March & May 2024

Punta Arenas & Puerto Natales

March 14 - March 18, 2024
(Continued from Argentina).  I left Ushuaia, Argentina, and made a two-night stop in Punta Arenas, Chile, enduring a long 10-hour bus journey between the two cities!  I had always been curious to explore one of Chile's largest southern cities, yet my anticipation was met with disappointment. The city lacked the scenic charm Ushuaia had, with run-down streets lined by some colorful but poorly constructed tin homes.  I visited the city's notable attraction: the cemetery, but I found little else of interest during my stay.

Continuing my journey, I went to Puerto Natales, the primary gateway to Torres Del Paine National Park which us situated 120km away. The weather took a turn for the worse at this point, with cold Antarctic winds and persistently damp, rainy days that were just above freezing. When glimpses of the mountains emerged (typically at sunset) they were cloaked in thick blankets of snow.  During my few days in Natales, I prepared my long hike in the national park by renting camping gear and buying nine days of food supplies.

Mageallan strait

Southern Tierra Del Fuego is an island and can only be crossed by taking a ferry across the Magellan strait.
On my way from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas.

Torres Del Paines National Park

March 18 - March 26, 2024
Hiking the ''O'' loop was the highlight of my trip in Chilean Patagonia.  An 8-day, 100km+ hike around some of the best sceneries Patagonia can offer.  I had booked my campsites approximately 6 weeks before my arrival.  I was surprised to see how busy (and popular) this park was at this time of the year (early fall and cool temperatures).  My itinerary for the hike was as follow:
Day 1: Arrival to the park and sleep at camping central.
The weather is terrible: windy, rainy, sleet and more.  I set my tent and everything is wet, but the rain stops at 4pm and the mountains appear at around 6pm.  So close!  So big!  So much snow!

Day 2: Hike to the base of the towers (Torres). 21 km hike.  Sleep at camping central.
I wake up at 5:30am and leave at 6:15am.  I make it to the base of the towers by 9:30am.  It is windy and cold, but the sun finally comes out in the afternoon.  Amazing views all day.

Day 3: Hike to camping Seron. 14 km hike
An easy day as it is relatively flat. My bag is heavy with food.  Incredible sunny day.  In the afternoon, I am walking barefoot at the camping and wearing only a T-shirt. 
Day 4: Hike to camping Dickson. 18.5 km hike
Day 5: Hike to camping Los Perros. 12 km hike.
Day 6: Hike to camping Grey.
Day 7: Hike to camping Paine Grande. 11 km hike
Day 8: Exit the park and hiked the trail to Cuernos lookout.

Glacier Grey

Views over glacier Grey, day 6 (Torres Del Paine Ntl. park)

Created by Ian Wikarski, April 2023

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