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THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JESS & DAN back on the road again...

The best of Southern Patagonia

CHILE | Wednesday, 2 January 2013 | Views [738] | Comments [7]

Dear all,


It’s Tuesday night, however because of internet issues, it may not be uploaded until Wednesday night. I’m writing in a slightly comatose state so please excuse me if it dosnt make sense…


We have just returned from our 3 day hike in the Torres Del Paine National Park. Dan hasn’t moved for the last hour, half of my big toe is a blister, my face is almost the same colour as a stop sign and everything we were wearing is in a pile ready for the washing machine because it stinks and if I move it dust goes everywhere!


5 days ago we visited the Perito Mareno Glacier, just out of El Calafate. It is massive, it’s 23 storeys high! We caught a boat to look at it close up and then wandered the walkways watching little bits of ice fall off and crash into the sea. The Glacier is special at the moment because it forms in an arrow shape, when it hits an island in the middle it parts two directions, but it also stops the water flowing between the two parts, so the levels in the lake vary a lot. We were very lucky because the bit of ice touching the island has actually made a tunnel underneath that you can see, and water flows freely between the two areas. The last time this happened was 4 years ago and the time before that 22 years ago!


4 days ago we caught a bus from El Calafate over the Argentinean border into Chile. We got stuck at the border for a few hours as Chile are strict like Australia with what comes in so all the bags had to be checked and we were questioned fairly intensely. 


So now 3 days ago, we were woken by the rain..Nooooo! this was our first day at the National Park and it was chucking down..our guide was upbeat and we were in the park walking by 11am. As it was still raining we started in the hike in full wet weather gear; pants, jackets, gloves, everything! It was cold and miserable and we were walking up muddy tracks and couldn’t see any of the view. We were walking in the clouds and could hardly even see the track. We stopped for lunch by 2 and then finally the rain stopped and the clouds started to part. From there we walked another 2 hours to the base of the 3 towers (self explanatory name, but 3 massive granite towers). From there it was an hour scramble up rocky tracks and over rickety bridges to reach the lookout near a lagoon that looks straight up at the towers…although sadly the towers were covered in cloud, grrrr. It was still a triumph reaching the end of the trail. However the walk back was painful, you put all your energy into getting to the top by 4pm to then remember that there’s still 4 hours of walking to get back down. Going down almost hurts more than going up, my favourite comment from Dan at one of our breaks was  “It feels like I’ve been hurt” I’m still not sure exactly what he meant, but it definitely hurt. Muscles I didn’t even know I had were sore!


That night we were camping at a private campsite owned by gadventures.We were very spoilt, we were there by 8:30pm, tents were already set up, hot dinner and showers were ready too. At 11pm we watched the sunset and then slept like logs in our tents…well, I did anyway…our fellow campers did not appreciate dan’s snoring and likened it to sleeping next to an idling tractor…


The sun was up early and we had scrambled eggs, toast, juice and coffee to get us ready for ANOTHER day of hiking. We caught a ferry for an hour over one of the glacial lakes, it was a brilliant turquoise colour, to the other side of the mountain. And then…we started walking…again. We were walking by 11am and finally returned to camp by 6pm. However the day was a lot more enjoyable as the weather was clear, bright and sunny (so sunny my face burnt a tad and I have a wedding band tan on my finger!). There were several rickety “Indiana jones” style bridges with warning signs “maximum 2 people!”, icey cold rivers we filled our drink bottles from and breath taking views of the glaciers and mountains. We had lunch with the most amazing views of the mountains. In Nepal the mountains were spectacular but they always seemed so far away, here in Patagonia you can get so close to the mountains it feels like you’re only a day away from the summit. Although that’s not possible, one of massive peaks we could see has only been climbed to the summit 3 times! The first group to climb in were a group of 5 climbers..and three of them are still somewhere near the top. I’ll try and load some photos so you get an idea of how amazing Patagonia has been.


We celebrated the New Year at a public campsite. I queued 25 minutes for a 2 minute cold shower..damn it. We welcomed in the new year with a huge group of travellers with a bottle of champagne we’d been nursing into the national park. Happy 2013!!


On our last day in the park, we were leaving on a ferry by 12noon, so we packed everything up and wandered around the lake taking photos. We spotted a few guanacos, they’re of the lama family, and the strange small emu birds I mentioned last time.


The shower back at the hotel was AMAZING! Tomorrow we have a 12 hour bus ride..yuk! back to Ushuaia ready to get on the boat late on the 3rd Jan!!! Can’t wait!!! Apparently there’s internet on the boat sometimes and we have to pay, but I’ll try and get on and tell you about the next icey cold weeks!


Love to all, Jess and Dan xoxo

Tags: el calafate, gadventues, patagonia, peurto natales, torres del paine



Sounds amazing guys! I'm loving all the hiking stories, can't wait to see the photos!

  Bec Jan 2, 2013 3:01 PM


May i please have a gaunacos. Thankyou! Xox

  Bec..that above message wasnt me.. Jan 3, 2013 12:03 PM


Hi Jess and Dan,
Wow it all sounds amazing, what an adventure you are having. Can you please bottle some of that beautiful fresh icy cold water and bring it home-sounds lovely.
Lots of love Mum x x

  Mum Jan 3, 2013 5:01 PM


Loving your stories!! Sounds amazing!
Enjoy the next stage of your journey, can't wait to hear about it!!
Love Julie x

  Julie Jan 4, 2013 12:13 AM


Hi Jess and Dan again everything just sounds amazing and so beautiful. Hope you have a wonderful time on the ship and enjoy every minute of this amazing adventure. I am sure you will remember this trip for a lifetime with all the memories you have. Look forward to next instalment Love Gai xx

  Gai Basso Jan 4, 2013 4:17 PM


Hi jess and dan we are home and are able to catch up with your adventures . Heat an amazing time you are having hope we get to see your photos sometime. You have probably hears we are having some real hot weather at the moment. Went to pick up Satch to-day, Chace was having a great time just following Lucy around the garden, he's so sweet!!!!

  Val chapman Jan 5, 2013 6:23 PM


Wow, it all sounds incredible!
Can't wait to see the photos.
How is Ernie coping?
Love and Kisses

  The Loopies Jan 6, 2013 10:06 AM



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