Torres del Paine- Hiking into the French Valley

Day 2 of my Torres del Paine hiking tour took us into the French Valley with views of the Torres and the shark fin (Aleta de Tiburón).


But first we set up camp at Refugio Paine Grande, the main campground in the area, after a catamaran/ferry ride across Lake Pehoe. Such a gorgeous view from the campground.


Then it was time to hike, and hike, and hike.


We stopped for snacks and lunch in the pretty spots with plenty of rock-sitting space. Overall the hike was about 11 hours out and back. It was a long day and many breaks were needed to get through this difficult hike.

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Rod lunching with a view:


Half of our 14 person group stopped at the viewpoint past Campo Italiano as the trail gets very difficult after it. I kind of wished I had stopped along with the others once we got going on the second part up to Mirador Britanico.


I saw a woman tumble down a stretch of rocks and bounce right back up miraculously. 3 of the 7 of us who kept going ended up falling down. Both myself and another guy tweaked our ankles on the steep, slippery downhill. My ankle was never quite right the rest of the hike.


But the views at the top were amazing!!!!


Hello from those of us who made it! (I’m in the hat with green shirt in the back)


(photo by our fearless leader Natasha)

The shark fin up close and personal (it is all relative):


We drank from this lovely stream. Glacier mountain water tastes pretty good!


The story on the way down is that a fellow non-English speaking traveler from the other half of the group got lost on the way back to camp and all the guides had to race back up the trail to find him. We got to camp at 8pm and had the most delicious post-hike beer and our lost group mate got back at 9:30pm. What a fiasco! Nothing like hiking for 11 hours and getting lost.


This hiking day was simply beautiful! It was a rough and tumble hike, that was difficult but the views along with the company made for a memorable day.

Reader Question: Have you ever gotten lost in nature?

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