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Jacada Photo Journal: Patagonia

An adventure through the beautiful wilderness
Written by
Lily Bunker

My recent trip to Chile & Argentina saw me travel huge distances through Patagonia’s vast pristine wilderness. Over three weeks, I hiked in the iconic Torres del Paine National Park, rode horses through wide open pampas, listened to thundering sound of ice calving from the Perito Marino Glacier and admired stunning crystalline turquoise glacier lakes. Each day brought a new adventure and I was continuously blown away by the landscapes I encountered. Patagonia is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and truly appreciate the world we live in. Here are just a few of my favourite moments from my trip.

My first full day in Patagonia was spent horseback riding with gauchos learning about the area, followed by a traditional asado (roast) dinner.

A perfect and exciting introduction to the Chilean landscapes, cuisine and people!

A couple of days later I headed into the famous Torres del Paine National Park and I can confidently say it is the most beautiful place I have ever been. I enjoyed a hike along the coast of Grey Lake spotting floating icebergs and ending with a stunning vista of the Grey Glacier.

In Patagonia you can really experience all four seasons in one day. The day started out extremely cold and windy, you can even see the waves on the lake, but by the afternoon it was fabulous sunshine.

As the sun glinted off the water, reflecting its aquamarine hue, we were able to see the park in all its glory.

I headed over the border and into Argentina to visit the most famous glacier of them all: the Perito Marino Glacier.

Combined with the eerie creaking and echoing of the glacier as it calved and its sheer size, this was truly an unforgettable moment.

The next day I travelled to a remote estancia (farm) only accessible by boat. I learnt about the fascinating history of Argentina’s desert campaign and relaxed in total isolation from the rest of the world. I enjoyed panoramic view points over the Upsala Glacier and Lake William before hiking through a canyon sculpted by a retreated glacial and filled with mesmerising colours and marine fossils.

My next stop was El Chalten, a frontier settlement set up by the Argentine government in 1985. Due to its stunning location at the foot of Mount Fitzroy the village has grown into a collection of multicoloured houses and it is now the hiking capital of Argentina. The Tehuelche name for Mount FitzRoy is El Chalten, this means “smoking mountain” and it is an apt description because the summit is often masked in cloud.

I finally left the rugged mountains behind and headed for coastal Patagonia. My first stop was Península Valdés, Argentina’s best spot for wildlife lovers and home to elephant seals, guanacos, sea lions, penguins, and many other sea birds. I arrived in the elephant seal malting season and saw many young male elephant seals along the long coast line, all of which will eventually make the long journey down to Antarctica. I was also lucky enough to see a colony of Magellanic Penguins.

My final stop in Patagonia was the enchanting Bahia Bustamante Lodge, located in the world’s first seaweed village. This village used to house 400 people, all of whom worked in the seaweed industry, so it was complete with a church and school. Due to modern day machinery there is no requirement for so many people, so the owner decided to open up the village to visitors.  Here I explored by 4×4 and boat visiting pristine beaches, walking through petrified forests and spotting wildlife. This was truly a place unlike any other and the perfect end to my trip.

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