|Torres Del Paine
It was yet another early start and this morning it really was tough to pull ourselves out of those warm sheets at 4:50am! We are trying to cram in as much as we can before we leave Argentina, and have discovered that there is so much to do on the Andean side of the country that we simply do not have the time.
Neither of us appreciated that there was so much to do here.
Today we are taking the 5hr each way trip back into Chile to visit the Torres Del Paine national park.
There are 18 of us crammed into a transit, plus 2 drivers and a guide which makes the 5hrs cozy. Thankfully, sleep passes the time.
The parks main features are massive granite rocks that tower high above their surroundings. All around are turquoise lakes, glaciers and rivers. The area was once sub terrain and a giant magma chamber. When the sandy rock surface was erroded away, the solidified magma granite remained, leaving the gigantic structures for later generations to wonder at.
This place is a climbers paradise, but it sadly claims many lives, both climbers and walkers alike. Judging at the speed with which our mini bus driver is travelling, we are soon to join the numbers. He has also discovered that something's buckled on the bus due to the high-speed pot hole strikes, but this does not deter his ambition to hit 88 miles an hour and send us all Back To The Future.
The views here are spectacular and worth the very long day. We visit a viewing point and a waterfall, which was created by a fault line.
The wind is violently strong here and almost knocks us off our feet, it's also a very barren place to be!
After getting many different view of the towers we head to a picnic area for lunch, the ever reliable and predictable Jamon con Queso...
Incidentally, while being nicknamed 'The Towers of Pain', their actual name really means 'The Blue Mountain' in Quenca language.
After lunch we walk on through a wood which contains trees over 400years old. Sadly, many of the trees in the area were distroyed in a fire in 1983. The trees grow so slowly in this cold climate that it will take many generations for them to return. The wood leads us out onto a lake with a glacier in the distance. It is beautiful.
We have some fun with the ice melt and then head back to the bus and the long journey back to El Calafate.
We fly to Bariloche tomorrow for more skiing, hiking and chocolate...