Today’s plan was to walk from the “Italiano” campsite to the “Chileno” or “Torres” one. Looking at the map this appeared a huge hike especially because I have heard the way to “Torres” is going up only. So I thought I better get up early and start walking as soon as there is daylight.
When I got up at 6:30am it was still dark. I put down my tent and packed my stuff away. Then I sat down on a fallen tree having breakfast and waiting for the sun to rise. The first ray of light appeared at 7:15am and so I started walking. During the first meters I still had my head torch on since it was kind of dark underneath the trees. As soon as I came out of the forest it started to rain. Since it was more spray than proper rain I thought it may stop after a while. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and the rain became heavier.
Since I was sure to be the first one on the trail I didn’t make an effort to find a bush to hide behind when changing to my raingear. I stripped in the middle of the trail and put on my rain trousers. My North Face jacket is waterproof anyhow and so I only needed a protection for my big backpack otherwise my sleeping bag and food will get wet. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cover since it’s the dry season and I didn’t expect to walk the whole day in rain. But I still had a rain poncho which I wrapped around my shoulders and the backpack to protect it.
Walking in the rain was pretty lonely since everybody seemed to hide in their refuge or tent. After walking for nearly two hours I was running into the first people. I actually knew one of them. It was Marco a guy from Switzerland who travelled with me from Salvador to Rio. I was surprised to see him here but we could only exchange a few words until the both of us needed to continue.
The rain didn’t want to stop and my rain trousers fulfilled their purpose. Most people don’t own them because in a city an umbrella or a rain jacket is fully sufficient. But when being in the outdoors rain trousers are really essential. When you hike through wet bushes normal trekking trousers would become completely wet after a while which isn’t the case with rain trousers.
Right next to the trail were many funny signs. One of them said you shouldn’t burn your toilet paper which I found really weird. I would never even think about to burn my toilet paper, especially not in the middle of a national park. First I thought it might be a spelling error and they don’t want you to bury your toilet paper. But then I thought they really mean it like this because in the past there were several fires in the park caused by careless hikers. Maybe one of the fires was caused by burning toilet paper.
At some point before the “Hosteria Las Torres” a shortcut to the “Chileno” campsite appeared. While on this trail I ran into Ross and Stuart coming from the opposite direction. I was happy to see them alive and hear they have covered the most challenging part of the circuit. What they are doing is really incredible walking the full circuit in the Torres del Paine National Park in only 5 day instead of the recommended 8-9 days – tough boys. They told me a few of their adventures such as they missed the right trail to the “Refugio Dickson” and ended up in swampland. Luckily they were able to find the right trail and walked until 10 or 11pm with their head torches until they reached the refuge. They also told me the “Chileno” campsite is closed since it’s the end of the season and so I will need to walk up further to the ”Torres” campsite. I didn’t worry too much since I was running very good in time and would have walked to “Torres” anyhow.
I arrived at the “Torres” campsite at 5pm. By then it had stopped raining and I pitched up my tent between the trees. Tomorrow will be an easy day for me since it’s only one more hour up to the “Torres del Paine” viewpoint. I hope the weather will be better tomorrow since Ross and Stuart told me because of the rain they couldn’t see much.