When: 10-Apr-2019

Summary

  • Section: Camp Grey – Camp Paine Grande
  • Distance: 11km
  • Duration: 5h, including smaller breaks due to hangover at the beginning and a bigger one at one of the first miradors
  • We first gain and then loose about 200m of elevation with slight ups and downs throughout the hike.
  • There’s some big sections with burned down trees - leftovers of major wildfires.
  • This section is well-marked and crowded.
  • Camp Paine Grande is fully equipped with hot showers, bathrooms, a huge indoor kitchen, a small restaurant, a little shop.

Difficulty Rating

Below is my personal grading of the track including some key points. Check out the intro page to the SB scale here if you want to know how I do the rating.
The overall difficulty rating for this track is (with 10 being the hardest): 3.8 / 10
This is made up of the following categories:

Category A: General - 3 / 10

Distance: 11km
Duration: 5h
Elevation gain/loss: 200m

Category B: Terrain - 2 / 10

Forest like ground with rocky bits.

Category C: Weather - 3 / 10

Woke up with frost on our tents.
It's getting colder in the mornings now.
Cloudy day, including the standard Patagonian wind. At Camp Paine Grande winds picked up.

Category D: Special Conditions - 4 / 10

Heavy backpack, no breakfast, hangover.

Category E: Individual Condition - 7 / 10

Completely hungover from the night before.
Had no breakfast because I spent my morning puking in the bathroom.
Really have to push myself through the first hour of hiking, sweating it all out, feeling terrible. Fortunately, I'm sobering up while walking.
Once I feel fine again, hunger kicks in.
We catch up with Darryn at a mirador. I’ve already eaten most of the snacks for both, Christian and I, for the day. Christian ate my half of the breakfast earlier and let me have his part of the cookies in return. This in combination with Darryn giving me more of his snacks helps me through the day.

My Experience

We open up our tent door and are overlooking a camp covered in frost. I would be able to enjoy the sight of this if I wasn’t hunted by the hangover ghost. I’m suffering from consequences thanks to our great idea from the night before. All morning, including the first couple hours of today’s hike.

While Christian is preparing breakfast for the both of us, I’m giving all my loving to the camp’s toilet. Considering the condition I am in, I seriously question if I’ll be able to make it to the next camp. I end up not touching a single bit of my breakfast. This turns out well for Christian because he’s hungry.

The first couple hours of the hike are pure torture to me. Every cell of my body is sweating out the hangover. I try not to vomit. The track is super crowded with other hikers and tourists. I would love some of the "quietness" of the previous days.

Just before reaching the first viewpoint I start feeling fine again. Energy is fully returning back to me. With this hunger kicks in. Missing out on breakfast wasn’t the smartest idea. So wasn’t drinking to start with. But here we are.

We meet Darryn at one of the viewpoints. He gives me more snacks. The experiences regarding nourishment during this and future tracks are some of the reasons I will later begin to read and learn as much as I can about (and adjust) nutrition, fasting, physical, mental training, etc.

 

 

One very striking thing of this section are huge fields of burned down trees. The landscape looks devastating and surreal. There’s been several wildfires in the past decades that have destroyed a huge area of land. From what I read up on later, all of them were traced back to being initiated by visitors of the park. People who camped and made fires in unauthorised areas. Due to heavy winds and dry vegetation just a spark can turn into an uncontrollable fire.

We arrive early enough at Paine Grande to set up camp and go for another small walk up the hill next to the lake. We are able to watch the sun go down behind the mountains. If you take your own tent, make sure to put it up behind one of the wind shelters. It gets quite windy in this camp.

This night we decide to take advantage of installed luxuries throughout the upcoming sections of the park. We pay a few bucks to use the WiFi in camp, as odd as it feels to us. We realised during our first night that we haven't told anyone about our whereabouts before we left. It’s not the first time we’ve been disconnected from the internet for over a week. But it’s the first time that we didn’t tell anyone. After only a week I’m overwhelmed with all the messages. Some of our friends and family started to worry.

 

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