Entries from Torres del Paine
Day 9 and our feet are broken in, our layers are perfect, and our backs strong. We finished the circumnavigation of the Paine Massif today by walking 22 kilometers up to the base of the famous granite towers. A long and windy day on the trail but everyone did great. It was so windy at times that it was hard to walk against but we figured one or two windy days out of nine was pretty good. As this amazing trip comes to an end we all want to thank Chile for keeping the national park well preserved and thank our partners here in Patagonia for helping this trip run so smoothly. Congratulations to this RMI team from your guides; Chuma, Mauricio and Christina!
Today we hiked back to where we started this adventure: younger and wiser, of course. The beautiful land we have traveled across for the past eight days has touched us all. From the beach tree forests to the smooth stone beaches of Nordernskjold Lake, we have all learned to appreciate the air and water around us. What a perfect trip for great weather and remote places. One of the biggest realizations is the food here is so good and we could have left some luxury items behind. We still have one more day tomorrow to finish the W and take in more outstanding views but now we celebrate hiking the circuit! Other than a few blisters, everyone is doing well!
We wake up to French pressed coffee, warm toast and scrambled eggs. After packing up we throw packs on and head down the trail. Stopping to take pictures or refill water bottles in streams or snack on some nuts and chocolate. Lunch is usually by a river with stunning views around. Then we walk a few more hours chitchatting and enjoying our time on the trail. Evenings are showers, delicious dinners, and bed early most nights. The next day we do it again. Tomorrow will be day 8 for this pattern and we are all starting to find our rythem. Today was a day hike into the French Valley where our high point was above a vivid rainbow and below towering granite peaks. We would stop along the trail to watch dramatic ice falls from the hanging glaciers above. Another spectacular day. Tomorrow we complete the circuit around the Torres del Paine massif which is a huge accomplishments everyone should be proud of.
Under the shadows of the Torres del Paine towers we spent a mellow day enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells around us. Our legs and feet are all tired from the past few long days of trekking so it was nice to have a short day with a long lunch break next to a river that we plunged our feet in. Even when every muscle hurts this group still has a wonderful sense of humor and positive energy. We have a nurse from Virginia whose pack is bigger than she is but she is always the first person to throw it on and head down the trail. Her husband is an avid biker who could go for days with a few snacks, beers, and people to chat happily with. Our other cyclist could climb any mountain he put his mind to and is always up for a hill and good photo opportunity. Our honorary guide is a federal judge with a Texas accent who has joined RMI for 13 expeditions. His better half is the kindest woman who would take care of everyone else before herself. Our token Canadian has legs of pure muscle and by far the best dance moves! Our group is lucky to have a man knowledgable in everything from alpacas, to cyber security, to the history of Eastern Washington. Then we have the three giggle gals who are always ready for a laugh. One who has climbed all over and could keep up with anyone. One gal who has an amazing ability to ask insightful questions and spot all wildlife including a pygmy owl. And the last character is the best vet in Maine who can laugh at herself and doesn’t let the wind push her around. Then there is me, and I’m just a simple guide who loves to walk. We are having a great time exploring Patagonia and getting to know each other.
RMI Guide Christina Dale
Kaki and Deb,
Happy trails are the ones that go down with a gentle slope. Brandi and I send our best group group wishes for YOUR tired feet!’
I’m not sure about the reference to “three giggly girls” but recognize the fitness and intellectual and whimsy of one of them.
Posted by: Sharon Hostler on 2/27/2018 at 10:44 am
Feel the burn, Rob and Jayne!!!!!!!
The pics look amazing!
Posted by: Clay Junell on 2/26/2018 at 8:12 am
Today was our first full view of the Towers! We walked around the final corner of our trail today and pow! The towers jumped out at us and took our breath away. Then we proceeded to have drinks and dinner with the most incredible view out our dinning room window. We all feel so fortunate for this beautiful place and how well the land has been preserved. The weather has been outstanding with hot sun and light winds instead of the typical rainy days and strong winds. This morning the group took a speed boat to the base of the Grey Glacier where we scrambled up the nunitac put on crampons and walked around to see the sculpture garden made by running water over the ice. Our long days on the trail are making muscles sore and feet tender but spirits are high and our faces all hurt from smiling all day. We feel lucky to be here and sharing this experience with such a fun group of people.
