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Day 71 – Torres del Paine Day 1 – Death by Drowning

December 20, 2010

Location: South of the “W” trail, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Date: Monday, December 20, 2010

I am the master of my domain, an adult who chooses what to do and live with the consequences. I chose to come to Torres del Paine. I chose to strap a giant bag to my back and try to live out of it for six days. I even suggested that, instead of taking a ferry across the lake, we spend an extra day hiking from the Administration office to the start of the “W” trail.

Note that I am also a friggin’ moron, which means the following:

The Decider + Moron = The Decider’s Damn Fault He Decided To Hike Torres del Paine

Or maybe Nature just hates me, because as far as I can tell, Patagonia tried to drown me. Well, to be fair, it didn’t do it any conventional sense (e.g. shove my head down a toilet and wait for me to stop struggling). It was more like Nature spent six hours peeing in my face. So “thanks” Nature for not actually killing me, but screw you for making me wish I could die.

All that is to say today, I hated hiking or trekking or whatever pseudonym you come up with for today’s death march.

For six hours, with my bag as heavy as it was going to be (see: six days worth of food), I sludged through mud, puddles, puddles of mud, and pouring rain. I’d been told that it doesn’t rain for long stretches in Patagonia and that by the time you pull your waterproof gear out of your bag and get it on the rain will probably have stopped.

That is why I didn’t put on my rainproof pants. That is why, when we passed the first campsite, I didn’t insist on stopping to get out of the rain. That is why my socks, my pants, and undersides of my eyelids were covered in mud.

That is why, two hours into the six hour ordeal, I thought to myself that I should have stuck with my Asian instincts and just gone in on a tour bus with the Koreans. That is why, after four hours of trudging, I wondered how much it would have cost to hire a chopper and just hover my way quickly across Torres del Paine. That is why, after five hours, I started singing into the wind and rain, at the top of my lungs, “The sun’ll come out, tomorrow; bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun!”

That is why when we finally hit Campsite Pehoe and had to pitch the tent in the rain and I had to get my muddy, wet clothes off and pile them on top my bag which was sitting in a mud puddle under the rainfly of the tent I couldn’t help but think, “If it rains like this tomorrow, screw this. I’m going home. (Or, Puerto Natales, which was just as good as home compared to the mud pit I’m living in.)” I didn’t have the stomach for five more days of being tormented by a Nature who obviously had been getting humanitarian advice from John Yoo.

“It’s not always like this, you know,” said Kassi, my near hypothermic hiking companion.

“For me it is,” I said, what with this being my first ever trek.

Tomorrow can’t be much worse than this. Unless I got hit by lightning. Wet, muddy, freezing, and on fire; now that would really suck.

GALLERY: No bonus pics. You’re lucky there are any pics at all.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. lindsay permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:23 am

    Keep at it, you can do it Mervyn. You decided to do it for a reason, the challenge.

    • February 4, 2011 8:41 am

      The challenge of not slamming my head into a rock again and again out of frustration.

      Spoiler alert: I do survive. 🙂

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