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Topic: Patagonia 2014, trip report< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 8:37 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Patagonia 2014

On March 10th my wife and I left Minnesota for Patagonia. We were planning on 10 days of backpacking in Torres del Paine National Park and 6 days of sightseeing. We arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile 23 hours later. After a 20 minute taxi ride we arrived at our destination, the Hostel Keoken.
The next day we were intending on taking a day trip to Magdalena Island to see the penguin colony, but, due to high winds and rain we toured Punta Arenas. We visited a replica built to the exact specifications on Ferdinand Magellan’s ship “Nao Victoria” and enjoyed the local cuisine.
Paila Marina

The expedition started out with 5 ships and approximately 270 men and finished with 1 ship and 17 sailors.
On the 13th we headed for Puerto Natales, gateway to Torres del Paine, and our headquarters before and after backpacking. After listening to the weather reports we decide against the Q and settled for doing the W in 7 days. We decided to go to El Calafate for 3 days and see the Perito Moreno Glacier. After help from our hosts at “We are Patagonia”, Carola and Brian, new reservations were made. Puerto Natales is a very colorful city set on the Straights of Magellan.
Downtown Puerto Natales
Another Bright Building


On the 15th we boarded our bus for the 3 ½ hour ride to the park and Lago Pehoe we were ready to start our adventure. A 30 minute boat ride brought us to Paine Grande and the start of our backpacking trip. Mary’s pack weighed 20 ½# and mine was at about 24#. The scenery on the ride was breathtaking.
View from boat

We started walking at 1:20 PM and 4 hours later we arrived at our destination, Campamento Grey. Talk about a campsite with a view.
Fog over Mountains
The next morning we retraced our steps to Paine Grande. However, due to the sun being out, it was like a new trip.
In front of Grey glacier
Refletion
The scenery was even better than on the way out. That night we had dinner at the Refugio. It’s funny how a shower, warm meal and a bottle of wine make you feel like a new person.
Paine Grande Campground
Getting up early I was treated to a spectacular sunrise over Paine Grande.
Sunrise
Around 12:30 PM we arrived at our next campsite, Campamento Italiano, a real dump. It became so crowded that if you left 10’ between your tent and the next one, someone would fill in the space. After setting up our tent and hanging the food (Mice) I headed up Valle de Frances for a 4 hour hike. Mary’s knees were hurting so she stayed back to take a nap. It was a really rocky and steep climb but the scenery was even better than before. The sounds of ice breaking off the glacier sounded like thunder. The views were so spectacular, that even though I met hundreds of people, it didn’t matter.
Campmento Italiano
Glacier del Frances
Lago Nordemskjold



When I got back down Mary was waiting at the campground entrance and informed me that one of our food bags had disappeared. I may have cussed for awhile since it included 3 dinners,  our coffee and tea and all of our chocolate. She had complained to the camp ranger but he didn’t seem to care. We talked to a lot of people but no one had seen anything.
The next morning while waiting for the sun to come up, I was talking to a young man from Germany who knew about our food being taken, and as the sun appeared he said: “ Does this make everything better?”  
Alpenglo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Funny thing, he was right. I didn’t feel so bad and my wife’s pack was going to be about 6 pounds lighter. To make things even better, different people stopped by in the morning and gave us small amounts of food. For every creep, there  are a lot of really nice people in this world. Instead of only going 7 km to Campamento Los Cuernos, we decided to do 18 kms and reach Refugio Torres. That night after a hot shower we had a wonderful meal at the Refugio. While talking at dinner, due to Mary’s knees really hurting and a nasty forecast, we decided to end our trip 2 days early.
Since we were back in Puerto Natales 2 days early we had to make extra reservations. Once again Carola and Brian bailed us out. They called around town until they found another Hostel that could put us up for two nights. For the next four days we wandered around town sampling the cuisine and wine.
Chocolate Torte

On the 23rd we headed for El Calafate, Argentina for 3 days and 2 nights. The highlight was a day trip to Perito Merino Glacier which extends 40 meters above the water and 120 below. It was mind blowing.
The Nolls
Close Up


All of a sudden it was the 27th and we were headed home. It’s sometimes hard to believe how quickly a trip ends.
A few last comments. A few years ago I started backpacking because of my wife. She is now starting to have knee issues due to degenerative arthritis. Being my best friend and backpacking  
buddy I’m not sure where we will go from here. I guess time will tell.
Yes, the whole route in Torres Del Paine was crowded, but, due to the spectacular scenery it didn’t matter. If it can be managed, I would recommend that everyone put this special place on their bucket list.
Finally, thanks to Rics for his help in planning.
The rest of the trip pictures can be seen here.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/d1948n/sets
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for sharing a spectacular area!  It's a shame you had issues--here's hoping for the best for Mary's knees.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 7:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow! Jealous doesn't even begin... Seriously, thanks for sharing!
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

^ Ditto. Thanks for the report!

Patagonia has been on my bucket list for a while. I always thought I'd visit it before the Himalayas/Karakorams. I've already visited the Himalayas (Nanga Parbat basecamp, not Everest though) and the Karakorams (K2 basecamp, which makes Everest a bit of a lesser draw), so Patagonia is next!


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 3:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

VERY COOL. DYING TO GET TO PATAGONIA!
Enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures.

Cheers!
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 20 2014, 7:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's a great place, and it sounds like you had a great time, knees and food theft notwithstanding.  It's interesting how Los Cuernos were formed in a completely different fashion than the other famous peaks in that area.

I'm planning to go back next year, but in a more northern area.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 05 2014, 10:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pictures were beautiful!  Thanks for sharing.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 05 2014, 11:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great TR - thanks!

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PostIcon Posted on: May 14 2014, 10:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great pics!!! I really enjoyed them. If you don't like crowds, the Circuit route (counterclockwise is best) is without a lot of people. I did it a few yrs ago. Your pictures brought back a lot of memories.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 04 2014, 3:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Really beautiful photos and views of mountains. I would like to be there at least for a moment, feel this clean air...

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9 replies since Apr. 13 2014, 8:37 am < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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