On my first trip to Chile I went straight away to Patagonia to hike the W trek in Torres del Paine.
Here is my experience thus far:
My travel companioning for this trek was my dear friend Sally, thankfully all of our preparation for this trip paid off well. We decided to use Cascada Expeditions EcoCamp for our trekking company.
Ecocamp is located inside the National Park sitting below the Torres and the Torres Massif. Ecocamp is a fully sustainable lodge with upscale camping in geodesic domes inspired by the indigenous people of the area.
We flew into Santiago Chile and from there we transferred to Latam Airlines to take us to Punta Arenas. In Punta Arenas we were picked up at our hotel by Ecocamp and met our other faithful trekkers. We sat back and enjoyed our 5-hour drive to base camp, along the way enjoying the beautiful scenery, wildlife, lunch and getting to know our now new friends for life. A wonderful start!
After settling into our dome we then met our guides and with a Chilean welcome drink of Pisco Sour we were briefed for the next day and met our team of trekkers. Every day we were briefed on the next day’s adventure, never feeling unsure of what lied ahead. I loved it.
Dinner was also well done, you had a choice at each meal to meet your dietary restrictions. Breakfast in the morning followed by packing snacks and lunch for the trek and then off we went. You can get all the fine details on Ecocamp procedures on their website. https://www.cascada.travel/en
The weather in Patagonia can be extreme wind, rain, snow basically all four seasons in one day. You need to be prepared for all seasons and carry these items in your day pack. Don’t forget SUNSCREEN!
Leave No Trace! Pack it in pack it out!! Even your toilet paper people!
Day 1 of the W Trek
Base Camp to Refugio Cuernos along the Los Cuernos Trek and the Nordenskjold Lake.
Per my GPS Fenix 5S watch at our first stop for lunch I hiked 3.5 hours and 6.91 miles, elevation gain of 1,368 feet. Continuing on to our final stop at the Refugio; 2.5 hours, 4.11 miles and 709 more feet in elevation.
As we were eating lunch we heard a loud rumble which occurred to us it was an avalanche. A sound and sight we would hear and see often on the the Piane Massif.
As we were hiking the trail I felt like I couldn’t capture the beauty, in person it is just so beautiful. I also had to really concentrate on my foot placement. The path was difficult with roots from trees and rock. Be sure to have a good boots with a strong sole.
The Refugio supplied a very nice sleeping bag, we had co-ed dorms with bunk beds for sleeping and private bathrooms. Our dinner was a huge piece of fresh salmon and Chilean wine. In all my Refugio travels I don’t believe I have ever had such a generous portion and a great tasting dinner.
We bunked with our new friends James and Jess. They were newly married and on their honeymoon. Also, British and a ton of fun, absolutely adorable.