Day 55 – O Circuit, Torres Del Paine – Day 7

It came as no surprise as soon as we awoke in Campemento Italiano we wanted to hot foot it out of there. It didn’t rain too much in the night and by 5:30am the tents were dry. A quick hand brush to get rid of all the dirt and mud residue at the bottom of our tents, with a roll up and out of the mud we have packs on by seven am and set off on our hardest day yet.

From Italiano to Chileno it is a 22 kilometre hike. The clouds part and soon I feel I am wearing an excessive amount of clothes. It is never easy to predict what to wear when heading out for a days trekking down here in Patagonia. I am learning less is more.

We walk, and walk, and walk some more. Twenty two kilometres no stopping. By the eighteen kilometre mark we had started the main ascent to Chileno. Weakness in my stride was taking the lead of my usual sturdy step by step. The day was hot with the sun stalking us as we walked. The final climb was becoming almost insurmountable in my mind.

There is a point in the trail to Chileno where the day trippers and the over nighters meet. Once you reach this point the flood of people is overwhelming. Us with our big and overweight packs that have already been carried over 100 kilometres and them with their tiny day packs full of energy and zest. Just like us on the first day.

Walking the trail along the side of the mountain up the valley towards Los Torres reminded me of trekking in Nepal. Once Campemento Chileno came into view, all was well in the world. I realise, I can go on.

Tonight is the first night we get to sleep on platforms. Flat and off the earth. We set up our tents using nails and it feels good to be rising above the surface.

It is 3pm by the time we are fully set up for the night. Still seven hours of daylight left. The sky is clear, windy, but by now that is a given. We make the decision to hike up to the towers while the weather is still good. The hike up is 4kms. The time suggested is 2.5hrs plus just for the ascent. From deep within the recesses of my last available energy we hike up at record pace making to the top in 1 hour and 50 minutes (the boys in 1:35). The final ascent is a scramble of boulders and rubble. We ascend 500 metres in less than 0.75kms. It is steep and after the walk I have already had today, it is even steeper still.

At the top all that came came before is forgotten. Mirador Los Torres clears the mind only to fill it once again with awe. Three rising towers in front of an aqua coloured lagoon standing proud and tall and proclaiming well done for making it to the top. From a distance the make a great backdrop. Standing at the top in admiration I realise why this spot is almost the pinnacle of the entire trip.

All in all the day entailed trekking 33kms. Even though the night in the tent was unreasonably hot, it was our last night in the tents. Oh what a feeling!

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