Last month we finished up backpacking the full circuit, including the “W” at Torres del Paine national park in Punta Arenas.
Fact: I thought I was going to die the first couple of days.
Also Fact: I didn’t die. And it was a great experience, woo hoo!
Day 1 we hiked 18 miles. I was trapped so deep in my own mind that I started to get depressed half way through the day and it just built as time went on. My thoughts were coming from all angles as I started internally processing through bad decisions and mistakes, the deep issues we had just learned about and seen in the Middle East and on and on. I began panicking about irrational things, that my family may die while I’m in the wilderness and I would have no way to be contacted or that Joe (my lovely boyfriend) will randomly get in a car accident or decide to break up with me. My head was in my stomach making it really hard to enjoy what was around me or stay motivated as I fought my internal demons.
But by day 3 my internal pity party and panic subsided, it was like a cloud was lifted. I had been praying to God constantly for peace and to fully trust him in all situations and I felt him there with me clearing my mind, reassuring me and inspiring me with his beautiful creation surrounding me. This is something I am constantly working towards, knowing my own tendencies. To really fully trust him with EVERYTHING. Easier said than done I find, but I won’t stop striving towards it because I know it is the only way to fully experience life’s joy! Upon reaching this mental clarity (and realization that all my loved ones were still alive, haha), I started loving the experience. Basking in each ray of sunshine and equally embracing the difficulty of the trip.
One really awesome thing about the area in Patagonia that we backpacked is how diverse the nature is. Each day, each hour even, the scenery can do a full 180 switching from season to season or one climate to the next.
One hour we were climbing through a tropical jungle, clinging to vines and branches to jump through mud. The next we were walking through a peaceful meadow beside a chalky, blue lagoon. The next day we would summit to the top of a mountain in the freezing wind to overlook a huge glacier stretching for miles, then scale down to walk along a pebble beach next to a lake.
The constant change of views and weather really kept things interesting and made me thankful for remembering to dress in layers.
Something small that I really loved on our trip was that we could drink out of any moving water source we came across, wether it be a rushing waterfall, a small stream, etc. There is no Giardia in South America, a common parasite found in the U.S. and may other places in the world that infect human intestines making it unsafe normally to drink water from its natural source. Because of this our guides instructed us that it was perfectly safe to drink any water we came across. There is something really awesome about just reaching down into a waterfall as you pass by and grabbing a refreshing drink.
Each night we would camp at a sight in tents, 2- 3 of us to a tent.
We were a little spoiled and had sherpas who carried a lot of our heavy things as well as carrying and setting up our tents for us. I guess we were “glamping” just a little bit but it was still really hard, O.K.!!
At every campsite we also got a nice, hot meal cooked for us and it was actually really tasty. I was honestly envisioning cans of beans and granola bars for all our meals going into the trip, so the food was a pleasant surprise! “The W” is a shorter maybe 3 day route within the circuit and it’s really common for tourists so they have nice lodges along that part. People pay around $1000 a night to stay in there (i’d rather stick to my cozy, budget friendly tent personally), but those lodges are where we got to eat our meals in for that portion of the trip which was nice. Also, thanks to our amazing guides Meche & Mono aka Monkey, we got to snag a couple hot showers in the lodges too along the way and even a yoga session in the yoga dome. Our guides were really the best and so passionate about what they do, I’m so grateful to have had the joy of meeting their beautiful souls. Look how fun they are!
The days were long but so rewarding! I am so thankful I got the opportunity to to go and I would highly recommend the trip and route to anyone if you ever get the chance to come down here.
All in all, I loved it. Maybe I am more of a nature girl than I once thought, haha! Just kidding lets not get crazy!!