Patagonia – Hiking Torres del Paine NP

We met up with Kevin in Santiago and the flew to Punta Arenas to start our Patagonia adventure. After several days there we travelled North to Torres del Paine NP and the beginning of our backpacking trip.

The O-Trek is not quite as well-known as its sibling hike, the W-Trek. At a total 76 miles (122 km) long, the O-Trek is a longer, harder, and more remote hike. It circles counterclockwise around the northside of the central Cordillera del Paine, adding three stages to the W-Trek’s five and linking the endpoints of the W. In addition to all the big sights of the W-Trek—Valle del Frances, Lago Nordenskjöld, the Torres—hikers on the O-Trek experience hidden gems like Rio and Lago Paine, Dickson Glacier and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Los Perros Glacier, and an up-close view of Glacier Grey. The trail leads through areas more undeveloped and further away from civilization than on the W-Trek. The climb over John Gardner Pass, for example, is tough and often wind and snow swept, even in the Patagonian summer. Those who tackle the O-Trek don’t need to be mountaineering experts, but some experience with multi-day treks is a big plus; a willingness to power through the tough spots is a must.  Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Patagonia – Kayaking The Rio Serrano

The Serrano River flows southwest out of Torres del Paine National Park.  This river drains most of the park, but with the exception of one large Class VI rapid that must be portaged, the river is flat and relatively calm – ideal for a multi-day float from the west edge of the national park all the way to Last Hope Fjord. We begin paddling the first leg of the Serrano River, an ideal place for you to familiarize yourselves with the equipment and paddling techniques. After about 1.5 hours, we reach Salto Serrano (a geologic depression that makes for strong water rapids), which requires us to carry the kayaks about 100 meters. we continue down river another 2.5 hours, until we reach the camp site for the night. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading