WHERE: Torres del Paines National Park, Patagonia, Chile
In early June this year I was presented with the opportunity to visit Patagonia and Santiago, Chile for work. Like any sane person I said of course! Little did I realize it would take three planes and a mini-coach to travel the distance. Nor that it would be 33 hours from the time I left home to the time that we got off the bus the last time to open our hotel room door to the most spectacular views. Most of our travel time was in the dark, as the region is just entering winter in June. So when I opened the door to my room at Hotel Lago Grey to say I was in awe is an understatement.
This gem of a hotel sits just a short bus ride or 2 mile walk beyond the glacial river created by the melt water from Glacier Grey. The next morning we rose early to catch the bus over to the park and walk across the black sand to the waiting boat ride to the base of the glacier. From the point the bus drops you off, it’s about a mile walk through forest and then across black sand to the boat. All with view of the glacier just off in the distance. The trip to the glacier was such an inspiring experience. Windy, cold, exhilarating. But what I was looking forward to nearly as much was the walk back to the hotel.
I’d asked the day before if there was any way I could sneak in an hour hiking in the park and my hostess was kind enough to ask the guides if it was possible. They explained that there was a trail and that they would be happy to point me in the right direction on our return. The trailhead was just off the parking lot and with the guide’s blessing I was off, but not before being stopped twice by others asking if I wanted a ride.
#hike20 of my 52 Hike Challenge was underway.
It was beautiful. And quiet. I was so grateful for the experience. To know that I was able to find my way was so comforting. Even the guide said later that he sensed that I was someone who would be able to follow the trail – what was a huge compliment to me.
It’s an experience that will stay with me, one that was worth every single one of those 33 hours to get there.
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