Flying to the edge of the world was easy, working my way back into civilization proved more challenging. My goal was to intercept the Carretera Austral, the only road through Chilean Patagonia, but limited onward travel options from Puerto Natales didn’t help much in getting me there. There is a ferry back to Puerto Montt but then working my way back south only to be stuck again seemed silly; as did returning to Punta Arenas and flying. By road in Chile it’s impossible as the Southern Patagonian Icefield, the largest non-polar glacial region in the world, stands in the way. Without a clue of what to do, I found my answer at the bus terminal in the form of a ticket across the border to Argentina.
There are few, if any, national parks in the world with the level of accolade and infamy that surrounds Torres del Paine. The grandeur of its natural features, the remoteness of its location, and the brutality of its weather all combine to create a marvelous beast of an attraction and a notch that every outdoor enthusiast would like to add to their belt. There are many ways to explore the crown jewel of Patagonia, but I opted to go all out and hike the famed ‘O’ Circuit. The 8 day / 7 night stroll covers something on the order of 130km and is nothing short of spectacular, but it’s challenges begin long before you step foot on the sacred trail.