Thursday, February 23, 2012

Torres del Paine National Park

A WOWZER Moment!

Our bus crests a hill revealing first view of Torres del Paine (Towers of the Blue Sky) National Park.

Seeing TdP was a priority for me. It was grand and spectacular. We spent 3 days and two nights at Hotel Lago Grey which offered breathtaking views of the "Towers".

Dawn hunkering down behind a concrete block to video tape the mountains

It's true what they say about the winds of Patagonia. The day we arrived it was gale force winds and we could barely stand without getting blown over.

The back of the bus provided some wind protection

Trekkers in the Park. A popular 8 day trail circles the main set of Towers.

Crossing the fast-moving Rio Pingo

First day . . . taking a hike to a major viewpoint

Through a forest of Beech trees

The white thing is a iceberg, not a ship

Hiking across a very long sand-bar on Lago Grey

Whipping winds creating waves and white-caps

At the end of the sandbar is an island with a viewpoint of the Horns and Glacier

Gnarly tree shaped by constant gale winds

In front of the Towers and Horns

Boat-shaped iceberg on Lago Grey

Clouds parting to reveal more of the Horns of Paine

Towers to left (white spires) and Horns (dark peaks) of Paine around 8,500' - 9,500' tall

A grand view from Lago Grey (west view) from our hotel

A forest fire started in December 2011 denuded the low ridge below the Horns

Cerro Paine Grande - 10,332', tallest peak on Lago Grey

Early morning photos

The view from hotel deck

Another view of Horns from Lake Nordenskjold (southeast view)

On Lake Nordenskjold

The different colors of the Horns are result of tectonic and glacial forces that carved the massif. During the ice-age, the dark colored rock stuck above the ice. The granite which was not covered by glaciation retained the dark color. The light-colored parts are result of movement of glaciers and wind erosion.

If you look very close and use your imagination, you can see the silhouette of cowboy riding a horse on the rock-face on the right. Even a lasso above the head . . .

Hotel Lago Grey dining room with big windows

Bar room

Dining room with grand view

Chin-chin!! . . . pisco sour time

Dinner at Hotel Lago Grey

Julio, our Chilean guide in native dress, jumped out of the bushes and told us a story of native people's life on Lago Grey

It was a surprising performance . . . very nice Julio!

Click on "older posts" below to continue tour

~~Next - Boat Ride to Lago Grey Glacier~~

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