Torres del Paine National Park

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Patagonia is a place like no other. It is unreal in its supreme beauty with sharp peaks, narrow valleys, and glacial lakes. The W trek through Torres del Paine National Park is the quintessential Patagonian experience, providing ample opportunity to admire the three highlights of the park.

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We stayed in the geodesic domes of EcoCamp Patagonia at the base of the hike to the towers for part of our stay, and a refugio for the other part. EcoCamp is fully sustainable with renewable energy sources such as solar power and a micro-hydro turbine, composting toilets, and locally sourced food. The domes harness quite a bit of warmth throughout the day, creating a warm and toasty haven after a long day’s trek.

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The first day, we took a small boat across the lake to start the first hike to Frenchman Valley. We were greeted by a small family of foxes on arrival before heading up towards the mountains. The entire trail boasted countless expansive views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers.

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The second highlight of the W trek is Grey Glacier, a part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. We hiked up to a windy lookout of the glacier and down towards the lake front, where we caught a boat that took us up close to the glacier before heading back to our refugio for the night.

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The final highlight of the W trek is the classic Towers, or Cordillera Paine. Torres del Paine means “towers of blue” in the native Tehuelche language, the iconic part of the park being these three majestic towers of rock. We were incredibly lucky with weather during our trek, as Patagonia is notorious for wind, rain, and frequent weather changes that can obscure views. We attributed our luck to our chakana necklaces that we procured in Peru before our Machu Picchu hike in 2012. The necklaces have brought us good luck for every trek we’ve done over the last six years. Call us superstitious, but those necklaces are gold!

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Trekking through Patagonia is a definite bucket list experience, and one that I highly recommend to anyone who loves to hike, adventure, or just witness Mother Nature’s beauty.

 

 


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