Torres del Paine Trek - Day 1 - Entering the Park to Campamento Italiano
The route to Torres del Paine was certainly not a straight path. Great Treks cofounder, Kirk Markus and I navigated many buses to reach the access town for Puerta Natales and then a final one to the park where it let us off at the catamaran to take us across the lake and start our trek.While 6:30 pm is normally a bit late to start a trek, we were so far south that the sun set close to 10 pm, giving us plenty of light to walk.We didn’t pass a soul all the way to camp and enjoyed the cloudy, comfortable climate. After cooking, eating and cleaning up we got to bed late, at least for us, 11:30 pm. This meant we had to sleep fast as we wanted to get up for sunrise.
We got up to what looked like perfect hiking weather. While it wasn’t super bright out, the sun was shining and we started our hike about an hour or so past sunrise. To keep our load light we left our equipment in the campsite. The trail followed the path of the river Frances and was a bit challenging, but any struggle was forgotten taking in the glaciers dropping down from the mountains with the river roaring at their base. We clipped along for about an hour until we were engulfed in a complete fog bowl. Within minutes the sky went from relatively clear to pea soup. Kirk suggested that we turn around so we could be in a better position the next day for more pristine views when the weather hopefully improved. It sounded reasonable, so we headed back down the trail we had climbed halfway up.
The story continues...