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Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine,Chile.
If you go nowhere else in Patagonia, you must go here. This was by far the most amazing place I’ve ever been. I say this after living in Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The park is the most remote, peaceful, mysterious and impressive place on Earth.
Latin Trip arranged for Erick to pick us up at our hotel in Punta Arenas and deliver us to the bus station for our journey to Puerto Natales. He explained the next steps of our trip to us and offered invaluable advice on getting to and getting around the Park. He advised we take the old, longer, road into the park and enjoy the whole view.

We arrived in Puerto Natales a little after 11 a.m. and found our way to car rental office, where a vehicle was ready and waiting for us. Latin Trip had already made all of the arrangements and paid for the car. This is when I started to really appreciate the time we saved by organizing the trip through an agency. We didn’t have to contact numerous rental companies in search of the best rate, wasting very valuable time in the park. We were gassed up and ready to go.We drove through light rain and low clouds to the park entrance, which seemed to come much sooner than expected.
Once through the park entrance, we rounded a corner and were confronted by the most awe-inspiring tower. It was obscured by clouds, but looked like a giant—intimidating and powerful. The clouds parted enough after a bit that we could make out the curves and shape and the different rock types of the mountain. It was a bit like a lady slipping the shawl off her shoulder. We drove past lakes the color of slate and one the genuine color of a turquoise stone.
When we arrived at the Hotel Lago Grey, we didn’t know what to expect. We’d let Latin Trip do all the leg work for us. We’d not seen a picture of the place and even if we had, we still wouldn’t have been prepared for what awaited us. Walking into reception, we were stopped in our tracks by the sight of a crystal blue iceberg floating in the water on the other side of the hotel.
After check in, we walked around and explored, taking more than three hours to do what is normally a one-hour walk because we couldn’t stop taking pictures of the icebergs and the peaks, sharp as shark’s teeth, and the mammoth glacier in the background.
Later, we enjoyed a fine four-course meal at the Hotel Lago Grey. With fresh grilled salmon and beef tenderloin cooked to perfection, we felt genuinely spoiled.
 
Amanda Miller.

 
Glacier Grey in Torres Del Paine
We started the day with a leisurely breakfast at the Hotel Lago Grey in their dining room which overlooked the sun-soaked Torres and the lake filled with giant floating icebergs. The cooks whipped up hat scrambled eggs to order and served espresso with hot milk.

After breakfast, we drove to Pehoe camping to go for a short hike up to Mirador Condor. The hike was beautiful. The trail got steep in some spots. Having recently had knee surgery, I was afraid about the down-hill hike and opted to stop at a stunning viewpoint and wait while my boyfriend finished the climb.

He wasn’t gone long, and while he was away, I enjoyed listening to the sounds of the park. There were a few birds now and then, the distant crack of what sounded like thunder, but was certainly the glacier at Lago Grey calving. The silence was consuming. From time to time I imagined hearing traffic and semi trucks rolling over the creases in the pavement. But I had to remind myself those things don’t exist here. It was the wind scraping the water and brushing against the bushes that made that noise, not traffic or man-made roads.

We stopped for lunch at Pasada Serrano on our way back to Lago Grey. I had a delicious Milanessa. We had the place entirely to ourselves. In fact, it seemed we had the whole park to ourselves. We hadn’t seen another soul on the trail to the Mirrador. I asked what had happened to all the people. A friend had been a couple months earlier and said the park was full. Our waitress explained that the park always slows down in March, but it was even slower than usual this year because of the recent earthquakes in the central part of Chile. A lot of people changed their plans and cancelled their vacations to Chile after the news. It’s such a shame. Patagonia is almost completely unaffected by the earthquakes. Miguel, our guide to the glacier, later explained that Patagonia sits on a different set of tectonic plates than the northern part of the country where the quakes hit.
The boat trip to the glacier was phenomenal. We cruised for more than an hour on our way out . The glacier grew in size and detail the closer we got. It was as if we were able to develop a slow relationship with its changing face. We stopped at the refugio grey, where hikers stay the night on long treks, to pick up a few extra passengers.

One of the men on the boat said he couldn’t quite judge the scale, but he guessed the peaks of the ice to rice 30 or 40 feet. When we arrived at the feet of the mammoth river of ice, he learned that the jagged towers actually rise 30 to 40 meters, which is about four times the man’s guess at about 130 feet.
The glacier grey is advancing, moving like a river into the lake it feeds, and calving icebergs from its face. But it is also shrinking in overall mass, melting from the top down and from the side in, Miguel explained.We cruised slowly along the east face of the glacier open-jawed and furiously snapping pictures.
When we passed the small island to the west side, we got a treat. Right in front of us, a huge chunk of ice fell off the Glacier Grey and splashed into the water. It was as if Miguel had radioed ahead and arranged a special show for us.
Amanda Miller.
 
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