Live #83, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile (Day 2)
13/04/2015 I was happy to leave the rat-infested camp of the first night behind and fixed the holes in my new tent. Happy for the sun to provide warmth after a cold morning, I soon got to see the first splendid views on Glaciar Grey in the distance. My plan was to hike up to Paso John Gardner, but I knew that the circuit was officially closed and when two french hikers passed me on the way down after being sent back from a ranger, I had to come up with a damn good first impression in order to convince him to let me pass…
I was not particularity pleased with the first night. Rats were attracted to my new tent, trying desperately to give me some company inside and they would even climb up the trees and then jump on top of my little home!! I did not get a lot of sleep since I was either annoyed by the noise they made or busy hitting their little noses poking through the tent. After fixing it with duct tape in the morning, I started to hike at 09:30 while everyone else was still having their breakfast. The sun showcased the grass in a beautiful golden color on the ground while the horizon was filled by blue sky and the majestic mountains – such a delight for the eye!
I reached a good spot with a view on the lake and unwrapped all my wet equipment from the morning temperatures while having lunch and waited for the others to arrive. They turned up about 90 minutes later, just when I was about to leave. We walked together for a bit along the picture perfect lake, reflecting mirror images from the peaks inside of it. The couples needed another break and I was heading towards Camp Grey on my own again. Walking up a gentle slope, I could finally see the ice cap of the Grey Glacier for the first time. The view was just incredible and I could not wait to get closer to it!
Approaching Camp Grey, I was not sure if anybody would try to stop me to move forward toward Paso John Gardner, which I knew was closed off. I just walked right through the camp and nobody tried to stop me, so my hopes were high to actually make it to a smaller camp called Las Guardas up the hills for the night before heading to the pass the next morning. The path led me close to the glacier for some great views before entering a forest again, containing a lot of hard-working woodpeckers that were not disturbed at all by my presence.
Further along the trek, I met two french hikers that were just sent down by a ranger patrolling high up to the entry of the John Gardner pass. I was not happy to hear the news and hoping to make friends and convince with him to let me pass. Crossing a huge hanging bridge over a big gorge, I actually ran into the ranger just 20 minutes after. My plan to leave a good first impression worked out perfectly and I could actually continue my trek!
He judged me as an experienced hiker and allowed me to continue my trek up until the pass, even telling me about hidden food supplies near the old camp. I promised him to report back the next day at his ranger house close to the lake and set up my tent on top of a thick layer of moss, making sure I would have a much more comfortable night compared to the first! I even had time to trek through the forest for about five minutes to get a good view on the glacier and the last minutes of sunshine, before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. No rats should be around in this altitude either, so I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep finally…
Day 2 Statistics: Distance hiked: 24km Time spent: 6h 20m
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