We awoke at 3am on the final day of the our hike through the Torres del Paine National Park. Our tent neighbours having finally quietened down around midnight. Our objective, to perform the pilgrimage of lights up the trail to see the Torres del Paine at sunrise.
It is a 2hr hike up the mountain to the mirador, a lake overlooking the Torres. We appear to be amongst the first to begin the trek but expect to be overtaken by the more eager, faster hikers. We are just happy to be hiking without the heavy backpacks we have been lugging around with us for the last 8 days.
As we leave the tree line and begin scrambling over the rocky moraine I see a trail of head torches below us. It strikes me as an odd pilgrimage we find ourselves on, a shared purpose where we decide to brave the early morning cold for a glimpse of some mountains.
The lights are also growing closer, the clack-clack of Mr. Travel with his walking sticks grows louder. We are overtaken by the first wave of hikers but are still amongst the first to arrive at the mirador.
After finding a nice spot with potential for reflections from the lake (if only the wind would die down) we await sunrise. And wait. Turns out the lady at the campsite either appreciates the very pre-dawn aspect of the sunrise or has not updated her advice since the summer solstice. We waited for over one and a half hours in the cold. A hiker sets up on a nearby rock, unrolling his mattress and snuggling into a sleeping bag while we watch on with obvious envy. We wait a little longer.
Our reward is a perfectly clear sky as the sun rises and shines a deep red glow over the Torres. As the mountains grew a bright red an Andean Condor flew into view, finally settling on his nest up high in the mountain. This is one of the iconic photos of the Torres del Paine National Park and a good way to complete our hike. On our way to the bus we descend approximately 950m, not at all envious of the day hikers we pass heading up the hill hoping to get to the mirador and back in a single day. We are ready for some well deserved R&R.