers game. Also, saying you're 'hot' as an excuse to stop is much less embarrassing than saying you're 'tired', especially when you can't hack the pace of that march your girlfriend calls a 'walk'.

    Temperature aside, it was a spectacular day. We weaved through autumn trees, barren landscapes, around mirroring lakes and glacial runoff. We passed Lake Grey - floating icebergs and all - and witnessed an ever closer Glacier Grey - our destination. We took a brief pitstop at Camp Grey to pitch our tent and drop our packs before setting off on the out-and-back, feeling light as a feather. It was a fittingly grey day (no pun intended) and the wind was building creating the wild weather for which the park is famous for. It was weather that always kept you guessing 'what next?' Whilst hiking, deafening thunder-like cracks could be heard as large chunks of ice broke off the toe of the glacier. We made the second swing bridge in good time (a little over an hour) and summited the knoll for a spectacular view of the seemingly endless Glacier Grey and Lake Grey extending as far as sight permitted in the opposite direction. It was incredible! We were unlucky not to see any ice break off, but we hung around as long as we could before early signs of frostbite set in and we were forced to leave. On the way back a slither of sky opened up and let the afternoon sun peep through. We found a view point out of the wind and basked for some time in what would end up being our only sunshine for the entire trip. It was splendid!

    Refugio Grey, for those campers who are a little sneaky is equally as delightful as Refugio Paine Grande. Cat and I took advantage of a hot shower, a couch in a (semi) heated room and even helped ourselves to their boiling water...well Cat did whilst ignoring some shooting glances. Dehydrated spuds with salami hunks made dinner for that night, which was wolfed down with Pisco (Chilean brandy - for warmth of course) and tales with a cheery pair from Washington state. Speaking of warmth, let me fill you in on our most treasured little secret: Nalgene bottles. They safely hold boiling water, which is exactly what we filled them with right before bed each night. Drop that toasty treat into your sleeping bag just before yourself and you'll be snug as a bug until it cools about two hours later. We're sworn to them now - I can't imagine the trip without it.

    A good night's sleep was had amongst the trees at Grey, topped off with a lie in as we'd planned a short hike for the day back down to Paine Grande. By now the wind had returned to its usual bazillion knots, tearing guy ropes off tents and blowing over unsuspecting anti-aerodynamic hikers. It blew us all the way back down the valley, fortunately without incident or embarrassment - save for a few unintentional 180's as gusts caught our packs. Safe back at Paine Grande and finding no entertainment from our Chilean playing cards (not actually playing cards, oops) we mosied into the Refugio, scored a free dessert and then naughtily succumbed to pre-finish beer at the bar - perhaps cursing our days to come. The wind that night kept us up, rattling our tent like a cage full of monkeys and instilling a mild fear for the external state of our accommodation and how that would fare in days to come.
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  • Day192

    Day 4 started with a stunning sunrise, the pinkest I've seen - so beautiful in fact that we forgot to heed it's 'red sky in the morning' warning. We trekked on through some really (I mean REALLY) strong gusts and up to Camp Italiano, under a darkening sky. Italiano is CONAF operated and free, so you can say goodbye to refugios and flush toilets. We found long drops and a cooking shed smaller than the kitchen at Windmill Rd to accommodate the now numerous free loaders. We pitched our tent around lunchtime, dropped our bags and darted up Valley de Frances under developing rain and brutal winds. Before we knew it we were sodden from head to toe and beginning to freeze under the icy conditions. We were almost at the snow line and we could hear distant avalances crashing down the face of the mountain and out of the clouds every 15 minutes or so. Just before the first lookout (or Mirador if your speaking spanish) my knee locked up. The same injury that causes you not to make it home on a MERC run. I crawled to the lookout which was horrendously wild! With rain and wind battering the exposed hill and ripping through any cracks in layers, I hurriedly decided to pull the pin and hobbled the hour or so back down, livid with the weather and my incapable limb. Fearless Cat however, marched onward to the second lookout even further into the storm and can report both the weather and the view were worse. We returned separately to a wet and now very muddy campsite with next to no shelter and an ever increasing number of wet and cold hikers. Getting warm and dry involved some acrobatics in the tiny tent followed by a few hours listening to podcasts in our sleeping bags. By the time dinner rolled around we were very unenthused at the thought of cooking and getting wet again. Due to a rather large and recent forest fire, CONAF forbids any form of fire (cigarettes and gas stoves included) to be had in any location other than those specified. Unfortunately the only location within 10km of Italiano was a tiny wooden shed with one small picnic table and a floor resembling a pig pen on a wet day. It was jam packed with hikers and all their wet gear, leaning over each other and reaching between. It was probably one of my most awful cooking experiences and made hostel kitchens seem like heaven. To make matters worse, getting water from the river involved getting drenched and a tricky little descent for which my crook leg did not thank me for. Undoubtedly the least enjoyable night on track.