Dear Mom, I’m having a blast, yesterday Kate took a compass bearing and we set out for a woods walk. Chase and I hiked along a big brook of snow melt, we layed in it. We snuck up on a couple of turkeys and almost had them by the tail. That put me into a frenzy, I LOVE chasing game birds. I get salmon on my breakfast and sleep it off by the wood stove. Chase and I have taken over Kate’s side of the bed! Hope you’re lovin’’ it! Love, your loyal Charlie-girl
Posted by: Charlie Sanders on 2/25/2018 at 6:32 am
This is Christina calling in from Patagonia. We had a long day on the trail today 11 hours of walking from Los Perros Camp to Lago Grey we went up and over John Gardner Pass. Everyone did really well going up this steep, long hill and we rewarded ourselves with beautiful views looking down on to the Gray Glacier. It look like white caps on the water all frozen in stillness, a huge glacier draining the Southern Patagonia ice cap all the way to the Grey Lake. As far as the eye can see was glacier. We walked down the other side of the pass and along the trail in and out of forest, across streams that you can drink out of without worrying about any bacteria here, the water is that clean. They say that drinking lots of glacier water here makes your skin look younger so we have all been staying hydrated. We got into camp feeling tired and very proud of our long day. The team is doing great.
RMI Guide Christina Dale checks in after a long day on the trail in Patagonia.
Now that’s what I’m talking about team!!! 11hrs uphill! So proud of all you. Enjoy the rewards!
Posted by: Eric (aka Lamb) on 2/24/2018 at 11:40 am
Today was a hot and sunny day, which is not typical here in Patagonia, so we are feeling lucky. We walked on a trail that everyone calls Patagonian Flats because it really means that it goes up and down all day. Today we walked mostly under the cover of a beech tree forest and along raging rivers with the sound of woodpeckers following us through the trees. Arriving at camp hungry and tired, we were met with salami, cheese, and wine. The group is full of laughter and moments of appreciation. It will be an early bedtime for all of us tonight because John Gardner Pass is tomorrow and demands an early start. Keep your fingers crossed for us to continue in good weather as we head over the pass. Everyone’s healthy and happy and one of our team even said, “This is the best vacation I’ve ever been on.”
RMI Guide Christina Dale calls in from Torres del Paine.
Drink that clear, clean glacial water of the Andean fountain of youth! We are tracking you from southern Florida where it is a balmy and breezy 87 degrees. Explored little islands off west coast in small boat! Off to Selby Gardens for orchids and Andy Warhol today.
Posted by: Sharon hostler on 2/24/2018 at 8:04 am
Dear Kaki, Deb and Catherine, Thinking of you crossing the Gardner Pass and wishing you clear skies, great views and sure footing. We took ferries from Pune Island to Cabbage Key to North Captiva. My kind of day on the water. Looking forward to your stories. Love Moms
Posted by: Sharon Hostler on 2/23/2018 at 12:41 pm
This is Christina with the Torres del Paine Trek. We had another perfect day in Patagonia with winds, light rain, showers, hot sun and beautiful views around every corner. We walked up the Paine River today to the Dickson Hut where we got our first views of the towers and some tremendous views of the Dickson Glacier as it flows from the Patagonian ice cap to the river that we walk along. The group is enjoying the photo opportunities, great lunches and stimulating trail conversations about which political figure or popstar we would go backpacking with. This trip is truly about the landscape that we travel through. Even the best photographers could not capture the 360-degree panoramas with the crisp air and smell of lupine in the breeze. Truly a place to have the “see for yourself” to understand. Now we’re off for hot showers, fresh bread, and a nice dinner.
RMI Guide Christina Dale calls in from the Torres del Paine Trek.
Today we started our full circuit trek of Torres del Paine trek with beautiful blue skies and no wind. We saddled our packs and headed off across the open sage bush landscape. We wandered across glacial fed streams and through beach tree forests. With guannaco and Caracara bird sightings we took lots of pictures. We had hot tea along the trail for lunch and pulled into our camp with a few hours to take a shower and hang out before dinner. After dinner we listened to live music by the local cowboys and even participate in the traditional Chilean dances. After the first day with these packs I noticed people were trying to share their snacks first and offer Cliff bars around to lighten the load. Everyone is in great spirits and enjoying the warm sunshine here in Patagonia. Hopefully, tomorrow brings another photogenic day on the trail as we head around the more remote parts of the towers.
After some coffee and chit chat this morning the group spent three hours deciding which baselayer to pack and which hooded puffy to bring and how many pairs of socks to carry—-you know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this. We got our packs down to about 30 pounds and didn’t leave any chocolate behind. Then we hopped in a boat and crossed the Straits of Magellan to walk around a huge penguin colony in the middle of the ocean. It was fun to see them so close and hear them talking to one another. Now in Natales we’re going to get some treats before hitting the trail for the next nine days.