Five days in Patagonia

Lago Grey Glacier

GREY LAKE & GLACIER

After weeks of travelling solo in Northern Argentina, I was eager to hook up again with Brad, and we did so in Santiago. From here we headed south through the regions of Bariloche, El Chalten, El Calafate, and Pucon, with our ultimate destination being Torres del Paine. This was to be one of the highlights of our trip, the other being the luxurious cruise aboard the Via Australis across the Magellan Strait and the Chilean fjords to Ushuaia. So at last we were at Torres del Paine. As unprepared as we were for our accommodations along our planned hiking route, it took us just a short while to secure lodging at each stop along the way, all thanks to the fact we weren’t there during peak season. That little necessity out of the way, and our minds lighter, yet filled with the tension of excitement at what was to come, we headed out to pick up a few useful supplies for our journey, and got an early night’s sleep in preparation for the early morning bus ride the next day, and the start of our journey. Our journey would take us west to east along the great W trail, ending at Torres.

First day – After our bus ride and a short trip by boat we had reached Lago Paine and the beginning of our adventure. We promptly set off for Lago Grey and Refugio Grey. This first day was a special treat, and the view out over Lago Grey from the Refugio was splendid. We dined with a British couple that first night, and they told us of their recent commitment to travelling and experiencing the wonders of the world. I think after seeing sights like the ones here, anyone would be compelled to do the same.

HOSTERIA LAS TORRES

HOSTERIA LAS TORRES

Second day – Our next stop was Refugio Pehoe, and the hike there, with the awe-inspiring views of the Grey Glacier all around us, was gruelling but oh so worth it. We settled down that night in the Refugio, a much less cozy place than our stop the night before, but the appointments and food were everything we could want.

Third day – We thought the food from the night before had been great (and it was), but our next stop was truly a wonder. Maybe it was the long trip there which left us famished that made the food taste that much better, but we were truly surprised that anything made in this distant outpost could be that good. Our dinner there at the Refugio Los Cuernos was made all the more enjoyable by our company, another British couple, an eccentric French-Canadian, and a lady from Belgium. I think travelling really brings out the best in people, and it’s hard to imagine all the silly racial tensions in the world when you’re spending time with wonderful people like this. You really get a greater sense of being a part of the world, and not just part of an isolated community or country.

GREY LAKE in TORRES DEL PAINE

GREY LAKE in TORRES DEL PAINE

Fourth day – Myriam from Belgium tagged along with us all day the next day, and I guess girls are the same the world over, cause we chatted up a storm that would send any guy running for cover (though Brad bore it all with good humor). This hike took us to our last Refugio, the Refugio Las Torres. Along the way we crossed sprawling vistas and sparkling lakes, and even took a few gulps from some of the many torrents of water flowing down from the melting glaciers around us. You’ve never had cooler, more refreshing water in your life!

Fifth day – Finally, though it was a fantastic journey that we really didn’t want to see end, we had reached our goal, the Las Torres. Through forests and rocky plains we descended down to our starting point, the Refugio Las Torres. We enjoyed an early dinner, then hopped aboard the bus to take us to Puerto Natales. The Torres slowly sank away behind us as we headed for our next big thrill, our cruise on the Via Australis. It was a weird mix of regret at what we were leaving, and excitement for what was to come…