Patagonia: Torres del Paine

Dateline Monday, March 23, 2015. Our final day In the Parque National Torres del Paine, we made the requisite pilgrimage to the Torres themselves. One cannot imagine a more perfect day. Earlier in the week, snow had closed the trail. But this day was the warmest of the trip. The skies were cloudless. The wind still.

We started out at 7:40, directly after breakfast and an hour and a half ahead of the rest of our group. (This because I, as the non-runner, was always the last to arrive anywhere. Even the woman who had sprained her ankle was faster than I.) The skies were lighting up but the valley floor was still dark. Rabbits dashed everywhere.

We made good time and did not see a single other person coming or going until Refugio Chileno. By then, the sun had lit up the Torres and I asked a young woman if she had seen the sunrise. She smiled and said, “Yes! …from my tent.”

The last kilometer was a steep hike and then finally a clamber over mid-sized boulders. Just as you think you finally made it to the rim, the trail takes a discouraging detour down and around. Ten minutes more and we arrive.

photo: Torres del Paine
Reloaded from Google because the WiB image is not rotated.
Torres del Paine

The day is warm enough for us to strip down to T-shirts and dip our feet in the water. And I just lie there for almost two hours watching groups come, pose for a photo, eat lunch and go. I decide to experiment with every whacky setting on my new Sony a6000 camera.

photo: Torres del Paine

The main photo in this set is the closest to actual color (as I remember it) although the water did often have a creamy emerald cast. I played with the “Ansel Adams” black and white, and in the last added a little “golden” warmth to the rocks.

photo: Torres del Paine
photo: Torres del Paine

The rest of our group arrived and we did our tourist snapshots. At 2PM we all headed back down the mountain. By this time the trail was quite crowded…rather like hiking to Half Dome in Yosemite. Four hours up and (for me) a bit longer going down because I didn’t bring my walking poles. Spousal unit found me a handy stick to use as a cane.

A quick shower and then to the bar for Pisco sours. This night I had a calafate sour, made with the calafate berry that legend promises if you eat it you will return to Patagonia.

One thing I notice comparing these photos side-by-side is that my focus was so intent on the towers that I didn’t hold the horizon steady. I tilt the camera first one way and then the other, failing to keep the line of the horizon horizontal.