This leg we hiked by: Aquamarine-colored lakes flanked by soft green cliffs with red flower bushes - Hawaii?? Icebergs and glaciers - Antartica?? Grassy plains sweeping up to jagged rock towers - Wyoming?? ...Then a gust of wind would knock us off-balance and we'd remember, we're in Patagonia! (c: If we weren't in love with Patagonia before, we definitely are now. Put Torres del Paine on your must-see list because it is truly majestic.
We passed nine days and eight nights in and surrounding the awe-inspiring Torres del Paine national park in Chile. Muchas gracias to Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales who facilitated the long leg with two food drops for us at the park entrances - keeping our packs nice and light!
- No paved roads! We hiked a combination of back dirt roads, trails and off-roading.
- Surviving another herd of cows with calves (we really need to learn cow etiquette/behavior)
- Coming upon our first "refugio" in the park expecting a ranger station of sorts... instead, we found a modern backcountry lodge with a hotel, paid camping (yet we were too cheap for it and continued onward for the day), convenience store, and public windowed kitchen gazebo (so you can enjoy the view without the wind... brilliant)
- Discovering the power behind pound cake
- One full day without wind! It was glorious. Although we experienced some high wind gusts on this leg, they paled in comparison to Tierra del Fuego's wall o' wind.
- Blue icebergs
- Camping near a glacier at sunset
- As we were filling our water bladders, we heard a deafening boom from the mountains above us. We witnessed an avalanche whose plume covered the entire peak (think the size of Long's Peak in CO) and whose aftermath poured snowfalls looking like water over its steep cliffs
- Moving fast and light in the park... comparing ourselves to tourists with gargantuan packs out for only a few nights - our packs are tiny and include everything for the year!
- At the park hotel (exiting the park), we found someone's forgotten, opened (but hardly eaten!) bag of quaker oat squares sitting on a railing. We inhaled them.
- A warm shower and veggie-full salad after nine days in the backcountry (unfortunately, Shelley, who showered first, had a cold one because they forgot to turn the hot water on)
- The first segment of Chile's official trail system "Sendero de Chile" (think Appalachian Trail) was unimproved trail and partially on (or immediately next to) a dirt road
- We fall asleep to what we've dubbed the "creepy birds" that make a really weird, creepy noise at dusk. Shelley and I worked up the energy and guts to crawl out of the tent into the dusk sky to catch a glimpse of them. Sarah stayed in the warmth and safety of her sleeping bag. We could hear them screaming and flying overhead but could not see them - even creepier!!! Bats??
- The park won't let you leave trash at the park buildings on the park perimeter (yet there are at the refugios within the park?)
- Shelley's sleeping pad flew away at the alluvial fan beach of a glacial lake... she chased it for about half a mile over the beach and through a shallow stream to retrieve it where it finally got caught on the opposite bank of the stream (this was a lowlight for Shelley but a highlight for Sarah and me watching her run after it)
- Realizing we are not packing enough calories - we revisited NOLS Cookery on my kindle and it confirmed the fact that it takes a few days for a backpacker's appetite to kick in. I'm pretty sure we would have starved without the convenience stores at the refugios in the park.
- Sarah getting reprimanded by our waitress for filling up her titanium cup with water in the bathroom (trying to save a bottle since they don't serve tap water) - we really have become dirty hippies
- We didn't realize we'd be learning so much about the history of computers... internet and technology is getting worse as we move north. Hopefully we can continue to share lots of pictures.
Pictures can't say everything but here's a shot:
|The bay near Puerto Natales, Chile.|
|We loved the scenery of this leg from the first day. The grasses were bright green, mountains blue and snowcapped, clouds were dramatic, waters were glistening in the wind...|
|Purifying water from a pleasant dock we came across.|
|Getting closer to Torres del Paine National Park!|
|Woo-hoo! Better view of the park we're about to see! PS: We are really into jumping now since we've received support from SheJumps.org|
|Yes folks, that's an iceberg from the glacier at the other end of this very long lake (refer to later pic of glacier). We couldn't resist taking off our clothes for a weather-appropriate photo shoot.|
|Hawaii maybe?? Minus the jagged peaks...|
|This photo was taken from our campsite. It does nothing to show the magnitude of this amazing glacier.|
|Home sweet home.|
|Hmmm there's something wrong with this picture. Oh just kidding... I was confused because there's NO WIND! |