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Trekking in Torres del Paine (Chile)

Written on: Thursday March 29th, 2007

A journal entry from: See you next year!

At first I wanted to call this entry "First Time Hiker", as this is about my experiences on my first multi-day-hike ever. But as I had been doing dayhikes before, I wouldn´t be writing about my first hike ever. During the last days however, I learned that a multi-day-hike can also be called a trek. So that made me trekking through Torres del Paine the last couple of days. Anyway, I just want to share some thoughts about the things I went through the last 5 days as a newborn outdoor adventurer.

To start with, I didn´t like the idea of hiking for a few days or trekking or however you call it. But as my other half does like it, there was no escape for me. And as I didn't do a proper trek before, we both agreed Torres del Paine would be a good first time to "practice". We chose Torres del Paine because it is a well marked trek, with a lot of so called "refugios" where you can sleep if you don´t want to sleep in a tent or don´t make it to the campsite. It is also a park well known for its beauty.

During the bus ride and boat trip to the "dropzone" I soon realized that trekkers must be rich because everybody seemed to be wearing expensive trekking gear (although the following days we did see a Japanese hippie couple wearing just hip adidas-sneakers and jeans, and they were fast as well). And to my relief I also saw that not everybody looked like they could run up and down mountains with a 20 kilo backpack on (there were all kinds of people, young and old, thin and not so thin), so that gave me hope I could do it. 

But when we started walking I was still a little nervous about what was to come and in doubt I could walk for 5 days with this backpack on. And I stayed this way for the first hours we were walking up and down the mountains, even though the landscape got more and more beautiful.

And suddenly something happened. I was walking up yet another steep slope and in the distance I saw something blue, which at first I couldn´t figure out what it was but soon after I realised that this was a huge glacier. And I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it. This had made the past hours of hard labour worth it. And at the end of the day we reached the campsite above the glacier, which was our goal for the day and I felt satisfied. Maybe I did like this trekking after all.

The next morning I wasn't so sure after a sleepless and cold night in a tent with my whole body aching. But as day 2 and some 20 km passed, it followed the same pattern as day 1. And so came day 3 and day 4. Even mosquitos or sandflies, or whatever bit both Ingrid and me causing a big swollen eye, couldn´t stop us from walking and moving from campsite to campsite. We (or me at least) felt like real heroes.

And when we were saying to each other we only had 5 hours of walking to do the next and final day we (or me at least) also felt like we were insane. Only five hours while I can´t be bothered to walk more than ten minutes at home. It must be the air or something.

The last day we were rewarded with the "Torres del Paine" lighting orange at dawn, thanks to a cloudless morning and some help from Sam who woke us up and made us sprint up the mountain in the dark. So in the end we did find the holy grail of Parque Nacional Torres del Paine.

After a day of rest the question is: was it all worth it? The answer to this is yes, because the scenery is stunning.

And would i do it again?  The answer to this question is yes, because Ingrid will make me. And that time I hope to be a little bit nicer during the preparations, although that´s hard as I still don´t like the idea of a multi-day-hike.





From Geri on Apr 1st, 2007

wow, dat is mooi! Geboekt btw, arriveer 16 juni in Cuzco! X G