Torres del Paine
(10.5 miles round trip,
2,400' ascent)
23th January 2014

After several days of cold, windy and cloudy weather (the norm for Patagonia), we awoke to a fine blue sky, and after breakfast set off at 8.30am for the Torres. Initially the path headed westwards before turning uphill, after which it meandered gradually uphill until we reached a lookout point with views into the Val d'Ascencio itself. We must have been in good form since we overtook a number of parties, including a guided group with the guide playing his flute as he went.

The start of the walk
The Val d'Ascencio

The path continued gradually downhill, with steep drops down to the valley bottom to our right until we reached a bridge leading to the first campsite. We passed quite a few people coming down who obviously had been camping overnight.

For the next few miles we passed through some beautiful forest glades. The weather was sunny and warm, and walking was a sheer delight. Eventually we came to a division in the path - one going a short distance on to the second camp, the other to the Torres "mirador" or viewpoint. The guidebooks describe this as a difficult knee breaking boulder climb, but we had absolutely no difficulty reaching the top after 45 minutes at 12 noon.

Passing through sun-dappled glades
The Torres
The flautist

Then for a wonderful ten minutes or so, we had the place completely to ourselves, while we ate lunch, sitting on a boulder. Then other walkers arrived, including the flute player, who continued to play atmospheric music on his flute. Among the people we spoke to was a gentleman from Canada, for whom this walk was another tick on his bucket list.

The views of the Torres is quite spectacular. It is amazing to think that the summit is still 6,000 feet above us. After savouring the place for an hour, we reluctantly turned to go down. On our way, we were continually captivated by the beautiful flowers and birds that we saw. Orchids, plants and birds, none of whom we knew the name off, except perhaps for clover and dandelions. There was a wonderful scent of pollen from the beautiful wildflower meadows, and strange hairy caterpillars on the path, waiting to be trodden.

We had glorious weather. Such a rarity in this part of the world. We had been so lucky.