It is 20:00 hrs. Still light outside. That will stay till around 22:00 hrs. The large car park here next to the boat to the Grey Glacier and the walk to a Mirado is slowly emptying. (We staying here for the night). Still a few diehards arrive and no doubt will do the walk over the pebbled spit towards a small island in the glacier lake. There you get a lovely view of the glacier in the distance but more spectacular is the large blue iceberg next to you floating on the lake. I have never seen anything like it. To get here was a struggle against and with the wind (a hike up and along a cliff edge). It must have been at least force 10. On the way out you were pushed forward and on the way back you had to lean forward and put one step before the other. If the wind dropped, you almost lost your balance.
This is the second 2 hours walk we made today. The first was this morning from another parking lot (Puedeto Cafetaria) where we spent a very windy night. All windows were closed so it was a bit warm and humid in the camper. All night the camper was shaking back and forth. Walking to the nearby toilet was shuffling and holding on to each other. The neighbors had a canvas popup but decide to lower it for the night. The walk to the Cuernos lookout went over hills along glacier lakes. At one point there was a drop from one lake into the other. Large amounts of water flowed through the small channel, creating a spectacular waterfall (salto). At the end of the trail you were at the foot of the massive Cuernos del Paine (2600 m). The characteristic 3 peaks stick up into the sky.
Yesterday morning we drove from Puento Natales to the park. After paying the high entrance fee (28 Euro’s pp) we decide to make the most of it and first drove around the outside of the park to the Paine waterfall. This is a series of cataracts in a fast flowing river. Hugh amounts of water cascade down. Further up the track is Laguna Azul. The color was not blue but it had a very nice picnic spot where several luxury tour groups were being served mouth watering snacks. No problem for us. We are on a minimalistic diet anyway. However, it was a pity you can no longer camp here. Beautiful setting beside a lake and grassy area.
The high price for the park is worth it if you plan to walk the circuit around the mountains (7-8 days), which most young people seem to do. There are shelters and campsites (paid) along the way. For trekkers like us the scenery is nice and the only 2 short walks are fantastic but that does not make it world famous for us but still worthwhile.