This day is spent entirely in Chile. we head to Puerto Natales, and plan a run to Torres del Paine at our friend Roberto’s house. After getting some useful advice, we head north to the park.
The Catholic Church in downtown Natales, on a Tuesday morning.
The view from Casa Roberto. The light was a bit wonky (shooting into the sun!) so I took a bunch of infrared photos.
Southern caracara, in front of the famous Cuernos of the Torres del Paine area. We will see much more of these mountains in the next several days!
Lago Grey, with the Cuernos behind it.
After driving well past midnight, we woke up not long after sunrise. Here, there was just a bit of purple left in the sky.
The view in infrared.
A bit of old alignment, showing that several years ago, the road was one primary lane, and a shoulder to pull onto to let traffic go the other way.
Obligatory route marker photo.
Our first mountains since the road to Ushuaia.
A blurry kaiken.
Dorotea is, among other things, a crossing to Argentina. Chile is narrow, and south Chile especially so, given that half of the land is taken up by glaciers. Route 9, along the eastern edge of the country, is the only road through here.
Entering the outskirts of Natales. The orange signs refer to a construction detour, which closed a section of route 9. We would become quite familiar with this detour in the upcoming days, as Natales would be our home base several times.
The milodon is the mascot of Natales. First we thought it was a giant bear, but then we were later corrected: it is an extinct giant sloth.
It’s tough to get a good photo of the milodon statue at the entrance to town. There’s just a lot going on. The road heading off into the distance will take us to downtown.
Mountains on the far side of the bay.
Across the bay is Puerto Bories, which is the harbor, as well as the sight of an old cold-storage plant.
Graffiti: the universal way of expressing one’s feelings.
Semi-stray dogs are a thing in Natales. They’re all over the streets of downtown, and they’re all friendly.
Another view of the church.
A halo appears briefly.
No es oso. Es milodon.
An old pier at the edge of town.
I took all these photos from the gas station which we used to fill up several times. Not much gas in the park itself.
Roberto’s neighbor. We’re hanging out at his house, looking at maps as we figure out how we will approach the rest of our journey.
Meet the neighbors.
Sheep are not transparent in infrared.
Dogs are kinda invisible, though.
Roberto says that Lago General Carrera is the Switzerland of Chile, but I am thinking Natales is more like it.
This horse was born the day before we got there.
And we’re on the road.
Today’s theme ingredient is huge clouds.
A straight spot on the road.
Soon we see the Cuernos.
There are two ways into the park – the main paved road, and this very good quality dirt road which runs parallel to the west.
The caracara in better light.
It moves over to a tree.
One final avian photo.
Dan’s photo of Lago Grey is in infrared.
And we’ve arrived at the park boundary. As logical a place as any to cut off for now.