It is our last night camping in Torres del Paine, and I have to say, our campsite is pretty cool, complete with mid-camp ravine of crystal clear agua and populated by trail friends, people with whom we share in the misery of rain camping, bonded by the tribulations, eager in tomorrow’s promise of a Torres viewing.
The excitement is palatable, our gusto for this climax of a moment overpowering sore and tired limbs and shriveled toes–five days of wet shoes wreaking havoc on skin, blisters galore between every crinkle–everyone analyzing and assessing when, exactly, we should wake, César the drunk ranger–I hope, because otherwise, home boy was just plain creepy and off-kilter–professing to being less than tuned into the sun’s rhythms, guesstimating a 7 AM appearance.
Or, maybe it’s our common stench that bonds us all, Graham with the oh-so-pleasant observation that this gang of hikers smells like a used NFL jock strap, and even I must admit that the trifecta of moisture, duration, and exertion renders us to degrees of ripeness I didn’t know I was capable of, grossed out by my own skin and all too excited for a proper laundering.
Supper time introduces us to Eric, a super social dude from California here on an exchange program, and an English bloke with an accent so thick, we refrain from exploding into raucous laughter, especially when he mutters that his mother calls his tattoos, “twatoos,” and we aren’t quite sure if that means the same thing here as in the US.
Then, as if to complete the circle, our makeshift kitchen area catches on fire, flame emanating from stove, then leaping up to engulf the wall, all of this in only a second of time, happening so fast, I barely react within the little house, completely horrified that unless we do something now, this entire place is going up in smoke.
I cannot believe this is actually happening, and I’m sure the amount of disbelief I feel is no match for the perpetrator’s denial–unfortunately for him, a young Israeli using old equipment with a heavy hand, stereotype intact.
The entire shack is paralyzed in our horror, save for our English friend, who, he, jumps to action and smothers the flame, a veritable hero.
Wow, what excitement, I think it’s time to retire, possibly after a sip of our uber disgusting hot cocoa mix and after a visit to see where this camp trail ends.
Holy sweet baby Jesus!
It’s the towers, here they are! Turns out that just beyond the thicket, our campsite beholds spectacular views of the park’s mascots, the towers tall and beckoning, fierce teeth ripping the evening sky.
And, just like that, the clouds draw the shades, and we head into the tent to dream of tomorrow’s morning promise, happy, already, that if even for only a moment, visions of towers punctuate our mind’s eye.