|the National Geographic boat! coming in to port, Puerto Natales, Chile|
Adam makes for quite the backpacking companion. After 14 months travelling in South America, he is an endless library of stories, not to mention that he has a passion for salsa and ballroom dancing, and an uncanny memory for song lyrics, anything from the old jukebox classics to Disney soundtracks... not exactly what you would expect from a rugged mountain guy who grew up on a farm in British Colombia and managed to escape three pirate attacks while canoeing down the Amazon River. We spent six days on the circuit, which really only requires four, but we decided to make a relaxed go at it and enjoy our commitment free lives. I was grateful for his company, for hours of laughing and singing on the trail, for the endless animated stories, and for the sacred moments of quiet reflection that we shared over these six days. Adam, you're quite the character my friend, I look forward to seeing what life has in store for you as you begin your next chapter...
|first glimpse, day 1|
The magic of Torres del Paine is found in the moments when you stray from the trail to sequester your own camping spot, and in the times when you've lost the other hikers and find yourself alone basking in the quiet glory of the scenery. It is also found in those encounters with enjoyable strangers who have come for the same reason you have; to witness nature at its very best.
|secret camp spot, night 1|
|cloud reflections, day 2|
|burnt down to nothing, day 2|
|feel your pain tree brother|
|Noah, Alex, Leah & Anne|
|reunited with Adam for another woodland adventure, check his blog at www.pucek.ca|
|Priya & Darshan, the yogi/mountaineering couple from Austin, & Kylie, the easy going Aussie gal, follow Priya's blog at: www.priyayoga.com/travel|
|glacier views, day 3|
|Panoramic Yoga. headstand in the wind....not quite there|
|oooh too far and crash. crushed Adam|
|lenga forest, day 3|
This is an excerpt I wrote at the Mirador Britanico. We spent the entire afternoon on the third day just sitting in silence, watching and trying to absorb our surroundings.
I want so badly to be able to find the words to describe this feeling, to help you understand the splendor that surrounds me, to make you see the colors, hear the wind...yet I find myself speechless. Yes, I can describe the halo of light radiating from behind the granite towers as the sun falls deeper in the sky. I can tell you about the contrast of the whipped cream snow against the crumbling black rocks, about the precarious way the glaciers sustain themselves on top of these jagged ridges, about the mantle of snow that threatens to slide at any moment, and of the frigid force of the wind fighting to throw me off this rock. I can try to recreate the paintbrush clouds that sail across the azure sky, the gradation of color and texture that wrap around the peaks, and about the constant rhythm of the river echoing through the valley as it rushes over the stones below. But what I cannot describe to you is the peace. I am conscious of these things that I've just told you, my eyes squint again the sun searching for the smallest of details, yet in the presence of it all my mind is quiet. The silent meditation is broken only by the desire to put it into words, to share this with you. But I am speechless and for this small moment, it is all mine.
|last rays at Mirador Britanico, day 3|
|sunset vista, day 3|
|glowing lake and storm rolling in, day 4|
|hojas de lenga, start of the snow day 4|
|dear tree, how did you do that?|
|laguna de los Torres, day 5|
After returning back to camp from the Towers, we were pleased to see that the VanLoens had set up their tent next to ours, (Leah picked the spot after she spied my walking stick propped against the tree) and when the Indian/Aussie trio rolled in early that evening our little group was complete. Talk of a sunrise hike began floating around... I am always weary of waking early, specifically if it involves cold mornings and freezing winds, but I promised I would try. I woke before the alarm went off, coming from a dream yoga session. The air sounded calm and I took this as a sign that we had to go up. We dressed in a hurry and popped our heads out of the tent. Already the stars were disappearing and the sky was turning all sorts of reds and yellows! We made a mad dash for it, practically running up the mountain. The others had gotten a bit of a start on us, but we caught up to them on the trail, and all straggled sleepy eyed up to the summit to be greeted by the most rewarding morning view maybe ever...
|sunrise 5:30am, day 6|
|first light on the Torres, day 6|
|love at the Torres :)|
|buen dia amigooos!|
|best family award 2012|
|luxury at the base of the mountain, end of day 6|
|not exactly organic, but the view from here is pretty nice too|
|a much deserved cerveza to end the trek!|