Scroll through the photos below to see the moments that Jonathan Irish captured on his recent trip to Tierra Patagonia!
The moments before the sun rises above the horizon are sometimes the most magical, especially in a place like Patagonia that is known for magical light. I took this image from right behind the lodge looking at the Cordillera from across Sarmiento Lake. And if you stay at the Tierra Patagonia lodge, this is the view from your room (you can watch a sunrise like this while still tucked snuggly in your bed). But I don't like being indoors when nature is putting on a show. I was warned that going out in the dark by yourself was not a terribly smart idea, as puma tend to hunt in that area at night.
Hikers walk on one of the many trails with incredible views of the Torres del Paine mountains.
The resident guanacos are a common sight in the national park.
The Tierra Patagonia lodge is very warm and inviting.
A gaucho (Chilean cowboy) pauses on the trail atop his horse.
Hiking with our guide Daniel and enjoying condors flying overhead on Tierra Patagonia´s private estancia!
An Andean Condor flies by what looks like the face of a person in the cliffside rock.
The land surrounding the Torres del Paine National Park is made up of private estancias (ranches), often separated by gates such as these. Although very elusive, puma can be seen not only in the park, but also all along the private estancias surrounding the park. It is not uncommon to see two or three sheep skin hanging from the fence next to the estancia entrances...which is basically a warning from one ranch to the next that a Puma has made a kill in the area recently and to watch your flock closely. In the distance you can see the three glacially eroded granite peaks of the Paine Massif from which the Torres del Paine park gets its name.
It's not often that the wind is calm in Patagonia. Torres del Paine is notorious for its strong winds that have been know to reach 150 kph and to knock hikers off their feet! Trees are forever shaped in the direction of the wind. The wind is caused when warm air from the equator meets cold air traveling north from Antarctica. The situation is compounded by the fact that Patagonia is almost at the southern tip of the continent, leaving it at the mercy of both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean breezes as well. All this makes for a very windy, crazy weather pattern that can see four seasons in the same day. So when you get a calm morning, head for one of the many lakes to photograph the beautiful reflections!
A sacred bird to the native peoples, an Andean Condor soars through the air in search of food.
Two condors soar above the granite spires, scavenging for the daily meal. Riding the drafts of the strong Patagonian winds, the Andean Condor glides to amazing heights, always on the lookout for dead things on which to feed. It's spring in the Torres del Paine National Park, and there's still snow in the mountains. Most visitors will wait until high season (December through February) to visit the park, but the shoulder seasons (October and March) offer some of the best crowd-free hikes.
A bright amber sunset sets the many layers of the national park aglow.
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