After our rounding Cape Horn, I was happy to abandon the ship and return to dry land. We spent half the day driving to Torres Paine National Park in a VERY rugged part of Patagonia. We were greeted by the staff of Las Torres, a huge sprawling ranch owned by one of the largest land owners in this country. We have spent the last three days driving gravel roads in the park, hiking windy mountain trails, and windy beaches, climbing bluffs, drinking Chilean wine, viewing wildlife, watching the Baqueanos round up over 100 horse every night, drinking more Chilean wine, listening to a very knowledgable Patagonia guide, and experiencing the minute by minute changing weather.
There is no civilization here at the ranch, except the ranch. No stores, towns, anything but endless country side. We travel to and from the ranch in small vans from the bus, because the road is so narrow and rough. Yet, the dinners and meals are delicious. They have their own organic garden in the back of the ranch, and pride themselves by labeling fresh veggies as "grown on ranch" on the buffet. Wine is plentiful and excellent. The pisco sours are still a big deal and we have one every night. I am starting to feel like I have been on a wine tour, but am so tired at night from hiking.....I just fall into bed. Yesterday we hiked 4 miles in the and after a long Chilean lunch, we hiked another 4 miles. The wind was blowing around 45 mph steadily, with 60 mph gusts. Truly wild and I had to stop or hang on to Steve to Not get blown over. It made the hike difficult, and more like 20 miles. We were exhausted. We are learning why no one really lives here. It is beautiful, but brutal conditions....and the wind rarely stops blowing.