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Lucille's Adventures in Peru Av. Fatima 820, #703, Trujillo, Peru --- www.perumission.org --- "Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Hiking the W -- Day One

CHILE | Tuesday, 16 January 2007 | Views [832]

The views of the lakes and mountains on Day #1 were beautiful.  For now!

The views of the lakes and mountains on Day #1 were beautiful. For now!

Yesterday I was picked up at my hotel and taken to Puerto Natales.  There I met our guide, Basillo, and two other members of our group.  The four of us had a tasty lunch in Puerto Natales and then headed to the park and Eco Camp.  Basillo said there were four other ladies joining us at camp.  They took boats to get to the camp.  Had I known that was an option, I certainly would have chosen that!  And there was another couple that missed a flight and would be joining us later.  Turns out they had been on a boat to Antartica and got stuck in the passage when an engine failed and missed the flights from Ushaia to Punta Arenas.  They barely made it late Monday night.

Eco Camp was fantastic.  Just as it was billed.  The domes were comfy.  Mine had 2 twin beds and a table and chair.  They were very sturdy as we would find out later that night.  We met the rest of our group and had a cocktail and appetizer before dinner.  The dining hall was great.  A huge dome tent that had our table set for 11 each night.  9 clients.  Our guide Basillo and his assistant Maicha.  It would be the 11 of us for the next 4 days of hiking the W.  During dinner it got windy and started to rain a little bit.  That night the winds were so strong!  I literally thought my tent would blow away.  But it never did.  The next morning Basillo said there were 160km (or 100mph) winds.  Pretty sturdy tents!

Day one started with some traditional Patagonian weather.  Cloudy and windy.  We started our hike that would be 11 km to the Cuernos Refugio.  This was supposed to be an easy day.  We would walk along side this beautiful lake and the trail was well groomed and Patagonian flat (which we quicly learned meant lots of small up and downs).  We were told to always have our rain gear in our day packs.  I started out with the rain pants and jacket on and never took them off.  It only got worse.  There were many streams to cross on this trail and one river.  The first¨"stream" we got to was more like a small river to me.  It didn´t have a way across.  So, we started grabbing rocks and building a rock bridge to give us something to step on as we crossed.  We had several like this before lunch and Basillo mentioned that he can´t imagine what the main river must look like.  Well, it was a doozy!!  Huge Water!  It was 5 or 6 times what it normally is and higher than any of the guides had ever seen it.  There was a wire set up and we left all of our packs on one side and went across holding on to the wire as Basillo followed behind us holding on to us.  He and Maicha were up to their waist in water.  They then brought all of our packs and trekking poles over with them.  We had to do this twice because the river was so big.  there was a spot of dry rocks in the middle that you could assemble at to wait for the next crossing.  Definitely added a bit of adventure to the day.  Normally we have lunch at this spot, but it had started raining and it kept getting harder so we pressed on to the Refugio and all agreed. 

We go to the Refugio around 14:00.  It was packed with trekkers trying to dry off and stay warm.  There was a wood stove in the corner that was covered with wet clothes and boots trying to dry everything out.  We spent the afternoon drying out, playing cards, and waiting on dinner.  We all ate together that night.  Must say, the food at the refugio that first night was awful!  but breakfast the next day was a little better.  The refugio had rooms with 8 bunk beds in them and so we all were in one room, but for one of our group who they put in another room.  Our guides slept outside in a tent.  Weary from a rain soaked day and cranky trekkers at the Refugio, we had no trouble dropping off to sleep to prepare for Day 2.  One of the longest days of the hike.

The day was still fun despite the rain.  The rain gear worked great until the river crossing.  I just don´t think it is made to withstand waist deep rushing river water.  No way to stay dry through that!  But the views were still very beautiful and the hiking was good for day one.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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