The W-Trek, Refugio El Chileno to Los Cuernos

We had mostly slept well due to physical tiredness but we had certainly been aware of the occasional rain shower on our tent and the ever present howling wind. Our allocated breakfast time was 8:00 and after eating well we quickly packed up and headed off. Evidence of the overnight rain flowed beneath our feet as we started up the trail.We were pleased it hadn’t been really heavy rain as you could easily imagine parts of the trail being washed away.Bare rooted trees had managed to survive the ravages of the weather.Signs warned us to be aware of rock movement.About eighty minutes solid walking up the valley saw us have our last view backbefore we took the branch in the trail leading towards Los Cuernos.The trail was pretty narrow in places.I was surprised to find what looked like a Grevillea growing at the side of the trail, adding more proof to the Gondwana theory that Australia had once been joined to South America.At times we had to step carefullyas the trail passed through grasslands.We had the mountains to our rightand Lake Nordenskjöld below us to the left.Some of the streams we had to rock scramble overwhile the bigger streams had bridges.Some even came with outstanding mountain views. At times our trail was disguised (excuse the rain spot on the lens in this photo)and at other times we could see the way well ahead of us.Eventually we had a glimpse of the Cuernos mountains.About four and a half hours into our walk we stopped by this pretty cascade for our provided lunch (which was part of the full board we were paying each night that included dinner, breakfast and lunch).We continued onmoving ever closer to Los Cuernos.We were also coming closer and closer to Lake Nordenskjöld.Eventually we spotted cabins in the shadow of Los Cuernos.A further ten minutes walking saw us reach this small bridge.It crossed a narrow, but fast flowing, stream. We checked in, about six hours after starting. Here we had chosen to stay in a cabin, rather than a dorm. This meant each night we had tried a different style of accommodation. The following night we had chosen a different one again. Our cabin was number 1.Nearby there were shared bathroom and toilet facilities. We took a shower, followed by a rest. We had a bit of time before dinner so we took a short walk around the area – quite beautiful.Out towards the lake the wind was really strong as evidenced by this shot of the water being lifted up. Dinner was in the communal dining area. We shared a table with some Brits and Americans. Again the food was good and certainly replenished our energy levels. During dinner we heard a loud sound. My photo may not be the best as it taken through a window but you just make out the snow avalanching down (just above the arrow). Dinner concluded, we chatted a while before we retired to bed with the sound of this small, fast flowing waterfall that we had seen nearby our cabin earlier before dinner.

2 thoughts on “The W-Trek, Refugio El Chileno to Los Cuernos

    • Thanks Brendan. We were carrying all our gear in those 34litre hiking packs. They held about 12 kgs of clothes, spare footwear and wet weather gear. We had our camera gear, water bottles and included lunches in the day packs which could be attached to our main packs when it was dry weather but a pain when it rained. Perhaps I should have bought a larger forty five litre pack. You live and learn. Cheers Mark


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