I'm fairly comfortable admitting I had never heard of a guanaco before we arrived in Patagonia. But we started to see them speckling the hills in Argentina, and then truly canvassing the landscape in Chile, and we got to know their fluffy, puppy-like version of a llama look quite quickly.
The afternoon of our puma sightings in Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile, we took a few more scenic walks, starting with the walk around Laguna Azul, just for the brilliant color and the view of the towers. It was sunny but so windy,
as you can tell from my spacey outfit,
and the lake's strong whitecaps.
The lake's name was ever appropriate though; can you believe that azure, tropical tint?
We were a bit sunburned and scaley, but happy enough to take off our sunglasses for just a shot. This photo makes me laugh because Walker camouflages so well with the background.
The real reason for the Lago Azul jaunt was this view of the famous towers, for which the Torres del Paine Park is named.
Our next hike was through the Guanaco Valley, and we hiked for a while before seeing the volume of guanaco we were expecting. We did spy a sneaky lil fox, though.
But, as we descended, we did see a lone guanaco standing by herself in a field. She was a distance of maybe 100 meters from us, and to me it looked like she was pooping.
Walker assured me not; he showed me the zoom. Can you see?
Without noise or commotion, or anyone except us observing, a baby guanaco was falling to earth.
Here you can see the head just coming down,
and from here, she sat right down, and we didn't know if she was still in labor. But 10 mins later she stood, and there was baby guanaco, with a neck like twine and the sweetest wiggles.
We didn't want to startle her, as she could clearly sense us there, but we literally could not believe the beauty and magic of the moment. It felt almost too sacred and private to watch.
In all our years of travel, very few things have surprised and delighted us as much as the secret joy of this quiet observation, nature happening apart from our interference.
As we continued on, we spotted hundreds of guanaco in the valley, playing, fighting and resting.
The young'uns seemed restless and were horsing around.
I honestly don't remember if it was windy or I was just pretending to fly (?!) but the air was bright,
and before long, we'd made it to the bottom of the valley for our pickup from Awasi, home sweet Patagonia.