Thursday, December 2, 2010

Torres del Paine National Park - Patagonia - Chile

Puerto Natales is the nearest town to the Torres del Paine national park, so we were up early the next day to catch the bus there.  People stay in the park for up to 10 days hiking around and we would have loved to have stayed longer but we only had time and money for one night.  There is a hotel at the main site and then various 'refugios' along the trails with dorms and campsites.

Below are the local version of llama, the guanaco.  Apparently their main defense mechanism is shooting sticky fluid out their noses at long distances.  We would later realise what an achievement it would be to keep any fluids in your nose in the cold and windy patagonian weather.

There were also more nandu and flamingos about.
So after dumping our bags at the refugio we set  off on our first hike, up to the main event, the 'Torres'.
This was some of the fancier accomodation at the hotel...
Bringing supplies to the refugios.

Nearly there... the last hour was a scramble up these rocks.  It was amazing how many older people were doing this, but they looked like they'd been hiking all their lives.  One man we met must have been at least seventy.  There was also a French family with four young children.
Finally we got to the top of the ridge and this appeared before us...
Brian found a shelter for lunch, it was so windy and freezing cold, but probably one of the best picnic views you could find.
Condors flying overhead...

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