*Our Patagonia trip was from 28 November to 19 December 2016.
Finally, we reached the highlight of our trip – the W Trek. The W Trek is a famous trek in the Torres del Paine National Park, where hikers get to see the famous Torres del Paine peaks, mountain outcrops, deep blue glaciers and trek through the beautiful Patagonian forests. It is aptly named the ‘W’ Trek because the trail looks like the letter ‘W’. Check out the map below 🙂
Courtesy of Ottsworld
The W Trek can usually be completed within 3 to 5 days. For the more adventurous, the O and Q circuits which cover the back end of the trek (6 to 10 days, or even longer) promise that added adrenaline rush 🙂
Campers can opt for more comfortable all-in refugios (complete with dining options), or set up their tents at designated camp sites (which we did!). There are limited spots available though, so we recommend securing camp sites early especially during peak season (end/beginning of the year). Camping is strictly not allowed outside designated camp sites.
Day One: Grey’s Glacier
Our day started early at 7am. We took Bus Sur to the entrance of Torres del Paine. It was a 2.5h journey. Upon reaching the admin centre, we attended a briefing and watched a short film (basically telling us not to set fire to the forest) and bought our entrance tickets.
All set for our adventure! 🙂
The charred landscape owing to some careless tourists years back 😦
After getting our tickets and completing the necessary administrative procedures, we then boarded another bus to Puderte to take the catamaran (or ferry). Tickets for the catamaran can be bought on board.
First sneak peek from the catamaran
After a 30 minute ferry ride, we reached Paine del Grande, which was also our starting point for the trek. Managed to grab a picture of Lago Pehoe, a lake beside Paine del Grande, before we started on our journey proper!
We started our trek uphill to Refugio Grey, which was our camp site for the night. It was supposed to take us about 3.5 hours but we ended up trekking for a good 5 hours before we reached our destination. The weather in Patagonia is also crazy fickle – we experienced sun, rain, wind, gale all within our first 4 hours here.
2 hours into our trek, we managed to get a good view of Grey’s glacier from a lookout point!
The glacier fields were massive. Even from a distance, we were awed by the sheer scale of this enormous landscape! This part of the trek was also extremely tiring, as the track was rocky and there were many steep ascents and descents.
After 5 hours of trekking, we finally reached Refugio Grey at about 630pm. By then, we were absolutely bushed, and we couldn’t really be bothered to cook. The amenities there were also very basic, with only two showering cubicles available. You can imagine the beeline, especially for the female restroom. I think I must have fallen asleep standing. 😀
Day Two: Refugio Grey to Paine del Grande
The next morning, we had a quick breakfast and packed our tents, before setting off at about 10am to Paine del Grande. It was a mostly uphill climb (really tiring!) with relatively steep boulder and rock slopes along the way. Coupled with our 40L backpacks, this trek was really no joke. Still, we trudged on because we knew we would be rewarded by beautiful sceneries. 😀 Onward!
And… after 5.5 hours of gruelling trekking, we finally reached Paine del Grande. It was lovely, and we were really blessed with amazing weather. We’ll let the pictures do the talking! 🙂 (Psst… all pictures were taken using an iPhone 6, without any filter)
Our campsite for the night
We then quickly proceeded to set up our tents and did some laundry, to take advantage of the sunny weather.
We then explored the surroundings. This was truly Patagonia. Words cannot describe how beautiful this place was.
After dinner, we retired to our tents and did some reading, as we awaited sunset. As the sun set and cast its rays on the mountains, they turned into the most brilliant orange we had ever seen.
It was truly unforgettable.
Day Three: Puerto Natales
Unfortunately, our hike was cut short because the bridge to Camp Italiano was broken. We found ourselves back at Puerto Natales after a four hour wait for a connecting bus back. This was such a disappointment 😦 It might have been a blessing in disguise for us though, as we managed to offload a lot of items from our backpacks. This also allowed us to enjoy the trekking experience even more the next day 🙂
Day Four: Camp Torres & Torres del Paine
We started the day at 730am and boarded a bus to Laguna Amarga and then to La Torres, where we would continue our trek from the other end of the ‘W’. There were horses roaming the plains and we just had to stop for some pictures before starting on our trek!
The hike up to Camp Torres was nothing short of gruelling. It was uphill ALL THE WAY. The searing heat was also almost unbearable, as the trek was mostly exposed and we were largely trekking on a gravel path.
At times, we were trekking so precariously on the edges of the trails that if the weather had been more unforgiving, we might have just fallen off! On hindsight, that was quite an experience 😀
We hiked uphill for about 2.5 hours, before we reached Camp Chileno, a full-board camp, to stop for some food. Our bags were a lot lighter today so it was much more tolerable. After stuffing ourselves silly, we hiked another 1.5 hours to Torres Camp, where we pitched our tent for the night.
We then set off to the highlight of the W Trek: the Torres del Paine lookout. Well, they weren’t kidding when they said the harder you work, the greater the reward. The trek up might have been short, but it was extremely steep, and we found ourselves hiking up boulders for the next 1.5 hours.
But… it was well worth it.
Sneak peek of Torres del Paine peaks along the way
We stayed there for a good 1.5 hours, and only left because the winds were getting too strong and we were afraid it would affect our descent. No picture can truly capture the sheer beauty and magnificence of this place. As the sun cast its rays at different angles, it was as though the mountains and waters took on an entirely different form. It was truly mesmerizing beyond words.
We even managed to spot a wolf scavenging for some food!
Suddenly, all our tiredness seemed to disappear, and the “why did I come on this trek”, “I must be crazy for choosing to torture myself like this” seemed so insignificant.
This was literally paradise on earth. 🙂
We took another 1.5h to reach Camp Torres, where we cooked some instant noodles to reward ourselves for the climb. But in all honesty, we had already gained our full reward from Torres del Paine. 🙂
*This is a non-sponsored post.