What could I possibly say about Patagonia that has not been said before, or that my pictures won’t say with more power? It is as wild and rugged and impressive as you probably imagine, and as it was hundreds of years ago. In that way, it is definitely humbling. You definitely feel small when standing here (see picture).
Patagonia is big, and legally it is not even really a region with official borders, it is more a common term used in tourism. The term covers Chile and Argentina, but we went to the Torres del Paine National Park. A bucket list destination for sure. The lodge, Explora Patagonia, was bam smack in the middle of the park, with gorgeous views from every room.
We were very lucky with the weather. Apparently, several hiking paths had been closed before we arrived (and some would close again after we left, as it turns out). On our first day, we did a long hike alongside Lago Grey, and in the middle of the walk, the guides radio to the ferry service to check if they can estimate the chances that we can come back with the ferry because it has happened more than once that guests had to make the 5 hour hike back. But again, lucky us, not a gust of wind, just clear blue skies, a grey like (that turned turquoise in the right light), and white ice (that also turned blue when reflecting sunlight). The hike had the most amazing views and the ferry brought us close to the actual glacier, impressive sights if ever I saw some.
The next day, we witnessed the diversity of the park by heading the other way. While Lago Grey and the glacier we saw up close are in the western side of the park, we now hiked towards the eastern side, crossing the pampa. The hike was focused on getting a good view of the towers, an iconic image. But for me personally, I was happy to see some wildlife: guacanos, amazing birdlife (yes, condors but much more), a fox.. Quietly, I harboured a very strong wish to see a puma but I realized chances were slim – and that is of course part of the attraction of seeing one. Once again, lucky me, we saw two! I was stupid enough to have brought only my short lens because my god that would have been one good shot with my long lens. But hey, we take what we can get and count our blessings: 2 pumas on my first visit! And I have a blurry picture to prove it. And more than one reason to go back. What a place. What.a.place.