“O Circuit” Day 9 – Las Torres

It is true that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, assuming of course it is not a sun dial, which ours is far from being. It rained all night, and continues to rain this morning. Our breakfast will be served at eight, and check-out is at nine. Packing up, keeping dry, getting food, and finding a place to ditch our packs, is our morning’s mission. Any chance of seeing the Torres Del Paine is pretty much shot. But like Atticus Finch or Don Quixote, we will try.

We realize storage for backpacks is at a premium. There is one small outdoor alcove, mostly protected, and we cram our packs into it. Others follow suit, so ours are now completely covered, but will be difficult to retrieve.

Breakfast in Chileno is chaos. Those with rooms have the early 7:00am seating, campers like us are seated at 8:00am. That is of course if you are willing to sit on a 7:00 am-ers lap, as they continue to eat well beyond 8:30. We are finally seated, but must wait what seems like forever for coffee and eggs. The coffee is so dreadful we wonder why we waited at all. I fill up with bread and caramelized jelly, plus corn flakes and warm milk, from what animal I am not quite sure. We Americans really are pigs, expecting far more service than the Chilean resources seem capable to provide.

Torres Base

Torres Base

We eventually grab our sack lunch, pack up, and head out into the rain. The primary reason for our sojourn is to pay respects at the foot of the parks namesake, Torres Del Paine. Our faith is based on believing, rather than seeing. Over time our water proof gear begins to water. We are soaking from wet-head to sloshy-sock. We splash through mud and dance over rickety bridges, clearly unworthy of OSHA approval. The final 45 minutes are steep, rocky, wet, and futile. We appear at the shore of the small largo below the towers, the towers, however, fail to appear.

We dash, fall and slide back down to Chileno. We squeeze in soaked to soak in the warmth of the huddled steamy tourists. The smell is probably as you imagine. Our clothes never dry, but protected from the wind, warm ever so slightly. The entire Chileno service crew is eating lunch, so all tourist services are on hold. In other words, we cannot order hot drinks and food, but we can watch employees consume them.

We push back into the cold, and climb out of Chileno and down the long stretch to our final camp, Las Torres. We get a break in the weather, dry our tents and quickly set them back up as the rain returns. It continues off and on, but never very long.

Tomorrow afternoon we will catch the bus back to Natales.