TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK / chile

A place where you can see so many different landscapes in such a short time. Torres del Paine National Park is an outdoor oasis. About a two hour bus trip from the little village of Puerto Natales, you will find the gorgeous park. If you dare to get dirty, you can complete the ‘W-Trek’. A few nights in the Patagonian wilderness and you will really understand how special this place is. We chose to go pretty wild and camped with our tent, sleeping bags and not much else. Five nights of complete disconnect, it was tough at times but the scenery was mind-blowing! We began our trek on the Torres side of the park and looped back to Paine Grande, so we really did a backwards W. Each point of the W offered vastly different scenery, Torres, Francés and Glacier Grey. Here’s a rundown of our expedition.

BASE DE LAS TORRES LOOKOUT / About a three hour one-way trip from Las Torres camping zone and you will arrive at the towers of Torres. The palace of Patagonia! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind to us on arrival. Some snow and clouds still made for some mythical-like snaps and a great spot for some lunch after enduring some steep boulders. We then spent the night camping at Las Torres, the only warm showers of the adventure.

FRANCÉS VALLEY / After a long day of walking along Nordernskjöld Lake on day two we arrived at Italiano campsite. A free campsite, sheltered by huge trees on the low side of Francés Valley. The following morning we ventured up Francés Valley to Francés Lookout and then to Británico Lookout. A good three hour uphill walk through the snow covered autumn trees and we reached a complete 360 degree view. ASTONISHING! If there was one thing I learned on this foggy walk was that the clouds can clear at any time, if it doesn’t look like you can see anything, get going and the weather can change in a heartbeat. The middle of the W definitely delivered all of the scenery and will always be a memorable day.

GREY GLACIER / After staying the night at windy and chilly Paine Grande camping zone we were ready for our final up and down of the W. A three hour hike to the picturesque camping ground of Grey and we set up our tent for our concluding night. We then tackled a bit of a climb to the ‘hanging bridges’ on the trail towards Paso camping zone. Here, you can soak up some magnificent views of Glacier Grey. The ice field has a marble effect, reminding me of some beautiful Italian interiors, mother nature is truly phenonmenal. That night, we celebrated our finale with a pisco sour and cerveza at the Grey Lodge. The following morning, a short ten minute stroll from the campsite landed us at another lookout where you get really up close and personal with some icebergs floating in the chilly Patagonian waters. Pristine!

Completing the trek at the beginning of April was the ultimate time! Golden trees and less people, if you’re in Chile during Autumn you have to venture down South. The terrain and weather was harsh at times but I’m so proud that we completed it! Absolutely worth it!

Much love, Laura xx

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