Boat ride from Pudeto to Paine Grande, and then a hike to Grey shelter.
After a shotgun planning session over a few beers we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Patagonia. We flew into El Calafate, Argentina and spent a few days exploring in and around the area. The next step was a bus ride from El Calafate to Puerto Natales, Chile. Puerto Natales is a jumping off point for all kinds of Patagonia adventures. From town, looking across the straights, we could see azure glaciers nestled at the head of each fjord. The following day we caught a bus to Torres Del Paine National Park, where we boarded a boat and our W adventure began.
As expected the wind gave us a welcoming blast as we departed Paine Grande.
Grey shelter to Paine Grande shelter with a detour to Grey glacier.
The first night, at Grey shelter, we shared our dorm with an elderly woman that hopped in and out of her top bunk with the ease and grace of a ballerina. After a nice evening in the Grey shelter we spent the morning hiking towards Grey glacier. Inspired by our senior roommate we set a brisk pace as we headed towards the glacier. Our quick pace came to an abrupt halt when we came across multiple cable bridges along our route. Towering over deep gorges the bridges bounced and swayed in the wind as we inched our way across. After getting a closer look at Grey glacier we back-tracked to Paine Grande for the night.
Paine Grande shelter to Los Cuernos shelter via Frances Valley.
On day three we departed from Paine Grande and made our way into Frances Valley. It was a very Patagonia kind of day. We had just about every kind of weather that you can, from snowing and blowing to sunny and clear. We lucked out when we got to our lunch spot the clouds cleared just enough to see the mountains looming above us. Jill saved the day by providing me a pair of gloves for the coldest part of the day.(I left mine at the junction with our packs) Thanks Jill!
Los Cuernos shelter to Los Torres shelter.
Day four was a tough one for me. After dealing with every kind of weather imaginable the day before, day four was just down right hot. To top it off I was coming down with something and wasn’t feeling 100%.
Los Torres shelter to Base de Las Torres lookout and back.
Our final day on the trail was amazing. We woke early and began our hike in the dark. Climbing up the first hill, with just the light of our headlamps, all we could think about was the stories of mountain lion sightings that we had heard. As we began the final climb to the Base de Las Torres overlook we came across dozens of people making their way down. Apparently campers at Chileno and Torres wake up early and hike up to the overlook to catch the morning light, which worked out great for us. By the time we made it to the overlook there wasn’t another person in sight. We had it completely to ourselves for a view minutes, which was priceless!
Overall this trip was everything I could have asked for. The three of us had a great time. My cheeks ached from all the smiling and laughing. Such and amazing trip with truly amazing friends. Thanks Jill and Adam!!!