    We rose to a break in the rain, a dry tent and were on the track for another glorious sunrise which lifted our spirits from the gloom of the the previous day's shortfalls and failures. When I say sunrise, I mean pink skies. We never actually saw the sun. The sky just went pink and then the day was light. It was as if nature was playing a magic trick and we had to guess how the act was done. Two hours of rain free walking with more marvellous views and many chocolate raisins was enough to bring us up to full spirit, despite my distinctive hobble, monotonous moaning and snails pace. If I weren't carrying her tent, I have no doubt Cat would have left me on that mountain.

    Day 5 was a big day. We had 25km to cover which included the climb to our highest camp and the past few days and nights had begun to take their toll on the bodies (injury or otherwise). Despite taking it easy we managed to climb to Chileno in good time for a long stop before our final ascent. That of course, was after watching a pair attempt to cross a football field sized bog in trainers whilst trying not to wet their feet - ever more grateful that we invested in expensive waterproof boots! Chileno was another flashy Refugio in which we cowered near their fire, and took a break from the rain which had settled in over the last few hours. We had a cheeky game of chess and bode our time, not wanting to spend any longer at the next camp than was absolutely necessary. With a couple of hours before dark we set off to Camp Torres (another freebie) in the wind and rain.

    As we neared camp it was still raining and we turned a little loopy, as if it couldn't get any worse than five days without sun. Then it started sleeting. Bitterly cold sleet stung the face just enough to hide the tears. And then the magic - just before dark and whilst we were setting up our tent - it snowed. I'm not talking inches but there was a layer of snow on our tent. There was shelter in the forest and the wind eased and for a teeny weeny moment I enjoyed the snow. Then my wet hands froze, our tent got sodden and the admin of cooking and bedding ourselves seemed like an insurmountable task. Fortunately, the tiny cooking house was filled with just the right amount of people including some friendly Chileans with whom we dined with and managed to con into planning the next part of our trip for us. Chocolate, Pisco and hot water bottles were just what we needed to see us through our last night. We dozed off to another podcast, praying and dreaming for at least a cloud free sunrise.

    Our prayers were unanswered and our dreams still just dreams as the next morning it was still raining. Or snowing, I couldn't tell. Our aim was to make the highest mirador on the 'W' before sunrise to witness the spectacle of the sunrise on the towers. The towers of Paine. And no, despite what we thought could be nothing other than the truth, towers of pain is not the literal translation. Paine is an indigenous word for 'blue'. Lame. Getting out into the rain was tough, but the pack free climbing was a welcome change from the day before. It was snowing and windy but hope pushed us onward to the top. After an hours climb in dark, we huddled under a rock and waited in the windy snow, eating cookies and drinking lemonade like a kid in a candy store. To crush our dreams, the sun rose unceremoniously behind cloud and the spectacle of the towers were partly visible for a brief moment before sealing the day in agonising grey cloud, biting winds and more snow. A view for which we had put so much effort into, withheld by relentless bad weather. Two very unhappy hikers descended back to camp to pack up a miserably wet tent and start the four hour trek out of the park.

    We hadn't walked that fast all trip, smashing the descent and all our remaining food in under three hours, feeling no sorrow for those ascending to our wet and wild origin with tents, ponchos and assorted flailing items soon to be drenched or blown away. The extent of just how close to the end of the season we came was reinforced with the Chileano staff taking selfies in front of the 'Closed for the Season' sign. Notwithstanding, the view of the valley and park below the cloud was impressive - perhaps the view we needed to remind ourselves as to why we just endured what we did. We reached the Torres Hotel at the base just as another blustery squall blew through, stinging the face with horizontal rain. Perhaps natures idea of a slap on the bum and 'thanks for coming'? A short wait and a confusing bus system later and we were on our way to warmth and comfort. We had completed just over 100km of trail in some fairly adverse conditions and although we missed out on the view from a few key miradors, I remain convinced the beauty of the park is in a league of its own. Perhaps next time we won't hike it on the last six days of the season.

