This national park in the very south of Chile has, without a doubt, been one of our highlights of the whole trip. I could go on for pages, but the battery on the laptop will run out and I’ve no idea when I will get to charge it again – and anyway, the pictures speak for themselves. I can’t upload much on the campsite wifi and am not going to bother with fiddly things like captions. I mean, you can probably work out “mountain”, and “lake” for yourselves…… hopefully the pics will give you an idea of just how stunningly beautiful this corner of the world is.
Huge mountains, azure lakes, massive waterfalls, many herds of guanacos (a type of llama), hundreds of flamingos, rheas (like a smaller version of the African ostrich), condors and other birds of prey, foxes and rabbits, beautiful butterflies…
It was a long drive from Puerto Natales to the park, with a conflict between the paper map and the electronic one causing some confusion…. The drive took most of day one, partly because I kept leaping out to take yet more photos and partly because of the rather rustic roads…. I am bossing the ripio by now though 🙂
We stayed one night by the side of a stunning lake, surrounded by mountains, and it was incredible to wake up in the morning and drink our tea in the peace and beauty of such a place.
The air was so pure, you felt that just breathing was doing you good.
On the second day we went on a fairly long hike, along generally well maintained but rocky and at times steep trails. It was fairly tough going for the unfit among us (me), but Lauren skipped ahead for most of it, and I let her be ‘scout’. This place is so safe, and she is a sensible child, so she enjoyed a fairly long leash, reveling in being up front and out of sight.
Eventually we made it to a lookout, and were rewarded for our efforts by seeing a mini avalanche hurling snow down the mountain. The noise was as impressive as the sight. A deep rumbling, then a cracking sound almost like thunder, then a big thud as huge amounts of snow hit the slopes below. We heard others that must have been happening out of sight, and it was a pretty eerie experience.
After trekking back to the van, passing a hard of guanaco on the way,
…..we had a quick lunch then set off for the other side of the park, for a second hike, this time to lake grey, where we had been told we would be able to see icebergs. It was tough going along the beach, but we were rewarded with not only spectacular views of the glacier at the far end of the lake, but also these amazing icebergs – they really are blue!!! The one on the left collapsed while we were there, throwing ‘baby icebergs’ into the sea and creating some fairly big waves.
Lauren had a great time chomping on the ice from the icebergs – it was incredibly pure tasting, but how much of that is psychological who knows. It’d have been nice in a G&T…
That night, utterly exhausted after our walks, we slept early, cuddled up in our van by the side of another lake. The park allows campers that are self sufficient to park up in certain places, free of charge. The park seems to be very well run by highly competent and enthusiastic people. The rangeWe had been incredibly lucky with the weather, and as it was forecast to rain heavily the next day, we agreed to head to our next stop the following day – El Calafate for the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier.