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Renee and Clarissa’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 17 Mar 2007

Location: Puerto Natales, Chile

MapPuerto Natales

Onwards and further north to the prime sheep raising area in Chile to Puerto Natales. Today this town is the gateway to the magnificent Torres Del Paine National Park.

Covering 145km north West of Puerto Natales this National Park is a UNESCO reserve and a must-see region. Constant views of peaks, glaciers, turquoise lakes it is said to be one of the most impressive mountain areas on earth. With 250km of well marked trails which includes the most popular ´El Circuit¨and ´The W´ the park is fast becoming a popular destination for those seeking to take on a challenge in a amazing corner of the world.

With such a big wrap, us 4 amigos set out to gear ourselves up for exploration of the park. Not hard-core trekkers and unequiped for all aspects of trekking and camping we decided to go for it and hope for the best. We spent half a day organising our 3 day and 2 night stay in the park by hiring equipment from shoes (we know, it was gonna end in tears), wet weather pants and jackets, tents, sleeping bags, matts, stoves, you name it we got it. They say you have to cater for all weathers as in the park can change in minutes. With hopes that we had everything we had a cosy sleep and woke for an early start at 6am.

Since we only had 2 days of trekking we decided to complete portions of ´The W Circuit´- The Torres Del Paine and the Lago Grey treks. After pitching tents at the base we set off at noon on a 17km round trip with an elevation of 1km...yes..OMG. Through amazing scenery, wooden forrest, streams, up and down canyons, finally reaching the final asent to reach the Torres by having to climb 45 mins up bolders...yes...nearly breakdown and cry material here but ´Team Hardcore´reached the top and it was magical, well worth it and the weather held out..unlike our feet.

The following day we caught a bus and a catamaran, set up camp and headed for Glacier Grey. On the 15km trek we saw ice-bergs and lakes and the most amazing view of Glacier Grey.

All up we ´hard-cored it´a total of 32km in 14 hours in 2 days and survived terrential rain and gale force winds overnight in our tents. The experience was unforgettable and the park a must-see.