Argentina/Chile:The W and the L

So, I was not able to get on a boat to Antarctica. As some of you have no doubt seen, that might not be a bad thing. The boat that is currently sinking sailed from Ushuaia about a week before I arrived so that was not a possibility for me. The others that sailed when I was there were pretty booked so there weren´t many deals to be had and that made it difficult to get down there. Apparently they had too many cabins with single queen size beds so the main deal was to have two random strangers of the same gender share a queen bed for 2 weeks. Well, it still wasn´t all that cheap and that just didn´t sound that appealing to me (not that there is anything wrong with that. Just think Kirk).

I have been hanging out with a lot of random people. For about 2 weeks I was hanging with a girl from Belgium, a girl from Korea and a guy from Amsterdam. We all met on the way down to Ushuaia, hung out their, and came up to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales here in Chile, together. I took lots of pictures of them with my digital camera.

This past Tuesday I again struck out on my own and started the 4 day trek through the Torres del Paine. Torres del Paine is a National Park near Puerto Natales in Chilean Patagonia and one of the main reasons why I came down here. You can stay in Refugio´s which are basically bunk houses along the trail or if you have camping gear you can camp at designated sights. Since I am on my own I went the soft route and stayed in the refugios (although I did carry my own food for the 4 days). The trek I did is called the “W” and involves 4 days of hiking and carrying your pack from one sleeping point to another. I saw some great rock formations, glaciers and turqoise glacial lakes. I took lots of pictures with my digital camera.

On the first day I ended up meeting up with 2 girls from Toronto, a guy from Barcelona and a girl from London so I had plenty of company on the trail. I took lots of pictures of them with my digital camera.

One morning when I was getting my stuff prepared for the day´s trek I overheard some people from the states say happy thanksgiving. It was only then that I realized that it was thanksgiving. As I walked from point A to point B that day I often thought about it being thanksgiving and although un-traditional, pretty damn cool. It was just one of the 4 days that we hiked through the national park but it was pretty damn awesome scenary. I took lots of pictures that day with my digital camera thinking about turkey.

The next morning we all awoke at 3am for a hike to the Torres del Paine to view the grandor of the Torres at sunrise. After a tough 2 hour hike and ascending a boulder field in the dark, we saw the majesty of the sun slowly brighten the towers (wishing it would hurry the hell up because it was freezing out) (others just thought it was a little chile. get it, chile. I kill myself). As the sun shined ever more on the towers, I took lots of pictures with my digital camera.

When the hike was done we all headed back to Puerto Natales for a good-bye dinner finally to be cooked by someone else. Much of the discussion during the morning hike was about the steak, salmon or king crab that would be consumed that evening. After 4 days of spagetti, PB and J and other basics, my mouth was watering. I wanted to make sure I brought my digital camera to make sure I got some good pictures.

Anyone see where I am going with this? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

When I went to get it before dinner at the hostel, my digital camera was gone. Not quite sure what happened to it (yes, someone stole it) but I know it is gone forever. Luckily I had my film camera so I still have some pictures from the Trek and prior but sadly, I have lost most of my pictures. So sorry to say, no pictures update now.

Because my film camera is to bulky to use most often I really want to have a digital camera with me to document my trip. On the lucky side, I happened to be going to a town the next day that is known for discounted electronics so I was able to get something to replace it without breaking the budget. So I will hopefully be able to post more pictures en route later on.

Today has been a transit day as will tomorrow. I was in Punta Arenas again yesterday and came to Puerto Natales today. Tomorrow I go back to Argentina for a couple days to El Chalten where I will do a glacier hike and some more traditional hiking (my revised plan was to take a picture of me on the glacier and tell Steve I made it to Antarctica, but I needed too much help from him the past week with my condo). I then come back to Puerto Natales where on Thursday I will board a ship for a three day cruise through the Chilean Patagonian Fjords to Puerto Montt. All the guide books describe it as the poor man´s cruise because it is more a cargo ship then a cruise ship but many backpackers I have met have raved about it. Evidently my bunk will be in a room with 22 other people.

That is it for now. I am off to sample some more of the local delicacy, King Crab.