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Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

My jet setter parents just returned from Torres del Paine, Patagonia. Patagonia, South America that is. Once again, I had to stay home because my passport expired and it’s really tough for me to travel internationally as I flunked out of Spanish class. Anyway, someone needed to look after my stupid little sister, yes the cat. It’s not all bad as we go to stay at swanky Camp Tailwinds where I get to play with dogs all day and bark until my pipes stop working. As for the cat, I really don’t know or care what she did at camp, but it would have been most entertaining if she got to hang with us canines. Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

The Traveling Tartan

So, my good friend and stand-in “Scotch” went with mom and dad and took copious notes so I could write this yarn. Scotch is a special kinda traveling dog, not a Catahoula, but definitely a Catahoulagan. Special ‘cause of his markings, tartan, I think, and his ability to go pretty much anywhere, anytime, anyhow.

Planes, planes, planes and buses

I guess flying all night on a plane is not as cool as it sounds, unless you can sleep like a dog. If not, it gets you where you’re going. First stop, Atlanta; second stop, Santiago, Chile; third stop, Puerto Natales, Chile. Final destination was by bus to Torres del Paine National Park for a total travel time of 19 hours. The bus was like a luxury liner compared to an airplane. Lots of leg room for Dad’s long legs capped with humungous hiking boots, and the bus had big picture windows. Finally, an on-time arrival at the park, Latitude 50.9423° S, Longitude 73.4068° W.

Patagonia winds ‘Los Vientos’

It’s freezing in the winter and windy, with huge mountains and glaciers. It’s summer there now, go figure ‘cause it’s winter here, so just chilly, but still windy and with huge mountains and glaciers. Did I say windy? Really windy, like 40 mph gusts pretty much 24/7.

Meet El Viento:

He is very strong. He is enigmatic. You are never sure exactly where he is coming from. He’ll give you a bear hug and then, in a moment, push you away. He can shape the rocks and twist the lenga trees. Sometimes at night he is comforting, lulling you to sleep. But his energy never wavers. Always present, ever forceful. Our good friend El Viento.


So, don’t let the backpacks and hiking boots fool you, Mom and Dad really went Glamping. It’s some sort of glamorous camping, which sounds ridiculous to me. Scotch put it this way, “Instead of staying in a climate-controlled hotel room with a comfy bed and high thread-count sheets, we got to stay in a tent, and slept on the cold ground in sleeping bags. Oh yeah, we also got mostly cold showers and some pretty decent meals. Really, it was not my idea of glamour!”

Wildlife and Glaciers

“It’s a good way to visit the park though, where we saw Condors soaring. (In Chile their white markings are on the top, different from California Condors, must have something to do with the hemisphere.) The hike up to Frances Glacier was up, up, up to an amazing view or ‘mirador’. The glacier is right there and you hear huge booms, when the ice falls away and creates an avalanche with snow falling like a waterfall.

The Beach

Yes, the beach. Down on the shore of Lago Nordenskjold Mom and Dad and Scotch took a respite on a stone beach. The stones, a mix of black and white, were made smooth by wind and water and ice. The water gently lapped onto shore, even El Viento hushed for a moment. On their way to Paine Grande, they crossed a suspension bridge (one of many one person bridges) to see Pehoe lake. So blue, an amazing color, created by the copper in the water.

Luxury of Glamping

“I figured it out, the Glamour is in the cocktails every night. Oh yeah, now you’re talking. An Austral – Torres del Paine beer,  or a glass of Carménère, even a Pisco Sour after a long days hike. Perfecto!”

Clouds like no others

At Paine Grande, Mom woke up early and went for a sunrise walk. Whoa. . .the colors. . .the clouds . . .unlike anything she’d seen before. Cloud formations everywhere in this part of Chile are unlike anything, anywhere. A fox and couple of jack rabbits each bigger than me, crossed her path as she ran back to the tent to roust Dad, so he could grab a few pics. Just in the nick of time. . .

The Finale

“Our final hike and glamp was up to see Glacier Grey. It is a massive glacier of over 100 square miles. There is also a “nunatak” – piece of land that divides the glacier in two – creating an island in the middle. It’s so huge it disappears over the horizon, chunks of it floating in the lake are the size of a ship. Spectacular! I believe I’m the first Tartan dog to see it and to complete Chile’s Torres del Paine “W” trek, of about 50 miles.

Well done, Scotch!!

If you go. . .

Santiago, Chile

Puerto Natales, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

El Chaltén, Argentina

Punta Arenas, Chile


  1. Those clouds resembled space ships eating each other! Awesome hiking in spectacular scenery. I’ll bet you were glad to see the Catahoula!

  2. Scotch is a good storyteller and fabulous photographer! So glad he took you along …

  3. Thanks for sharing the vacation and beautiful scenery. I must get out more.

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