Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Torres del Paine, day 4

Christmas day in Torres del Paine National Park: We packed up our gear at Paso Campground, and hit the trail in the rain. It rained on us for about an hour as we walked south, parallel to the downstream flow of the Grey Glacier, a huge gleaming presence to our right. Occasionally, the trail exited the forest as we had to cross deep ravines, like this one:
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Snowmelt coming off the Paine Massif carved these ravines, and the park service had placed ladders in a few key locations, like this one:
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Some people didn't like the ladders very much:
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Once we got far enough along, we could see the terminus of the Grey Glacier:
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Umm, wow.

Slightly different photo composition, with a tree in the foreground:
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Nothing but terminus:
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Looking south-ish, down the axis of Lago Grey:
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Our destination for the evening was Refugio Grey, located on the far side of that first little hook-shaped peninsula.

Iceberg in Lago Grey:
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Refugio Grey:
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This was our first night spent under a roof on this trip. After three nights in a tent (me with a flat Therm-a-rest), it was quite luxurious to indulge in hot showers and a mattress! We also had a superb Christmas dinner behind those plate-glass windows, eating pork loin and drinking Gato and watching icebergs float by. It was pretty freaking cool.

That afternoon, we went for a walk down the beach, checking out the rocks. There were nice sedimentary structures and nice tectonic structures. Here's some trace fossils seen on one of the bedding planes of the turbidite strata:
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I saw a fair amount of bioturbation in the turbidites, but this was without question the best exposure I saw.

Here's a tight little anticline:
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Callan takes a nap in a little synclinal bed:
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Flame structures with palimpsest glacial striations:
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And another set, a few feet over to the right (same bed):
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There appear to be some burrows here, too (the little circles of sandstone in the mudstone below the main sandstone contact).

We slept well that night. I was especially pleased by the fact that it rained for half the night (since I was sleeping indoors).

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