Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine is Chile's largest (and, according to the Lonely Planet, one of South America's finest), national park. Finally bored of his enforced resting, we decided that a bit of hiking around the park would be just the thing to strengthen Ja's knee and get him cycle fit again (probably). So, with 6 days food in our backpacks, and very little clue what we were going to do, we set off with Nicolas (a guy we had met in one of the hostels), to explore the park.

As it happens there are a couple of fairly standard, well trodden routes around the park, so we picked one that seemed to give the best opportunity to see both the glaciers and the Torres (the 3000m granite spires which tower majestically over the park), and spent the rest of the week being awed by the incredible views (or at least I was, having never seen a glacier before. Ja was slightly more taciturn, claiming that if you've seen one glacier you've seen them all, but I think he was just being grumpy as he was still taking it easy with his knee and didn't want to climb the full 800m to view it in it's full glory).

The weather was typically 'Crowded House' (4 seasons in one day); going from gale force winds and hail stones one moment, to glorious sunshine the next, meaning we managed to get sunburned in spite of being freezing half the time. And, it turns out (probably unsurprisingly), that carrying all that weight on your back is even harder than carrying it on the bike. Still, it was a pretty amazing week, and even better; by the time we got back Ja was feeling ready to get back on the bike (probably for fear I would suggest another week of hiking if not!), so next stop - El Calafate!

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