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Vacations » '16 - Patagonia, Chile
Planning Patagonia
Planning It had been more than a year and a half in planning… And as has been our custom, it started with a comment from Jeanne – how about Machu Pichu? We were looking for something off the beaten path, and that certainly sounded like it fit the bill… But then, a bit of research, and some of the buzz on the net suggested that it was pretty crowded area, and even so, once you see the sites, what then?
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Patagonia – getting there
Just getting there was an adventure! Having finished the planning and with travel day finally upon us, we loaded up our packs and decided on public transportation to the airport, figuring no time like the present to get accustomed to carrying our gear.   While seeing people walk around with full hiking gear in Boston is a bit unusual, as we’d come to experience at the other end of our journey, it was almost 100% the opposite at the other
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The “W” – Ref. Grey and back again
This was it – the real beginning of our trekking journey, so after saying goodbye to Rodrigo and Gloria, our gracious hosts at Keoken, we took a short ride to the bus station and were off our trip into the park! Heading northward, we got our first real taste of the vastness that is southern Patagonia.  After 2+ hours of mostly nothing but grassy steppe, dust, and some periodic views of the Andes mountains on the far western horizon, we arrived at Laguna Amarga park
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The “W” – Ref. Paine Grande to Ref. Cuernos
We knew this section was going to be a kicker – a bit over 28km (17.5 miles).  This was the middle leg of the “W” (the orange and blue sections on the map) and it was going to be a long day. Beginning at Ref. Paine Grande, tracing a path to Campamento Italiano (orange on the map), with a branch northward into the French Valley – a 7.5km stretch, that was reported to be all up-hill, but with exceptional views deep in
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The “W” – Ref. Cuernos to Ref. El Chileno
We’d expected this section to be a bit of a breather after the massive 17+ miles the day before.  Though the unknown was the “shortcut” – various posts about the “W” had talked about a shortcut, but none of the trail maps showed the shortcut as a trail alternate.  No problem, the total distance, sans shortcut, was a bit less than 20Km (maybe 10 miles) – a bit day, but not nearly as much as the day before. Breakfast in
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The “W” – Hotel Las Torres
The buzz around the dinner table last night had been who’s waking up at 3:30am to go view the Towers – the signature photo op for the entire park.  Troll the internet and you’ll see many a photo, some perhaps photoshopped, to show a vibrant red during sunrise on the towers.  For us, after our tough day the day before, we knew we weren’t getting up that early.  We like our panoramic views, just not quite that much! For hut
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Argentina and the Perito Moreno Glacier
It was time to say goodbye to the “W” and the trekking portion of our adventure and switch to the more traditional tourista aspects – an excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier and a few days in Buenos Aires. They say that getting there is half the fun – the trip from Hotel Las Torres to El Calafate, Argentina was no exception.  After our relaxing day at the hotel and our day hike, we boarded the hotel shuttle at 4pm for the
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Patagonia – Buenos Aires
This was the final leg of our journey.  We said goodbye to El Calafate, it’s remoteness, daily power outages, and to the natural beauty of Patagonia, the Andes, and the glaciers, and arrived in Buenos Aires mid-afternoon on Saturday.   A bit of a mixup with our AirBnB host, and we had to find cash (up until now, we’d been using Chilean Pesos) and grab a cab to our apartment.   Remember, it was early February and 80+ degrees –
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Our Trip, by the numbers with a photo gallery
For those more detail-oriented, here’s some numbers, etc. about our trek… First, our “W”, we mostly followed the ‘traditional’ “W” circuit – starting on the western branch and heading eastward.   When traveling from Ref. Paine Grande to Ref. Cuernos, we did the central leg, following the path through to the Mirador Britanico.  And we followed the shortcut when trekking from Ref. Cuernos to Ref. el Chileno.  Unfortunately, our plan had been to visit the Mirador Torres del Paine on
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