P.N. Torres del Paine Part 2

After a great sunrise photo session I returned to our campsite and we ate our breakfast. Our oatmeal was actually quite tasty and we had even brought a few hard-boiled eggs. It almost felt like home.
After checking the weather report at the park rangers hut (it said: fine) we decided that we wouldn't have to hurry and slowly packed our stuff. We went back in the direction we had come from, following the path leading out of the Valle del Rio Ascencio.
We soon passed Campamento Chileno. From there on the path steadily climbs a few hundred meters before it suddenly drops steeply to Hosteria Las Torres.
We had to look closely to find the little sign that showed us the shortcut to Refugio Los Cuernos that we had read about. We felt relieved. First of all we would save ourselves roughly one hour of trekking and we finally got rid of a group of young people pumping 90's rock music through their portable speakers. I usually don't mind listening to Guns 'N Roses' "Paradise City" but being in a National Park about 100km away from the next city I found it quite inappropriate.

Lago Nordenskjöld © Joerg Bonner

It was once again a perfect day for trekking in Patagonia. From time to time it even felt a bit too warm. The wind was gone. We hadn't expected to be walking in our t-shirts that much.
But soon it turned out that our trekking wouldn't just be a walk in the park. The resolution of our map wasn't large enough and what we thought would be a day of straight trekking along Lago Nordenskjöld was actually way more tiring than we had expected.
As soon as the path had reached a small hill it descended again just to climb up another hill. Our backpacks started to become heavy on our backs (specifically mine, that was not just filled with vital stuff, but with 8kg of photo gear). Our breaks became longer and we had to stop more often.

Lago Nordenskjöld © Joerg Bonner

The good thing was, that there were lots of things to see during the walk and the breaks. I guess that even if we weren't that tired we would have stopped just to breath in the scenery.
The views of the surrounding mountains and lakes was just breathtaking. At one point we could overlook Lago Nordenskjöld and even see the peaks embedded in the Southern Patagonian Icefield.

Southern Patagonian Icefield © Joerg Bonner

We had been walking for around 7 hours when we finally could see our destination. We had to climb down again, but at least we knew it would be the last time for that day.
Refugio y Campamento Los Cuernos is quite modern hut that also has a small campground. The best sites had already been taken so we had to pitch our tent on one that was not quite perfect (in the end it turned out to be actually quite good - he next morning a few people told us about a party on one of the better sites that had been going on until late that night.).
What surprised us about Refugio Los Cuernos was that there were hot showers (and even for free). We didn't mind the long queues since our bodies were crying for warm water.

Chorus of the Dissimilar © Joerg Bonner

I almost had forgotten my main goal of photography after dinner. We were chatting with the couple next "door" when I realised it was getting late. I packed my photo-gear and followed a stream just in time to arrive at Lago Nordenskjöld for sunset. In time for sunset this time meant not in time for scouting compositions. As the dramatic clouds had already started to catch some fantastic light I only had time to set up my tripod in the middle of the stream and start shooting.

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, XII Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
On the way from Campamento Torres along Lago Nordenskjöld to the Refugio y Campamento Los Cuernos.
51 deg 1' 30" S / 72 deg 59' 10" W

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