12/04/2015 Torres del Paine… Everyone who ever thought about going to Patagonia certainly knows about this location. It is utterly breath taking and I saved it for the end of my trip in southern Chile. Making my way from Puerto Natales, I came prepared with enough food for the six day hike around the famous towers. Check out this update to find out what happened during the first day hiking to Mirador Condor and especially about the unexpected visitor in the night, preventing me from getting any sleep.
I was once again in the right spot at the right time, purchasing the round trip bus tickets to the Torres for just 10.000 pesos, rather than the usual 15.000 pesos. The bus left early in the morning and took two hours, dropping me and a few people I met in the bus between the first and second of overall three stops. From there, we hiked up to a viewpoint called “Mirador Condor” after paying the 18.000 entry fee earlier. We also received our badges, which stated all the (partly ridiculous) rules about the park as well as the closing times of each camp site. Being in off season, we should not have too many troubles with rangers though and I would even try to do the complete O-trek rather than the standard W-trek even though the maps indicated that it would be closed. Let’s see… 🙂
After some rain in the morning, we hiked up to the Mirador in perfect weather conditions. Making a little loop through the grass, we eventually reached the viewpoint and were stunned with the beauty of the landscape. The water, the mountains, the blue sky – everything was just so perfect and I was really curious if the remaining days could get any better than this! Heading down on the official path, we picked up our backpacks again and had lunch while some Caracara birds tried to snatch some of it.
The next part of the hike was along a long road for about 8km. Usually, you could try to hitch hike here, but we were five people and obviously not picked up by the few cars that passed. We stopped at Salto Chico, a small but very powerful waterfall close to a hotel with a nice view of the Mountains in the background. It actually turned out to be pretty amazing there! Heading back on the road, we reached the Administration soon after and split up when the two couples continued to the camp spot while I was having a bigger break to have a second lunch 🙂
Giving them a half an hour head start, I actually made it to the camp site at the same time. The hike was really pleasant along with the slowly setting sun, putting the fields in beautiful golden colours. A lot of clouds came up once I reached the camp site and it got dark pretty fast. Setting up the tent was the first priority now; and it was actually the very first time to use my new tent, purchased just two days ago. I gathered some hay below, hoping to provide some more comfort during the night after losing my inflatable sleeping matt.
The campsite was called campamento las carretas, but during the course of the first night I would have loved to rename it to campamento las ratas! Despite the fact that I was already hiding all my food in extra bags high up in the trees, I was still being harassed by one or two annoying little rats. The camp site was really dirty and we already anticipated them, but apparently having no food at all inside the tent was not enough to prevent any visits and it seemed like they were attracted to the smell of my brand new tent.
As if the annoying sound of the rat crawling around and even on top of the tent was not enough, it also tried to get inside and I ended up with 4 little holes in the tent, big enough for the rat to stick her nose through. Sleeping was, unfortunately, not an option for the first night…
Day 1 Statistics: Distance hiked: 22,5km Time spent: 5h 25m
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