Saturday, January 23, 2010

Torres del Paine, el ultimo dia

Well... after a week in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, it was time to head out of the wilderness and back to the relative civilization of Puerto Natales. We woke on the seventh day, and were pleased to see that the sun was hitting the Cuernos del Paine in a pleasing fashion:

Our tent in the foreground of the Cuernos del Paine:

We made our last batch of camp coffee and our last batch of oatmeal, and then started hiking out. As we walked along, we saw some interesting geology.

Here's a decent little weathering rind. Notice how the initially rectangular profile of this clast is being weathered towards a progressively more bread-loafy shape:

A small dextral fault offsetting turbidite layers:

Looking up into one of the valleys we passed on our way east, we saw an intact glacial end moraine sealing the valley shut.
I'm used to seeing these depositional features bisected by streams, but this one looked just like a wall built perpendicular to the valley trend. Erosion hasn't yet undermined it.

We arrived at the Torres area and fortified ourselves with Snickers bars dipped in peanut butter, then strolled on. There were a great many people there: somewhat shocking to the dirty backpackers...

As we hiked out from the Torres campground/village/tourist extravaganza to the entrance station at Laguna Amarga, we turned around and saw the Torres themselves, namesakes of the park, faintly through the misty distance:

Several kilometers on, we approached the Laguna Amarga Ranger Station, which is situated next to a lovely syncline in the Cerro Toro conglomerate:

Another view, from lower elevation, and closer to the axis of the fold:

Our time in Torres del Paine was unforgettable. Backpacking the Grand Circuit was a travel experience I would recommend to anyone with the ability and temperment to camp and hike in such gorgeous surroundings. It had been the primary goal of our trip, but we weren't done travelling yet. We headed back to Puerto Natales on the bus, and gorged ourselves on pizza that evening. We did laundry, got showered up, and slept like hibernating bears. In the morning, we boarded another bus, one that would take us across the border into Argentina...

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Anonymous BrianR said...

Callan, I've enjoyed this series very much, great photos and perfect amount of storytelling to go with them.

Next time you go down there you'll have to spend just as much time *outside* the park looking at the kick-ass geology :)

January 23, 2010 1:06 PM  
Blogger Callan Bentley said...

Thanks Brian!

I'd love to spend some more time in the surrounding area next time I'm down there. And also in the southern part of the park: looks less trammeled down that way.

I'll definitely be going back some day... maybe a NOVA field class?

January 23, 2010 5:36 PM  

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