    Hot showers, soft warm beds, Chilean lamb AND steak, beer, and red wine rounded off a fantastic last night in Chile, despite the pouring rain. No surprise there. It's been a while since we really appreciated heat, sleep and good food and we won't be taking it for granted again anytime soon. Bye for now Chile, Argentina here we come!
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  • Day45

    Nach 14 Stunden Busfahrt sind wir Los Antiguos, eine kleine Stadt an der Grenze zu Chile, angekommen. Wir hatten nämlich vor, nach Chile zu den Höhlen aus Marmor zu gehen. Theoretisch wären es 160 km, also für patagonische Verhältnisse ein Katzensprung. 🙈
    Wir hatten uns eine Airbnb Wohnung als Übernachtungsmöglichkeit für 2 Nächte gebucht, wir gingen ja davon aus, dass wir am Abend wieder in Argentinien wären. Unserer Gastgeberin Susana hat uns sogar vom Busbahnhof abgeholt und uns ein bisschen das Städtchen gezeigt. Sie fragte uns was wir denn für Pläne hätten und wir erzählten es ihr. Sie meinte, sie hilft uns dabei eine Tour zu buchen. Also telefonierte sie mit dem Touranbieter. Dieser sagte ihr dann, dass er wahrscheinlich keine Tour anbieten wird, weil es zu wenig Interessenten gibt. Genau kann er es aber erst am nächsten Morgen sagen.
    Na toll sind wir jetzt umsonst hier her gekommen?! 😞 Also haben wir einen Plan B geschmiedet und sind hoffnungsvoll ins Bett. 🙈
    Am nächsten Morgen, sagte sie uns dass die Tour hier nicht stattfindet. Aber sie hat nochmal nachgefragt auf der Chilenischen Seite gibt es wohl mehrere Anbieter, die vielleicht was anbieten. Nur müssten wir dann in Chile übernachten, da die Grenze um 20 Uhr schließt. Ok alles klar, lass es uns versuchen. 🙈
    Susana hat sich dann als Privattaxi angeboten. Wir sind durch die Argentinische Grenzkontrolle und dann noch etwa 3 km bis zur eigentlichen Grenze gefahren. Dort standen zwei Minibusse, Susana legte ne halbe Vollbremsung hin und fragte, ob die nicht zufällig nach Puerto Rio Tranquilo fahren. Zu unserem Glück sagte einer der Beiden ja. 😁
    Gut wir kommen heute doch noch zu unseren Höhlen. 😁 Wir sind in den Bus eingestiegen und der Fahrer sagte, wir müssen noch auf andere warten die gerade von den Grenzkontrollen her laufen. Er dürfe nämlich nicht über die Grenze. Solange wir angekommen soll es uns recht sein. Als alle da waren sind wir zur Chilenischen Grenzkontrolle gefahren. Der Zollbeamter hatte es irgendwie mit meinem Nachnamen. 🤔 Er hat bestimmt drei mal gefragt, ob das wirklich mein Nachname ist. 😂
    Also gut, ihn versucht zu überzeugen und ich durfte weiter. 🙈
    Nachdem der ganze Bus abgefertigt worden ist, sind wir los. Ihr müsst euch vorstellen das war ein alter Bus, bestimmt 15 Jahre alt und dazu dann die nicht asphaltierte Straße. Das hat vielleicht geruckelt. 😂🙈
    Die Strecke war aber wieder Landschaftlich echt schön. Hat sich tagsüber auf jeden Fall gelohnt. 😊
    Nach 4 Stunden Busfahrt sind wir dann angekommen. Dort erstmal wieder die Ernüchterung, die Tour wird heute wahrscheinlich nicht stattfinden. Das kann doch nicht wahr sein. 😑
    Der Busfahrer erklärte den Tourguides dann, dass wir für morgen Abend einen Bus haben und deshalb unbedingt heute die Tour machen müssen. Er hat uns dann doch irgendwie eine Tour organisieren können. Puh schon wieder Glück gehabt. 😅
    Wir sind auf ein kleines Boot gestiegen und es ging los. Durch den Fahrtwind und das aufsprizende Wasser war es echt kalt.🤤
    Dafür wurden wir von den beeindruckenden Höhlen entschädigt. Unglaublich was die Natur alles anstellen kann. Wir sind mit dem kleinen Boot auch in die Höhlen reingefahren und konnten den Marmor anfassen. War teilweise vom Wasser echt glattgeschliffen. 😄
    Die Rückfahrt war dann vor allem für Irina feucht fröhlich. Da das Wasser sehr unruhig war, schwabte es öfter mal über die Kante und das bei fast minus Graden. 🙊
    Nach dem Aufwärmen sind wir dann wieder zurück nach Chile Chico. Während der Fahrt hab ich dann sogar einen Gaucho auf seinem Pferd gesehen. Er sah echt wie im Film aus. 😄
    Ich habe noch nie so einen klaren Sternenhimmel wie bei der Rückfahrt gesehen. Die Busfahrt wurde dann auch noch etwas abenteuerlich, da ihm ein Licht kaputt ging und man echt wenig gesehen hat. Einer Kuh konnte er auch erst in letzter Minute ausweichen. 🙊
    Sind aber dennoch heil angekommen. Er hat uns dann noch zu einem Freund gefahren, der ein Hostel Hat, dort konnten wir recht billig Übernachten. Dafür war es aber auch echt kalt. 😨
    Naja für eine Nacht war's okay.
    Am nächsten Morgen hat uns der Hostelbesitzer wieder zur Grenze gefahren. Wir mussten dann von dort laufen. Zum Glück hat uns dann Susana mit Frühstück begrüßt und wir durften sogar dort Duschen und alle Räume nutzen bis unser Bus am Abend fährt. 😊
    Motto des Ausfluges war übrigens "Wer macht denn sowas". In Deutschland würde uns nie einfallen, 8 Stunden irgendwo hin zu fahren, um 2 Stunden dort etwas anzuschauen. 😂
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  • Day105

