How We Saw Torrey Pines

Previously on, we were never granted permission to take our car into Chile until it was way too late, according to our unalterable schedule. This meant that we would never see the famous Torres del Paine, in Chile’s most famous national park.

Instead we came to El Calafate.

Yesterday we went on a walk.  We finally got started around 2 pm, after a leisurely morning.  It was similar in distance to a walk up Windy Hill and back — a distance of about six miles round trip.  We’re guessing Windy Hill has an average slope of about ten percent, rising maybe 1500 feet.  But this walk rose over 1000 meters, meaning the average slope was twenty percent.  I’m really glad I found a walking stick to ease my way back down.

It was a simple walk to the top of a hill, and though it was raining a little as we drove to the trailhead, it was delightfully clear once we started walking.  There were clouds which were reflected in the parts of the lakes below which weren’t rippling.  We had considered just walking for two hours, seeing how far we got, and then coming down, but a fellow on his way down from the hill  said, “You won’t believe, the weather is perfectly clear, I thought I was looking at Mt. Fitzroy and then I said, wait, that’s in the wrong direction!”

Once we made it to the top of the hill, we were rewarded with a very distant view of the place we’d hoped to go:  Torres del Paine.  Here are some pixels from a zoomed-in shot Ray took of them:


It was like walking up Mt. Hamilton to see Half Dome, though I expect there are more clear days in Southern Patagonia than in the Central Valley.  We also could see the previous day’s glacier the whole way up, and several more glaciers further south once we got to the top.

This walk was supposed to take four hours, but it took us almost six.  We found many fascinating plants and birds (and one guanaco) on the walk, and Ray took lots of pictures.

It seems like we’re taking today off, but tomorrow promises to be a busy day, driving several hundred kilometers, and hopefully walking a few more.