Brian and I wake 15 minutes late for breakfast. So much for redemption. Mark and John are already enjoying the crepes and coffee crystals. We join in for ham, cheese and rolls. After eating, we sort and pack our gear and food. The food seams far less than we want to eat, yet far more than want to carry. We have full board twice on the trip, so we only we need 7 days of food.
We leave our bags at the hostel and play tourist for the morning. We could have taken the 7:30 am bus to the park, but given our oversleep performance, we would have certainly missed it. Besides, walking before we go walking seems like such a good idea. The next bus is not until 2:30 pm, so we have plenty of time. We get massive sandwiches, which we use to lead a parade of dogs throughout town.
From the bus to the park, we see plenty of guanacos, rheas, and eventually the massif Torres Del Paine. At the gate we pay, get maps, and view a mandatory video, whose main point is that if we start an accidental fire we will spend six bonus years in Chile, probably making license plates. At the end of the video, there is a Spanish announcement which causes quite a ruckus, involving frantic disappointed glances and hand gestures. Eventually an English version is released. A critical bridge is out and to complete the W route or the full O circuit requires a catamaran excursion and significant doubling back. Trekkers have come from around the world, only to find the alphabet broken. There is some hope that O circuit folks like us may find the bridge repaired by the time we arrive, almost a week later.
Adding to our confusion, the trail from the guard shack, which we plan to take to Seron, does not appear on the current map. We are told it is decommissioned and we must go to Las Torres, via another bus for 3,000 play money per person.
Brian is laughing as we finally hit the trail. He has never started a backpacking trek at 6:00 pm. Luckily we are so far south that it stays light until 10:00 pm. We make our way and beat the barely setting sun. By the time we set up camp and have dinner, it is 11:00 pm. An Australian overhears Brian’s concern about having enough food and offers to share some. We assure him we are not hungry enough for Vegemite, but he seems more than pleased and quite surprised when I offer him a precious Cherry Ripe. He shares good news that the bridge is expected to be repaired in two days.
As we try to sleep, the locals scream-talk at each other over blasting music, for several more hours.