    Heute ging es mit einem kleinen Schritt zurück in die Heimat. Wir teilten uns morgens ein Taxi mit einem amerikanischen Paar auf Hochzeitsreise und fuhren zum Flughafen. Dieser ist sehr klein, also ging das Einchecken flott. Mit einem Zwischenhalt in Puerto Montt, wo einige Passagiere aus- und andere wieder einstiegen ging es nach Santiago. Von der Stadt selbst wollten wir aber gar nicht so viel sehen. Wir kamen am späten Nachmittag an und am nächsten morgen sollte unser Flieger um 6 Uhr starten. Wir mieteten uns in einem Hotel in der Nähe des Flughafens ein und organisierten uns erst einmal unser Checkin für die Heimreise. Das Restaurant sollte erst um 19 Uhr seine Türen öffnen und so verbrachten wir noch etwas Zeit vor dem Fernseher. Irgendwann ermahnte David Lisa doch nicht so auf dem Bett herumzuwackeln. Die Antwort: "Ich wackelt gar nicht." Brachte uns dazu loszurennen. Denn das Haus wackelte. Und wie. Auf Socken rannten wir auf den Flur! Auf dem Weg zum Treppenhaus fiel eine Vase vom Tisch. 6 Stockwerke mussten wir zurücklegen. Auf der Hälfte gab es großes Geschäpper. Wir rannten schneller! Als Lisa unten ankam, war das Erdbeben auch schon vorbei. Die Lampen in der Lobby schwankten immer noch ordentlich hin und her! Zitternd vor Schock standen wir erst einmal vor den Türen des Hotels. Die Hotelangestellten blieben ganz ruhig und versuchten die Gäste ebenfalls zu beruhigen. So etwas passiere hier häufiger, die Gebäude sind extra so gebaut, dass sie Erdbeben sicher seien. Eine 6,9 auf der Richterskala war es trotzdem. Für uns eine Erfahrung, auf die wir gerne verzichtet hätten! Ein Hotelgast erwischte das Erdbeben unter der Dusche. Sie stand mit nassen Haaren und einem Handtuch bekleidet draußen und das Wasser lief noch. Zum Glück war mittlerweile 19 uhr und wie ließen uns im Restaurant nieder. Im Erdgeschoss damit wir flott wieder draußen sind. Wir bestellten Bier und einen Pisco und damit ging es direkt etwas besser. Außerdem mussten wir ja noch die chilenischen Peso ausgeben. ;)Read more

  • Day236

    I'm already in love with this trek. Most day was quite challenging, but even more rewarding. I crossed 2 passes, the first one with lots of snow and the second one with beautiful views of Cape Horn (pic 5). The trail is so diverse, from meadows to rocks, swamp and scrambling over boulders. And so is the weather - rain all night, lots of snow on the pass, some sunshine in the afternoon.

