Torres del Paine National Park

Wednesday 28/03

Alarm clock at 6am.

A shuttle comes at 7am to pick us up. It brings us in town “centre” to catch the big bus. It’s a 4×4 truck. It’s full (45 other tourists). We are a bit cramped.

We join this one-day tour to the Torres Del Paine NP since it was the easiest way for us to go directly to the park from El Calafate. We indeed want to start the well-known W trek tomorrow (from the east part).

The Torres Del Paine NP is Chile’s showpiece park of spectacular peaks, glaciers and forest.

It takes nearly 3 hours to reach the park (including the 2 borders crossings). We’re back in Chile.

The weather is unfortunately not great.

We do many stops, including the (green) Laguna Amarga. We see guanacos (which are from the same family as the alpacas and the lamas) along the way, as well as Darwin’s rheas. 

Lunch is not great. We eat it in the bus because the wind is too strong (and too cold) outside. It snowed last night (although the summer basically recently ended) and most of the mountains have snow!

One of the stops is at a waterfall (‘Salto Alto’) but the access path is closed due to the high wind (100 km/h). Our guide manages to convince the rangers to let us go. It’s our only walk of the day so Isabelle and I join while the kid stay (wisely) in the bus. We come back after 30’ with our trousers completely soaked!

We pity the other people of the bus who came for one day, from Argentina, to see the Torres del Paine NP and who hardly saw something due to the weather. For us, it was less important since we have now 4 days to explore it.

The bus stops us at the ‘Administración’ office, where a shuttle comes and pick us up to bring us (10′) to Refugio Torre Norte. ‘Refugio’ is a basic shelter for trekkers. We have a room for the 5 of us, with 3 bunk beds (with bedsheets and blankets). It’s quite nice in fact, much better than I had imagined.

It’s 5:30pm. We take a warm shower and then chill a bit. Even inside, it’s not warm…

We go and eat at 7:30pm. Isabelle indeed organized not only the accommodation in shelters (instead of camping) but also the meals (3 per day). Moreover we sleep twice 2 nights at the same place so we won’t need to carry our bags (except for 4 hours on the last day). What a “luxurious” way to do this W trek (I wouldn’t have liked to do it otherwise anyway…). 

So we basically have 4 days to do the W trek. We have one day of buffer (for the bad weather) and we have one day of transfer (by shuttle and boat) for a part that is apparently not the most striking one. We’ll basically walk the 3 vertical parts of the W but not one portion (the right one) of the horizontal part. 

Tomorrow is the most difficult day of the trek (and one of the most demanding days of our whole world trip): we have a 8-hour trek (4 hours uphill and 4 hours downhill) to hike up to the base of the famous ‘Torres’ (weather permitting of course; we couldn’t see them today…). We are afraid of the weather (not only of the cold but also of the very strong wind).

Dinner is good; it’s a 3-course meal, with chicken and purée as main course. 

We are in bed by 9:15pm.

Ludivine and Isabelle read till 10pm and I write till 11:30pm. We can hear the wind blowing very strongly outside.


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