I’m sitting next to a darling little wood burning, wrought iron heater in a hostel in Puerto Natales, Chile. It has a lone burner on top and I am just relishing the fact that it is a mere 9 degrees Celsius outside at the moment, but with the wind chill it supposedly feels like 4 degrees Celsius. I don’t know what that converts to in Farenheit, but it means cold. I may have cursed it a little bit when I was learning how to set up my tent about two hours ago, but I was mostly cursing the wind for making it feel so much colder than it actually is. And maybe the added fact that the wind is coming off of water. Water that is at the base of mountains and glaciers. I can’t get over that fact.
Also, did you notice that I just mentioned I just got finished packing my backpack? Because I can’t get over this fact either: I’m going camping tomorrow. On my own. As in, alone. In Torres del Paine National Park. I’m incredibly excited but also really nervous. I’ve spent the past few days hiking with traveling friends in Glacier National Park near El Chaltén, Argentina, but hiking during the day is definitely different than spending the night in Patagonia. The fact that the wind is significantly stronger here and the chill requires layering sweaters and long johns has me nervous that the little one woman tent I rented isn’t going to keep me so toasty.
Add that to the fact that the only camping experience I have involved setting up a tent the basement of my troup leader’s house when I was a Brownie Girl Scout way back when. We were going to “really” camp in her backyard but torrential rains came in that night and so that plan was a wash. Granted, we did end up learning how to fry an egg on a tin coffee can, but since I’m not carrying a camping stove and don’t have any intention on cooking anything, that experience doesn’t really help. Guess all those badges were just for looks after all. Speaking of food, all I have is several bags of dried fruit and half a thing of fruit-infused cookies and two apples. I’m completely new to this whole thing and since I happened upon a store that only sold dried food across the street from where the bus dropped me off that plan was a go. They had bins and bins full of fruit and none of it seems to have any added sugar (we are in South America after all, and thank G-d for that), but the idea of eating tafffied fruit for two whole days isn’t the most appealing thing in the world either.
However, I’m going camping and that’s all that matters to me right now. Maybe I’m doing this to prove something to myself, but when I decided to come down to Patagonia I wanted to rough it a little bit and really get out into the wild. What can I say? It may have been the movie to inspire a generation. My heater just got turned off so that means I need to go brave the cold and run to the ATM and then get some sleep. I have about 4 hours of necessary hiking tomorrow and I want to have some energy left to do some exploring once I get set up at the campsite!