Patagonia trip day 11

29 July, 2015

Day 11: Standing above a condor

Los Torres National Park / Puerto Natales

Today we had a really exciting goal, to try and see the incredibly rare guemal! The guemal (said way-mool) is an endangered species of deer native to Chile and Argentina's southern region (Patagonia). To hit of this adventure we drove to a far end of the national park and met up with one of Caridad's park ranger friends. He made us some tea and seemed generally really excited to have company.

We then started wandering up a mountain in search of these deer. The ranger was following reports he had heard about prints and hairs in one area but more than half of the adventure was in bush-wacking our way up these Patagonian slopes! We stopped for lunch at one point on the hill, and had tons of breath taking views of the park in all directions. We were right above Lago Grey which is fed by Glacier Grey, all of which we could see! Wicked. At one point there were about 5 condors all flying around us, some quite close. Before this I hadn't really understood the big deal about the condors and why everyone was excited about them, but then i looked to my left and one was a few meters away from me. They are MASSIVE. This thing could have carried me off (well not quite but it was really big). Unfortunately all our trusty guide found throughout the day was a single hair from a guamal.

After that we went back down to the ranger cabin and then tool a stroll to Lago Grey. There were icebergs floating around in the lake (that had obviously broken off the glacier) and were the size of houses. Caridad convinced me to grab a chunk and eat is so I've now officially consumed a little piece of Patagonia.

After the park we went to Puerto Natales where the others were heading into a late night church service (I think I mentioned before but a huge portion of Chile is Catholic) so I went in too to catch the last half of the show. Super impressive. It was all Spanish and latin so I didn't understand squat but it was a beautiful church. Luckily I asked before taking a photo and was informed that would have been super rude. Oops. After this we bought some food and headed back to Cerro Castillo!

Photosphere overlooking Lago Grey