Chile: Puerto Natales, Ultima Esperanza

Today we arrived at the last Chilean province with a desperate name of
Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope).  At the city of Puerto Natales, we
boarded a bus and rode through the vast pampas surrounded by distant
mountain chains.  We passed herds of guanacos with huge sad eyes,
soaring condors, and a gaucho on his hoarse.  The vastness of the
pampas is immense, it dwarfs you into a dot in their flat, endless
We turned a corner and beheld a sight that took my breath away:
perfectly chiseled mountain ridges with snow strategically placed in
the crevices and over the tops, the Torres Del Paine National Park.
The sculptured picks towering over green, blue, and turquoise lakes,
over a waterfall and less significant ridges were pristine and
unspoiled in their glory.  What made the whole scene even more
spectacular was the way sunlight filtered through the clouds,
illuminating some peaks, casting shadows on others, dispersing rays on
yet other ones.  With wind gushing at 40 to 50 miles/hour, clouds
constantly moved altering the light over the mountain tops – like a
modern art installation.
Incidentally, we had to fight this wind crossing a cantilevered bridge
leading from the mainland to an island where lunch was waiting for us
in a local restaurant.


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