In Patagonia

Happy Valentine’s Day!
How perfect to write about love – of course about Ben, my forever valentine who has joined me in retirement and what a way to being this new chapter!

But I have also fallen in love with so much on this adventure in Chile. We’re 12 days into a five-week journey with our long time friends Alec and Susan, along with some new ones. We spent the last week hiking the W-Trek in Torres del Paine, a most amazing part of Patagonia – a seriously beyond-beautiful part of the world, a rugged, spectacular beauty. It was fifty miles of tough hiking in serious winds, staying in Refugios along the way. We saw avalanches, glaciers, and icebergs. I fell in love with my backpack, the mountains, sleeping in bunk rooms with old and new friends. I loved our Chilean guides, Andrea, Camillo, and Cem (who’s actually Turkish). I love my hiking boots, the lentil soup, and cold beer in the evenings. So much to love.

I felt a kind of sacred love of our planet in Torres del Paines. Just seeing the stunning majesty of the glaciers was being in the presence of something much larger and more important than my little life. Along with a sadness. The melting of these lovely beings.

We are in Petrohue in Northern Patagonia still hiking and kayaking and adding biking. Today we kayaked through fjords with snow-capped volcanoes as the backdrop. I have fallen in love with Chile and this new chapter in Ben’s and my life that seems ignited anew.

And from Ben:

An occupational hazard of working with young people is that one hears the word “awesome” a great deal. “Breakfast for lunch is awesome!” “That new shirt is awesome.” “She’s so awesome.” And there are times when Sarah has reminded me that I can occasionally slip the term in inappropriately.

The derivation of the word (of course) comes from being in awe of something – seen with reverential respect or wonder; and five days in Torre del Paine were filled with only reverential respect and wonder ( along with some sore feet and hips along the way). Hiking with mostly full packs over fifty plus miles simply exceeded all expectations (not that I had any, really). Literally every step warranted stopping and taking a picture – and Sarah’s pictures will give a sense. 

But to be in the presence of such natural beauty could only generate feelings of reverential respect and wonder – not to mention the gift of our wonderfully patient, kind, and generous guides Cem (pronounced “Gem”), Andrea, and Camillo who took such pride in sharing their natural home with us. 

So might I slip back into using “awesome” to describe the mundane after this adventure? I sure hope not, but forgive me if I do.

Photos from our five-day backpacking adventure:

Our group!

The map of the W-trek, note the white-ish outline of a ‘w’.
Kayaking among the icebergs at the end of our trek.
Up close to the glacier on a boat ride back to civilization.
Kayaking in northern Patagonia in the fjord today among the snow-capped volcanoes.

Be safe, everyone. ❤️

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