Puerto Natales, Chile – 12th December, 2011 to 14th December, 2011.
Bleary eyed bus journeys seem to be the norm in Argentina. Distances between cities are long. Therefore, you are bound to get a numb ass and bleary eyed from lack of sleep. However, these bleary eyes are from the wake up to get the bus to a new country.
Border crossings in Europe are simple. So simple. But crossing from Argentina to Chile is a bit of a nightmare. We are forced to take all our bags off the bus (luggage and all) before lining up for the longest customs line since custom lines were invented, then to put all your belongings through a scanner. It seems a bit over protective, but a necessary evil to protect the fauna and flora of Chile.
Back on the bus, and its barely an hour before we are at the destination: Puerto Natales. A small town, that is bombarded with hiking boots, gore tex and hikers during the summer time months. And its why I’m in town, solely to complete the W Circuit in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine.
The days I spend here are all about trying to prepare for my first multi-day hike. As well as getting some rest before doing it.
The next day I wake up to some bad news that a Marjo (a friend I met in Buenos Aires) had their flight cancelled and they won`t be in til tomorrow. Which means I’ll be spending another night in Puerto Natales. Oh well, rest is always good.
The afternoon, I spend it at Erratic Rock Hostel for their daily “3pm info session”. Basically, outlining routes, park fees, equipment needed, food, and transport for doing the w or the circuit. It goes on for quite some time, but its eased my somewhat stressed mind and reassures myself that it won’t be too bad.
I also end up back here that night, as the guide for the information talk, is having a Torres del Paine slideshow. A very tantalising pre-trek show to wet the outdoor taste buds. As well as some refreshingly good Patagonian Ale (surprisingly good beer).
A final day in Puerto Natales and I spend it at my favourite cafe in town – El Living which is cosy, warm and serves delicious vegan food and the best coffee in Patagonia. As well as preparing all items that I need – tent, sleeping pad, stove, gas, and food supplies.
Luckily, I run into Marjo (and her cohort – Chloe, Thomas, Jesper, Charlie and Kelden) and alls well and set for the next few days. As well as a decent feed at a nearby restaurant. A sort of “Last Supper” before we eat nothing but trailmix and rice for the next few nights. Its then time to sleep, but not before a late night packing scramble. My backpack is full of food and camping equipment and not much clothes – this can only end badly for my smell by the end of four days.