Torres del Paine: Chilean Patagonia

A rare life opportunity brought me the chance to re-explore South America on an unforgettable trip through Argentina and Chile’s Patagonian territory. The photos from this post come from Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Chile. Before visiting Patagonia, the mere mention of it’s name conjured up mysterious images of an isolated land at the end of the earth where few travelers set foot. I imagined cold, dreary expanses covered by forests, glaciers and waterfalls where native gaucho cowboy’s rode horses into the sunset. My imagination was fairly accurate because all of these things I did find, but to experience firsthand the wonders of this unadulterated space was one of the most liberating and centering experiences I have yet to encounter in all of my travels. If you are the type of person that enjoys solitude or just desires the chance to get away from it all then I would recommend packing your gear and heading South. Torres del Paine is one of the most beautiful and remote getaways one could ever hope to encounter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This first photo was taken directly from the window of my hotel room at the Virtuoso recognized Explora Eco-Lodge. The iconic mountains in the background of this shot serve as the center piece of the park and come to life each and every day as differing weather and lighting conditions take the opportunity to play the lead role in the ever evolving story of the park. The Explora Eco-Lodge at Torres del Paine is one of three high end hotels located throughout Chile and was by far the most unique and detail oriented lodging experiences I have ever encountered. Each day guests of Explora are met by onsite adventure guides who break down different hiking and trekking routes that vary from beginner to extreme. All of the photos in this essay were taken along the trail while hiking or riding horseback alongside the Explora employed ranch hands or gauchos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I snapped this photo along the trail hiking towards our rendezvous point to meet the boat to take us to view the glaciers. It had just stopped raining and the weather conditions made for some spectacular views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the most beautiful aspects of nature can be found in it’s smallest of details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I don’t have a lot of experience in horseback riding, the guides at Explora took great efforts to make sure that we were comfortable and in control of our horses. This was much different than other times I had gone horseback riding. We were taking our horses through rivers, and streams, up mountains and through the brush. At times we opened up into a canter and the more experienced riders got their horses going at full gallop. The whole experience made me long to have more time to perfect my riding abilities and become more at one with the horses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The landscape here was no doubt some of the most rugged and untamed that I have ever come across. World renowned climbers come here to take their chances with the sheer granite rock faces that can be found within the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The face of this mountain side has been dynamically carved out by the perpetual motion of the glaciers as they pass by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After having had the opportunity to visit the Perrito Moreno Glacier in Argentina a week before I didn’t think that another glacier in the world could possible be more impressive, yet the Glacier at Torres del Paine was equally impressive with it’s amazing colors and ice formations. After a moderate hike we we’re met at the trail head by a boat and upon boarding we sailed around the bay enjoying wonderfully intimate views of the glacier while sipping on Scotch Whiskey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A starry night as the clouds pass by…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one thing I will never forget about Torres del Paine and Patagonia in general is the feeling of total freedom and the stress free sensation of being a world away from everything. There are no deadlines to beat, nor emails to answer, no messages to return, no ringing, buzzing or honking, no engines rumbling or horns blowing. All that exists is the tranquility and serenity that can be found only in nature. This region is a cross section of what existed 200 years ago before the industrial revolution took hold of our planet and forever changed our biosphere. This is my type of place. My only wish is that I could have stayed longer.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Author:Barry Hackett

Barry is a wedding & lifestyle photographer with a passion for environmental and philanthropic issues. He currently resides in Long Beach, CA. You can view his other work at www.barryhackett.com and www.hitchedphoto.com

2 Responses to “Torres del Paine: Chilean Patagonia”

  1. Dylan the Dong
    January 17, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    I dig it. Keep backpackingbarry alive – get out into the world and shoot some more photos! Good job on keeping the website going. I’m bummed I let my wallow away. Like the pics and the story-line to boot. Cheers Brew!

  2. Melanie W.
    January 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    What an incredible opportunity to visit such a remote and beautiful place!!!! Every shot is breath taking and your commentary made wish for more!!!!

Leave a Reply