Torres del Paine: French Valley then to Chilleno (days 4-5)

We woke up a bit sore from the previous day’s trek (especially Monica, whose feet were in bad condition), enjoyed a fabulous sunrise on the Cuernos, and then five us headed out to the Valle Frances (French Valley), backtracking a bit to Campomiento Italiano.  Up from there (the middle point of the “W”) the trail followed a spectacular stream with the snow avalanches continuing above and to the west.  We stopped for lunch before reaching an astonishing overlook and then continued a bit further until the day grew late, the wind picked up, and a bit of snow (!) began to fall.  We snapped some “hero shots” on some big boulders and then scampered back to Cuernos for an over-priced bottle of Malbec.

We packed it all up the next AM (after another gratuitously gorgeous sunrise) and headed east.  The weather was fabulous but we could easily tell from the vegetation that 1.  this was indeed the dry side of the park; and 2. even so, the plants were really drought-stressed (hence the fire of the previous month).  After a disheartening uphill grind and downhill slog to Refugio Chilleno,  we rested by two streams,  one of water and one of people returning to the Hosteria Torres way down below.  The peaks of the famous “Torres” peeked at us from above the ridge, saying:  “Why don’t you get up at 4 AM tomorrow and watch the sunrise?”  So, we headed off to bed.

Full pics HERE.

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