Day 12: Torres de Paine National Park
We traveled today that is said tobe one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world. Not many people visit Idaho, the Sawtooths and the White-clouds, either so the comment is a little off. Non-the-less, this is a spectacular place with water galore, lakes of various sizes and colors, and turquoise colored rivers, rugged snow-caped mountains, glaciers, and flowing fields of grass. The weather is also out-of-this-world. We were never sure what the wind would allow us to do. We had to abandon our first hike after 100 yards when the wind gusts blew us off the trial at 60 to 80 knots. Didn’t think we’d make it back to the bus. The 2 days and nights we were there, it never stopped. We did take a boat cruise to the Lago Grey Glacier on a cold blowy morning. Some of the boats had to cancel the afternoon before because the winds were too strong. We were lucky they had let up enough so ours wasn’t canceled. On the way up the lake we faced into the wind and the waves crashed over the bow to the point we could not see out the front windows. It was interesting when we got in the lee of glacier, the wind died down in a more protective area and we could get out on deck and enjoy the color and size of this huge mass of ice and snow that had 3 fingers. On our drives to find places to hike, we saw Flamingos, Rheas (an ostrich-like bird), Condors, Hvemuls (a small-pronghorn deer), Guanaco (a relative of the camel), and many water birds. This is a place where wind blows most of the time so hard you can hardly stand and blowing rain that stings the face.. We just wish we could have enjoyed this delightful place without the wretched wind. Two buses and a car were blown over shortly before we left the park. They weren’t ours, but the gusts felt like it could have been.