After a slow start, we jumped right into the adventure day 3 of the trip. We packed up our 60 liter backpacks and made our way from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine to start the famous W-Trek along with our overall trip guide and two awesome local guides. We dropped some of our stuff off at the Refugio, and headed up to long climb to base of the granite towers that make the park famous. It also happened to be the hardest hike our our trip. I did not drop enough weight, and definitely found the hike challenging (aka it kicked my ass). I felt the fact that because of health issues, I was not in marathon shape for the first time since 2010 and significantly underestimated the level of hiking this trip would entail. I took my time though, and made it to the top after a steep/rocky last hour climb. We got SO LUCKY with the weather (theme of our trip), and the views were great. Our group had a ton of fun taking photos. I struggled on the way down, but was pleasantly surprised to see horses in the meadows playing around after a long day. I got back to the Refugio just in time for dinner, stretched, and then headed to bed to rest for the next day.
A note on the Refugios along the whole trek: I loved the bunk bed nature of the Refugios, as it really helped with the early bonding of our group (hi Paul!). The Refugio’s also made the backpacking less challenging, as they had mattresses, bathrooms, bars, and 3 course meals for dinner. By the end of the trek though, we were all ready to go back to the hotels/some level of privacy the rest of the time.
The hike on the second day was much less challenging, and took us along this beautiful blue lake with great views the whole day. After stopping for folks to try their hand at a little rock climbing to be like our guide Cristian, we arrived at the Refugio in time for me to shower, check out the “beach,” and play around with some time-lapse photography. I felt terrible for Bob, whose flip flop broke when we left the beach, forcing him to walk barefoot along the rocky trail back to the Refugio. It wouldn’t be the first of his painful walks.