It has been a while since my return to Europe and since you have heard from me. It’s a good time to reflect upon the trek in the Torres-del-Paine National Park. What are my strongest memories? What would I do just the same way, what differently?
Planning: Starting half a year in advance? yes. The trek itself is not a place to solve problems with your credit card. And if you are not an experienced traveller, start early. It can all be done on short notice, but then you need to know what you are capable of and a lot of good advice.
Walking: The Circuit is totally worth the time and energy. I would again start from Laguna Amarga. The serenity one can find on the “backside” is just beautiful. The daily challenges build up nicely towards the Gardner Pass. To the front side I would add a day and stop at Grey instead of passing it. After the long day over the pass, this was too much. It’s manageable, but no fun and I missed out on the French Valley because I couldn’t have done it. I don’t regret not camping at Italiano though. The afternoon tour to see the Torres in addition to the morning tour? Depends on the weather. Doing it once the next morning can be enough and enchanting if the weather is okay. In our case it was raining and cloudy in the morning, no reason to start climbing up in the dark.
Equipment: Bring duct tape! I was happy with my equipment, from the irreplacable walking poles to the sturdy Trangia cooker. We used a lot less gas than planned because the Trangia resists the windy conditions better than other cookers. A light tent, mattress and sleeping bag can make all the difference. I would not bring the big camera again though. Something tiny and lightweight would be my choice instead as it’s not about animals but sweeping landscapes and funny moments. I looove my power bank though. Thank you, dear family! Last but not least, the waterproof trousers were a nice touch in the mud and rain of the day of the pass.
Food: The easily cooked meals from the outdoor shop were not the cheapest choice, but a delicious and fuel-saving one. I brought too much food for lunches. (The Swedish bread held up a lot better than I expected.) I prefer that to too little though (someone quite enjoyed my extra calories) and you can never have too much dried pineapple!
Altogether it was a memorable experience and I made wonderful friends.
Dear readers, what else would you like to know?
PS: to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s towel I would add a sturdy spoon. There was a lack of spoons!