This is part of the ninth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Argentina
14/10/02 Back into Chile, again no payments, thank goodness as we are crossing back and forth many times. The muddy road we came down on now dry and the trucks have rounded off the sharp edges of the potholes so we can travel at 70-80 km/hr. We had intended to cross from Porvenir to Punta Arenas but that ferry doesn't run Mondays, so the long way around, the way we had come. After the shorter ferry crossing, $US 4.00, we followed the coast of the Magellan Straits past sheep estancia, wild rhea and even a couple of skunks as the sun setting gave an eerie light. Managed to arrive in Punta Arenas just after dark, 650 km today.
15/10/02 A quick look around the city and a windy ride to Puerto Natales along a good concrete road. The weather here seems to be following the pattern of sometimes rain in the morning, usually a mostly clear day and sometimes a light rain in the evenings, but always cold and windy. A few weeks ago we had decided to catch the boat from Puerto Natales through the Chilean fjords to Puerto Montt, a three day trip, and booked it over the internet. Today we learnt that it didn't run last week and despite leaving for Puerto Natales yesterday had to return to Puerto Montt after five hours because of a breakdown and wouldn't run this week. It may run next week? We met two groups of disappointed travellers who came to this region solely for the boat, one group to do a documentary, who had been waiting for two weeks.
16/10/02 After our disappointment yesterday we decided to take a one day tour to Torres del Paine National Park then remain in the park for a further two days to trek on our own. This is Chile's premium trekking national park and people from all over the world come here just to trek its paths. The one day tour in sunshine gave a great introduction to the park taking us to some of the best view spots, waterfalls, glacier overlooks and of course the namesake, the three towers rising vertically 1000m from the surrounding terrain. We left the tour to camp at Hosteria Las Torres.
17/10/02 Prices of things in Chile are a shock to us after Argentina. We have moved down a grade in our accommodation to homestay. A room in a house with bathroom down the hall. Basic, comfortable and friendly. In the National Park however, overrun with westerners, prices are all in US dollars and it's $US 21.00 for a dormitory bed, bring your own sleeping bag, so we camped, still $US 5.00 each. Bring your own food, or starve, or go broke. We walked for 3 hours, again beautiful sunshine after morning drizzle, towards the close view of the towers but overcome by lethargy, lying in a grassy area surrounded by budding beech trees and listening to the trickling waterfalls we never made it to the view, getting passed by hurrying trekkers we returned to our camp and sat in the hosteria over a beer and good company in the evening.
18/10/02 Another walk from the campground along a rarely used path with views over the surrounding glacial lakes and snow capped mountains and beech forests. Secluded from other walkers the quietness was ours alone. The bus collected us at 3 pm to return to Puerto Natales where we learnt that next week's boat had also been cancelled and maybe into the future indefinitely so we will have to ride north.
19/10/02 Clean up, repack, internet and relax while the icy wind roared off the snowy peaks and across the water keeping us inside most of the day.
20/10/02 Crossed back into Argentina after the good dirt
road north at a small border crossing mainly used by tourists to El Calafate,
at Cerro Castillo.
Move with us to Argentina
, or go to our next visit to Chile .
Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,