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Torres del Paine - Day 5-6

Written on: Friday February 22nd, 2008

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Chile

Author: Julie


Yesterday, we spent a relaxing day in the lodge, sitting in the lounges and enjoying the privacy of having our dorm room to ourselves. Our roommates had left earlier that morning, but we had booked an extra day at the lodge just to relax and enjoy the views across the lakes and down into the Valle Frances. We had chosen the best day as it rained all day without stop. This is a rare occurrence in the national park, like previously stated you can expect all four seasons in one day, but for it to rain without stop is not seen often.We would look outside our room?s window to watch hikers packing up their sodden tents from the nearby campsite, or arriving on the trail looking miserable. Many would stop for an hour to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and to dry out a bit before continuing on their way to their next destination. A large group were forced to wait under the wing of the ranger?s roof overhang while their waited for the lake ferry to make its way across the storm-tossed lake to ferry they back to the other side where shuttle buses awaited to take them back to civilisation. Quite a few people were wearing ponchos, but that was more of a problem with the winds still being quite strong. They looked like windsails and spent most of their time trying to bring it down around their clothes to stay dry. It was poncho madness!

Today, our last day in the park, we woke up at 7 AM to have a quick breakfast at 7:30 AM for our 8 AM departure to our last destination on the trail. We had 4 hours to make to Refugio Grey at the head of the famous Grey. We had booked a boat cruise and didn?t want to be late for it. The trail was a bit gravely and steep at the beginning as we made our way out of the valley to the shoreline of Lake Grey. Our first site of the lake was amazing, with a small glimpse of the glacier far away glinting in the sun. Small icebergs that had calved from the glacier were floating down the lake with their brilliant blue color, catching our eye. It took us another couple of hours before we made it to the trail intersection that branched to either the glacier look-out or the refugio. With an hour and half to spare before our boat would be docking to pick us up, we decided to see the look-out. It was a gorgeous place with the glacier floating in the blue waters with little blocks of ice floating down towards us. Quite a few had grounded and were slowly melting on the shore. A good hour later, we descended the trail to the refugio and waited out our time in the cabin, eating our box lunch. The boat from the day before had been cancelled and quite a few people were waiting so it was a little late on coming to get us. It finally arrived an hour late. It drew a lot of water and couldn?t dock, so we got a fun little ride on a covered zodiac. We were greeted by the crew members who stored our bags and offered us glasses of whiskey or Pisco with ice from the glacier. Fancy, eh? We motored our way down and advanced quite near to the edge of the glacier when a large piece calved off and fell in a large thundering crack before us. The pilot reversed quickly to get away from the large wave that was created. We were rocked by a few ripples but it was an amazing experience. Once the waters had calmed we continue along the edge then turned and headed down the lake to where our shuttle buses were waiting to take us out of the national park. We were quite deeply in and by the time we arrived in Puerto Natales, we had taken four different buses and taken 6 hours. I was feeling quite tired by that time and at some point in absentmindedness I forgot my hiking boots in one of them. I only realised when we were only 30 minutes away from arriving in town. In panic, I hopped off the bus at the first bus stop and ran across to another bus that we had taken part way through the park to see if my boots were still on it but no luck. I met-up with Kevin at Erratic Rock that night with hope that someone at reception would have an idea of what I could do. Unfortunately, being 10 PM, there were all gone for the night. I went to bed that night tired and sad knowing my boots were somewhere on a bus calling out for me.