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Published: February 2nd 2019
Thursday 31 January
What a day we had today! We spent from 4.30am (waking) to 9.30pm on a tour to Torres del Paine, a beautiful National Park in southern Patagonia which encompasses mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales where we stopped for morning coffee and 312 km north of Punta Arenas where our guide picked us up. Throughout the day we drove over 800kms stopping at many view pints.
The scenery was spectacular, so I hope you enjoy the photos.
There were 10 other tourists with us, and we were the only ones who didn’t speak Spanish. However, our guide who was born in Punta Arenas spoke very good English. We certainly needed our duck-down coats even though the sun was shining. At some spots, the wind-chill factor played a part towards the 7+ degrees temperature but we were dressed appropriately.
The park borders Bernardo O’Higgins National Park to the west and the Los Glaciares National Park to the north in Argentine territory. Paine
means "blue" in the native Aonikenk language and is pronounced PIE-nay
. All the lakes were incredibly blue and reminded us of Lake Louise in Canada.
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile. The park averages around 252,000 visitors a year, of which 54%!a(MISSING)re foreign tourists, who come from many countries all over the world.
The iconic photos from the Park are the distinctive three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or Paine Massif. From left to right they are known as Torres d'Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino. They extend up to 2,500 metres above sea level and are joined by the Cuernos del Paine. When we arrived at the view point, which included a beautiful horn-shaped waterfall and rapids, the clouds were shrouding the peaks. Fortunately for us, they cleared and so we were all very excited.
The area also boasts valleys, rivers such as the Paine, lakes, and glaciers. The well-known lakes include Grey, Pehoe, Nordenskiold, and Sariento, all of which we viewed. We visited the Grey glaciers where we nearly got blown away. With one gust of
wind, Tom had to grab hold of me!!!
The park was established in 1959 and was given its present name in 1970.
We saw many Guanacos which are one of the most common mammals found in the park. Other mammals include foxes (we saw 2) and pumas.
The park contains breeding populations of 15 bird of prey species. Among them is the Andean condor of which we saw at least 6.
At the final stop, we visited the Milodon Monument, a large cave system. The monument is situated along the flanks of Cerro Benitez. It comprises several caves and a rock formation called Silla del Diablo
(Devil's Chair). We visited only the largest cave in South America.
This cave is the 200 metres long Milodón Cave. It was discovered in 1895 by Hermann Eberhard, German explorer of Patagonia. He found a large, seemingly fresh piece of skin of an unidentified animal. In 1896 the cave was explored by Otto Nordenskjold and later it was recognized that the skin belonged to Mylodon – an extinct animal which died 10,200–13,560 years ago.
cave and other caves of the monument have been found remnants of other extinct animals and human remnants.
At the entrance of the monument is a life size replica of the now extinct prehistoric Mylodon
, which was a very large herbivore, somewhat resembling a large bear.
So all in all, it was a spectacular day so we were very pleased we did it.
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