Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Our Chilean Adventure Part 5

In case you are new here (welcome), Andrew and I just came back from a phenomenal trek in Torres del Paine, a national park in Southern Chile. We spent 10 days in the beautiful country with 5 days backpacking across the park. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

But onwards and upwards! Day 3 of the trek was a fun one. Finally I had gotten used to the literal pain of carrying a pack and was able to spend less time struggling (and more time enjoying). The trek is called the W circuit because you hike in the shape of the letter. Our first night was spent on the far left side at Glacier Grey and the second night we were at Campamento Italiano (in the middle of the W).
Campamento Italiano was a free campsite, which was great, but also challenging. There is a limited amount of space to camp in here and if you arrive and the area is all spoken for all you can do is trek another 2+ hours to the next place. That being said, it is gorgeous! The river that runs through it is as cold as ice (makes sense since it is Glacier water) and is stunning to look at. 

We knew the trek for this day would be challenging, but had it in our minds to wake up early and do a morning hike (without packs- thank goodness) to the French Valley, hike down after lunch, and then get a move on to make it a few more hours away to Refugio Los Cuernos. There was ample motivation for this... because we splurged and booked dinner at the refugio that evening. The thought of a meal cooked for us, wine, and someone else doing the dishes was too much to handle. Today was going to be a good day. And it was.

The weather gods looked down on us kindly  and the views at the French Valley where incredible! The incline, strange other trekkers, and 4 day old PB sandwiches couldn't put a damper on the AM hike. It was extraordinary. Instead of learning lessons like 'don't check your watch- you will be disappointed with how far you've gone' or 'put on your darn shoes- ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS COLD- to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night,' today I really saw the beauty OF the challenge. The trek by no means is crowded, but you do happen upon other people. 99% of the people we encountered were having the times of their lives. They were chatty, helpful, and enthused for the experience. At the top of the French Valley lookout was when we met the other 1%. No need to go into his grievances and challenges of the trail, but it made me look at myself and say 'grab onto this and embrace it'. There is such a slim chance that I will ever get the opportunity to do this again and it is incredible. I was thankful for this man and kept him in mind before opening my mouth later in the trip (well... most of the time). 

After the jaw dropping views, we headed down to camp. We needed to pack up ASAP and get back on the trail before our bodies cooled down. Temperature regulation was a challenge during the trek because it is chilly (60s would be warm), your body is pumping lots of blood, and you're going through a lot of calories. With the constant breeze, starting to sweat would really chill your body. Anytime we would take a break I had to try to keep moving as much as possible to avoid getting too cold. I swear my teeth chattered at least 5x a day. After packing up our tent, we were off for a beautiful trail along the lake's edge.

We were in such a good mood that day and the afternoon trek was quite pleasant with good views, good snacks, and great company. We made it to the refugio and were flabbergasted. It was the nicest oasis in the middle of a park... ever. They had warm showers (not that I took one), cold beers (definitely took 2), and even platforms for our tent. All this plus the fact that we had a warm dinner waiting for us... BEST DAY EVER. Andrew and I passed the time till dinner with beers on a patio and chatting with other trekkers. It was easily my favorite day of our time so far.

After being fed too well to recount, we took our full bellies and empty beer bottles to bed. A great day,



  1. The views are just incredible!! I mean what an experience and it's like the better version of Wild!! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Your trip looks amazing, lady! I am soooo jealous! My sister studied abroad in Chile so we visited her, but it was only for a week. I wish we had gone for longer so we could have hiked. I miss my empanadas!!! new follower!

  3. Wow...the scenery there is so stunning! My husband's been to Chile, but I haven't. Hopefully someday :)

    I'm new to your blog and can't wait to follow along!

  4. You can't beat these views! What a fantastic trip!

  5. I just can't get over those views! Gawh!

  6. All those views are so breathtaking! Love the last photo with the lake. :)

  7. I wouldn't have guessed that it would be a struggle to stay warm there. As always, your photos are stunning!