Thought I would choose a little abandoned storefront along our drive on gravel roads from El Calafate, Argentina to Torres de Paines, Chile — Both in Patagonian region. If anyone wants to count the stickers, I would like to hear your number. My guess is lots. Even saw a large sticker from Edelweiss Adventure Motorcycle Tours. They do the Patagonia run. Tons and tons of travelers post their sticker on the glass.
Our objective was to reach Torres des Paine National Park in Chile, the hiking capital of Patagonia. Really its why visitors go there. It is situated just about 250 km west of El Calafate, Argentina in the Andes — dead center. Noooobody around except for people hiking the park. Along our drive to and from Torres des Paine, we passed lots of busses — almost exclusively loaded with 20 somethings dressed to hike.
Thats what Paula and I like to do on our trips mostly so it fit in well. Beach people, don’t apply.
So after a while, it all turns into a blur, but we spent 3 nights and basically 2 full days hiking over the course of a few different outings. What can be said about the Patagonian countryside, mountains, aqua green glacial lakes and rivers? Just incredible. Probably not many places on earth match its beauty, cleanliness, fresh air and just unused landscape. Zero pollution for hundreds and more likely a thousand miles. Yah, yah, yah. Torres des Paine has a famous mountain range with 3 Towers. These things jet out of the range like chiseled towers. Huge and I’m told have been climbed albeit not often. The faces on the towers are basically vertical. You see the towers almost from any view point although that said, year round snow capped mountains are everywhere.
If you’re not into hiking don’t bother the trip — a waste of the beautiful surroundings. Also, a fucking long way to go for scenery. If your into hiking, you set the scope from 5 day outings all the way to an afternoon trip. Difficulty ranges based on your threshold. I did see a Pakistani family just hanging at the hotel. The guy was over weight and made lots of noises. The boy was heavy and about 10 years old, wife ate too much butter chicken and girl about 7 was full of energy. They sat at the hotel all the time. Sad. They did not read the brochure.
The vistas are great and pretty high. Only one time did I shit my pants and that was crossing a mountain trail which had about 18″ of path — it was all stone, but slippery small stones. A drop meant 1,000 feet down the side of the hill with nothing to stop you. I was really worried and did not like that. It came after some steep downhill stones and gravel on this mountain side. Otherwise, it was just moderate to easy stuff if you do this and are in any decent condition.
Yesterday we went on a hike with a couple from Madrid, Spain in their 70’s. I was so disappointed that they would slow the motion of our hike. I like to go at a good pace and Paula, the Marines Sargent is a machine and would never stop if she could. So anyway, this couple were so amazing, cute and athletic. We climbed a pretty steep mountain for about 45 minutes. Pretty vertical. Paula would have made it in 30 minutes and I needed a break in the middle so call it 35 minutes. The couple were just behind us. Fucking amazing. Their level of fitness was excellent and I said to Paula that I wish that at 65 I stay in as good shape as them. Loved to see them enjoy the entire experience. We walked the ledge of a 2500 foot drop for a couple hours after that. Condors lived there and were circling. Nature at its best. The view was for 20 miles or more. Nothing obstructing and wide open flat lands circled by mountains.
So thats that. Hotel was beautiful and designed by a Chilean architect who happened to be a woman — i don’t need to point that out really. It was built into the environment inside and out. Sheep, Wanaco’s (lama family), fox, these birds that look like Ostrich’s are just flocking in the dry flat lands all around the hotel grounds. But not set up — the hotel was situated on a piece of property 250,000 acres (half the size of Rhode Island) owned by one guy — who is a part owner of the hotel. Again, the size of private land in Patagonia just does not make sense.
On our way now to Ushuaia, Patagonia. Sitting at airport now.