I´m not one for pictures from the plane. I find that no matter how spectacular it is to the naked eye, a photo usually falls far short (not to mention the glare.)
Flying over Patagonia is an exception.
From Punta Arenas, I took a three-hour bus ride to Puerto Natales, the main jumping-off point to Torres del Paine National Park.
I only had one day here. Yes, I know. It´s not enough – how could I leave myself so little time at such a majestic place? How could I come here and not do the 3 or 5 day hike along the much heralded ´´W´´ route? But so goes it with long-term travel. Routes get adjusted, lingering in a place a bit too long happens, and next thing you know, you find yourself short on time here and there. I had to meet my father and step-mother in El Calafate in two days, so it was either see TdP in one day, or skip it altogether.
My one-day trip was worth every penny. And while I love to hike, the weather was so unpredictable, changing so rapidly from cold to freezing, that I have to believe a 3 or 5 day hike would have left me somewhat unhappy. Yes, I was on a bus with nine other people in the type of hop-on hop-off scenario I loathe. But after two months of beating paths to remote corners it was honestly nice to just sit back and let someone tell me what to do, what we were looking at, and what time to return to the van.
The scenery here left me in awe of what Mother Nature is capable of. Standing at the foot of soaring mountains, with guanaco prancing to and fro, I was once again inspired by my decision to strike out on my own to see the nooks and crannies of this magnificent world we inhibit. One stop was so quiet you could hear the guanaco munching on the tall grasses, while the wind at the next stop was so violent that even my hunched over, bent-knee shuffle was a struggle.
While you can´t hear animals snacking or wind howling when you look at these pictures, stare at them long enough and I am certain you will feel the powerful force of nature that is present in this park…