Saturday, 26 January 2008

Torres Del Paine, Chile - Mountains n' Mole Hills

I had serious concerns the ol' tired legs weren't going to hold up for day #5 and had pretty much resigned myself to a lazy day. We got up late and contemplated the strategy for the day. We had a car, so why did I need to drag my out of shape Irish arse up yet another mountain? I was quite content to do the lazy car tour until I spotted a fifty something year old Asian woman with a backpack twice the size of mine, heading up the same trail I was shying away from. I couldn't let it go and thought if she can do it, I can do it. It was another eight to ten hour hike with four to five hours out, then four to five hours back, to see the close up view of the Torres (towers).

Photo: The only was is up!

I set off late morning and was in danger of missing dinner if i didn't make it back in time. This wasn't an option as far as I was concerned so I adopted the previous days tactic of running the downhill stretches and even a few uphill ones. I had no heavy pack to carry today, just water and food, as I'd be finishing at the same refugio. I'm not sure whether it was the fear of not making it back on time for dinner or whether I just wanted to shorten the pain, but I ran like the wind wherever possible. The adrenalin was pumpin' and I was at the Mirador (viewpoint), 90 minutes ahead of schedule.

Photo: Refugio Chileno in the background

Photo: At the viewpoint

Photo: At the viewpoint (continued), now if the clouds would just take a hike!

Photo: On the way back down I discover the easy way up - where were you guys yesterday?

The view wasn't at it's most spectacular due to cloud, but it was nonetheless exhilarating to have gotten there so quickly. I stayed almost an hour, chomping down a sandwich (not Tuna for a change!!) and waiting for the sky to clear, so I could get a good photo. It never did clear however and then in true 'Forrest Gump' style, I ran just for the fun of running and down the mountain I sprinted like a man possessed. I finished, back at base two and a half hours ahead of schedule. I was tired, sore but satisfied having completed the 'W' circuit and I was ready for a beer or two.


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