© 2019 by Jenna DeLaurentis

TORRES DEL PAINE

Patagonia, Chile - March 2017

This place changed my life. Never have I seen a place with more beauty,

and never have I challenged myself like I did here. These mountains and

reflections are in my mind every day.

Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chilean Patagonia. With an

area of over 700 square miles, this park offers ample opportunity for exploration and discovery. From its jagged peaks to breathtaking glaciers, Torres del Paine is truly a magical place.

In March of 2017, I spent 8 days backpacking the O-Circuit loop around the park. Here is what I saw.

After a 2 A.M. flight to Patagonia and a 2 hour transfer shuttle from the airport, we were greeted to Torres del Paine by incredible views of the jagged granite mountains that left us speechless.

After registering at the entrance (using our Chilean IDs), we went to the trailhead and were SLAMMED with Patagonian winds. I had heard about the unpredictable weather at the bottom of the world, but it definitely became real when all of my belongings kept blowing away. Luckily, the wind quickly stopped and actually never re-appeared during the rest of the 8 day trek. We were pretty lucky in this sense.

The first day was a short 4 hour hike from the Trailhead to Campamento Seron. Upon finally reaching the campsite after a very long travel day, we cooked some dinner and made friends with some of the other adventurers at the campsite.

120 KM - 8 DAYS - 6 FRIENDS

Growing up in the flat suburbs of Ohio, my view of nature for the majority of my life had been the small local park a short drive from my house. I had never considered myself an outdoorsy person until I began hiking regularly while living in Brazil. A sudden interest in hiking made me realize how much I had missed 

While studying abroad in Santiago, Chile in the spring of 2017, I had the pleasure of forming friendships with five free-spirited and ambitious individuals who came from all different areas of the United States.

We began training for the O-Circuit in late January, nearly two months before we would head to Patagonia. After each busy school week in the bustling city of Santiago, we would head to the Andes to spend the weekends camping and hiking in the mountains.

DAY 2: CAMPAMENTO SERON -> CAMPAMENTO DICKSON

Day two was filled with astonishment as we continued our trek into the backside of Torres del Paine National Park. Starting with a small pass leaving Campamento Seron, we hiked for three hours before stopping for a quick lunch. Lunch on the trail? Tortillas and peanut butter. Not too gourmet, but after hours of hiking mountains at the bottom of the Earth, anything can taste like a 5-star meal!

We set off for the final 3-hours of the second day's hike to Campamento Dickson. Stepping out from the dense forest to the view of our campsite was one of my favorite memories of the entire trek. Dickson was, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I had ever pitched a tent; one night was simply not enough time to take in all of the beauty.

Day 3 and our day-to-day life in the wilderness began to feel normal. Wake up, boil water in the camp stove, eat some oatmeal, change into our hiking clothes, take down the tent, and head off to the start of the next day's trek.

Day 3 was mainly walking through the dense forest with few moments of open space. At times, I almost felt like I was walking through the green woods the local park near my house. This would all change the moment I looked up at the giant peaks surounding me, of course.