Camp Grey – Camp Paine Grande

The Facts

Short Outline of Hike

  • Distance: 11km
  • Duration: 5h, including smaller breaks due to hangover at the beginning and a bigger one at one of the first miradors
  • We first gain and then loose about 200m of elevation with slight ups and downs throughout the hike.
  • There’s some big sections with burned down trees, leftovers of major wildfires.
  • This section is well-marked and crowded.
  • Camp Paine Grande is fully equipped with hot showers, bathrooms, a huge kitchen room, a small restaurant, a little shop. Prices for food and items from the shops are very high though.

Grading

Following is my personal grading of the hike including some key points. If you have no idea what the SB scale is, have a quick look here.

The overall grade regarding difficulty is SB-3.8. The grade is made up of the following categories:

Category A – General – SB-3

  • Distance: 11km, duration: 5h
  • Elevation gain/loss: Elevation gain and then loss again of each 200m.

Category B – Terrain – SB-2

The path is nice soft forest like ground with rocky bits.

Category C – Weather – SB-3

We woke up with frost on our tents. It seems like we decided to do this trek at the right time. Winter is taking over from fall and brought some nasty temperatures. It’s a cloudy day. A bit windy but nothing too extraordinary. As mentioned before, a slightly heavy wind has become normal. At Camp Paine Grande it gets a bit windier.

Category D – Special Conditions – SB-4

Heavy backpack, no breakfast + hungover. All I’m saying.

Category E – Individual Conditions – SB-7

Oh geez, completely hungover from the night before. Had no breakfast because I spent my morning puking in the bathroom :/ I really have to push myself through the first hour of hiking, sweating it all out, feeling terrible. No idea how I did it. I’m becoming more and more sober while walking. Once I feel fine again, hunger kicks in and I feel like I’m starving. We catch up with Darryn at a mirador. I’ve already eaten most of the snacks for both, Christian and me, for the day. Luckily, Christian ate my half of the breakfast earlier and didn’t need as many cookies 🙂 This in combination with Darryn giving me more of his snacks helps me through the day.

The Story behind the hike

We open up our tent door and are greeted with a camp covered in frost. I would enjoy the sight of this prettiness a bit more if I wasn’t hunted by the hangover ghost. I’m suffering from the consequences of our great idea from the night before all morning, including the first couple hours of today’s hike.

While Christian is preparing breakfast for the both of us, I’m giving all my loving to the camp’s toilet more than once. Considering the condition I am in, I seriously question if I’ll be able to make it to the next camp. I end up not touching a single bit of my breakfast portion which turns out well for Christian since he’s hungry.

The first couple hours of the trek are pure torture for me. I’m sweating out every single bit of my hangover, trying not to vomit. The trek is super crowded with other hikers and tourists. Just before we reach the first viewpoint I start feeling fine again. Energy is fully returning back to me. And…I start to be super hungry. Being already a little low on calories in general, missing out on breakfast wasn’t the smartest idea. So, wasn’t drinking. But here we are.

We meet Darryn at one of the viewpoints. He gives me more snacks. Inspired by the experiences regarding nourishment during this and future treks, I will later begin to educate myself about and adjust nutrition. Not only for hikes but also in general.

One very striking thing on this section of the trek are the burned down trees. The landscape looks devastating and surreal. There’s been several wildfires in the past decades that have destroyed a huge area of land. From my knowledge, all of them could be traced back to being initiated by visitors of the park. People who camp and make fires in unauthorized areas. Due to heavy winds and dry vegetation just a spark can turn into an uncontrollable wildfire. Don’t take a chance and cook in authorized areas, please.

We arrive early enough at Paine Grande to set up camp and go for another small walk up the hill next to the lake. We are able to watch the sun go down behind the mountains. If you take your own tent, make sure to put it up behind one of the wind shelters. It can get quite windy in this camp.

This night, we decide to pay a few bucks to use the WiFi in camp, as odd as it feels for us. We realized during our first night that we didn’t tell anyone about our whereabouts in advance. It’s not the first time we’ve been disconnected from the internet world for over a week. But it’s the first time that we didn’t tell anyone. After this offline time, I’m overwhelmed with all the messages. It’s good we did this though. Some of our friends and family started to get quite worried. Sorry, mates oO