    After a hot dinner, I'm now laying in my cosy sleeping bag as snow has been falling peacefully on my tent for almost an hour. Hope I stay warm :)Read more

  • Day28

    After setting camp in Paine Grande in a quiet secluded spot we were soon surrounded by over 20 American teenagers. Our peace was shattered. We set off earlier today around 10 am, still late for trekking, and ambled through rolling hills towards Campamento Italiano and the French Valley.

    After 2 hours we started to hear thunder despite the clear blue skies above. Every 30 minutes a crashing sound would echo around the park with no sign yet of its source. We continued on through a forested area with large granite mountains looming above, and the large aquamarine Norweigan lake starting to the left.

    When we arrived in Campamento Italiano we were assesed by the ranger for suitability, as going up the valley can take 3 hours and he decides when to close the trail for the day. We passed his assesment, and gleefully put our big packs down in a mound of backpacks and switched to day packs. Trekking with no weight is the most amazing feeling!

    Whilst James started his run (I'm not kidding, he can run uphill and down like a mountain goat) to the top viewpoint, I sneaked into a guided group up to the first viewpoint about halfway up. A good guide, he set a gentle pace up the steep valley, and the only thing I had to worry about was being stabbed by the walking poles of the rather elderly gent in front who liked to swing them backwards haphazardly instead of using them.

    Once we arrived at the viewpoint the source of the thunderous noise became clear. Avalanches of snow would fall down the steep slopes of Paine Grande mountain. I sat here for a few hours; first listening to the talk of the tour guide about how all the park was formed. Once the tour group decended I chatted away to fellow trekkers from Germany and South Korea whilst watching the avalanche show unfold.

    Once James was back from his run still in one piece, we headed down together, picked the unwelcome big pack and carrried on to Camp Frances. Here we camped on platforms in the trees using hammer and nails to keep the tent in place. It had THE hottest shower with rainfall head. James ran down to the shop an bought us a beer to share before bed. I was in camping heaven!

    Number of blisters=0
    Number of km= 14
    Number of Holas=>500
    Ibuprofens=4
    Number of beers that tasted of ambrosia=1/2
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  • Day22

    Today I arrived in Puerto Natales, the town from which I will head to Torres Del Paine national park and start my five day hike. We got a bus from El Calafate which took 7 hours as two hours were spent at the border to enter Chile. Which means I am also officially now in Chile :)

    Carmen and I tried to bring a flimsy supermarket bag with half an onion, half a pepper and some cooked rice in it across the border. Carmen kindly left me to declare it and laughed as I eagerly informed every official person I met that 'tengo una cebolla' while shoving the manky bag at them. The rice made it but the onion and pepper, sadly, did not.

    The bus was luxury and we were on the top deck right at the front. Winner. We ate a packet of biscuits each. Another win.

    Puerto Natales seems cool. It feels quite a bit 'further down' the continent than the other places I have been to so far. It's not quite the furthest south that I will go but nearly.

    The hostel is nice and homey and has a kind of primitive Aga meaning it is very warm. The house has been in the owner's family for three generations.

    I met some very enthusiastic Germans including Dennis who played Numb over his speakers and kept spasming with excitement over how many things he had to look forward to.

    Talking to others who have been through Chile already (going the opposite way to me), there is so much to do and look forward to over the next month or so! It's hard to remember to focus on the here and now when you hear all about the places you will be heading to in the future. I must take time to appreciate where I am at the moment! On the 1st I will start my trek. I'm excited about travelling across Torres Del Paine NP and quite excited about going off on my own (although it is a very well trodden path so I'll probably see a lot of other people). I'm even looking forward to cooking on a little camping stove although I'm sure after pasta dish number 7 the novelty will have worn off. Hopefully my knees will survive (they've been struggling a bit recently)!

