In the lake-strewn hills and plains at the base of Torres del Paine, there are just a few winding dirt roads and busloads of tourists seeking one of a handful of hikes in the area. There’s tons of beautiful scenery, wild animals, and beautiful flowers. The mixture changes as you head into the foothills and then into the true mountain range.
We have hiked all day, in hot sun, howling wind, and misting rain. There are not many people who’ve made the final leg of the hike, and the trail maps all suggest this part is suitable only for climbers. We reached the final bluff by scrambling an hour on gigantic boulders, hopping and climbing an unmarked route – everyone took a different position so that dislodging a loose stone wouldn’t result in the person behind them getting injured.
The final vista was a bit foggy and rainy. But for the journey, it was all worth it. The peaks are impressive, even shrouded in mist. We turn back and reach camp 3 hours later, for a total trip of about 8 hours covering 22km on foot. We make a quick meal and crash in the tent, laughing with exhaustion that the sun doesn’t set until 11:30 here, and even after that, the sky is quite bright until after midnight.