Parque Nacional Torres del Paine – Day 3, Patagonia, Chile

This day began with a very beautiful 7 km walk to the Italiano campsite where we had planned to stop because it is the starting point of a detour to the Valle del Francès. We crossed an impressive dead forest, unfortunate memory of the great fire of 2011 caused by accident by a tourist. 5% of the park (17 000 hectares) had disappeared in the flames during a fire that lasted more than 5 days. The burned trees are still standing, numerous, white and grey. It gave us a surreal impression! We could picture ourselves on the lands of the Mordor!

Arrived at the Italiano campground, we lightened our backpacks as much as we could before starting our detour to reach the Francès lookout. Because of the name I imagined a green and flat valley with fields of lavender and cows (I was a little bit dreaming, I know!). The valley was in fact a difficult climb, crossing a turbulent torrent, continuing in huge boulders and a forest trail craggy and rocky! After one hour we arrived at the lookout which was magnificent: we were surrounded by the glacier of the Paine Grande (the Francès glacier), from which we could hear avalanches, and the the Cuernos.

In the bottom of the valley, we could see the Nordenskjöld lake stretched out its blue arms in a bright light!

Nordenskjöld Lake from the Francès lookout

The wind and rain came back, so it was time to return and continue our journey to the camping Francès where a nice tent and warm sleeping bags were waiting for us.

In the evening the clouds finally vanished, the winds stopped and we could enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake Nordenskjöld. Patagonia can sometimes be so calm and so peaceful!

So we had another great day in our adventure, we couldn’t wait for the surprises that day 4 would surely bring us!

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