10 lessons learnt while trekking Torres del Pain(e)ful

Written by Donovan January 4, 2016 Category: Chile, South America Tags: , , , , , , Comments

1) trekking alone can be depressing at times
2) what goes up must come down (I was moaning at the steep ascents and was delighted at the downhills)
3) carrying my  heavy backpack and hiking is not my style (I’m used to doing day trips with a small bag)
4) reserve your refugios or camping space early in advance (I had to sleep in the open one night)
5) bring a tent when doing an overnight hike (not all stations have tents for rental)
6) don’t wear chinos to hike (they get dirty and they’re not waterproof)
7) bring slippers (so that it’s easier when you go to the shower)
8) I survived on cold food for 3 days (bread, ham, cheese, biscuits, apples)
9) Singaporeans all over the world (I met eight of them during my trek and was lucky to have met Terrence and Jing Jing. They provided me with hot food and we hiked glacier Grey and lake Pehoe together)
10) pain is temporary, the memories of having completed the W circuit are permanent!

This was my first time doing an overnight hike which lasted for 3.5 days, so you can say that I’m inexperienced and made a lot of mistakes along the way. On the night that I was sleeping outside under the cold, I felt so miserable and regretted doing the hike so much. Then it started raining and since I did not want to get drenched, I decided to sleep inside the toilet. I just put down the toilet seat and sat there for a few hours to rest before dawn and then I continued on my hike.

Another thing is about packing smart, I was carrying about 10kg worth of stuff but this did not include much food. I guess I brought too much warm clothes that took up extra space in my backpack. During the day, when the sun is out, you can hike in just a Tshirt and shorts because you would sweat or feel quite warm even with another layer of jacket on.

Overall, Torres del Paine was kind of a hard lesson learnt for me. I realized that I don’t really like hiking for long or alone because it can get really depressing. Nevertheless I was thankful to have met fellow Singaporeans along the way who helped me in some way, provided me with warm food to survive the cold nights, to accompany me during the hike as we had lots of funny conversations together. After Torres del Paine, I have set my sights on Mt Kilimanjaro and will train hard for it.

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