Our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We were huddled together trying to stay warm against the freezing temperatures of the night in a rented tent that wasn’t quite meant for people of Dan’s height. The temptation to turn off the alarm and roll over instead of heading out into the frigid pitch of pre-dawn was difficult to resist. Under these circumstances, there’s always a danger that each waits for the other to make the first move.
It was the final morning of our trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. The previous five days, we’d survived wind storms that forced us to cling to mountainside shrubs. I’d suffered a mysterious spider bite that made my eye look like I just emerged from a heavyweight boxing match.
We were worn. No pain, no gain, they say. Fortunately, we’d been rewarded with mind-opening landscapes and trekking camaraderie that more than made up for it all.
And this morning’s trek would cap off six days’ effort with a sunrise view of the namesake towers, the Torres del Paine. Continue Reading »
Have you ever been hiking and witnessed colors so surreal that you find it difficult to believe they’re natural?
The turquoise hue of Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile certainly falls into this category. Open up the panorama below to see for yourself. Continue Reading »
Have you ever wondered what you would find on a visit to Argentina? We thought you might, so we share a slideshow of favorite photos we took while crossing the country four months overland — from Iguazu Falls in the north to Ushuaia on the very southern tip, and back north again to the windswept Calchaquíe Valleys.
Continue Reading »
This is the first in our series about wine in Argentina. Next up: Cafayate, Mendoza, and how to choose a bottle of Argentine wine.
Patagonia: the home of otherworldly landscapes, uplifted granite, glaciers, unrelenting wind, and the toughened skin of a Pinot noir grape. At the region’s northern reaches, where fabled mountains yield to desert flatlands, there are wineries.
We couchsurfed and hitchhiked our way to find them, and when we did, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had them virtually all to ourselves.
Adventurers, read on. For those of you interested in the details of do-it-yourself wine touring in this area, read Patagonia Wine Tasting, a How To. Continue Reading »
On the topic of trekking in Patagonia, the two names most bandied about: Chile’s Torres del Paine and Argentina’s El Chalten. Although their hunks of uplifted granite are similar enough, the prevailing style of hikes they offer are quite different.
Whereas the “W” and Circuit treks at Torres del Paine are mainly about the long haul, El Chalten’s strength: its day hikes. On the edge of Argentina’s Glacier National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares), El Chalten also offers the thrill of nature at a lower cost than its Chilean neighbor — with the added feature of a microbrewery on the way home from the hills.
In other words, two Patagonian trekking centers; two rather different experiences. Continue Reading »
Most articles we read about Torres del Paine National Park in Chile focus on Patagonian meadows, turquoise lakes, and rose-tinted granite towers in sunrise.
We’ll allow our photos to do that bit for us.
Instead, we’ll take a different tack and share some of the lessons –- about yourself, your marriage (if you have one), Patagonia, expectations, life, and travel – you might learn from trekking in Torres del Paine. Continue Reading »
I woke up the other morning with a knot in the pit in my stomach. It took a while for my brain to catch up with my gut to figure out what was wrong.
On the surface, everything was ideal. We had just come from weeks of trekking in Patagonia amidst endless mountains and lake vistas, we were on the quaint island of Chiloe (Chile) and the sun was shining (a rarity for this time of year, we’re told), and more trekking and travel opportunities awaited us.
But I was burnt out. Something about our recent travel choices left me feeling ungrounded. The constant movement, logistical planning and searching for the next experience had taken its toll. Usually, we travel without fixed schedules and we stay in places longer, allowing us time to relax, work and take in a place in all its various dimensions.
So what happened? Recently we purchased airline tickets that will take us away from South American in mid-May. With this impending departure, we began to fall into the common trap of travel, the common trap of life: trying to do it all. Continue Reading »
There we were at the end of the trail in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. We had completed the “W” – 60 miles, fully laden – and were basking in the warmth of the Patagonian sun. In the process we had become proficient at assembling our tent in strong winds, cooking wondrous meals with packaged pasta, and securing our stuff from mice at night. We appreciated nature in full: not only the beauty of its rainbows, glaciers, condors and granite towers, but also the wrath of its hurricane-strength winds.
At the end of our journey, the feeling of camaraderie amongst our fellow trekkers was palpable. We all shared an accomplishment. In the soft grass at the trailhead kiosk, we indulged in overpriced potato chips and cracked open celebratory beers.
But something was missing. Continue Reading »
Wondering why we’ve been quiet recently? Here are some clues as to what we’ve been up to. Continue Reading »
Some of you weighed in on our decision to go to Antarctica. We don’t want to leave you hanging any longer.
So what did we decide? What did the process look like and what did we learn from it? Continue Reading »