Monday, February 19, 2007

Over the border into Puerto Natales, Chile

Monday 19th Feb

Awake early after a terrible nights' sleep in a noisy hostel to get the 08.30h bus out of El Calafate to Puerto Natales in Chile. Travelling with with Markus (Switzerland) and Erez (Holland), who I met on the Glacier trip. The journey should take 4hrs and snakes through a barren landscape mostly on a gravel road. On the way we spot wild llamas, osterrich and condors. In the distance Chile and a view of our goal, the snow capped peaks of Torres del Paine national park. The border formalities and Latin American laid-backness delay us by almost 2hrs, as forms are filled out, exit stamps given by the Argentines and entry stamps by the Chileans. Our bags are searched for fruit and vegetables as it is illegal to transport these across the border. We arrive in Puerto Natales in the afternoon and check into a cheap hostel.

Today and tomorrow will be spent preparing for the trek we have come here to do (hiring equipment and buying food etc). The Torres del Paine "W" circuit is a must for all serious hikers coming to this region. This is a 5 day trek through some of the wildest and most spectacular mountain landscape in Latin America.