We started up the steep trail in the hot sun trying to stay motivated, hydrated and keep our skin protected. As you head up the trail, your legs start burning, your heart beats faster, your breath becomes quicker and you can feel the sweat dripping from your brow. You stop for a water break and realize you've only been going for 45 minutes and you still have 7 hours ahead of you. But you're determined to make the climb because you know that the view at the end and your own sense of accomplishment will be well worth it. The trail begins with a steep climb, then has an area of rolling hills in the shade and then ends with some steep boulder climbing. But you round that last boulder and the view is spectacular and you forget the throbbing in your knees and the tightness in your legs as your breath suddenly begins to slow. You stand paralyzed, if only for a moment, by the majesty of the three towers before you.
We were up early again the next morning and I was in no hurry to put my hiking shoes back on. My feet were sore, bruised and swollen and the thought of my tootsies taking another hit made me cringe. But I hadn't come this far to bow out now, so I laced up and headed out towards the Grey Glacier. We speedily headed along the path as we had to be back at the campsite early enough to catch the one o'clock catamaran back to our pick-up point. The path took us through the burnt forest, by the lake and up and around yet another mountain. Once again we were treated to a spectacular view. The sky was blue, the sun was shining on the ice so that it shimmered just so and we were surrounded by glorious mountains. It was tranquil and I relished in my surroundings and my own achievement. I survived the W!
I think I was lost in a day dream the whole way back to the campsite as I quietly said my goodbyes to Torres del Paine National Park. Thanks to the huemul, the fox and the guanacos for coming out to welcome us to their home. It was an exhausting and trying three days, but I wouldn't have traded them in for a day at the spa. Not no way, not no how.