Picture Perfect: Torres del Paine National Park

by Rob Squire

I love to travel.  No, I mean I reeaally love to travel.  It exposes you to things you never could have experienced if you stayed at home.  It broadens your thinking when you see life through the eyes of people with different backgrounds and upbringing.  It can make you feel like a pauper or a king.  You’ll meet people that you’ll never forget and you’ll stand in amazement in front of the most awe-inspiring scenes you never could have imagined.  Most of all, at least for me, it has made me much more appreciative of what I have and how I live.

I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to travel all over the world.  When I think back about all the places I’ve been, it just makes me look forward even more to all the places I still want to see.  My bucket list always seems to get longer when I travel, because it just whets my appetite for more.  The world is a big place.  So much to see, and so little time.  In this, which I hope is only the first of many articles I’ll write for Travel to Wellness, I’ll share some of those experiences.  Sometimes I’ll write about nature, sometimes about cities, and sometimes about the people I’ve met.  But always about the beauty of the world and the adventures that travel can bring.  My first stop:

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine National Park Rob Squire
photo by Rob Squire

I’m a mountain guy.  I love mountains.  I love the Rockies in Colorado.  I’ve seen them extend northward into Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. I’ve seen the Appalachians in the east, the Himalayas in Nepal, and the Alps in Switzerland.  Mountains never cease to thrill me.  But never – never ever – have I seen anything like the Paine Massif in the Andes Mountains in Chile.  When I first stood in front of these magnificent mountains, I had chills running up and down my back.  I had obviously taken a wrong turn somewhere after entering Chile and woke up on Mars. Everything about them, from the shapes of the peaks to the coloration of the stone, is otherworldly to me.

There are hiking possibilities galore here.  The iconic W hike traces a W on the map as it dips into three different valleys over the course of four days or so.  Then there’s the 75 mile long O hike in which you make a full circuit seeing all the highlights of the park while also providing some quieter moments in the northern sections.  There are also plenty of shorter day hikes for those who don’t want to backpack.

Torres del Paine National Park Rob Squire
photo by Rob Squire

The park is located in the far southern part of the Patagonia region of Chile, and its somewhat remote location helps keep the crowds down.  There are lots of tours that will take you there, but if you like going on your own, I’d suggest flying in to Punta Arenas, Chile via Santiago or Buenos Aires.  You can then rent a car or take a bus from there to Torres del Paine National Park.

If you like the outdoors and mountains, find a way to go.  You’ll never regret it.

Photo tip:  Water reflections add a lot to a photograph. Look for bodies of still water, and capture reflections of mountains, trees, or even beautiful buildings for an attention-grabbing photograph.

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Rob Squire is a professional travel photographer who, when not traveling the world, is based in Denver, Colorado.  You can see his work by visiting RobSquirePhotography.com or by “liking” his Facebook page.