South America

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Up Above Awasi Patagonia

After arriving home quite late from our evening hike to Mirador Condores, Walker and Diego, our guide, plotted an early morning sunrise spotting trip. I woke up groggy, and all I remember is that Diego took us off-road into an amazing lookout spot, our SUV mounting the landscape with ease, literally no one, even cattle, awake yet. We drove to the top of a bluff near the hotel, and the sunrise didn't disappoint. I viewed it from the pseudo-warmth of the car, literally chattering and shivering,…

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Patagonian Perfection in Torres del Paine

Here at last is the heart of Patagonia: One of the surprising benefits of staying at Awasi was actually the distance from the park, which tended to be hung with clouds that sat over it, as well as more crowded. From the short distance, we were able to hike in places like the Baguales, completely devoid of tourists, as well. But as our trip neared closer, we did make a few jaunts into the actual national park of Torres Del Paine, stopping at lookouts like Lago Nordenskjord to capture that thick…

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The Great Guanaco Experience

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…

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Puma-rama!

When packing for our trip to Patagonia last November, Walker hemmed and hawed about bringing a longer lens, which is admittedly heavy, but also is best for capturing fauna.  Our first morning within the true confines of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile made us all so glad he had, and even disputed with Aerolineas Argentinas to carry along. We left our lodge, Awasi, early and dark, and drove about an hour to where Diego, our fearless tracker of a guide, suspected Walker would find at…

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Lago Sarmiento, Chile

What to write about something so beautiful the photos take my breath away and yet have only one clear memory of, as small as I look in this photo? Well, I will tell you that story anyway. It is more an image than a story. During our stay at Awasi Patagonia, outside the Torres del Paine National Park, one afternoon, after riding horses at Estancia Lazo, our guide Diego figured we had just enough time to squeeze in one short walk before dinner, around Lago Sarmiento. Take a lookie. The astounding…

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Estancia Lazo

For my whole life since I can remember, I've had a dream, and it looks like this: I'm in a field, and the grass is not not too high, and I'm on a horse, and we are galloping, with mountains surrounding us, across this plain. Not toward anything, just running. It is the speed that intrigues me. Until this trip. More on that later. This trip refers back to Patagonia, which we are working on sharing more of at last here. Our guide for about a week at the Awasi hotel, Diego, would recommend each…

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Awasi

(Meant to post this 2 weeks ago, but here it is at last!) It is the bleak midwinter around here. Not too cold, and little snow. I've had a cold (flu?) over 2 weeks. And even the pigeons are too bored with the gray to be out. And so, I have two strategies for dealing with this. Ok, three. 1. Cook something new every night and end up with way too many leftovers. 2. Dream about an upcoming trip that is a surprise to my main man and 3. reminisce! And right here, right now, we're at #3.  Look…

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Sierra Baguales: My Favorite Day in Patagonia

A six hour drive from the winds of Eolo and the Calafate region of Argentina, and we arrived at the place I had dreamed of for years: the Torres del Paine region of Chile, and what truly feels like the heart of Patagonia. I'll come back to our arrival at the Awasi lodge in another post, our home base for the next 6 days, but wanted to share our first day of excursions in the region. The lodge where we stayed is situated just outside the famed national park. On our first day of excursions, at…

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Estancia Cristina

Before taking off on our adventure to Patagonia, a colleague mentioned she had done a hike at Estancia Cristina and that it was very long. Gulp. That hike was in our itinerary. Add a 7 hour glacial hike the day before and very sore quads, and I wasn't sure what to think.  Knowing me (if you do), how exciting do you think a fossil hike sounds? About half of that phrase is interesting to me, and the fossil part is not it. It's not that I don't think fossils are cool, but a long hike to…

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Icebergs and Glaciers on Lago Argentina

My legs being a bit touchy from our glacier hike, I was a little wary of the 14km hike that awaited us the next day. In fact, when we arrived back at our lodge from hiking the glacier, I feverishly texted my track-coach dad for some sore muscle relief tips. Thankfully, the hot bath did the trick, and I packed up, ready to roll the next day. With ma sunglasses + hat look because that glacial glare was fierce. The trek of the day was to a historic ranch called Estancia Cristina, but to get there,…