By Ashleigh Baird, Photos by Sebastian Lira & Ashleigh Baird
Prawno Ambassador, Ashleigh Baird, recently packed her bags with warm gear, her Prawno kanteen and camera, and set off for a remote trek with freediver, Sebastian Lira, around some of Chile's Patagonia. The journey was filled with breathtaking vistas, physically challenging days and a newfound connection to nature outside of the ocean.
Having never before ventured to South America, trekking the Torres del Paine National Park certainly was an amazing introduction to this vast and delightfully varied continent. The park's landscape is dominated by the Paine massif - an eastern spur of the Andes that rises 2,850 m above the Patagonian steppe.
On our first day (of what ultimately became a reverse-W circuit), we headed out on the Mirador las Torres trail, a 9-hour hike that would take us up to the base of Las Torres. The 8km trail has an elevation change of over 750 m which meant we were finding ourselves in different landscapes hour by hour (not to mention with some worn out knees!).
This eye-popping variety wasn't relegated solely to Las Torres. Amazing views can be found throughout the park--anything from glacier-fed lakes, mountain passes, rushing waterfalls and evergreen forests. The changing landscape truly makes you feel like you are walking through a smorgasbord of climates.
And looking back at this incredible trip, there are a few experiences that really stand out. So if you ever find yourself making your way down to Las Torres, here are a few things I learned along my journey:
· Pictures do not do the landscapes justice, but bring your best camera anyway!
· The weather can be about as predictable as a bipolar grizzly bear so pack appropriately.
· Trekking poles are LIFE if you have weak knees.
· You might just walk away from the experience addicted to sleeping outside.