    --

    I've had a long sleep and today I roamed about and bought shit tonnes of pasta for my walk. Carmen has gone off to do a day trip as she hasn't booked the 5 day trek. Feels weird without my shadow! PN is next to the water and has lots of low, colourful houses and large mountains swooping in the background by the water. I really like it. It's peaceful. There are two groups here: locals (fisherman or hostel owners by the looks of it) and gringos (backpacks and off to do the trek) but the gringos haven't made the town gross and touristy, oddly enough. There is still a lot of charm and a lack of horrible buildings and all the usual stuff that comes with lots of tourism.

    Later I'm going to a talk about the TDP walk as I cannot resist a slideshow! Sadly I'm coming down with a cold...which is hovering around my chest...I also look like Reese Witherspoon from Wild with my backpack on...so wish me luck :P

    Pic 1- slide as an exit from a school
    Pic 2- coffee excitement post-bus
    Pic 3- nice house
    Pic 4- at the cemetery, all like this
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  • Day249

    Today wasn't the toughest, but certainly the longest hike I've ever done. I started a bit before sunrise in the dark and got to my next camp just after sunset. A total of 13.5 hours on the trail.

    So in short: Patagonia rocks! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

    Here's a 360-view of one of my favorite spots along the hike :)
    https://goo.gl/photos/QQ5AmmzGyzvGFMff8

  • Day29

    Today we were more prepared, up and ready to go just after sunrise. We had a lot of kilometers to cover all in a general uphill direction from Camp Frances all the way up to Campamento Torres.

    The walk started again in blue skies with no wind, so as we walked along the side of a lake it looked like a mirror reflecting the great mountains above. We ambled along rolling hills in peace and quiet until a ranger on a horse burst out of the wilderness followed but two timid Americans. How not to do the W trek.

    The skies staterd darkening and a light rain fell for the rest of the day. I was thankful as it helped cool me down. We reached a sign declaring a short cut up to our destination. It really didn't feel like a short cut! Through boggy fields we trekked, getting our shoes soaked in mud more than once and when trying to find footholes my trekking pole wouldngo more than half a meter deep.

    Passing a British couple we warned them of the bog to come and in return I asked how far the next camp was. They replied miles and miles with smiles. Having already done miles and miles, I doubted them very much and set off to prove them wrong.

    A gruelling constant uphill later we joined the normal path and soon could see an alpine hut with inviting smoke poring from its chimney. We had made it to what a few had dubbed "Disneyland". We had been warned that this camp entices you in with warmth, beer and food. A honey trap, if you stay to long you won't be able to make it to your own campsite further up the valley, and they charge you extortionate prices to stay!!

    As we were making good time (take that British couple!), we had a quick sandwich and a drink before escaping up the valley to our last campsite at the base of the towers climb. A free campsite it was basic but quite picturesque in a sheltered forest with a stream running through the middle. We set up camp and ate early knowing that we had to get up very early the next morning to see the sunrise.

    Number if blisters= Still 0!!
    Number of km= 23ish
    Number of holas= I stopped counting
    Number of expensive sandwiches=2
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Chile, Chile, Chili, Kyili, ቺሌ, Cile, تشيلي, تشيلى, Çile, Tsile, Чілі, Чили, Sili, চিলি, ཅི་ལི་སྤྱི་མཐུན་རྒྱལ་ཁབ།, Čile, Xile, Şili, Chilska, ޗިލީ, Tsile nutome, Χιλή, Ĉilio, Tiiili, Txile, شیلی, Cilii, Kili, Ch·ili, Sily, An tSile, An t-Sile, ચિલી, Yn Çhillee, Cayile, Chṳ-li, צ׳ילה, चिले, Csile, Չիլի, Chíle, チリ共和国, tciles, ჩილე, ឈីលី, ಚಿಲಿ, 칠레, چلي, Shiile, Chilia, Síli, ຊິສິ, Čilė, Shili, Čīle, Чиле, ചിലി, चिली, Ċili, ချီလီ, Tsire, Chíilii, ଚିଲ୍ଲୀ, چېلي, चिलि, Cili, Čiile, Shilïi, චිලී, Cilé, Czile, சிலி, చిలి, ประเทศชิลี, ቺሊ, چىلى, چلی, Ciłe, Chi-lê (Chile), Cilän, Tchili, 智利, Чилмудин Орн, טשילע, Orílẹ́ède ṣílè, i-Chile