Its not warm!
06.04.2006 5 °C
The next stop up from Ushuaia was Torres Del Paine in Chile. The literal translation of this is towers of pain!! And now i Know why.
In Ushuaia we were told there is a world famous walk called the W-walk. They said it was a challenge but well worth it aparently. A few of us decided to do it. We honestly thought it couldn´t be that bad, that there would be a fair bit climbing mountains but a lot more flat walking. We were slightly mistaken.
Arriving the 1st day needing to rent tents, we managed to track the person down only to get two man tents that must be designed ergonomically with Ump A Lumpas in mind. Laying down flat out i comfortably touched both ends of the tent which meant i had to curl up into a ball to stop my sleeping bag getting wet.
Woke up early to start the 1t leg of the walk and it was a magnificent day. not a cloud in sight and the mountain covered in snow overlooking us had turned pink in the rising sun. This wasnt going to be so bad after all, we all set off with plenty of layers that soon came off in the sun it was nearly a 20km walk that turned into a good scramble up rocks to get to the first view point of the famous granite pillers (check the picture). the weather was absolutely perfect. the lagoon in the forground with the pillars towering behind was a sight i will not foget. Getting back to campsite with plenty of daylight left we decided to head for the next campsite which was 11km of undulating ground away. We had walked 32km in the first day. With 2 more days of hiking i was already exhausted.
Unfortunately the weather decided to take a turn for the worse, as it does in mountains so easily. The next day we waled up the Frances Valley only to see mountains covered in cloud. But there were some huge avanlanches that we all thought was thunder to start with it was that loud. Walking another 18km left us with a long slog up to see Glacier Grey on the last day. The weather was truly horrendous on our final day, incredibly strong winds and driving rain meant the the meant the 12km (24km round trip) hike up to see the Glacier was a tough one. And morale in the group had taken somewhat of a battering, just like the tents. We were pretty miserable by this time and the thought of spending another night in a tent that wouldnt be suitable for a toddler in the lounge was not doing us any favours. As we went up the mountain the wind just got stronger, but i´d got this far, i was not going to quit now so close to the end. Even with the bad weather there were some greast views to keep my mind off the job in hand, the lake had huge icebergs floating down the lake and with patchy sunlight stretching across the snow capped mountians there were plenty of photo opportunities. Luckily we bumped into another truck tour who offered us a lift back to the rest of the truck and more importantly a tent that i could stretch out in. So we happily accepted their offer.
All in all it was probably the toughest physical test i´d done, walking a 4 day 75km in 3 days with a big backpack was hard work. And quite honestly not a lot of fun at the time, but looking back it was a superb experience. And the luck we had with the weather on the first day to see the granite pillars in clear blue skies made it all worth it.