This is post 5 in a series of a 7 day/6 night guided hike in Torres del Paine National Park with Dittmar Adventures. We followed the modified O Trek which connects camps Japones and Dickson over the Oggioni Pass. As this part of the trail is not marked, it can be only done with a guide. If you are looking for something a little more challenging with fewer trekkers and spectacular views this may be the route for you.
Day 5 – Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande
Total Distance: 11 kilometers/6.8 miles
Average Time: 4 hours
Today would be an easy day, 4 to 5 hours, to Paine Grande allowing us a late breakfast and a leisurely pack-up. I woke at 7 and thought I would try to find the lake shore where Don and I camped years ago. I got dressed and grabbed my camera but when I reach the main entrance I see hikers coming down the stairs in rain gear. Not another day of rain.
Breakfast is a small buffet – coffee in a large thermos, cereal, milk and yogurt. Bread and scrambled eggs are served at the table.
Hikers gather on the porch waiting for the refugio lounge to reopen after cleaning.
Around 11:30 there was a break in the rain and we decided to make a run for it.
Although still a sprinkle now and again, it was a nice, cool temperature for hiking. A long section of the trail to Paine Grande follows Grey Lake. Views are somewhat obscured by the cloudy weather but the low clouds hanging on the mountains add another dimension to the amazing landscape.
Today’s trail is mostly in the open. Following Grey Lake it climbs steadily, sometimes steeply and muddy from the last days of rain but a much less demanding climb than on previous days. We call it the highway because of the better conditions of the trail affording a faster pace and the number of people heading in both directions – W trekkers, day trippers coming from Refugio Paine Grande as well as those completing the O circuit.
This area was also hard hit by the fire of 2011/12. Vistas are now available through the remaining skeletal trees. It’s sad to see so much destruction supposedly from a guy trying to burn his toilet paper. Now they are very strict about any fire in the park.
Past Grey Lake we come across Los Patos Laguna. The water, not glacial, is clear and reflects the hillside when the wind is still.
The last part of the trek is through a grassy valley.
For me this was the first day of “pleasant” hiking. We’ve seen amazing sights on previous days but today was an enjoyable, somewhat rainy walk in the cool fresh air, with beautiful views of the clouds floating around the mountain peaks.
Refugio Paine Grande
Refugio Paine Grande is the biggest operation yet. Beds are available but at 53,000CLP ($81.50USD) 3 of us opt for the tent.
There is a bar upstairs from the dining room. Dinners are self-serve cafeteria style – soup, salad, juice, hind quarter of roast chicken with mashed potatoes and Paine cake for dessert. All well done.
It starts to sprinkle again as we head to the tent for bed.
February 17, 2018
For links to all the posts in this series see the Hiking in Patagonia page.