Torres del Paine

Author: Mariza

Wow, wow, super WOW!!! Words and pictures cannot do justice to the majesty and glorious, breathtaking beauty of Torres Del Paine.

More than ten years ago, Jarik flew over Torres Del Paine and decided that was something he would love to see with his family one day. Today that dream came true. We were up before six after spending the night under two down duvets. Nice and cosy on our bunk beds. Sunrise is only at eight, so breakfast at seven happened in the blackness of night. A great and wonderful surprise awaited us when we walked out of the cafeteria. The three towers were clearly visible with the most beautiful blue sky around it. This is BEFORE sunrise! All of a sudden I couldn’t wait to get walking.

The day’s journey went from incredible to beyond description. How many wonderful, diverse sights can a person see in just one day??!! I distinctly remember how I wished this journey would never, ever end about two hours into our walk. The incredible sights all around us made me feel like my heart was about to explode.

We walked (climbed for one really challenging stretch) for just over 20km for the day. It took us eight hours, including an hour for lunch at THE most glorious spot. I feel really proud of our kids. Kali 13, Ruzow 11, Eulain 8 and Esto 6 were the only children in the entire park. They out-walked the strongest and fittest of people.  Jarik and I were stopped by a good number of VERY impressed people. They could not believe that our kids managed that walk, never mind acing it!

Day two took us around a glorious glacier lake. Ice blue has a whole new meaning to me. I have never seen water so clear and blue and beautiful. The glorious mountains rise up out of the water on every side. On a granite pebble beach we played and got our hands in the water. Definitely too cold for a swim! No sand or mud, only pebbles on the bottom of the crystal clear lake.

A freezing night in a canvas igloo and a toe strangling sleeping bag was an interesting experience. The view over the lake, however, more than made up for any discomfort or chill blisters.

On day three we ventured up a stunning valley. Again I thought it was the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done. We saw our first glacier and experienced the thrill of watching a piece of ice break off with a thunderous noise. We had many, many stream crossings, some more tricky than others. Some of us got our shoes wet and muddy, but there was no time to stop or get upset about it. Upwards and onwards! The other side of the Torres getting ever closer and more glorious.

For three days we walked 20km a day, and most of this either up or down a hill. The incredible sights and ever changing landscapes now forever a precious, priceless memory. The sight of our lodge for our final night in the park, surrounded by mountains on three sides and a lake in the front was a great highlight. It reminded me of boarding school. Food is served from huge containers as we line up with our trays. We fill an entire six bunk bed dorm. The sight of heaters inspired us to wash our only pair of long pants. The heaters never went on. So we did our last day of walking in shorts. Freezing!!

We came up close and personal  to a glacier on our final day. The exhilaration of seeing that glorious white glacier as we came up a huge hill – unbelievable!

The first day of April could not pass uneventfully. We ran most of the way – up and down that valley – to have a whole hour for lunch in the sun before catching the 1pm ferry. We saw the 12pm ferry go off in the distance as we made our way to the clearing on the banks of the lake. I noticed it left early. After our picnic we made our way to the jetty to wait for our ferry. Weird that there is still no sign of our approaching ferry and also no other people. And then… April fools!!! The ferry time table changed today. Not that we were even aware of the fact that we’re now in April. We have lost track of dates and days. But on a big brown board in big white letters, our folly gets exposed. There are now only two ferries a day, one at 11:30am (the early 12pm one we saw) and a 6:35pm one. Great!!

We settled in the grass (yes in, as it’s all wild and natural), draping our wet clothes over bushes and shrubs. We have a good few hours of sunshine on our hands, so we might as well make the most of it. After a nap the iPads and Kobos and Kindles came out. Time for some admin. No internet or cell phone reception in the park, so no communication with the outside world for now.

The ferry will (hopefully) pick us up at 6:35pm and then we will start our three hour bus journey at 8pm. I trust we’d be able to find our way to our hostel in the dark in Puerto Natales.

No matter how today ends, the past four days in Torres Del Paine National Park was and always will be a highlight in our lives.

– Mariza –

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