Tales From the Road - Patagonia

May 20, 2009
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Tales from Patagonia by Travel Planner Charlie Weaver:

As an avid backpacker, Torres del Paine National Park had always seemed to be an unreachable dream of mine. Through some good fortune (and my wonderful employer), I was sent on assignment to the end of the world to assist with our Patagonia tour and Post Extension to Torres del Paine National Park.  Upon arrival in Santiago, I quickly felt as if I was in Europe with many first generation Spaniards whom I share bloodlines with.  The friendliness of the locals and their passion for fine cuisine and wines had made me into an honorary Chilean by default.

Friendships were created by the incredible experiences shared on this trip and my Chilean friends have returned to my home in Alabama for some cultural awakenings.  Gazing on the Paine Massif in Torres del Paine for the first time will always be a moment and feeling which rivaled stepping up to the south rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time or seeing Denali on a clear day after climbing out of a tent.  Not only were the landscapes unbelievable in Patagonia, but wildlife abounds around every corner.  The large out of place Austral Parakeets were a strange sight in a primordial mountain setting.  The constant soaring of the condors overhead were reminders of the power of Mother Nature and her ability to create the unimaginable.  And always knowing that the herds of guanacos were nervously awaiting a pouncing cougar made for an unpredictable day in the park!