We woke up to another wild weather day! Rain, grey skies, it was absolutely impossible to see any of the mountains at all!
The weather here can be very variable! You know the saying “we have four seasons in a day”; well, in Torres del Paine we are experiencing all four seasons several times a day!!
We got ready as usual and assumed things would shake off like yesterday. Hoping! Praying! Our departure was 8:30.
Our guide was a guy named David who is American and who we actually recognized from our trip three years ago in Atacama! (Ann, if you are reading this, he is the guy that doused us off after our dip in the salt lagoon!).
David told us that where we were going on Lake Nordenskjöld had the closest vistas of the Paine “horns” (peaks about 3,000 meters high) but it is also one of the windiest spots in the park and currently the sustained winds were at about 40 miles an hour and gusting to more probably 60-70 mph. He said that at gusts of about 90mph it is presumed to be impossible to hold your balance at all! I am not sure if any of these stats are exactly right, I am just going off of what the guide surmised. Plus, it was probably only in the mid-40s F.
Hmmm?! I can actually see these horns from my bedroom window, the restaurant, the lounge areas, and most importantly…the bar!
We teased David about why exactly we were doing this and he reminded us that we would also see Salto Grande which is the largest waterfall of the park.
Okay, yeah, I suppose that’s a good enough reason!!! So, off we went, as usual!
The van dropped us off for our hike and all I can tell you is that it was pelting rain and the wind was ridiculous! We were in a fairly unsheltered part of the park which is why this is a very windy area. We donned our rain paints asap!
The walk was actually quite humorous as we tried to balance ourselves against the gusts! I was only able to take a handful of pictures the whole trip as I couldn’t keep my camera steady at all and was worried about rain damaging it.
The wind drove the rain sideways and you knew when you were about to be pelted with something awful as you could literally see it coming horizontally across Lago Sarmiento when the wind gusted. It was like being blown in the face with sleet! I had my fleece balaclava on and naturally had turned up the part that covers the lower part of the face!
We made it to the vista point to see the horns and, of course, we saw absolutely nothing! The cloud cover was so dense that there is no way you would ever believe that there were mountains anywhere nearby at all, the scenery all just looked like low level hills, no mountains to be seen anywhere.
We continued on to the waterfall (Salto Grande) which was quite pretty but it was so incredibly windy that there were only brief moments where we could stand firmly planted on our feet and not have to hang onto the railing!
We finished the hike and got picked up by the van and heard that several of the other hikes were suspended and everyone was coming back to the hotel.
Later, we found out that on one of the walks a woman (from another hotel/group) fell and broke her arm!
All of the clothes I had on were dry, which was good, but everything in my pack was wet as I didn’t have a cover. It all went on the radiator and was dry in the morning.