There is nothing more rewarding than eating up the miles for these views, peaks, vegetation.
I felt a strong sense of magnificence – I am a romanticism fellow here- where the rules of Reason disappear in front of the power and aesthetics of Nature, finding myself with mixed feelings of amazement and terror.
Lonely Planet Trekking in the Patagonian Andes (contains circuits and interesting tips on how to organize your days in the beautiful national parks in Patagonia)
Mirador las Torres
Walking up and down, spotting rabbits, foxes, condors, horses. The side of the mountains transforming from green and florid to white slippery stones, ending up at the Mirador, where a Laguna created by the Galciers is reflecting the majestic Nido de condor, Torre Central, Torre De Agostini and Monte Nieto.
From the entrance of the park, in Laguna Amarga a bus travels to Pudeto, where the catamaran to Paine Grande departs.
The thirty minuted on the Lago Pehoé are unforgettable. If the weather is good and the wind is smooth the clear water becomes the mirror of the mountains of the Park, especially the Cerro Salto Grande.
From the shore at Paine Grande the view is special in the very early morning when the sun does not hit the valley yet and the water is colored of gold and red shades and the sky lights a little all around.
The trek starts from the Lago Pehoé and after crossing the valley it reaches Laguna Los Patos, where the landscape changes to the hillside along the Lago Grey. Quite suddenly the view opens onto the Glacier Grey, far away, white and blue shades. The mountain of ice closed by the mountains reaches the cold grey water of the lake that turns into a shiny blue once the sun hits the valley, around midday.
A small village lost in fjords, almost the last big populated centre in tens of kilometers.
The natural park has two options: one is a O-shaped path which is quite long and more for expert trekkers, and the other which is a W-shaped path in which all the treks are around 10 km.
Best is to plan four nights to be able to complete the W circuit. The distances are not so big but the weather, the wind and some bits can slow you down significantly.
1) Trekking poles will save your life! No matter what, buy them!
2) If you have to carry big backpacks while trekking, lock them leave them in the last refugio before your target arrival point. You will pass by the shelter again and your back will hurt less.
3) If you can, go camping. Camping is reasonably cheap and facilities are very good. Some refugios offer camping equipment to rent. (tents, sleeping beds,..) and you will feel less ripped off.
Refugios are in comparison very expensive. Fantastico Sur offer really good service and they have very helpful staff, while Vertice is unfortunately not that good in both.
4) Take your time. The arriving points of each trek are amazing but the treks themselves are a succession of landscapes of rare beauty.
5) Shadow is cold, sun is hot. Plan good equipment for rain and get along sunscreen.
6) Buy snacks beforehand, but not so many. Refugios have minimarkets and offer lunch boxes to take away. Trash can be left at refugios.
How to get there:
– Buses from/to Puerto Natales. Many buses depart everyday from the Rodoviario where tickets are available. They make 3 stops in the National Park: Laguna Amarga to connect to the Torres, Pudeto, to connect to Paine Grande via catamaran, Administracion, to trekalong the Rio Grey.
– Connection also from/to El Calafate, Argentina