Patagonia

A Visual Expedition

When open country is gone, we’ll be gone with it.
— Jeff Johnson, 180° South
 

Patagonia is a nature lover's paradise, so inevitably it stands as one of my favorite places. My obsession with this region began after watching 180° South (a must-see documentary for anyone seeking to kindle their wanderlust). Patagonia is an expansive and sparsely populated area that covers the entire southern region of Chile and Argentina. The land is extremely diverse with everything from dense forests, vast plains, arid deserts, pristine lakes, remote islands, and some of the most dramatic peaks of the Andes. Even though there are major conflicts regarding land use and disputes between neighboring countries, I found the locals warm and inviting with a unique culture and a deep connection with the land.

Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia, Argentina

 Ushuaia Vista - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Labeled the "End of the World, Beginning of Everything," Ushuaia is situated on the Beagle Channel, making it the most southern city in the world and the gateway to Antarctica.

 Afasyn - Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

The city is completely surrounded by the Andes mountains. The jagged peaks rise abruptly, making one last stand before reaching their southern terminus.

 Southern Beech trees and Cabo de Hornos - Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Southern Beech trees frame the mountainous islands of Chile that lie south of the Beagle Channel.

 Windswept Tree - Tierra del Fuego

The prevailing winds leave their mark on the landscape.

 Sunset - Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
 Beagle Channel Sunset - Ushuaia

The sun stays low on the northern horizon throughout the day, providing some extended magic hour colors as it rises and sets.

 Tierra del Fuego - Ushuaia, Argentina

Introduced in 1946 to promote fur trade, the North American beaver is destroying some of the ancient forests.

 Windswept Plains - Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Torres del Paine

Magallanes Region, Chile

 Torres del Paine, Chile

The towering mountains of Torres del Paine are the centerpiece of the landscape.

 Fall Colors - Torres del Paine, Patagonia

As autumn creeps in, the leaves turn at the highest elevations first, creating a gradient of color down the mountainside.

 Hiking to Refugio Chileno - Torres del Paine, Patagonia

From day hikes all the way to a ten day backpacking circuit, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the park.

 Lenticular Clouds at Sunset - Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Patagonia's high winds make lenticular clouds a fairly common occurence.

 Autumn Leaves - Patagonia - Torres del Paine

The downside to visiting in autumn: hiking up the mountain in the dark to Mirador las Torres to have the view obscured by a passing snowstorm. The upside: seeing all of the vibrant fall colors on the way back down.

 Cerro Paine Grande - Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Taking in the breathtaking views of Cerro Paine Grande from the shores of Lago Nordenskjöld.

 Hosteria Las Torres - Patagonia, Chile

Hosteria Las Torres makes the perfect place to end a long day (or week) in the mountains.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

El Chaltén, Argentina

 Mount Fitz Roy Sunrise - El Chaltén, Argentina

The small village of El Chaltén is perfectly located at the foothills of Mount Fitz Roy (above) and Cerro Torre.

 Autumn in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares - Patagonia

Well-maintained trails make it easy to explore the pristine wilderness.

 Laguna Capri - El Chaltén, Argentina

An easy 6km hike out of El Chaltén brings you to the shores of Laguna Capri.

 Camping - El Chalten, Argentina - Patagonia

It's the perfect place to set up camp for a few nights while exploring the area.

 Río del la Cascada and Mount Fitz Roy

It's impossible to take your eyes away from the stunning Fitz Roy massif...

 Cerro Torre - El Chalten, Argentina - Patagonia

...and Cerro Torre is just as captivating.

 Cerro Solo - Patagonia

Cerro Solo wears a blanket of autumn leaves at their peak while the enormous ice field of the Torre Glacier inches its way down the valley to the right.

 Laguna Torre - Iceberg Beach

Chunks of ice break away from the glacier at the west end of the lake and float across the water before resting near the eastern shore.

 Rio Fitz Roy - El Chaltén

The milky glacial runoff from Lago Torre flows down the valley and back to El Chaltén.