The W Circuit – Day One

Day 14 – Sunday 21st October 2018
Day 1 : Puerto Natales – Refugio Grey
Distance travelled:-
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

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Helena Brogan says:

    Incredible photos….particularly seeing ice fields and Grey Glacier. The scenery is almost unbelievable…so many beautiful places in the world. I bet that tent looks inviting when you return from a hard days hiking. Glad you didn’t meet up with any pumas😾🙁I wonder how cold it is there?looks pretty chilly to me. Enjoy next stage of travels.xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there, it’s so beautiful here. I loved the Puerto Moreno Glacier for sure but seeing these ones, as they are less accessible to get to makes them extra special 😍. The sun setting on this was amazing, the colours wonderful ❤️. Yeah our super comfy tent is such a relief at the end of a hard day’s work 🙈. During the day when the sun is out it’s really hot, as soon as the sun goes behind clouds its cold. At night and in the morning very cold. But my super rented sleeping bag that weighed about 9 stone did the trick! X


  2. Alice Reid says:

    Beautiful photos Mary. Was surprised to hear from you so you must have found a WiFi signal out there in the wild😳 Do you think your little tent would protect you from a wandering puma or are they like bears and keep away from civilisation?You must b an expert on glaciers by now what with Iceland and Patagonia. Wished I could read the signs regarding the Pumas …nothing in English I see. 😈 How do you get on with the language or is English widely spoken. Loved the swing bridge!!!!
    Love God Bless and take care..
    Aunty Alice xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. We finished the trek yesterday and got back to hostel last night so uploaded post then. No signal in the wild! Hmmmm not sure if there was any protection in that little tent but you kind of forgot about Puma’s if I’m being honest and yeah I think they tend to stay away from civilisation…I suppose in months where they might struggle for food they come closer, it all depends. I’ll send you that picture on what’s app and you can get closer view of it. No one here speaks English, or very little actually, we’ve found that over the whole of our travels….so with my little Spanish (learned a few phrases) and their little English we get by….Andy used to live in Spain years ago so has remembered some phrases also! Thank you for loving my swinging bridge, I did too and played on it for quite a bit! X


  3. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    Lovely to hear from you and see your amazing pictures of the natural features of the landscape. I imagine your rucksack has got a bit lighter as the days passed. I can only imagine how it must feel carrying all your gear!! The picture of the suspension bridge and the views beyond is really special well worth the additional 5 mile trek. Looks a good spot where you pitched your tent guess you did not have any trouble sleeping after a full day of trekking.

    Theresa x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful isn’t it! You know what…that ruck sack got no lighter…you would think eh!!! It was that huge sleeping bag that was the pain to be honest with you….it was so heavy! It was a hard hike I am not going to lie …but the rewards were amazing so worth every single step. Yip that suspension bridge was stunning, even better was that no one was on the trail….it amazes me actually that you can walk for miles and meet no one….I like that….alone in the wild! Lol…no real troubles sleeping apart from when we had deadlines to meet as you knew you had to be up and away early so I think the anticipation kept me awake….all good though x


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