Chile Tour 2011: Roughing it in Patagonia

January 26th, 2011 by Sarah Reichard, UW Botanic Gardens Director
Patagonia scene by S. Reichard

We are in Patagonia. STOP. Weather is great. STOP. Yurts are fabulous! STOP. We will not be returning. STOP. So sorry. STOP. Have a nice life. STOP

This may have been the most satisfying day yet. We all chose to do a hike that included an overlook to Gray Glacier and Gray Lake beneath it. Huge blue icebergs were in the lake- we saw two big chunks calve off as we hiked, splashing into the water with huge spray. The Torres del Paine massive was in the background. Sad to say, the plants took a bit of a backseat to the spectacular scenery, but we saw Escallonia rubra and E. Virgata, a couple of orchid species, and several other cool species.

Our afternoon hike was also fabulous and we saw two Andean condors soaring beneath us on the cliffs. I got photos on my Canon but will have to wait until I am back in the world of fast computers to include them in the blog.

Our phenomenal weather continues. Our guides say there are only a few days a year like this here. We could hike in just t-shirts and jeans. It looks like it may continue tomorrow, our last field day (boo!).

Berberis buxifolia ice cream by S. Reichard

This was dessert tonight. The purple ice cream is from Berberis buxifolia, which legend says if you eat, you will return to Patagonia. This was the best dessert ever.