Live #84, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile (Day 3)
14/04/2015 The third day of my trek in Torres del Paine National Park would finally lead me to one of the highlights: Paso John Gardner. I was happy to wake up full of energy after a very comfortable night without any rats around this time and had to cross a second hanging bridge, spanned high above the valley at an awesome viewpoint of the glacier. Taking pictures in that situation turned out to be pretty difficult because of the bridge’s movement..
A very unstable ladder helped me to climb down a cliff face and reach the second hanging bridge. Compared to the first one from yesterday, it was even longer and higher, resulting in even more vibrations as soon as you start walking on it. Throw in a tiny handrail and you got your self into a pretty shacky situation! Nevertheless, the view on the glacier from the middle of the bridge was just too amazing to not take any pictures, so I reached for my camera and carefully took some pictures while the bridge was still swinging. I’m usually not that afraid of heights, but in this situation I was just worried about dropping my camera and really relieved to have made it to the other side! I just wonder how people suffering from fear of heights are supposed to cross this stage of the trek…
The trek would lead me higher and higher, crossing several forest until I finally reached the wide open last bit towards Paso John Gardner. From here on, the complete ice field presented itself in front of me in an amazing panorama. Having seen multiple glaciers in my life already, I was familiar with the view but nevertheless still amazed about the visual effects it had on me. Staring at the immense collecting of moving ices for a while, I eventually started the last twenty minute ascent towards the pass.
Once I got to the top at 11:45, all I could see was a little pole with some flags on it. The view on the glacier from here was not as good as on the way anymore and the other side showcased a deep valley that is usually crossed to complete the O trek. The view towards that side was not too amazing though and I had no problems leaving it behind, instead going back the same way I came to reach the camp site and my backpack again – and a long overdue lunch!
After passing Camp Grey again around 16:30, I still had one thing left to do: Report to Esteban, the friendly ranger that let me pass yesterday! It was really easy to find his house and he seemed happy to see me again, even offering me to put up my tent next to his house at the beach instead of spending the 4300 pesos at the camp site. I went out to check the nearby viewpoint of the glacier and enjoyed the silence and cold evening of Patagonia’s autumn, without too many people around.
Heading back to Esteban, I was introduced to two of his friends and we spent the evening together watching some of my climbing movies, eating delicious freshly baked bread and having nice conversations. A situation I was certainly not expecting to end up in, but I was very happy that I did. After a rather cold shower, I crawled into my tent at the beach and woke up cold early morning. My tent was covered in frost and I witnessed the slow change of colors in the black night sky, before getting some more sleep and waiting for the sun to rise up behind the mountains in the distance..
Day 3 Statistics: Distance hiked: 20km Time spent: 8h 00m
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