The surprises atop and over John GardinerPass

We awoke early our spirits along with our gear severely dampened but eagerly anticipating the long journey ahead of us.The first challenge of the day came five minutes into our hike.. The river crossing.. Bee took off first over the log on her hands and knees… Nancy and I chose the river.. Seemed safer!! Once across there were 2 trail signs!! We chose the right one… ( we ran into friends later on that had take the other one and put them 2 hours back!) once across the river the trudge upward!! We had heard about the boggy conditions..but talk about a work out… Every step our feet sunk … Sometimes to the ankle.. Other times to the knees ..  It made the going extremely slow and each step was carefully calculated. My poles were-my saving grace …up and up.. We were fully dressed in all our rain gear .. It was cold, wet and super exciting to be out in the elements .. The surrounding mountains were so powerful and I inhaled their energy.. Out of the mud and into the snowfields …Being that this was my first time really hiking in the snow I was having fun!Our hopes were to make the pass with no wind.. We had heard so many tales of high winds severely affecting progress over the pass… We were blessed … It was absolutely amazing .. Coming over the last trudge up .. Crossing an icy cold river and last push ip the snow covered peak.. We all started laughing… It was a view like no other . Grey glacier was magnificent.. These three girls from California had never seen anything like it before.. We were giddy..a guy we had met from Germany was down the mountain behind us and could hear our childish screams of delight.. After that wore off.. I became very contemplative…thinking of those who were no longer on this planet.. Tears of sadness and joy intermingled and fell from my face.. So blessed to be a witness to the absolute wonders of this world.. On we went.. Nancy and I wanted to push all the way through to Lago Grey.. Bee was wanting to stop.. It was a long day already and we still had a way to go…  She agreed ..  On we went. We had heard about the river crossings in the next section… I was looking forward to them.. I  a water girl… No worries I thought!!! The three river crossings were the scariest most heart thumping events in the entirety of my existence .. I never before knew such fear..we climbed atop a little knoll, the river charging below. At the top of the rise I thought I was going to throw up and I wanted honestly to turn around….looking down into the gorge we saw a ladder.. A metal ladder soldered and roped into the cliff ..  We were to climb down… Cross the rapidly moving white water holding onto another rope and then… Climbing up the other side of the gorge on another ladder…Three of these crossings later and I could breathe a little easier. I asked the girls if they could sense my fear … They said yes… They also saw intense concentration and focus.   Talk about being in the moment…wow!!!! We arrived at Refugio Lago Grey I purchased a beer and toasted myself!!! Intense .. We decided to stay in the Refugio, take a hot shower and kick back!

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En route to Los Perros "the shitty campsite"

Our new friend Lee  from Switzerland had informed us out next campsite would be really “shitty”… It was hard for us to believe … The hike was magnificent.. Thru magical forests with tiny little societies of miniature ferns  of every shade of green imaginable, and petite white orchids,yellow pansies and plants sprouting up on rocks and nestled in hollowed out logs, and bases of towering trees.. Mystical yumminess!!! I loved it.. Every turn brought gasps of delight!! The ice fields burst  forth in hues of blues , greens and combinations of the two..the far off views were beyond stunning.. The weather had turned quite moist and our tired bodies were praying Lee was wrong… We were so extremely disappointed.. The campsite was wet.., muddy,dirty and dark .. We immediately went to the shelter to drop off our cooking supplies.. The corrugated roof was leaking.. The wood burning stove was filled with trash.. It was filth.. And we were tired.. The scanty shop had run out of beer .. It seems others were as disappointed as we were and indulged..I got into my tent at 6:30 pm.. Wanting to sleep and begin a new  day.. I prayed for a sun filled morning .. It rained.. all night… Into the morning.. Our spirits quite dampened,we prepared for what would turn out to be … A glorious day.

