Blog Post #57: Reuniting With The Western Hemisphere

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Perito Moreno Glacier with Andes as a backdrop. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

Our 15-hour flight from Sydney to Santiago, Chile (with a stopover in Auckland, NZ) was a bruiser of a flight. I barely slept an hour of that time, if that. And when we landed, the huge time differential (some 14 hours) made it difficult to re-establish our circadian rhythms. Five days after our arrival in South America, I was still wide awake at 3 am and looking to crash by 5 pm.
The fierce winds of Patagonia coming in off the Straits of Magellan make raindrops feel like tiny stones being hurled at your head.

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Mt. Fitzroy and the Andes range, Patagonia, Argentina.

The RTW team had a blast with picturesque hikes in Torres Del Paine National Park. But there was some slight disappointment when high winds forced cancellation of a boat ride to Balmaceda Glacier and up the Serrano Straits to Puerto Natales, Chile. Instead, we had to settle for a ride in a van straight through to Patagonia Camp. For those prone to sea sickness, however, the cancellation was viewed as a lucky break, I guess.

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Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina.

Once settled in to Patagonia Camp on the edge of the border of Torres del Paine National Park, we reveled in the viewpoints of the towers (Torres) and horns (Cuernos) massifs.

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Torres del Paine National Park at dawn, Chilean Patagonia.

 

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Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia.

One thing that has clearly emerged from this RTW is that the journey has been instilling in all of us a greater degree of admiration, respect, and trust of nature. I think Anne and I and even the kids have felt a malaise or unease when we’ve been in most big cities on this trip, such as Rome, Sydney or London. We have felt more at home in smaller towns, like Queenstown, New Zealand, or in the national parks like the Grampians in Australia, Jokulsarlon in Iceland, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Sossussvlei in Namibia, Okavanga Delta in Botswana, Pai in northern Thailand, Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland and Patagonia in Chile and Argentina.

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Torres del Paine National Park at dawn.

Patagonia hiking trails have put us face to face with some of the most astonishing landscapes on Earth. We’ve encountered more wildlife here than any other place outside of Africa. The “towers” and “horns” of Torres del Paine and the soaring granite monoliths of Mt. Fitzroy and wall of ice known as Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares definitely have a way of making you feel humble and blessed to live on such an astounding planet.

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Mt. Fitzroy and Mt. Poincenot, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

We departed Patagonia after a two-week stay there and had a brief stopover in Buenos Aires where we enjoyed a meal with our travel agent, Gabrielle Venturi of Vaya Adventures, before taking off to Iguassu Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border. Then comes a brief stopover in Lima, Cuzco, Macchu Picchu, Quito and the Galapagos. We depart South America after a visit to the Ecuadoran Amazon and Monte Verde Cloud Forest. We hope our Costa Rica plans are still a go after a recent volcanic eruption closed the San Jose airport. After Costa Rica, we end it all with a five-day visit to Turks & Caicos.

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Sunrise in Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia.

Should be back in the USA by mid-May to attend a wedding in California, and then finally home to Bend, Oregon just in time for the end of spring and summer.

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Chorillo Waterfall, Patagonia, Argentina.

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Guanaco, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

 

 

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Lago Toro Cascada, Patagonia, Chile.

 

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Waterfall, Torres del Paine, Chile.

 

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Puma with guanaco kill, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile.

 

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Puma, well fed after a guanaco kill, heads into the grasslands of Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

 

 

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Sheep shearing on an estancia near Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

 

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Gaucho shearing sheep, Patagonia, Argentina.

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Argentinian gaucho, estancia near Los Glaciares National Park.

 

 

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Sheep herding gauchos, estancia near Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

 

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Sheep await shearing on an estancia near Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

 

 

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Rhea, an ostrich like bird that thrives in Torres del Paine, Chile.

 

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Grey fox, Patagonia, Chile.

 

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Rhea at twilight, Patagonia, Chile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Comments on “Blog Post #57: Reuniting With The Western Hemisphere

  1. Your trip has truly been an inspiration. I’ve been enjoying your updates and all of your amazing photos. I cannot believe your trip is already wrapping up in May. I can’t wait to catch up with you guys. All my love,
    Jennifer

  2. Wow, wow, wow. Many gorgeous photos here! Patagonia is on my bucket list for sure. Next trip for my dad and me, after Norway last summer, is Peru this fall. Can’t wait. And I can’t believe your round-the-world trip is already so soon coming to a close. You’re probably looking forward to getting home but I will miss the vicarious view of the world through your eyes. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful experiences and for your beautiful photography. Best wishes to all your family.
    Anne Marie

    • Anne Marie, yes time has gone by so swiftly. I look back on those days on the Hurtigruten as if they were yesterday. Safe travels to you and your dad.

  3. Wow! Amazing!! This is on Matt’s list for sure for the fly fishing and your pics have just made me even more want to join him there when he goes! Amazing stu! Also– WE MISS YOU ALL! Can’t wait till your stateside again and in Bend! I bet the kids have grown so much their hard to recognize 😉 enjoy your last bit of amazing places and we look so forward to seeing you all again.

  4. Stu,

    I do believe the photos from this latest “publication” have been the most spectacular of your trip, with the possibility of the lotus blossom photo in an earlier issue. You have really developed an eye for composition and light and your photography is wonderful. I look forward to some kind of digital slide show presentation of your trip one of these days upon your return. Stay safe. Tom

    • Thanks Tom. I miss going out for coffee and talking shop. Actually hoping you and Albert could help me curate some of the “best of…” from this trip; that is if you’re looking for something to occupy your time.

  5. Hello Gordon Family!

    Guide Abby, from Switzerland here. Just catching up on the blog and all your travels since we were together. Incredible photos Stu! I hope you are all doing well. Switzerland must feel like so long ago….. Enjoy the rest of your travels, as well as your transition back home.

    Abby

    • Really great to hear from you, Abby. We all still feel you’re with us whenever the kids tell people we’ve met about the time their parents made them “walk across Switzerland”…..

  6. Each and every time you post images from your travels, I think –oh this is the MOST beautiful place. But, wow, this sequence leaves me speechless. So amazing. Thanks for your generosity in sharing all of this!

  7. We have enjoyed your stories and photo’s so much. Just beautiful. See you in May. Blessings and safe travels, Dirk and Denise

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