Photo Essay: Torres del Paine

After almost 8 months of traveling, hiking Torres del Paine remains one of our favorite activities and accomplishments. In only 5 days, we took over 400 pictures. Please enjoy the "few" we've selected for you to look through. Note that all the pictures enlarge into a lightbox, which you'll find particularly useful for the panoramas.

Our first sighting of the guanaco as we waited for our boat to cross Lake Pehoé

A view of Lake Pehoé through the fire-struck trees

After a short boat ride, we started our hike from Paine Grande to Refugio Grey. Above was our first view of Lago Grey. Look to the right and you'll be rewarded with the gorgeous Glacier Grey, as seen below.

A close-up of Glacier Grey

Embothrium coccineum, more well known as Chilean fire bush, is a constant companion on the trek

Working our way back towards Lago Pehoé on the second day, our worst weather day

Don't walk too fast and you'll see tons of wildlife that might otherwise go unnoticed

Scorched from the fire two years ago, these trees provided a welcome relief from the unrelenting winds

This swingbridge meets you right before you reach Campo Italiano, but don't let the picture fool you: winds blast down the river and toss the bridge around as you work your way across. It was on this same river that Tyler lost his balance and took a firm step in the freezing cold water. Sign cautions "only two people a time on the bridge".

A few clouds greeted us on day three, but they couldn't stop us from enjoying this view of Cerro Paine Grande

Hiking up Valle Frances, you spend much of your time in a majestic forest

"Drink like a dog!" as our Erratic Rock info session teacher told us. The water in the flowing streams and river is pure and freezing cold - in other words, perfect.

The Valle Frances lookout point greets you with 360-degree views of mountains, lakes and forests. This only shows half the landscape; a truly jaw-dropping moment for the both of us.

The backside of the Torres as seen from Valle Frances

Our first view of Lago Nordenskjöld as we made our back from Valle Frances. Possibly the most beautiful lake we've ever seen.

Panorama of Lago Nordenskjöld

Beautiful Weather = Happy Tyler

A nest we encountered as we made our way to Refugio Cuernos

We spent half an hour on the shore of Lago Nordenskjöld enjoying the spray and the beautiful view

Seriously, look at this water.

The weather was a bit worse on day four, but it was actually nice to have clouds around most of the day, as it was uphill from the beginning

True beauty doesn't care what the weather is like

Even under cloudy weather, the colors of Torres del Paine standout beautifully

The path is easy to follow and well marked for the whole hike

A break from all the uphills. Note: Beanies are a great way to hide dirty hair ;)

More majestic forests on day four as we worked our way up to Campo Torres

Morning panorama at the Torres

The sun begins to shine on the infamous Torres del Paine

The sun begins to shine on the infamous Torres del Paine

Most people ended up leaving right after the sun rose. We suffered through the freezing cold for a little longer and got to enjoy these views with only a few others around us.

Definitely worth the 4 AM alarm, wouldn't you say?

Heading back down the valley, you can see the roof of Refugio Chileno peeking over the trees in the distance. Notice the path on the far left, carved out of the sloping mountains.

Please, please, please hike Torres del Paine once in your life. You won't regret it. We both want to return and complete the 8-10 day full circuit.