Torres del Paine W Trek: Day 2

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Since I knew today was going to be a short one, I let myself have a late start. Gillian and I left around 10 am.

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Even though we were just retracing our steps from Day 1, the hike felt completely different. Going the other direction definitely results in new perspective and views!

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Even views of the same mountains looked different because of the weather; today, the bright sun and eerie mist at the top made the mountain's rough rocky edges look even more dramatic.

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We arrived at Refugio Paine Grande around 1:30 pm. This refugio was much larger, warmer, and nicer. Paul, Christophe, Gill and I sat around for a few hours before they left to their campsite. There was a beautiful view of the mountains and Lago Pehoe, and I spent most of my afternoon by a window, getting lost in the beauty and relishing my protection from the howling wind outside.

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As you may have gathered, I made friends with people camping. I booked nights in refugios (essentially a heated indoor hostel/lodge with beds),  but decided to pack and cook my own food, since I heard the meals were overpriced ($20+ each) and underwhelming. Since almost all refugio guests purchased meals (I was the only one I knew at refugios that brought my own food), I found myself in a weird limbo: not quite  doing the luxury glamping experience, but not completely roughing it in a tent. Half of the campsites were also located in completely different places from the refugios, so I was separate from my friends for 2 of the 4 nights. I felt quite a bit of FOMO while my friends were living a simple and more communal life in the trees, but I definitely wasn't complaining about my bed!

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i met an Australian couple at my refugio with whom I had a (not great) pisco sour and beer. Amongst other places in their 6-month-long world travel,  they had gone to El Chalten before this, so I got to hear a bit more about where I was headed in a week. Go me for being social!

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My third day was estimated by the park map to be over 13 miles and 11 hours of hiking, so I went to bed early in anticipation of the long day ahead of me.