From Puerto Natales it took us about 2 hours to get to the national park. Once in the park you must abide by their rules and due to a wildfire in 2011 that was caused by a tourist, they are strict. Fires and camp stoves are only allowed in certain areas, this proved to be difficult for us because we didn’t want to pay 36 bucks to get an official campground and cook there. So we were the greasy guys that were cooking in parking lots and sleeping there too. Our first day we didn’t have time to do a long hike so we checked out a waterfall and did a short 2 hour hike to a view point overlooking the mountain range and lago Nordernskjöld which was a nice way to prepare for the hard core hiking we had ahead of us. Most people dedicate 5 days and complete the famous W circuit. (Named that is looks a little like a W on the map) Mack and I only had three days so we chose to see the two main viewpoints.
The next morning at 9:30 we hopped on a ferry to take us across lago pehoé to the starting point of our first hike. We hit the other side at 10 and starting hiking. (As you read this keep in mind mack and I aren’t hardcore. We don’t have hiking boots, no hiking poles and we aren’t decked out in gore-tex. We have runners and three sandwiches each.) The map said it’ll take us 5.5 hours to get to the view points and then we have to come back. The last ferry to cross the lake that day leaves at 6:30pm so we needed to hike at a brisk pace. The hike was beautiful and very rewarding when we hit the view point 12 km from where we started. Another 12 km back down and we made it back to the ferry launch with about an hour to spare, perfect amount of time for a brownie and a few beers! The views that we saw were definitely worth the 24 km hike. Extremely sore and extremely hungry we cooked some pasta and called it a night not knowing if tomorrows hike would happen.
The next morning I woke up sore but ready to hike, I thought to myself when else am I going to be able to hike to an amazing view point that over looks the famous Torres del Paine towers. I got mack motivated and we were off for another hardcore hike this one was 18 km round trip and the last km to the viewpoint was basically straight up. It took a lot to get up there but in the end it was worth it and I’m glad I did it. The national park is awesome and wish I could’ve spent more time in it but this camper van needs to get to punta arenas tomorrow so we jetted off to Puerto Natales again to spend the night and tomorrow morning bright and early we are doing the last 250 km to the finish line. It’s been cool to see patagonia at our own pace and not from a bus window. I’m gonna miss the camper but right now all I need is my own bed and a hot shower.