All is well in Patagonia, all is normal !!!!
It has been raining, snowing, blowing gale force winds, dead calm for short periods, the sun put's in an appearance, but this is short lived as the whole massif is once again engulfed and plunged into the jaws of a storm, so fierce at times that if the wind was sucking as hard as it blows, your grandmothers false teeth would not stand a chance of remaining in her mouth, if she were to pay you a visit here. The sun, if I am honest does not make me happy, as I have seen enough of it these last 10 days, which combined with these screaming banshee winds, have burn't and torn my face to shreds a little more than I would consider as acceptable wear and tear to my person under my job description, but if one is seeking the dirty tan look, with leathery skin and all the wrinkles you can handle then, Patagonia is a must destination for you.
All this chaos took place between forcing myself out of my sleeping bag at 6am, as the rain thrashing on my tent roof saw to it that I would never make it in peace through to the 6.30am alarm, and 2.00pm when I stopped behind a handy boulder to find some much needed respite from the shit storm whirling right over my head. It was behind this boulder that lunch was served, consisting, as it does most day's, of my daily avocado and banana fix mashed up with a copious, some might say unhealthy quantity of extra virgin olive oil. Feast over, I decided that due to the fact another front was about to hit hard, I headed back to camp to sit out the storm, and consume as many calories as I could, as in my 2nd helping of porridge and honey with banana, followed by raisins and walnuts, washed down with a litre of mint tea.
This same storm of course that had basically been playing havoc with the trekkers and day trippers in Torres del Paine, be they the day trippers, those attempting the W hike, or those with more time and a love of soar backs and aching feet, the complete Paine circuit, which can take some 6-8 days. Among the hardcore attempting the Paine circuit, would be a few brave souls who thought they would make the trek from Camp Dickson up and over the John Gardener pass, but according to the radio chatter I heard in rangers hut near my camp at Sarmiento Lake, no one made it over to Campamento Paso, I mean why would you on such a day, the whole point of slogging all the way up there is to soak up the spectacular views over the Grey Glacier and surrounding peaks, so I guess there were lot's of bodies in tents, all moaning that they should have gone to Cuba, welcome to Patagonia, where it most certainly never makes make any sense to rely on the weather, just accept it and quit griping.
Fuelled up on calories, I headed back to the rock formation in the afternoon, sadly no sign of the Puma, but the smell they exude is unmistakable, eerie at times when you know they have been here very recently or are close but you can't see them. I made a circuit of the rocks and decided to head up to the top and see if I could get a good view onto a ledge that a pair of Condors have been nesting on for years, lucky I did because the view into the nest site was spectacular, and I can obtain permission form CONAF to set up a hide/blind, it will provide me with a fantastic opportunity to capture rarely seen footage of a pair of giant Andean Condors rearing their chick, and having spent many years climbing and filming into Vultures and Eagles nests in Andalusia, southern Spain, I have a large amount of footage filmed during the mating and and nesting season, which should impress upon the authorities here that they can trust me to produce the goods without disturbing the birds, fingers crossed. My Youtube Channel : WILDASLIFE NATURE FILMS SIMON LITTLEJOHN, has some short clips showing rare footage of nesting vultures feeding their young chick, for those interested in seeing birds vomiting up food fo their young of course, not everyone's cup of tea of course, but rare if I say so myself.
I called it a day, and as I sit in the park rangers somewhat freezing office, scribbling this post, I realise it is getting close to food time, so I whip up pasta for 3 people, with tomatoes garlic, and Chilean Aji sauce, but of course I will consume the whole lot myself, because if the truth be known, I am unable to put on weight due to the sheer amount of walking I am doing with plenty of weight on my back, and much of it into high winds, so I am burning god know's how many calories a day, but it is certainly keeping me in good shape.
I am heading to town for a friends birthday tomorrow, if I can find a place with decent wifi, I will post a few clips from my GoPro on my youtube channel, just to give you some idea of what a normal day is like in this wonderful part of the world, a place where the wind blows, but boy does it suck at times !!