Aye, I’ll agree with Mr Attenborough on this one. Patagonia is the hidden gem of planet earth. Writing this 6-months on sends shivers up my scruffy backside thinking about it again. Absolutely, utterly, magnificent!
I’m a confident solo traveller. But, even the prospect of stepping into the wilderness on my own where winds go beyond a 100km an hour with Pumas that will take you down faster than The Rock laying the smack down. The thought “I’m shitting myself” begins to creep in. Funnily enough I almost did shit myself half way through with a spell of food poisoning, never say never. However, on that leaving day when you walk out the hostel door, backpack on, all loaded up. I felt nothing but bring that fucker on.
I wrote a simple short guide on how, what, where for trekking Patagonia here. There’s no fluff and bollocks it’s straight to the point and in my opinion helpful for a solo traveller who has never done anything like this before.
I hitch-hiked from Puerto Natales 200km to the edge of Torres del Paine. Two different people picked me up and dropped me off, a Spanish couple and an Ozzie. Walking down the roadside I couldn’t get the intro song to “Into the Wild” out of my head cutting in with Stone Cold Steve Austins entrance theme tune. The ten days out here were one epic leg workout. My bag weighed close to 15kg. I stupidly took more food than I needed. Instead of planning each meal I just chucked bags of rice in etc, couple that up with a tent, stove, clothes and essentials. It’s one heavy bag. Do as I say not as I do, plan your food out for each meal. It’ll make your bag a hell of a lot lighter. I found hitchhiking safe but then I am a guy who thinks he can handle and take care of himself (famous last words).
I chose to spend two days at camp Pehoe. It was paradise. Sounds metal saying I found paradise in the hills of The Andes, but I did. I had my book, weed and a sweet camp spot on a fresh water lake that shone emerald blue. You can take your palm tree and shove it. I chilled, cooked by star light and got woken up by an armadillo each three times a night because I’d fed tuna to him on the first day of arriving. Don’t feed the armadillos. One bad ass thing I did was climb to the top of Condor point next to Camp pehoe for the below shot.
From paradise I did the W in reverse, taking the ferry over to Lodge Paine Grande and beginning by hiking up to Camp grey. My post here details the route and how I did it with tips, it’s a no nonsense no fluff post.
Like a pig in shit is how I would describe myself here. Waking with the routine of lighting a stove, putting the coffee on and eating as much sweets, cereal and carbs as I could fit in because I couldn’t physically carry or eat as much as what I was burning whilst hiking. Is how life should be.
- Read my SUPE useful post here on how to trek Patagonia
- Trust me and stay at Camp Pehoe before hand and let me know if you find it paradise too
- Climb condor point for views that blow your mind
- Do the W in reverse and go against the grain of people
- On your last day trek to the Torres (if doing it in reverse) buy a bottle of wine from the final camp site and take it to the top along with your sleeping bag to sit in whilst you watch the sun rise with a big grin and a cheers
- Treat yourself to a beer and meal on the last day in the park even though it’s a rip-off
- Plan your meals and take only what food you need in little freezer bags
- Stay in the over priced lodges or eat the over priced food
- Feed the armadillos (told you why above)
- light fires outside of the selected huts. Feel I should say this since one prick burned half the place down doing otherwise, which you’ll notice
Everyday was a new adventure and challenge, and it is a challenge. Possibly one of the hardest things I’ve put myself through due to the weight of my bag against the variety of terrain. Plus, I gave myself the shits half way through and had to purchase a tub of Pringles and Lucozade (salts and electrolytes) at one of the lodges, which came to £25, I know! Insanely expensive. To then sit on the toilet for 7 hours in the cold with a book because my tent was a 20 min walk away and I’d shit myself by the time I made it back.
If you’re doing this solo honestly don’t fear and gud on ya son/daughter. The trails are well marked, there’s hundreds of people on them and you’ll make friends everywhere if you wish. Plus, the buzz of achievement you feel at the end is immense.
Where to exercise
The entire trek is one massive leg day. A couple of times, believe it or not, after arriving at the camp site I was still so fired up from getting there that I would do 100 push-ups in the tent and 50 pull-ups from a tree. Some would say I’m mental, actually I’m just a fitness addict and my pecs will turn to floppy boobs quite fast if not maintained, ask The Rock.