5 days hiking in Patagonia by myself. i had the most amazing weather. it never rained and was hardly windy, which is pretty much unheard of for Patagonia. Also, although the first 2 days were crowded, the following days had way less people - perhaps because they just reopened the trail after the december fire? This meant i had countless hours of walking alone and sitting by myself overlooking stunning views. I had 5 days of good jeanne time and here are my favorite moments and discoveries:
Day 1: Las Torres Mirador
Hiking Time: 3 hours and 40 minutes
Favorite Moment: Sitting on the lake at the base of Las Torres, trying to figure out how to bottle up this feeling of pure stress-free relaxation. (Picture to come, but basically the setting was 3 huge granite rock towers, which normally are encased in clouds, towering in front of a blue sky and over a pristine, blue lake.)
Discovery of the Day: Sitting by the lake at Las Torres mirador, I leaned against a rock for an hour or so with the warm sun shining on me and a cool breeze in the air. It was only a propos to put on Wax Tailer´s remake of Michael Buble ´Feeling Good´
´Sun in the sky - you know how i feel
Breeze drifting on by - you know how i feel
Its a new dawn. A new day.´
And how did i feel!?!? Well, after the next wax tailer song came on, Que Sera, which starts off with ´and now the moment we´ve all been waiting for is here´ I thought that captured it! i am in THIS moment! Here i am on another wonderful trip and i am so grateful to have this opportunity and so stoked to get this ´me´ time. i felt surrendered and at peace with the notion that ´the futures not ours to see.´
DAY 2: Sunrise at Las Torres
Hiking Time: about <7hrs (including a few breaks)
Favorite Moment: I woke up at 445 am to see the sun rise over Las Torres. I set out with my headlamp on up the hour and 20 minute climb with a Chilean guy and his girlfriend who worked at the refugio. I would have froze my ass off if they did not give me the insider tip to bring my sleeping bag with me to keep warm while I wait for the sun to rise. Upon arrival, I settled in next to a rock that blocked the wind a bit and wrapped myself in my sleeping bag. I sat there watching the transformation of the granite towers turn from a pinkish color to a deep orange to a bright yellow to a white. It was a stunning transition to watch and my description does not do it justice. It possibly was my favorite experience in the 5 days.
Songs of the Day: Goyte Somebody i Used to Know, Anna Rossi - Frame me Right
Discovery of the Day: Very easy day of hiking...a lot of time to think, listen to music and chill. Throughout various moments in the day, i was reminded that the 32 year old version of me is a LOT wiser than the 23 year old version of me..of course, one would hope so. :)
Day 3: Hike into Valley Frances
Hiking Time: 11 hours (includes breaks also includes me hiking out 15 minutes and realizing i forgot my hiking poles and turning around to get them. and then hiking out 25 minutes just to realize that the tips of my hiking poles popped off. I turned around and found 1 tip at start of the trail. The other lost forever. So there i was an hour and 20 minutes into the hike, but yet, right where i started :) Que Sera!)
Favorite Moment: There are 3 main view points in the French Valley. The first one was at the top of the peak where i honored the snow capped mountains in front of me with a headstand on a rock. The Brazilian who took my photo thought i was crazy. (picture to come!) The 3rd look out point had 3 other people there and then they left. I sat by myself for 30 minutes in the valley frances with a 360 degree view of of the lake, mountain face, snow-capped peaks, and the horn shaped (cuernos) mountain peaks). OM!
Song of the Day: i had a ´spiritual´ day and listened to a detox yoga speaker series by Seane Corn that i listened to when i was in indonesia. She has moments where she references God quite a bit, which is a bit too much for an agnostic - borderline atheist, BUT if you can put that aside, wow, this cd always centers me.
Discovery of the Day:
Bear with me here, because i am about to have a preachy moment. The yoga series i listened to today talks about how emotions, such as stress, fear, loss, sadness, unresolved grief, regret, anger, etc make our bodies toxic and effect our well being. We´re having an impact on ourselves with something as simple as being frustrated at someone for getting in our way on the street, causing us to miss our subway or something bigger like work stress, disappointment with friends, the end of a relationship, etc.
Instead of harboring these emotions, which will have a long-term toll on our mind and body, embrace the idea that every experience - both good and bad - becomes an opportunity. It does take a LOT of initial energy to shift your perspective - to let things go or to find the silverlining. BUT there is a sense of empowerment knowing that YOU have the responsibility and power in every situation to make it what it is. For example, that missed subway is now an opportunity to sit and relax for 10 minutes or that ´rejection´ is actually a gift necessary to get closer to knowing who you are and what makes YOU happy and what you deserve.
SO, in summary, each person and experience we encounter becomes instrumental in who we are today and whether they are for the better or the worse is OUR individual choice and responsibility. It´s up to us to shift that perspective and find the value in what´s happening.
Day 4: Hike to Glacier Grey
Hiking Time: about 6 hours (includes a walk / run back to a lookout point about an hour away that i saw in the morning to see it in the evening light. The Torres del Paine felt like one huge running trail to me!)
Favorite Moment: I dropped my pack at the refugio and hiked up to the next camp site where there was a mirador. I walked a bit along the side of the mountain and i found a flat section to sit on, perched above the glacier. I sat there for 3 hours and I also got to a witness a chunk of ice, about the size of a car, break apart and land in the water...how it cracked, the noise, the falling motion, the impact, everything was amazing!!
Songs of the Day: Elbow Songs: Lippy Kids (Specifically, "Do they know those days are golden") and Weather to Fly (Specifically, "Are we having the time of our lives") and One Day Like This (Specifically, It´s looking Like a Beautiful Day. One day like this a year would see me right!")
Discovery of the Day: I love how it feels to be connected with nature. I miss this in NYC. And the next thing might sound a bit weird, but I really enjoy my company. haha. From running back and forth between look out points to just chilling by the glacier to doing about 20 self-timed jumping shots until i got the perfect picture of me jumping in the air above the glacier, I had a lot of fun with me today! :)
Day 5: Hike back to Paine Grande Refugio to the Catamaran
Favorite Moment: Sleeping in a room with 3 other beds but noone in them. This meant NO snoring and NO early morning rustling. It took a lot of motivation to get out of my sleeping bag this morning :)
Discovery of the Day: I think it is a Smashing Pumpkins song that says, all Good things surely have to end. Well, that´s kind of a bummer way to look at it. Yes, I am sad that my 5 days of scampering up and down the mountains in Torres del Paine has come to an end. However, when I think about all that i processed during this trip, the enlightenment i reached and the peace and tranquility i found, i can´t help but think of my favorite yoga phrase, ¨"how do i take this feeling of calm off the yoga mat and out with me into the world"...I have 22 days to work on this challenge :)
NEXT STOP: 5 hour bus ride back to El Calafate and then a Glacier hike on Perito Moreno Glacier