For the last few weeks I have been grappling with the makings of a trip. August 2017 marked the start of my 50th year on this planet and I have been looking for a meaningful way to commemorate it. Of course, for me, that means a trip. A journey that requires some physical training to accomplish. And something that has a bit of a “trip of a lifetime” aspect to it. I have been meeting regularly with a few like-minded friends to come up with some ideas. See The #Thisis50 Challenge for the spots we have been thinking about.
I am excited to say we have settled on a 6-day trek in a sparsely settled region of South America, called Patagonia. The region of Patagonia lies in the southern part of the Andes Mountains occupying almost half of each of Chile and Argentina, and yet has fewer than 2 million inhabitants. That is equivalent to about 5 people per square mile!
Terms regularly used to describe Patagonia include, jagged peaks, breathtaking landscape, glistening glaciers, lush forests, and aquamarine lakes. Many say Patagonia is one of the most scenic hiking venues on the planet. Well, we are about to find out!
Photos of Patagonia from @chiletourpatagonia instagram account. Stay tuned for our own photos after the trip!
This February, we four women (two turning 50 this year) will embark on the 46 mile (75km) hike over 5 days that is referred to as the “Torres del Paine W Trek” on the Chilean side of Patagonia. The highest elevation of the W trek is only 3,600 feet so altitude adjustment will be very minimal. Summer in the southern hemisphere is in Jan, Feb and March so we picked February as our travel month. We are trekking with the tour company Chile Tour Patagonia. With this company, we will be required to carry our packs with our clothes, but the trek has refugios or ‘hiking hostels’ along the way which provide bedding and meals for each day of the hike.
Here’s how we are preparing for our journey:
To read– The three books in my e-library right now are:
- In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin – an ode to the people and landscapes of Patagonia
- Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile by Sara Wheeler – a british journalists witty account of her travels from the top of Chile all the way to Antarctica
- My Invented Country by Isabelle Allende – a look at life in Chile before, during and after Pinochet.
To watch: what better way to get excited about an upcoming journey than with an evening of Netflix.
- Patagonia: a 2010 film about a Welsh couple traveling to Patagonia to work on their relationship.
- 180° South: A group of surfers set out for Patagonia by boat
- Black Snow: A man lives alone in Patagonia and his estranged brother arrives to convince him to sell the inherited property.
To pack: Weather in Patagonia can be very unpredictable. In the course of one day you can experience sun, wind, rain and snow even if traveling in the summer months. My top three most important items to pack include: water and windproof jacket, thick wool socks, and waterproof shoes. Over the next few weeks I will be researching the best items to bring. As we get closer to the trip, I will provide a complete packing list in our issue titled Packing for Patagonia.
Physical prep: lots of squats, lunges and stair climbing! We are loving the steps at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn for our fitness regime. A full workout schedule can be found in our post titled Outdoor Training Goals: Patagonia
Post trip update: Read Nine Things I Learned in Torres del Paine, Patagonia to see a summary of this incredible adventure!