|Cristina at home|
|Cristina y Sue|
|Gobbling down nuts and fruit we couldn't bring to Chile|
Finally the clouds came in and we hunkered down into coffee shops or our beautiful green and orange and yellow room with huge towels, warm shower water (it took us days too figure out the heater and in the meantime we bundled up and even saw our breath in the morning) run by nice women and a 12 year old boy. Typical hostel breakfasts include bread, marmalade, maybe cheese and hot drinks. You serve yourself, as no one wakes up before 11 or so.
|PERFECT avocados for cheap!|
|Flowers in january!|
|The Port, Punto Arenas|
|Black Necked Swans: Nice place to live|
|View of the torres (towers)|
|I lichen this|
|The skinny part of the trail|
January 10—took us in the morning to the northeast section of the park Torres Del Paine. On the way, a guide came on the bus to go over rules of the park and to talk about the fire that still needed managing and closed about ½ to ¾ of the park because of a careless [Israeli] camper who [didn’t want to pay for a campsite, so he] was out of the mandated camping area and he illegally started a campfire and accidentally burned down a huge amount of a national UNESCO park, maybe killed some firemen and spent tons of money to manage it. Later she also talked about how the consequences of this kind of action had been very small in the past, and not much has been done to reinforce rules or maintain the wilderness of the park. She said that they have let folks come in and build huge hostels in place of the simple refuges, and the rangers are not trained in low-impact techniques or how to maintain trails. The guides have bonded together to see if they can make a difference in enforcing rules and helping to educate those who enter the park. Anyway, we finally got on a transfer bus that takes a little further, and started up the trail toward the towers.
|View from our highest point|
|Heidi, one of the park's guides|
Through the binoculars the glaciers were breathtaking, and we could hear the ice falling off the cliffs; they sounded like jets. It was a little like Alaska because the trees were all so low and gnarly, and the groundcover was little scrub brush of berries, so you could see far, far away! Lovely. There were tons of people with backpacks and boots going up to camp. I missed backpacking, but not the weight; and I looked like the furthest thing from an past-professional outdoors woman with my large pink purse over one shoulder, roomy cotton pants with Indian embroidery on the sides and sneakers on my feet.
|Steppe through the binoculars|
|Lunch part way up|
I learned from the Heidi the guide that not many people are educated in camping; it’s just what you do when you get down here. I’ve never thought about just how popular backpacking has gotten since I got my degree in Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Education. It’s a bit sad, because she said folks don’t really care about keeping the wilderness clean. Sigh.
|Cheese sandwich at the bottom|
|Lodge for coffee|
|Les LOVES flamingos|
After sleeping on the bus, I felt crummy and had a headache. I craved something healthy to eat, (and a shower) so we bought peppers, onion, tomato, cilantro and some soup stock of garlic and onion to make into a little soup. I was surprised that it turned out at all.
|Dogs lined up in town|
|Front row seats!|
|Dry dock: boat with copper bottom|