Torres del Paine – Day 2 through 4

 

 

When we woke up after our first day of camping, there was no reprieve from the previous night’s winds.  We took shelter in the small hut to cook our breakfast and then headed off toward the mountains.  The first part of our walk was through relatively flat grasslands.  Although it was supposed to be an easy stroll, the immensity of the winds made those 10 kilometers feel like 20 as we struggled to stay afoot.  We still had the beautiful views of Torres del Paine, but it was hard to look around with admiration because we had to fight the wind to just stay on the trail.

Wind blown on the trail from our campsite…

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Look closely at the lake and you can see how the swirling wind picked up the water and threw it every which way…

 

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After what seemed to be an eternity of walking, wind blown and exhausted, we ended up at Refugio Grande Paine.  We were able to take a rest and put down our backs for a bit, but that wasn’t our final destination for day 2.  We were headed toward campsite Italiano, another 4 hours away.  So after a reprieve we set off again.  Unfortunately, this time the weather was not on our side and we basically saw only hazy gray as we headed toward the camp.  Fifteen minutes into our trek, along with the strong winds still gusting, we encountered some heave rain which didn’t let up until we reached Italiano.  We immediately set up camp and headed to bed, hoping for clear skies in the morning.

Our wishes came true and the next morning.  Here is one of our views from the day…

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We set off from our campsite up what is called the French Valley.  It makes up the middle part of a W (the most popular trek of Torres del Paine).  We saw waterfalls and beautiful views of Lago Pehoe behind us as we headed upward.

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We were surrounded by beautiful mountains on both sides of the French Valley.  To the left we saw Paine Grande, the largest mountain  and it’s hanging glaciers.

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We admired the snowfilled valleys for quite some time and even witnessed a few large avalanches.  Lewis even caught one on camera…

 

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To the right side of the valley we had an amazing view of the Cuernos mountains right above us.  These mountains are particularly remarkable because of their combination of rock formations.  As you can see, the main body of the mountain is a lighter color and very robust, while the top (and even the base, although less notable in these photos) is darker and composed of very contorted rock.  The dark rock was initially sedimentary rock which was forced underground at one time with the Earth’s movement.  Later, the lighter rock, which is actually granite (an igneous rock formed from magma), pushed it’s way into the sedimentary rock as an intrusion and created the layers that we now see.  The metamorphic rock weathers more easily and was more affected by the glaciers, so it has worn away more on the top while the granite has remained more sturdily in place.

 

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After our day in the French Valley, we headed off to our next campsite, Refugio Cuernos.  The weather was pretty good and we had some nice views of the Cuernos as we walked.  One of the most unexpected sights was a rocky beach below the Cuernos and alongside a turquoise Patagonian lake.  We took a rest for a while…

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A bit later we arrived to our camp and found a beautiful spot, perfectly situated below the glowing peaks…

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We decided to take a break from walking for a day and on day 4 remained at Refugio Curenos.  It was a nice day of relaxation alongside beautiful scenery.

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If you want to see all the photos, you can click here:

https://plus.google.com/photos/112526115448572540897/albums/5850183812422408801

https://plus.google.com/photos/112526115448572540897/albums/5850115625904231313

https://plus.google.com/photos/112526115448572540897/albums/5850190719365333329

 

 

 

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One response to “Torres del Paine – Day 2 through 4

  1. Wow this is really a nice presentation with the photos and all of your commentary…What beautiful scenery!

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