Trekking in Patagonia
So, as many have already heard, Rosie and I will be embarking on an adventure in South America in mid-December. Initially, we wanted to do a survey of Chile, but eventually found that there was way too much to see and do to cover it all. So we decided to focus on one area for the trip and hope to make it back to see the rest at a later date. After much planning and booking, we finally have the outlines of our trip. We’ll be flying to Patagonia via Santiago, Chile and spending most of our trip in Torres del Paine National Park.
Now we have spent a lot of time trekking throughout North America in various National Parks. However, this will be our first visit to a National Park in another country. For most of our trips we car camp (camping in view of the vehicle) and hike during the days. For this trip, we wanted to experience a little more comfort (one of the requirements for doing the expedition) and opted to stay in refugios which seem to be a mix of B&B and hostels. The neat thing about this particular park is that the main circuit is rather long and punctuated by a number of the refugios along the way. So it’s entirely possible for one to hike from one site to the next, staying in cozy bed with warm meals all along the way. This is exactly what we plan to do.
Lately Rosie and I have been training for the forthcoming trip. After making all these plans and reservations, a realization dawned on me. This will be the most extensive hiking trip I’ve ever done. The park is huge and has a main trail that circles a mountain range at its center. The main circuit is approx 150km however, we will only trek a portion of this circuit. In the map below you can see the full circuit, as well as a “W” etched out of the Southern half of the full circuit, that’s us.
We plan to start in the Paine Grande Lodge, and do Grey Glacier and back on the first day. The second day we’ll attempt to reach campsite Britannico, then return to Paine Grande lodge. The third day we’ll hike to another location, Refugio Cuernos (Los Cabanas) and move on to Refugio Chileno on the fourth day. The fifth day we’ll hike up to Torres campsite then down to Refugio Las Torres Norte. Finally we’ll rest for a day before taking off to Puerto Natales. All in all, we’re looking at approx 45 miles or so of hiking over a little under a week. That should be interesting…