Torres del Paine

TDP is one of the top hiking destinations in the world. People often come to do “the W”, which takes about 4 days. Which definitely isn’t for us! But there are a few hikes to viewpoints that are in our league.

The weather forecast wasn’t great, but that is to be expected in spring. It was raining as we made the hour and a half drive from Puerto Natales, but it dried up and we had some sunshine. The Torres (towers) are breathtaking jagged peaks, the clouds wouldn’t release them all, but they still looked great. Then we drove round a corner and found amazing reflections in one of the glacial lakes. Better still, there was a little bridge out to an island, we could effectively walk out into the lake and get reflections in all directions. It was a fantastic 10 minutes snapping away (Val has posted some of the results) and enjoying the views, then a breath of wind made the water ripple, the reflections vanished, and the moment was gone. We were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Today there were even foam-flecked waves there, making us realise just how lucky we were yesterday.

We did a walk across the end of a glacial lake, to a spot where icebergs beach themselves having drifted the length of the lake, but the rain then returned and we headed for our hotel. It has great views across the park, and there was one final treat when the clouds lifted at 8.30pm, I had to go and grab my camera part way through dinner to get some shots.

We did a 4km (and back) hike this morning to the lake at the foot of the Torres, condors circled high up, a guanaco grazed unconcernedly as we walked past. In the afternoon, we did a boat trip the length of the lake to the glacier face, sailing past icebergs on the way. It was choppy and windy, inside the boat it was like being in a car wash, the waves drenching the boat. It calmed a little as we approached the glacier, and we were allowed upstairs (outside). Although mostly cloudy, there were enough sunny breaks to show off the amazingly deep blue of the ice, stacked up in piles as jagged as the mountains behind.

Tomorrow we return to Puerto Natales, but we may spend most of the day in the park first, if the weather is OK.

Greg

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