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Top 5 things we learned from trekking Torres del Paine

(plus one bonus item)


We just got back from 5 wonderful days trekking through the Torres del Paine national park in southern Chile, and we learned a couple of things along the way. Here they are - in no particular order:

  1. Your camera battery will probably not last for 5 days, with all of the photos that you will want to take. Since there are few plugs in the wilderness, invest in an extra battery (or two), or bring a solar charger with you. Also, make sure that you either bring your battery charger, or the right cable to charge (most newer cameras will allow for recharging via USB cable).
  2. Kids eat a LOT of food. Pack enough to make it through your trek - multiple smaller snack bags are preferable to larger ones. Remember that you will want to eat "one-handed" at lot of times - e.g. as you are walking. Buying food in the refugios is VERY expensive ($4 for a cup of soup, $16 for a lunch) - this adds up very quickly for a family of four.
  3. TDP is extremely windy. We saw gusts of over 60kph (over 35mph). These gusts were enough to get the kids airborne at times - especially with their packs. You need sunglasses to protect your eyes, good headgear to keep your hair out of your face (and keep your ears warm), and be prepared to sit down on the trail when it really blows.
  4. You will meet and make a lot of new friends on the trail (especially when you travel with kids). Have your contact info handy, especially since you will want to exchange photos later (most of our family shots were taken by other people, especially after our camera battery died...)
  5. Finally, this is ALL doable with your family. Sure, it got cold and rainy and windy at times, but Alex and Leah continued to amaze and impress us with their resilience. Your kids will do the same.

  • BONUS: warm heads, fingers, and toes make a BIG difference. But you already knew that...


Posted by annevl 04:32

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Thanks for sharing your tips and photos Anne. I feel like we could do this all (and should!). I don't think we will in our lifetime, but your encouragement makes me feel like we could do it!
It's also wild cuz your photos make it seem like you are still here and just hiking around Washington. Maybe it's that my mind cannot fully grasp what you are doing and where you are at right now. Does it all feel real to you, or does it feel often surreal? Are there times when you are sitting in a cafe, or somewhere, in the other part of the world and it hits you out of the blue how far away you are from Seattle (or your hometown?). I love that you are making this happen. What a dream! As I sit here spending a buttload on tickets to Michigan for Christmas, I dream where else these thousands of dollars could take us. So, so many other places than Metro Detroit. So many other places...
We miss you all!!
Linda & Family

by Linda

Awesome tips! I am right behind you guys. But can't you charge cameras at the refugios?

by Mark Fromson

Mark - we thought that there would at least be outlets at the refugios but when we did find one (at the reception desk) there was a queue. They have wi-fi and outlets at Hotel Las Torres but we didn't get there till day 5. Are you camping? Don't miss the Valle de Francias!! Hope to see you on Easter Island!!!!

by annevl

Linda- we miss you guys too!! Patagonia is the first place we have visited that feels like Seattle. Out of nowhere we are hanging out with folks from the PNW - Oregon, Washington, BC, Northern California - and THAT is somewhat surreal after months of speaking Spanish and meeting very few North Americans! We are living day to day without knowing what day of the week it actually is - crazy but wonderful!! Love to you and the family!!!

by annevl

The best I can muster right now is "wow." If you guys stopped now, it would be the trip of the lifetime. And you're just getting rolling! Really love reading about your adventures. We think of you on our frequent strolls past Casa Van Loen. Onward! Safe travels. And please keep the posts coming. -- Kevin

by Kevin

We just wanted to say hello and let you know we are adventuring vicariously through you! Patagonia has been on my wish list for a long time and now it bumped up to the top. Bravo Alex and Leah for being such hearty trekkers! Dashiell and Isabella have been enjoying the videos--especially that hair-raising bike ride and the zip lining--wow!

A happy Thanksgiving to you all from rainy, rainy (did I mention rainy?) Seattle. We look forward to following your next adventure!
Isabella, Dashiell, David & Janet

by Janet

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