This guest story is by Keta Banks, who came from United States to experience the immensity of Torres del Paine National Park on a 7-Day W Trek. As a young traveler, Keta did not really know what to expect with such a Patagonian adventure...but it seems the surprises she had with both nature and the fellow travelers she met were worth the trip!
Leading up to this trip I researched diligently, every facet of my Patagonian adventure from what gear I needed to what I could expect along the way. Despite my best efforts to prepare, I still had no idea of the beauty, adventure and experience that awaited me at the end of the world.
As I planned this trip, many around me asked why I wanted to go to the end of the world "just to hike" or what was the point? Some laughed and some mocked the idea as a waste of time and money. At the time I was confused as to how others could not see the beauty of such an adventure. In hindsight, I feel sorry for those that lack a spirit of adventure and curiosity and those that cannot find the beauty, solace and comfort that nature provides. Against the crass and judgmental opinions of others I continued to plan and prepare for my adventure to Patagonia.
I am typically a loner when it comes to hiking. I have found that mindless chatter to fill the space when in nature can become a huge detractor, so I shy away from groups. Therefore I was unsure of the group aspect of the trip. However, what I came to realize is that a destination like this attracts people with a common sense of adventure, a healthy respect for nature and a zest for life that only other hikers understand. Our group shared too many laughs to count, too many glasses of wine to remember, and so many experiences that will be unforgettable. We laughed at each other, ourselves, fell along the way, complained together and sometimes we hiked in silence together just taking it all in. I could not have experienced this group with a more perfect group of people.
A trip that was supposed to be just about my adventure and my connection to nature turned into an experience where I tested my limits physically as well as my limits on connecting with others. Each milestone reached, each mile we hiked, we did it together with laughs, encouragement, stories and a shared sense of adventure. Although I still believe there is much to be gained from undertaking a trip like this alone, I am so glad that I was able to connect with such an amazing group of people. In addition to the group, the staff at Ecocamp, our tour guides, and even the staff at the Refugios were all a part of the fun. I think it is nearly impossible to be within the beauty of Torres Del Paine and not exude positivity to those around.
I also realized that meeting other people that are crazy enough to travel to the end of the world for adventure silenced the voices of the naysayers. It has only emboldened me to continue to seek adventure wherever in the world it may be.
Although there is so much that I could write about detailing the beauty of Torres Del Paine, this place is simply too much for words or pictures. There are no words that can adequately describe the feeling of reaching the base of the Towers or no photo that can quite capture it's beauty. This is something one must travel to the end of the world to experience individually. And along the way, it is likely You may meet some of the best people You have ever encountered.
"Hiking, it's better with friends"
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