We hiked the W-trail in the magical Torres del Paine at the end of April. The only way to do justice to our experience and the beauty of the trail is to write about it one day at a time. On our first day we took a bus from Puerto Natales that took us first to the entrance of the park at Laguna Amarga and from there to Guarderia Pudeto (encircled in blue on the map below). The Salto Grande (big waterfall) is 15mins. walk from the guarderia and a good activity to do while waiting to get on the ferry that leaves at 12:00. From Guarderia Pudeto we took a ferry ride over Pehoe Lake (follow the blue line on the map) with about 25 other people in high spirits. The water of the lake is an icy blue colour!When we arrived at the other side of the lake at Guarderia Lago Pehoe, the hikers who had just completed their hike, were lining up to take the ferry back home.
After lunch we were ready to hike the 11kms (follow the blue trail on the map) to Refugio Grey, our destination. We were so amazed at the beauty around us that we lost track of time. The route to Refugio Gray is not very challenging, but we walked at a very slow pace to take millions of pictures along the way!Sadly a large part of the Western area of Torres del Paine was destroyed in a fire in 2011, caused by a reckless hiker who tried to burn toiletpaper. We saw burnt trees along the way. Even though what had happened is very sad, the burnt tree trunks had a beauty of their own.We were fortunate to see Torres del Paine in Autumn- each tree was a different colour from brown to yellow to bright red!
We were warned that you experience 4 seasons in one day when you hike in Torres del Paine; and it is true – while we were marvelling at the beauty of Laguna Los Patos, snowflakes swirled around us!After the snowflakes, an icy wind blew raindrops against our cheeks, so hard that it stung! Can you guess what that blue floating thing is:We were stunned when we realised it’s a piece of dark blue glacier ice!After spotting a lot more floating ice in the lake, we had our first glimpse of the majestic Glacier Gray:The glacier extends on the left and the right side of the island in the lake.This is the last bridge that we had to cross before reaching the refugio:We were very happy and tired when we arrived at the luxurious Refugio Gray. The friendly staff allowed us to store our backpacks and food in their lockers (away from the mice that apparently attack tents at night).