The searching for words

How is it that we search so desperately for words.. For words to describe our deepest feelings..how is it that we find it necessary.. Perhaps to help us find meaning???..perhaps so that we are able to share it with others??? I am sorry that I am truly unable to share with you the intensity of what I see.. Of what I feel.. But I will continue to try. I do know… I have found such a joy on the trail.. Perhaps a meaning and deeper understanding if life. The birds are singing their morning songs..the flowers sharing their sweet aromas..the rivers reminding me if the continual impermanence of all things… The winds allowing thoughts to come and go…these elements that nature shares with me.. Enables me to smile as I walk along the mountain trail .. Perhaps for now .. this is… What a journey

Zeufie…

I felt the spirit of my dear friend Zeufie today and I wondered if she had left this life.. I felt her energy in the strong winds… I felt her strength in the majesty of the mountains..I felt her beauty in the formation if the clouds and as the rainbow filled the sky. I was certain my friend was gone…

It was a very long hiking day..we walked through a corridor if wild daisies lining the pathway .. Our first experience with the strength if the infamous winds as my sunglasses were whipped away from my face and disappeared in the wind..we walked through beautiful meadows .. I spotted a big bunny.. Truly.. He ran instead if hopped.. His ears flopped in the wind …we camped in a lively meadow of Campo Seron.. We were greeted by a beautiful Chilean man… We set up tent.. Had a delicious chilled beer.. Beer tastes so damn good after a long day..there gave been lots of folks in the campgrounds but the trails have been quiet..you must camp in designated spots in Torres which I grew to appreciate.. It has kept the wilderness pristine ..I do love being the first one up in the morning.. The jetboil works so quickly.. I have my steaming hit coffee within moments if arising..and then.. I sit .. I contemplate.. I write.. I pray ..

Sunrise over Torres Del Paine

We had heard so much hype about the sunrise.. It was better than expected.. We started the hike up at 4:30 am.. Donning headlamps we wound our way up the mountain.. We chose our nestling spots to watch the show.. It was very cold.. We huddled up in down jackets and vests.. Hats and gloves… I even wire my down pants.. Watching in awe the gifts of dawn over Patagonia.. Feeling such gratitude with each breathe.. The colors changing moment by moment.. Such an intense array or reds, oranges, magenta a against the blue sky , and against the towers.. Feeling connection.. Feeling the energy ..tears.. As the clouds roll in.. Announcing the end if the show.. We wind our way down the mountain…after witnessing the supreme artist in conjunction with many .. My heart fills full…

Our first day…

We boarded a bus in PuertoNatales for a 3 hour bus ride into the park..we saw our first condors.. Beauty in motion amongst the skies.. Gliding so gracefully.. Wingspan 6′ or more .. Juanacos roamed the mountainsides.. Grazing.. We were enchanted before exiting the bus . Our first trek was only 4 or 5 miles. The splendor of Patagonia was gently infusing herself within my being. Life is so much simpler on the trail.. Walk .. Inhale.. Breathe.. Feel the power within.. So cool

..after setting up our tents( I was a little frustrated..) After 4 tries I was satisfied…
I do love my new Tarptent.. It feels sturdy and roomy…we decided to climb up to the Torres to see how the afternoon looked upon the ” blue towers”.. It was a bit of a strenuous hour up to the majestic towers .. Entranced we sat for an hour…condors flying overhead.. The blue green waters reflecting the towers..feeling absolute contentment … Back at the campground others readied themselves to rise early to see the sunrise over the Torres del Paine..we too prepared .. I , being the early riser was in charge of making sure we all rise in time…our first night… A goodnight..

Refugio Dickson…

What a cool spot.. In a meadow …we pitched our tents…over the rise is a beautiful lake with a blue green glacier hovering in the distance. We have met some awesome folks that we are sharing Astral Patagonia Ale, boxed  Chilean wine and stories with…as we were talking story a fox wandered into camp … I had never seen one before .. His tail so bushy .. such a sweet little guy!!! This has been such a great journey this far..I feel cozy warm in my mountain home !!!Once again I woke before all others… Stayed in bed as I sparked my jetboil and indulged in  steaming hot camp coffee!! Decided to have breakfast at the Refugio .. The scrambled eggs and homemade toast with butter( so yummy) and marmalade beat my cereal … Shared breakfast with a delightful couple from Spain.. Made me long for a partner to explore the trails with.. But I know he is out there … Fresh,clean air permeates the meadow after the nighttime rains. The blades of grass glistening in the early morning … Mist rises over the lake giving it a mystical feeling..mother nature warming my soul.The mist,her fingers reaching and gently caressing the mountains face..

Pedro

On my flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles I was graced with the presence of this sweet man. He is 84 years old and just celebrated his birthday .. He is from the Philippines.. He learned how to ski at age 70.. He learned how to play tennis at age 60.. He is now learning to play the violin … ..he has organized many clubs for senior citizens.. He just learned how to play golf.. He told me I was super woman for living the lifestyle I lived.. It was such a joy to spend time with him…