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Torres del Paine National Park

Chile

sunny

With a new addition to our team we flew to Puerto Natales Chile. A quaint little port city with interesting restaurants. I ran into Fidel, the artisan jewelry maker that I met in Buenos Aires. Small world! His workshop was across the street from where we were dining.
We were super excited to kayak the Fjords..mainly because Fjord is a fun word and none of us actually knew what a Fjord was. Essentially it is just a canal formed from glacial erosion. We expected to be surrounded by walls of ice but in this Fjord it was just mountain. The winds were quite strong so paddling into the fjord was strenuous. We relished the return where we barely had to paddle.
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We then went to an estancia for lunch followed by horseback riding.
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The landscape we rode through was so incredibly beautiful it looked fake.
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I've been horse riding a few times on this trip and was eager to go fast while everyone else crawled behind. All of my fears of galloping subsided.
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At the end of the ride, my whims were indulged. We sped off faster than I had ever ridden. It was thrilling darting past lakes and trees, leaving everyone else behind.
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We rented a 4x4 and set out to hike in Torres del Paine National Park. Not having much time we carefully selected the portion of the W trail that we could see the most scenery. We spent the night in a refugio. We were prepared for a very basic hostel but were pleasantly surprised when we had our own room with a view of the Torres. The dining area resembled a ski lodge and the food was terrific. We even had wine and mousse for dessert. We sat around the fire and the Christmas tree drinking Carmenere.
We set out for the 8 hour climb to the Torres. I let the others go ahead as my knee was killing me. Horseback riding the day before a big hike proved to be a foolish idea. It had been the first time I'd ridden a full on galloping horse and had no idea how painful it would be on my already damaged joints.
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It wasn't long after the initial ascent that I noticed that my camera had fallen off my backpack. Enlisting the aid of anyone that passed by I combed the trail retracing my steps almost back to the starting point. Frustrated, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd likely never see it again and would have to capture the beautiful scenery in my mind. I had lost so much ground I wouldn't catch up to Christina and Kevin so I went along at my own pace enjoying the company of other hikers. I didnt have time to make it all the way to the top but I met up with them on the way back. Hungry and exhausted, we dragged ourselves back. On a whim I decided to ask the hotel at the base of the trail. To my delight a kind hiker had turned it in.
The following day, sore and tired..we decided against a second hike and that we would see more by driving the park. Sure its cheating..but it enabled us to see so much more when we had limited time.
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Posted by jackiekslp 08:22 Archived in Chile Tagged foot

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