Hello from Puerto Natales! We’ve had a very busy and interesting 24 hours. No more 80-degree weather… our flight (2 more flights actually) has taken us to the cold and windy climate of Patagonia. Eduardo, host of the Hospedaje Independencia, made our quick stop in Punta Arenas quite enjoyable. He spoke quickly and precisely, but somehow we still understood every word. His wood burning stove kept the quirky house nice and warm.
We left Punta Arenas this morning, boarding a bus after walking (running partly, we almost missed it…) to the bus station in the rain. We have to thank our friend Kelsey for recommending our current lodging in P. Natales. The owner, Andres, is extremely helpful, and the place is very clean and comfortable. He helped us plan out the full circuit hike we’re starting tomorrow morning, in the Torres del Paine national park. Andres thought this had been the worst summer in Patagonia in some time. We had heard from other traveler’s blogs that the rain had been particularly bad this year. It sounds like it’s getting better though, so we’re going to be optimistic about that.
Our last couple hours have been spent in three different grocery stores (some more than once), a dried fruit and nut shop, a hardware store (for fuel canisters), and a bank. Difficult items to find included: tortillas, Ziplock bags, and salami. Meal planning for a 9-day trek while walking around a foreign grocery store was pretty difficult!
Torres del Paine has gotten a lot more expensive since the last time I was here. The park is down to only two free campgrounds. One was closed last year when a few selfish people made a fire and ended up burning 190 hectares of the park… We’ll be paying between $8-12 for the pleasure of pitching a tent most nights.
Don’t expect any updates here for a little more than a week. Wish us luck!