Across the border to Chile we go, to explore the golden pampas lands of Chilean Patagonian in Torres del Paine National Park.
It was sad to be leaving El Chalten in Argentina behind after a some very memorable days spent amongst some of the most spectacular landscape I had ever seen, but there was still a whole lot to look forward to on our next stop: Torres del Paine National Park.
The journey from El Chalten began with a local bus ride which took us across the border to Chile where we went through the standard immigration processes. Once across the border and after grabbing a quick bite to eat, it was onwards to the park and our camp site where we would set up for the next three nights.
As we drove through Torres del Paine, I couldn’t help but admire the glacial waters and golden pampas lands, which I found quite the contrast from each other. We were even lucky enough to spot some wild guanacos (close relatives to the llama) on our way into the park. I honestly thought I would’ve seen more wildlife in Patagonia than I did, so seeing the guanacos was a pretty big deal! The landscapes however, were still some of the most breathtaking scenes I had witnessed in my life.
Once we had arrived at our camp site, we settled into our tents and prepared ourselves for dinner as it was already getting late towards the evening. Communal showers and toilets were as comfortable as we were going to get for the next three nights, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds except for maybe during the cold early mornings to get up and use the bathroom! Looking up and seeing the bright shining stars quickly got rid of those thoughts though!
Hiking to Base Torres:
After our first night’s sleep at Torres del Paine, it was time for an early start with a day hike to Base Torres. We weren’t as lucky with the weather in Torres del Paine compared to Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina however, it could’ve definitely been a lot worse as it only got as bad as a drizzle of rain. A good time for those rain jackets and pants to come in handy!
The terrain to Base Torres was probably the most challenging out of the hikes that we had done in Patagonia. It was probably the steepest hike we had done, especially the final kilometre of it. Still, it was manageable and the reward was more than well worth it – just look at the shade of blue in that water!
Hiking to Lago Nordenskjold:
The following day’s hike was a much easier one to a beautiful look out point near Lago Nordenskjold. It was a much shorter and easier hike compared to the previous day’s – pretty much a walk in the park when comparing the two!
We made it to our look out point for lunch where we spent a good hour enjoying our packed lunches and soaking up the serenity amongst our surroundings before making our way back to the camp site for our final night in Torres del Paine.
It was time to leave Torres del Paine that following morning but on our way out, it wasn’t a goodbye without a final stop at Salto Grande: a waterfall on the Paine River. Witnessing the sheer force of Salto Grande was an incredible experience in itself, it just reminded me of just how powerful nature can be!
Although there were still a few other stops on the trip to go (more posts on those coming soon), it was still a bit of a sad moment for me to be leaving the beauty of both of the national parks we had visited over the last week. Being in touch with nature over the week had made me more aware of my surroundings and more attuned with myself – the closest I can explain it is that it was almost like my soul was being healed just by being around such untouched land in this world… as John Burroughs once said: “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”