Torres del Paine: A One-Day Adventure

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.

As we began our decent into Punta Arenas, snaking rivers, lush forests and snow capped mountains were visible to the eye and the camera.
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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…

This way to Torres del Paine

This way to Torres del Paine

Guanaco steps away from the herd for a snack

Guanaco steps away from the herd for a snack

Clouds part for a view of the torres

Clouds part for a view of the torres

Farmhouse where we stop for lunch

Lunch stop with a view

The photo ops are endless

The photo ops are endless

Glacier pools in every shade of blue and gray

Glacier pools in every shade of blue and gray

Different types of rock and ice create a shadowy rainbow across the mountains

Different types of rock and ice create a shadowy rainbow across the mountains

You need to see it to believe this stunning blue

You need to see it to believe this stunning blue

This is no lie!

This is no lie!

One of the many waterfalls

One of the many waterfalls, this one with a rainbow

With the wind blowing, the walk across the swinging bridge was a bit nerve racking...

With the wind blowing, the walk across the swinging bridge was a bit nerve racking…

...but totally worth it because I got to see my first icebergs!

…but totally worth it because I got to see my first icebergs!

Such a strange color!

Such a strange color!

The cave where the prehistoric giant sloth, Mylodon, was discovered in the late 1800s

The cave where the prehistoric giant sloth, Mylodon, was discovered in the late 1800s

 

Looking out of the cave

Looking out of the cave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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