As the photos from the post “Patagonia Shots,” revealed, we all had a blast in the southern national park trudging through whatever the weather had thrown at us. As we trekked for seven days, we dealt with an average of fifty kilometer winds, combinations of rain and snow, and we were even graced by the presence of the sun. Everyday seemed to have a different personality as well as each segment of the park. Within the past couple of months, there had been a large devastating fire set off by someone in the park, and within the first day we could already begin to see the damage. It was easy to imagine the speed of the monstrous fire that ravaged the area as we walked along the trail being encouraged by the ever-present winds. It was said that the alleged person responsible for the damage of the park had to pay a hefty sum of $5000 dollars!
On the far west side of the “W” circuit, just past one of the refugios, the five of us were shocked by the grandeur essence of Glacier Grey. The mammoth body of ice stretched out between the mountains as far as the eye could see. Its bluish color made it even more surreal. In my opinion, this part of the trek was the most beautiful and amazing, despite all the hype that surrounds the Torres Del Paine. We read an entry in a log book at Refugio Grey, that back in 1992, the glacier was able to be viewed from behind the refugio. Twenty years later, the glacier had receded back to Campamento Los Guardias, which is approximately four kilometers.
After we completed the trek, it was time to head back into the quaint little town, Puerto Natales. There we stayed at an incredibly amiable hostel, named Shakana(To locate this hostel, walk towards Plaza 1 de Mayo and go to the corner of Miraflores and Eleuterio Ramirez.). The owner, Shakana, was very comedic and social, providing a great place to stay and get out of the winter winds. As much as we wanted to stay and relax, the time had come for us to depart and head North back to Santiago, Chile where we would continue the last leg of our journey home. Jenny’s father, Don, left a day ahead of us while our two friends, Jess and Megan, were leaving South America a day after us. We had three flights in total, all connecting with barely anytime to spare between them. Each landing was accompanied by a mild panic of missing our next flight, and we almost did miss our last flight, running to the final gate and rushing through a hurried security check. Flashing our tickets and passports, the attendant pointed the last trail our feet would walk down in South America.
As our seat belts clicked, the rush and excitement fluttered away into the air, leaving us to sit back and fall into memories of the beginning of our trip. The luscious coffee region of Risaralda, the hustle and bustle of the streets of Quito, the barren desert of Peru and the mysterious ruins of the Incas, the pristine city of Sucre, and the loco culture of Argentina. With the memories of all the places and people we had met, still swirling’ round in our minds, the sky ripened into darkness, and the plane descended down towards the busy stream of lights that lit up the city of Toronto. It was time to relieve the trusty traveler shoes and reunite ourselves with lives we had left. See you sometime in the future, South America.