Saturday, 21 January 2012

Estancia Christina

This is the view on our incredible Estancia Christina. Who could ask for more. Totally remote and beautiful. Getting here took 40min on the bus and 2h on the boat-thats how secluded from the world this place is. Although, there are daily tours organised here. Imagine how painful would it be to experience this beauty just for few hours and then go back to a busy city after being taken around by the guide who tells you all about amazing horse riding and hiking trips you can do, not mentioning the fly fishing in the purest rivers coming from the glaciers. Very painful! We were the lucky ones who got to do all the exciting excursions. Among was horse riding, that we did twice for 5-6h (yes, it was painful towards the end). What is amazing about the horses here is that gauchos (south american 'cowboys') just love their horses. Here all the horses were daily let go roaming, not only around the Estancia but whole valley!!! Which was miles and miles long. When the riding trip was on, few lucky ones got to carry amazed tourists around, while rest was happily munching on Patagonians vegetation. On the way back from the trip, gaucho took free horses back to stables with the other ones (carrying us) that on the last distance run towards home, no matter how hard you tried to make them just 'walk' there was no chance, for well deserved rest and some food.

On the boat to our next destination...

Estancia Christina.

Roaming freely

I wish I could freeze this moment...

Stables and the equipment

Riding hats, we did look silly in them...

just look! Now fully geared up ready to go.

Juan getting horses ready for our riding adventure

On the back

Horses galloping back to the stables from days feeding.

Another day filled with sun and adventure. This time hiking trip.

Upsala glacier that we saw on our hike.

Interesting formations

Live lichen creates unique picture-like structures on rocks.

Another live organism creates an interesting pattern. Berry.

Dee given instructions by Charlie-fly fisher since childhood years.

Trying his technique
This is the view I was given to spend my time when Dee was fishing and my long time, very close companion...

My boots. They have walked with me a long way.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Torres del Paine National Park

This part of our journey has been quite amazing because it has been us and nature and very little human contact. We started our journey by getting a bus from El Califate from a tourist office that was a bit more expensive but saved us a lot of time up to the start of our trekking point.
Torres del Paine is a vast park that gives trekkers a choice of two routes. Shorter and more popular 'W' circuit and 'O' circuit that is longer and more challenging. Of course we planned on pushing ourselves, so picked the longer version. Due to a tragic last minute event that has happened just days before we were leaving we couldn't complete our plan. A vast fire has taken down a big percentage of the park and southern park of the route was closed down. So our route was to walk 'O' circuit minus the 'W' part, which ment we had to backtrack the same was came from but still it was worth it. Stunning views, less people, peace, quiet and no single drop of rain for 5 days which apparently was very uncommon, so we clearly made a right decision to come despite the circumstances. And in case anyone ever wants to do this trek, don't reply on information that on the campsites you can use card and don't need cash. NOT true. They accept only cash and you can buy basic stuff like meat, sweets, water, soft drinks etc.

    Vicunas were the ones to welcome us to the park.

    Day trekking.

I gathered a new friend on the first campsite - Seron.

Second day of trekking was very tough and tiring a lot of walking up the serious steep mountains and at times crazy winds on the top. So there was no better sight than our campsite! Dickson Refugio, was probably the biggest and had a possibility of sleeping in rooms when booked prior to arriving.

This was on our door step...

    A little break. Having a drink from a glacial river, hence the colour. The best water I ever tasted.

    And here we are at the fardest point of our journey-Los Perros campsite.

    Munching on our delicious dinner...

    After dinner we decided to go for a walk and explore a bit. We found a little bridge and thought we       will give a go to cross to the other side. So here you see a bit of balancing act....

    So Dee put on a brave face warning me that he is very bad at balancing but I didn't think much of it until...

 I saw him wobble and fight with the robes and you can probably imagine what happened.

He did end up in the river, but there is no record of it as I was in such a shock and amusement in the same time that I wanted to see it live rather than through camera lens. But he still kept his brave face on.
And because water was freezing he had to run back to the tent to change. Surprisingly without dipping in the river again...

    On the way back. Leaving with amazing memories but also with sadness that we have to leave this       place behind. Maybe one day we will be back to complete our challenge and walk along the whole       park. For now, memories of the place remain...