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Torres del Paine … day 1

….. i am starting to think that the weather is conspiring against me!!!

… so my expedition to Torres del Paine National Park got off to a slightly inauspicious start when the shuttle bus forgot to swing by my hostel to pick me up…. so a mad taxi ride ensued to catch up with the bus…. which was waiting for me a few kilometers down the road….. i got on head hung low thinking that everyone would think i had overslept and was delaying the start to their adventure…. thankfully I didn’t have to do the walk of shame when i got on board because there was a single ‘billy no mates’ seat at the front that I gratefully sank into….

… then on arriving in the park I got left behind again as everyone squeezed onto the waiting minubus which ferries you to one of the refuges and the start of a couple of the hikes… nobody wanted to wait the 20 minutes for the next one and it was most certainly a case of every man for himself …. so i was starting to feel mildly panicked as on the way to the park i’d decided it may be a good idea to hook up with someone to walk with … i can be pig headedly independent sometimes but on this occasion common sense had kicked in… but there i was all on my tod…

…. thankfully when i reached the refuge i was rescued by chris and sinead from dublin who were booking in just ahead of me…. they realized i was having a bit of a bad hair day and basically said ‘hi how are you doing??’ …. i could have kissed them both on the spot … little did i know then that three days later they would leave me with only the remnants of a liver and the desire never to drink again….

view up the valley towards las torres

view up the valley towards 'las torres'

... this is the best view we got of 'las torres'

... this is the best view we got

 

…so we set off on the hike up to see ‘las torres’ … three impressive towers that soar high above the surunding peaks… allegedly… we didn’t see them…….apart from a fleeting glimpse once we got back down to the refuge and were halfway through a very fine bottle of chilean red (mind you any wine would have tasted fine at that point) while thawing and drying out … almost as soon as we set off it started to rain….and there were clouds obscuring the view… sound familiar??… that said… despite the fact that we didn’t get to see the main event.. the supporting act of the surrounding scenery almost made up for it…. it was absolutely breathtaking…. i got light headed and dizzy as we climbed higher and got deeper into the valley …. probably because of a vertiginously steep drop on one side of the very narrow path…. also in part because i was ravenously hungry… the plan was to stop off at a refuge halfway up the climb to refuel for the last steep scramble to the lookout point… however the refuge had shut down for the season..(it really was just one of those days….) so we decided to cut our losses and head back down to the refuge and abovementioned bottle of wine … or two!!

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