Torres del Paine: The amazing Torres in their glory!

Well, 4 AM came awfully quickly and five of us staggered out of the refugio in full darkness, our headlamps lighting the way.  Matt and I went ahead to be sure we made it to the mirador in time for the sunrise, glancing overhead and thrilled to see the Southern Cross shining through the mostly clear skies.  After arriving at the Chilleno campsite after a bit more than an hour, the route takes a hard left and straight uphill across a big screen field.  High above us we could see the lights of others on the dawn pilgrimage, snaking up the mountain.  After less than an hour we reached the overlook of the lake and the Torres (towers), seeing them faintly through the darkness.  6:10 AM or thereabouts.  I took some long exposure pictures with the tripod and after a little while the others joined Matt and I at our viewing point.  As the sun rose, clouds spread from the base of the towers, making for amazing changes in perspective and color.  After a little while the towers were orange, on fire with the sunrise.  Unbelieveable!  We were thrilled by the show for about an hour and then the clouds got serious and shut the whole thing down.  We headed back to the refugio, amazed by our good luck to have seen the spectacle.  We arrived ca. 8:30 AM, in time for the end of breakfast! Monica was glad to see us but had also enjoyed the sunrise on the tips of the Torres from below (plus an extra hour of sleep).

We relaxed for a while by the stream, had lunch, and packed it all up to head down the hill to Hosteria Torres to be met by our faithful driver Eduardo.  He drove us through the park to Puerto Natales, an amazing drive with Mutual of Omaha wildlife everywhere (guanacos, rheas, grey fox, etc) and stromatolite-inhabited lakes.  We arrived to beautiful P Natales and the nifty Hotel IF, which we shared with only one other group – about 30 boisterous Japanese tourists!  A seafood dinner capped off our final day , with much toasting over pisco sours.

We did it.  The W.  Or, should I say: the !W!, to indicate the excitement of the trip and the actual path of our entire trip, from the boat launch at Laguna Grey to the endpoint at Hosteria Torres.  Go to this link to see the map on Everytrail: LINK.  Full pics HERE.

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