Featured writer: Alexis Ward
I want to keep moving forward with stories and pictures from our trip to Patagonia. I need to get all these memories down before they become cloudy in my mind. Hopefully you’ve already read about day 1 and day 2 on the trail in Torres Del Paine National Park. If you haven’t or you just want the cliff note version here it goes: Torres Del Paine is breathtakingly beautiful, the trails are all longer than we expected and our feet hurt more than we can even express. There you have it. Moving forward…
Day 3 on the W trail was our short hike day. Praise the Lord for that! We needed a shorter hiking day for our weary feet at this point. Our destination: Hosteria Los Torres, a mere 11 km (compared to 22 km our first day of hiking). Sounds easy, right? They estimated the hike taking 4.5 hours at moderate difficulty so we thought no big deal. And, honestly, the trail wasn’t so bad minus the giant rocks we were still walking on and our throbbing feet.
Leaving our campsite at Los Cuernos, we headed head on a trail that ran alongside the lake, crossing numerous streams and rivers and even more people. We passed SO many people this day! This must be a popular hike because there was high traffic all day on this trail, so different from our other days when we could hike 30 min to an hour without passing anyone else.
I think we were hiking at a slower pace due to our aching feet because after 4.5 hours we could see our hostel in the distance but still had a long way to go to get there. At this point we were HOBBLING down the trail, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other instead of the pain. It wasn’t working. I remember seeing horses grazing in a field along the way and fanticizing about riding them the rest of the way. Our sad feet!
Then there were the buildings in the distance… we were almost there! Hobbling into the lobby, we felt so relieved and walked up to check in. They looked suprised…confused.
“What is your name again? Hmmm… your name isn’t here. Are you sure you aren’t staying at the Refugio? That’s 15 minutes down the road.”
I thought we both might cry. We almost did.
Our feet were pounding with pain and they are telling us we have to walk another 15 minutes? I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but with a sympathic “you can do it!” from the hotel staff, we headed out the door of the gorgeous hotel and down the dirt road. Another 15 hard minutes.
Sounds pathetic, right? It really was.
Of course we made it to our hostel and went straight for the hot showers. They might have been the BEST showers of our lives! Hot water on our feet felt amazing. My feet still hurt so badly that I couldn’t walk on the bottoms of them… I had to shuffle around in socks on the sides of my feet. Again… pathetic.
Hosteria Los Torres was another cozy hostel with a wood-beamed dining room and a warm bar area with a wood-burning stove and all the overpriced cocktails your trail-weary body desired. This was the only night we didn’t cook which was SUCH a treat. Dining at long, family style tables with other travellers (we sat next to a kind Parisian couple who were doing an around-the-world journey), I scarfed down my fried fish and mashed potatoes. It wasn’t amazing quality but it was warm and home-made. Plus, it was pouring rain outside by now so I was relieved to not be cooking out in the rain.
J and I discussed day 4 of hiking. Could our feet even handle it? Did we care if we missed seeing the Torres up close? Thankfully… and I truly mean thankfully… it was pouring rain the next day. We could have hiked the 7 hours to the Torres but we wouldn’t have been able to see anything at all as the peaks were all hidden by clouds. Phew! A day of rest! J and I headed back up the street to the nice hotel (the one where we weren’t staying) and camped out there all afternoon, reading and writing postcards on comfy couches all covered with sheepskin rugs. It was JUST what we needed!
After a couple hours of chilaxing by the fire, we headed back to the refugio to catch the bus back to town where we treated ourselves to another delicious dinner of pasta and pizza at Pizzeria Mesita Grande.
Thinking about hiking Torres Del Paine in Patagonia? First of all, know that you DON’T need a guide. The trails are well-marked with lodges connecting them along the way. Secondly, check it this blog, which was really helpful for us. It’s full of useful info you might need before you go.