Torres del Paine W Trek: Day 2
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.