Two of my favorite hikes in the world at the moment is in Patagonia, the O-Circuit of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile and the Huemul Circuit of Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. I would return to either places in a heartbeat, as our two previous week long trips out there during our spring breaks left us wanting for more. But these two hikes are just a small portion of the vast region of Patagonia with plenty that I’d looked forward to exploring in the future. So when I saw a USD$400 roundtrip flight from the United States to São Paulo, Brazil in business class, that future was much closer than I originally thought. Not to take away from what we had experienced in Brazil, but it was no question we’d be heading back to Patagonia.
This is part 1 of my Patagonia and Carretera Austral trip report series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below. Read More
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When it comes to quitting, the biggest opponent was my own ego. Part of that ego preventing me from making the best decision for myself regarding quitting may be the desire to accomplish something for completeness sake. Perhaps the reason for such as desire is rooted in the fear of missing out, in that I know I didn’t miss anything if I complete it. In a sense, that completeness attitude may actually miss the real reason we head into nature, which is to experience nature. For me, hiking is about the means just as much or even greater than the ends. If it truly the experience and enjoyment of nature we are after, then there is no shame in quitting and returning to experience it when we are in a better situation.
Of course I was disappointed that I couldn’t compete the Ausangate Circuit. What helped was looking back at the experience we did have of climbing the grassy pass around Ausangate before navigating ourselves off the Ausangate Circuit to find our way to the Rainbow mountains off trail and realizing how great that was. It wasn’t the experience I was expecting, but it was amazing nonetheless. Secondly, I knew that I’d return someday and finish the hike for a brand new experience of the Ausangate Circuit. That day came two years later when I found a business class fare sale back to Peru.
Two years ago, we found a cheap COPA fare down to Santiago de Chile for spring break. Of all the places available to us, we went for Patagonia and it has remained one of my favorite trips. Crossing over Paso John Gardener to the magnificent glacier grey was beyond words, though I tried my best. It was my favorite viewpoint among all the places I’d seen to that point. There was also something so simple as getting off the plane and hitting the trails for a week. That feeling was especially strong for me this past spring after the mega planned New Zealand trip a few month before. All these factors combined to motivate me to head back to Patagonia once again when we found another sale to Santiago de Chile, this time we were headed to the Argentinian side. At the end of it, I came out with a new favorite trek.
If you were to ask avid hikers and travelers, Peru is commonly cited among the best hiking regions in the world. With Machu Picchu hiding among the peaks in the region, it has also become some of the most visited and most pictured. So when a flight deal came along smack dab in the dry season (May to September), we jumped on it. Not only that, the awesomeness of Peru even got our friend Keith to jump aboard this adventure last minute.
There is nothing more motivating or rewarding for me than the colors and aesthetics in nature that come together to create a feeling of wonderment and awe. My friend Kevin would refer this as the endorphins driven activities. The other aspect of many outdoor activities would be those that involve adrenaline. Those would include activities that would get your blood pumping and usually experienced while you are doing it, such as whitewater activities, mountain biking, or skydiving. Of Course endorphin and adrenaline are not mutually exclusive. While I do enjoy the adrenaline rush, I am by far more driven by the endorphin side of the outdoors. It seems one of the places that could provide the endorphin overdose resided at the tip of South America with large glaciers and granite peaks. That place is Patagonia.