The next day dawned with far, far nicer weather and as we finished (a relatively late) breakfast we were greeted by some of the people we’d met the previous night who had gotten up at 5am to see the Torres in all their glory. Of course they had perfect weather and clear views and of course they rubbed it in. There’s only really one way to deal with smug people like that, and that is to point out that there wasn’t any breakfast left.

Anyway, the second day was in general much more like trekking as Loz would design it, i.e. a late start and not too much walking. To tell you the truth, it was a bit dull and I may have to reconsider my design. What we did realise, however, was a general weather pattern – good in the morning, but rainy and cold in the afternoon. This would inform day three’s trekking…

…which was a far earlier rise and we set off well in advance of 8am. Both Dave and I were feeling a bit knackered by this point and it looked as if we had two choices for the day – either a 5 hour hike or a far longer 9-10 hour one up the valley. Not really fancying the sound of the second one, we put off the decision as long as possible… and then found out that the map had been lying to us. Rather than 5 hours it would have been sub-4 and the 10 hour one was actually going to be more like 7 hours – half of which we wouldn’t have to carry our packs for. Heartened by this we redistributed our loads and set off up the valley.

It was a good decision. The weather was fantastic and we got some utterly stunning views of the glaciers and the ‘Cuernos’ del Paine. We weaved in and out of trees, forded small streams and crossed rickety bridges. I think this was probably my favourite day of the whole holiday so far and is up there with Lauca as being the most beautiful. A small sprinkle of rain was little barrier and soon the sun was out again to dry us off.

The fourth and final day was  much simpler, a short hike to glacier grey before we returned back to Puerto Natales. Sadly the weather wasn’t too warm or dry after being so kind to us the previous day and the glacier was a touch misty, but it was all worth it. One of the most interesting contrasts in the park is the difference between the rain-water lakes and the glacier fed ones. The rainwater lakes are a pure dark blue, but the glacier lakes match the icy polar blues we last saw at Glacier Pio XII from the Navimag. The translucent turquoise might seem more reminiscent of Carribean warmth, it is truly something to behold.

And that then was it, walking done with. Back to Puerto Natales for the evening and then off to Punta Arenas…

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