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Big Small Journey Off on the adventure of my lifetime: 5 glorious months of sun and snow in South America, then the UK for further fun and frolicking.

The hardest bitch on earth

CHILE | Monday, 14 April 2008 | Views [683] | Comments [2]

If you will forgive this bit of ego-flaunting, I just survived a very tough trek and feel like giving myself many pats on the back (and kisses on the arse). 

Torres del Paine ... it was take 2, and with many question marks on the way, I finally did it, conquered it and finished it. The Paine is a trek guidebooks and experts recommend for fit people, and right now, with the snow and wind conditions, most people were recommending against it altogether.

Kat and I went to the information session and heard that on that day, 30 people came back not having finished the trek because of hail and snow storms. We went anyways, with the idea we can turn back after the first day if all goes to the dunny. Many people were staying at the refugios (cabins with food, beds and heating), but we were going to camp and had brought food for 5 days. A lot of people said we were crazy for doing this, the season was ending and most refugios and ranger stations had closed. We weren´t the only ones camping though, but definitely in the minority.

Day 1: Took bus then catamaran into the park to Pehoe, started trekking at about 2pm. 4 hours of walking over hilly land, got snowed on a bit but the ground was firm and easy for walking. Got to Refugio Grey (near Glacier Grey) about 6pm, just as it was starting to get dark. We set up tent and went in the refugio to warm up. The guys running the refugio were very nice and let us cook in their kitchen. It started snowing quite a lot in the evening and weather conditions looked bad for the next day.

Day 2: Blue sky! Decided to trek back down to Pehoe and get to the next campsite (Campamento Italiano) for the night. Towards the end of the trek it started sheeting snow and rain down horizontally, we froze and hid out in the rangers cabin for a while. Weather cleared a little but not much, decided to stay in Pehoe for the night. Took a short walk (3hrs) down another path and saw magnificent views of the glacial lakes and islands. Rangers, extremely nice, let us sleep in their cabin (sort of an information center with rooms for employees upstairs). We slept near a fire on mattresses and was warm.

Day 3: Trekked to Italian (2hrs) left our packs and went up Valle Frances. Amazingly beautiful. It was mostly covered in snow about 70cms tall. Lots of slipping and slidding on the way down but the weather was very nice and saw beautiful forests blanketed in snow. Really needed ice trekking shoes or spikes, but made do! Walked to Refugio Cuernos where we set up camp. We cooked outside but Kat made friends with some guides who had a tour group there that night. They suggested we ask if we could sleep inside. The guys who ran it said yes. So again, we had warm and mattress to sleep on!

Day 4 (One of the tougest days of my life): Left Cuernos quite late, got lost many times on the way to Campamento Chileno. It was a 5 hour trek over rocky hills and by the lake. The last 1.5 hours was up hill and very very tough. My legs and hips ached like no tomorrow. It was slow going, but we made it up. At Chileno, we had to decide if we continue up to Campamento Torres so we can make it for the dawn sunrise, or stay and miss it. Everybody we talked to had said the trail to Torres was covered in snow and icy. We decided to brave it, and after about 8 or 9 slips and falls, made it to Torres just at sundown. Spent a miserable night in the tent, cold, mice running around trying to steal food.

Day 5: 6am start, up icy, snow covered slope, 60 degrees inclination or more, for 1.5 hours in the dark. Most amazing thing/crazy/exciting and physically demanding thing I have done that I can remember. Got up there with our stoves and pots, made breakfast and watch the morning sun fall over the towers, making it glow pink and orange. It was just sublime. We froze while we waited though. Ate breakfast, took lots of photos, and came back down hill. The down hill part was SOOO fun. Other people didn´t like it so much, but personally I quite enjoyed slipping and slidding down icey paths on my arse, thus desperately needing an arse massage right now. We packed up camp and trekked down to Chileno, then to Hosteria Torres, arriving about 1:30pm for our 2pm transfer out of the park.

I ache all over. But in a good way. I didn´t think I could do the whole W trek, but somehow made it. It´s a damn good feeling. I´m basically floating on adrenaline right now. For the next 2 days I will be sitting on the bus to Santiago, quite happy about that. Oh, and my feet are absolutely disgusting from being trapped in boots for so many hours in wet socks. Ew.

Comments

1

Hey Lucy,

Love your account of your trek to Torres Del Paine! Very entertaining but just a quick note Las Torres are Chilean not Argentine!

Great to hear you're having a blast chicky!!!

Take care & continue to enjoy! Are you doing the Inca Trail or have you done it already?

How good is Erica's cooking? WOOOOOO, it rocks!!!

Later
Besos
Vane...

  Vanessa Roa Apr 24, 2008 1:28 PM

2

Heya Vanessa...

Sooooooooo agree with you about Erica´s cooking, I ate SOOOO much. I keep saying that but I´m not exaggerating.

Haven´t done the Inca trail yet, hopefully in a weeks time. Going to Lake Titicaca today, and after that Cusco!!! I´m excited.

Hope you´re doing well!
xxoo
Lucy

  luchinko Apr 29, 2008 9:04 PM

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