Torres del Paine – Mirador Cuernos
Having explored the north east of the park it was time to head south west and slowly back towards Puerto Natales. When I’d done all my panicking about running out of petrol on the day I drove up to Torres, I’d forgotten that my explorations of the park would take me back in a homeward direction, rather than being an addition to the 145km I’d driven up to the park.
It was a fairly long drive down to the place where I intended to stay the night and the roads were in variable condition, but by this time I was well used to watching out for potholes. I made quite a few stops along the way for photographs, and was delighted when I spotted a lake, complete with pink flamingo dots. Of course, the flamingoes started moving determinedly to the opposite side of the lake when they saw me coming, but at least I managed to get some photographic evidence of their existence!
There were plenty of beautiful turquoise lakes on the way down, but also plenty of dead trees, evidence of the fires that ravaged the park a few years ago.
When I reached the car park in the late afternoon it was full of cars, and there were plenty of folk out either admiring the waterfalls or on the hike to the viewpoint. Once I came back from the walk myself the car park had emptied and I moved the van to a prime lakeview. It was a very windy evening, and judging by the warning signs that isn’t unusual in this part of the park. The walk down to the viewpoint was enjoyable and took in quiet a variety of landscapes, although all with the mountains featuring prominently in the background. After the previous day’s exertions and my morning hike I was feeling quite leaden-legged though and did have a hard time motivating myself at the beginning.
The wind got really strong during the walk and at times I was nearly blown off my feet. There was a huge amount of spray coming off the lake and you could use it to predict the gusts as first the spray built up and then slowly crept towards you before hitting you with a giant blast. I felt like I was in a fantasy world being hit by a blast of magic! I had to protect my camera during the blasts as there was so much spray brought with the wind.
By the time I got back to the van it was nearly 8pm and I was more than ready for some dinner. I had a hard time sheltering the stove from the winds and had to chase after the pot lid when it was sent flying. Sadly, I also lost my cheese to the same gust of wind, although I think that the caracaras may have subsequently enjoyed it.