From Salto Rio Paine, The Wandelgek drove on towards:
Mirador Lago Nordenskjöld
And so The Wandelgek went for a hike…
The Wandelgek had been prepared for a lot. He wore his waist belt, a nice windbreaker coat, a warm cap, good walking shoes and he brought his walking poles, but there was something he didn’t prepare enough for…
During this phenomenal walk, he saw some incredible things. Full grown, powerful, mature, outdoor men being blown aside into the thorny bushes. Not once, but at least 5 times and these were different men. Women same thing but even more. This wind was not only powerful enough to do this, but it was a trecherous wind as well. occassionally it subdued completely to a light breeze until suddenly it blasted full gail force and if you were not expecting this to happen, even large men were toppled over right into the bushes.
The Wandelgek luckily saw that it was possible to see these winds coming by watching the waves on the lakes or the plants on shore as indicators, but still it did cost him his warm cap. It was suddenly torn from his head and with a gracefully curved loop it went high up and down again disappearing in the thorny bushes, along with some shawls, gloves and caps of other hikers and all at once :-D. Not a chance of finding that again…and to gove you an idea of how remote this place is, The Wandelgek had to wait until revisting El Calafate before replacing his cap…
I’ve been travelling for many years now and I’ve been visiting some of the highest mountain ranges in the world. think of the Heavenly Mountains (Tien Shan), The Pamir and the Himalaya, but although a bit lower, there are mountain ranges like The Alpes (including the Dolomites) and also The Andes that are just as impressive.
Mountain Hiking to Mirador Los Cuernos
So lets talk hiking…
The Wandelgek was doing this trail at the end of the world. No stress, no deadlines, no curfues, no goals, no tension, no delays, no traffic jams, just the feeling of having all the time in the world.
I brought my new Canon EOS XP camera and had put a polarization filter on all of my lenses.
The Wandelgek had travelled from north to south Patagonia and was now hiking through the Southern Lake District’s most southern part. To someone living almost his entire life on the northern hemisphere in western Europe, that might sound like travelling towards the sun and warmth. In the northern hemisphere travelling south means travelling towards the equator and that means warmth and hours of sun will increase.
That is why The Wandelgek had been swapping the directions in his mind. South means North, southern means northern and vice versa. Thus he was actually travelling south, but in his northern hemisphere mind telling himself that he was travelling north.
Travelling north on the northern hemisphere means travelling towards the northpole and thus towards cold, less sun and also less vegetation.
Concluding: The Wandelgek was on the southern hemisphere travelling south towards Antarctica, which meant the landscapes became barer and less overgrown by vegetation. It also got colder.
This type of environment or ecosystem is often described as subarctic.
Hikers easily tend to disappear in these surroundings…
My relatively new Meindl hiking shoes were doing an exellent job by the way.
Along the way were Calafate Berry bushes and The Wandelgek couldn’t resist sampling some berries…
At the end of Spring and almost the start of Summer, there was still a lot of snow and ice on the mountain summits and glaciers were slowly sliding down ending in small streams of icy water falling down the slopes into the blue lakes….
The walk was incredibly beautiful and The Wandelgek understood why UNESCO was valueing this park so highly.
What also really helped was the incredible weather. Blue skies were a necessity to get these blue lakes.
Everywhere was the sound of water splashing and that of the wind of course.
The Wandelgek reached the end of the trail, at the Mirador Los Cuernos, much earlier than he wanted to.
The Salto Grande is a waterfall on the Paine River, after the Nordenskjöld Lake, within the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
In the vicinity of Salto Grande are a variety of natural vegetation forms as well as certain wildlife species, including the wild guanaco.
Salto Grande waterfall, connects Lago Nordenskjöld with Lago Pehoë, which drains its waters from glacier melt-off in the northern sector of the park.
As the sun was slowly setting, the mountains got shrouded in mist like clouds, but there was this last beautiful touch of sunbeams on the mountain summits too…
After a day full of mesmerizing impressions, and really beautiful mountain walks which were what The Wandelgek had been craving for for a couple of years now, it was time to go towards the overnight shelters for the next couple of days and prepare for dinner as well.
The Wandelgek had chosen for the option of cabanas. Little wooden huts with a kitchen, toilet, shower and a common room. The cabanas also had a porch in front with an awesome view over the Andes.