South America | Chile | Torres del Paine National Park – To end this glorious march or not…
Waking up after a good night´s rest, we headed out for possibly our last day of hiking. We could not decide whether to continue to the glacier grey and lago grey at the tail end of the ´W´ trail or to catch the boat across lago grey and return to Puerto Natales as originally planned. We agreed to make a decision after reaching the refugio where we would possibly have lunch.
Since we had not had breakfast we found ourselves hungry by 1230, and settled down next to a stream and cooked some mac and cheese. The last part of our hike included walking down into a small little wind protected depression. I heard an awkward call, and looked around thinking a baby sheep may be in trouble somewhere nearby. To my surprise, the noise was coming from the direction of a dead tree trunk standing alone on the hill side. Walking closer I realized this noise came from the nine birds sitting on this grey tree. Parakeets! I recognized their chatter from my trip to Costa Rica two years ago, but I would not have expected Parakeets in Patagonia. There they sat, two by two, except for one lone bird, snuggling with one another talking away about who knows what. They occaisionally fluffed up their green, feathered chests which then would show off their orange bellies. Another amazing sight in this park, just lovely.
At the refugio, we opened our map, put it in our laps between us, and stared at it considering our options. We could head back to Puerto Natales, a cozy little town we really loved, or continue on this amazing hike one more day despite a lack of food, and sore bodies. In the end, we both decided, we normally push ourselves in everything we do, why not enjoy what we had experienced already, but relax and head on back….our decision to catch the evening boat meant we could still hike for about two and half more hours up towards glacier grey.
The hike brought us up a ridge through a very wild west seeming valley with horses grazing in it. At the top of the ridge we could see icebergs floating in the lake. They must have broken off the glacier at the top of the lake, which we rushed ahead to see, but ran out of time and never saw that glacier as we had to turn around and run back to catch our boat.
Whoever thought up the boat ride across this lake to reach the road and buses to pick up hikers, I thank you. The boat ride gave us thirty minutes of celebrating all of the marvelous views of the past few days as we crossed opague light blue waters. We rode out in the open on the top of the boat watching the mountains, glaciers, storm clouds, granite towers and mysterious skies get further away from us.
After getting back into Puerto Natales, and a quick shower, we set out to find a restaurant still open at 10 pm to celebrate our wildly succesful camping trip. A couple of pisco sours later we fell into a long nights sleep in a warm bed back at Casa Cecilia.