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Patagonia -- 48 miles in 4 days!

CHILE | Monday, 9 March 2009 | Views [641] | Comments [3]

On the shore of a calcium-laden micro-life filled lake.

On the shore of a calcium-laden micro-life filled lake.

The Torres del Paine (Blue Towers) National Park in southern Chile has all the breathtaking scenery that you've ever heard about Patagonia, all wrapped up in mountainous landscapes complete with guanacos, glaciers, streams, forests, ice and condors.  The first day was a 5-hour van ride from Punta Arenas to the Eco-Camp at the park, where we stayed in a cute little geodesic dome for two, in a soft bed with flannel sheets and lotts of blankets.  The next day was the first walking day with our group of 16 American tourists and three Chilean guides.  We walked about 9 miles on fairly level terrain, nice sun, no wind or rain, to a little refugio hiker's camp.  We stayed in small cabanas, but many other hikers pitched tents nearby.  The next day we walked about 15 miles, and were nailed by driving wind and rain the last two hours.  Wet weather gear notwithstanding, we were *very* happy to see the next refugio, where we overnighted in 6-man bunk bed rooms.  The next day started out a bit gloomy, but it soon cleared up as we walked about 11 miles to the foot of a glacier, then relaxed a bit as we spent about two hours on a boat on the lake below the glacier.  We were dropped at a van pickup point and got a very civilized ride back to our start point three days earlier at the Eco-Camp.  The fourth day of walking was the toughest yet--a there-and-back walk from the Eco-Camp up some brutal inclines through a glacier-carved valley, about 13 miles round trip.  The glacier is gone now, but the signs of its passage are very evident.  At the top end of the valley, after ascending about 2500 feet in 6.5 miles, we were met with a 45-degree slope of terminal morraine rocks.  Average time to climb the 800-meters hand-over-foot was about an hour.  The view from the top was of course fantastic, as promised by the guides.  Then the descent and return to the Eco-Camp, which was almost as traumatic as the ascent.  Three days later, Anita still has one sore big toe, from the constant forward pressure of foot in shoe during constant steep descents.

Anyway, we survived, and I think we also learned a bit about ourselves.  If someone had told me that I would cover this kind of mileage in this terrain and weather, I simply would not have believed it.  Anita and I were pleased not to be holding the group up, and we think we acquitted ourselves rather well. 




The mountain behind you in that picture looks unreal!

  Bethanie Mar 10, 2009 11:03 AM


It was amazing to see! This is just one of the many scenes we saw...totally RAD man!

  Anita Mar 10, 2009 12:06 PM


Very impressed with the mileage covered trekking and the rugged places you go. How is the food? Language barriers?....doesn't sound like it. You guys are inspirational and perspirational!

  Stephen the Elder Mar 11, 2009 4:58 PM

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