Taking advantage of the good weather, which may not last long in Patagonia, I start the circuit going to the Torres. I meet Llerson, a very nice guy from Santiago, and the next day we get up early (at 3 am) to get to the viewpoint and see the sunrise. Spectacular!
Then I continue the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction, passing through the steppe and then seeing glaciers, and visiting the fantastic area of Lake Dickson.
One of the most spectacular days is the one that climbs the Gardner pass and you reach the Grey glacier for the first time, an immense mass of ice 28 km long and 6 km wide. Incredible! Here is a video of the site, without words!
Then I return to the W, with many more people, but scenic places like the French Valley.
Torres del Paine is like the Camino de Santiago trail where instead of reaching a church, you come to granite walls. People from all over the world visit it, and above all, Chileans, many of them with backpacks with things hanging everywhere.
There is an atmosphere of camaraderie between experienced people and people who walk for more than a day for the first time, and very basic camps, or camps equipped with showers and shelters.
It’s a bit crowded, but one of the best things is the people you meet, all of them with very different reasons for walking.
These are some of my travel companions:
Freda from New York. She rests in the shade of a tree looking at the landscape while her friends go up to see the Towers. We chatted for a while, and she told me: “Chileans complain about their country, Argentines are not happy with theirs and neither are you. And I’m from New York, and I’m not happy with mine either … So I wonder … Where are the people happy with their country? ” It seems that people really enlighten under the trees!
Llerson, Santiago de Chile. We have climbed at dawn to the base of Torres del Paine, and we wait for the sun to rise. Some very young Israelites listen to electronic music and people arrive with headlamps. Llerson tells me smiling: “Chile is a chili pepper”, with parallel fingers, drawing the shape of his country and playing with the meaning of the chili pepper, which in Chilean is called “ají”, and the shape of his country.
Hugo, Vale, Yayo, Chileans. Biology students, I know them at Camp El Paso. Many very nice Chilean university students walk the path of the towers. We chat for a while, and Yayo can speak a little bit ofCatalan that he learned in an elective in Santiago!
Koshiro and Rika from Japan. They are travelling through South America. Always very smiling, I cook with them and hallucinate with the super stove they have of a Japanese brand that I have never seen, and curse my MSR, which always fails at the most inopportune moment.
|Cuernos and Torres del Paine|
Once the excursion is over, I take the bus to continue traveling north, to cross back to Argentina and go to Calafate, an area of glaciers and electric-blue lakes.
More pics in the album Torres del Paine