Puerto Natales is the gateway for the very well-organised Torres de Paine national parque, perhaps the jewell in the Chilean mountain landscape and known world-wide for its A-class trekking opportunities. We spent four enjoyable days based there.
It is not often you look at icebegs a few yards from the lake shoreline, and get to handle small fragments of decades-old ice from them.
Although we enjoyed both the the park and the town, I must apologise to all the Torres del Paine fans out there; they say the first cut is the deepest, and for me Fitz-Roy won my heart and did not relinquish its grip on me.
Leaving Puerto Natales on April 1st we enjoyed a blistering southwest tailwind across the flat, exposed pampas, but this posed another problem; what of finding a sheltered campsite that night?
Problem solved when we spotted an unoccupied gauchos 'bothy' just 50m off the road. A quick inspection revealed a clean room, four bunk-bed frames and a wood stove.....I gathered just enough wood for a fire that night and in the morning, which staved off the 2 degree temperature. Perhaps I should introduce a star rating system for these bothys? It was rather cosy actually, listening to the wind howling outside, the interior far more attractive than its outward appearance suggest.