The challenges you face when trekking in Torres del Paine, Patagonia

After trekking in Fitz Roy National park, Patagonia and visiting the massive Perito Moreno glacier I got so excited to travel further to Torres del Paine National park in Chile.

A three day trekking tour was about to start. After a bus drive from Perito Moreno glacier to Punto Natales we got prepared with camping equipment, had a night of rest in Punto Natales before we took our bus to Torres del Paine National Park early in the morning.

On our way to the national park we could see some big storm clouds over the mountain range and a beautiful rainbow appearing on the horizon. I knew this trip will be amazing.

storm clouds and the rainbow in Torres del Paine National Park

You get also to see the guanacos here in Patagonia, what beautiful animals. This is a native South American animal which is around 1 to 1.2m high and can weigh up to 90kg. The fur is very soft and their fibre is being used in luxury fabric.

Guanacos in Torres del Paine
Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Arrived at the entrance of the National park, everybody got ready and dressed up for trekking. Backpacks on our shoulders and walking sticks for the ones who felt more comfortable with it. I definitely was one of them.

Suddenly we could hear this loud sound of the wind, the dirt from the gravel road started blowing in all directions. I could not believe it. I learned very quickly that this is pretty normal in Patagonia. In case it happens while you are trekking at the edge of the mountains, go down on your knees, cover your head and pray:) It only lasts a few seconds but the wind can be very strong and blow you away especially when you are a tiny and skinny person.

I had my camera equipment in my backpack and was worried about it; however, my bag from f-stop passed this test. It was sometimes a challenge to walk with that heavy bag of 8 kg on my back while going through those windy phases.

So, we started walking in the beautiful sunny weather but were experiencing some strong wind attacks. I unfortunately don’t have many photos of that day as it was just too windy and all the dirt blowing everywhere. I decided my camera was better protected in my bag. You can expect having 4 seasons in one day. Walking on the edge of the mountains can be very exposed to the strong winds, especially when there are no trees. That windy day was really challenging for me but in the end so worth it. The last one hour of trekking up to the top was the hardest for me. You have to climb up the big rocks and sometimes cannot even see the pathway. Just follow the crowd. Again a massive wind attack hit us and rocks smashing against our legs, in that moment you go down on your knees and hope for the best. The weather changed from cold and windy to rainy and then sunny and warm.

Finally arrived at the top you see this beautiful turquoise lake and the Torres del Paine towers surrounded by clouds and fog. Our tour guide had a nice surprise for us: a bottle of champagne. What a great idea, exactly what you need after going through all those challenges. I have to say I have never experienced trekking in such windy conditions. In that moment you are packed with adrenalin but also excited and hope everything will be fine and god is watching and protecting you anyways. It was so windy up there that you could rarely breath.

Torres del Paine
The towers of Torres del Paine

After enjoying a bit of champagne at the top we walked back for roughly 4 hours to the parking area where the bus was waiting for us to take us to our first camping site. I was on a g-adventure trip. The first camping site was pretty amazing: we had the private site just for ourselves. After travelling around Argentina you get a lot of meat, potatoes and bread. Most of us were graving for vegetables. We had such an amazing delicious home cooked dinner with lots of fresh vegetables and meat.

Everybody was hoping for the wind to stop to have a quiet and good night sleep. Well, that wasn’t meant to be the case for us. The wind was unbelievable strong and loud. My dad always taught me not to hang around underneath trees when it is windy. Guess what? The tents were directly underneath the trees. Well, looks like we just had to trust that everything will be fine. The family from this camp site were looking after us very well and even had to fix up some of our tents mid in the night. One of the tents was about to lift up in the air. You couldn’t really say we slept well during that night. At one stage the roof of the tent hit me on my nose. Well, that’s definitely called adventure.

I am not a morning person but at 5am I had enough from the wind,  so I got up and took my camera out to take some morning photos. It has calmed down a tiny bit. I was the first one awake and enjoyed the early morning in pure nature. I was so lucky to see a light beautiful rainbow.

The home cooked breakfast was great and exactly what you need to start another day of trekking.

rainbow in Torres del Paine
early in the morning in Torres del Paine National Park. Can you see the rainbow.

In my following post I will share the experience on the second hiking day in the Patagonian beautiful nature with non-stopping wind.

Happy travel and stay tuned.

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