I promise this will be my last Torres del Paine post! I think it’s one of the most important, though. These are some things that would have made my hike a bit better, but overall I can’t really complain about my preparedness, despite the fact that this was my first time doing a through hike.
1. Hurt knee. Okay, so there wasn’t much I could have done to avoid this, but I still wish it hadn’t happened. On Day Three I was going down an incline and all of a sudden my knee started to hurt. Turns out my knee cap is out of place. My physical therapist (who I now get to see everyday for 10 days…ugh!) told me the only way I could have prevented this was go hiking more before going to Torres del Paine, but she admitted that this injury could very well have happened during that preparation as well. The injury made me go a lot slower, but luckily it wasn’t so serious that I had to stop the hike. I would have been crushed if that were the case. My hiking partners were very understanding, but I still felt pretty guilty about slowing them down. Although it allowed for some much-needed personal reflection as I was out of earshot for most conversations during the second half of the trip.
2. Walking sticks. At first we made fun of the hikers who had brought fancy walking sticks. Then after our hike up to the Mirador Torres, and after barely crossing a few raging rivers, we wanted them. After I hurt my knee I luckily found a good natural walking stick, but they aren’t as easy to find as one might think. I named her Kate Moss (she was covered in moss) and she was a great companion until she met her demise in a campfire at Refugio Grey (or she was just stolen, who knows).
3. Backpack cover for rain. Not sure if this has a technical name or not. I contemplated buying one at Jumbo for 4.000 pesos before leaving, but decided I didn’t want to bring just one more thing. However, I think they’re a good idea. I packed everything inside my backpack in plastic bags to protect them from getting wet, and then covered my backpack with a large trash bag on the outside, but if there had been torrential downpours, I’m sure my sleeping back would have gotten soaked because it didn’t quite fit under the trash bag. Luckily, we only had some light rain.
4. Don’t lose the can opener! We had brought cans of tuna, and I was in charge of bringing the can opener. I did, but then lost it after the first night at Refugio Chileno. I honestly have no idea where I put it. Although if you have a sharp enough knife, you can cut through tuna cans. It works better than the little can opener that comes with a Swiss Army knife.