Day 14 – Sunday 21st October 2018
Day 1 : Puerto Natales – Refugio Grey
By plane – 0
By foot – 30.3 kms/ 18.8 miles
By public transport – 204 kms/127 miles
Steps taken – 44,207
‘The greatest adventure is what lies ahead’….
We were off, we were actually doing this, trekking The W Circuit! I have been looking forward to this for so long. Trekking this means a travelling experience with a thrilling excitement!
Since I can remember I have always been in love with the outdoors. It’s always been with me, even in my earliest childhood.
‘If we were meant to stay in one place we’d have roots instead of feet’.
The Torres del Paine National Park is the undisputed icon of Patagonia. Not just because of its impressive Cuernos and Torres del Paine mountains, which are portrayed in thousand of postcards, but also because the Park is unique in bringing together pampas, forests, glaciers, mountains, lakes and rivers.
The parks trekking routes are considered to be some of the most impressive in the world and provide the best views of the Paine Towers and Southern Patagonian Icefield.
So we left Puerto Natales with the early bus (7am) and got off at the next stop at Pudeto, paying the park entrance fee.
This took around 3 hours in total including everyone getting of the bus to pay park entrance fee. We had an hour’s wait to catch the catamaran to Paine Grande, which left at 11am.
At this point the skies clouded over and the rain started slightly, many thoughts started to go through our heads!
After literally just arriving in Paine Grande we were off and the rain had stopped.
We started our 11km/6.8miles hike heading towards Refugio Gray on a path uphill along the Lago Grey with several lookouts.
I felt that some of the scenery here reminded me very much of the west coast of Scotland, we could have been hiking in Mallaig, or Arisaig
This was a pretty spectacular route already framed by a splendorous and dense Lenga forest which have staked their claim amidst fierce winds and tough climates.
Hardly a tree stands upright, all deformed so beautifully by the harsh winds that blast this land.
Before reaching Refugio Grey is Mirador Grey which is a lookout to Glacier Grey.
Grey Glacier makes up part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, third largest mass of ice in the world next to Antarctica and Greenland. Behind us was lake Pahoe, with its deep crystal blue water.
I find views like these utter mind blowing…just jaw dropping beauty, heart thumping, magical, unbelievable, awe-inspiring…do those words even do it justice?
‘The world is big and I want to get a good look at it before it gets dark”!
Just after the Refugio Grey we climbed some rocks to get a good view of the eastern side of Glacier Grey.
The whole trek took us around four hours which allowed us to arrive in camp pretty early and set up our tent for the night.
Home Sweet Home
But we didn’t stop at that. So after a hard struggle up hill, feeling like a camel, I had an amazing plan. I had read there were suspension bridges further up the trail which I wanted to check out. Good photo opportunities possibly… My partner in crime didn’t think so and was once again not amused!
So up we headed….I had read views were amazing and I got to see the suspension bridge…think the photos prove who was right once again….and for the record he ate his words!
It was about an 8km/5miles hike there and back.
The downside to this was that it was all uphill, and I mean a steep climb and we had just added more distance to our trek on top of the 11km mentioned but and this is a huge but, the upside was we were able to enjoy an amazing view of the Glacier Gray and some of the massive southern icefield….and once again we had it to ourselves.
It was so worth it.
Once we tore ourselves away from this beauty we headed back to camp to cook dinner….so tonight’s dinner consisted of pasta, chorizo, tomato sauce, fajita seasoning and parmesan cheese….and my god did it taste amazing!
We even had time to go to Mirador Grey viewpoint to watch sun go down and the moon go up….pretty cool.
By this time it was getting dark, we had already broken camp rules!
Signs all over the park
You weren’t ‘allowed’ to walk outside of camp in dark in case pumas were about…you would never have thought we had hiked all day with heavy gear on our back the speed we got back to camp!
Main camp building