Oct 17, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer
Having the opportunity to visit this icon of Patagonia for the day is one of the many highlights of our expedition, and it didn’t disappoint. This landscape has been shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago with the vestiges of that era still clinging to the surrounding peaks. Winds and water have been putting the finishing touches on it since the last Ice Age ended, and one can only expect that when exploring the Patagonia steppe, or Pampa, you’ll be touched by both. At just under 500,000 acres or 700 square miles, Paine (blue) sees almost a quarter million visitors each year. The Paine Cordillera is the central feature with its torres (towers) of granite reaching over 2,500 meters. Not part of the Andes Mountains, the Paine massif is only 80 million years old and is a distinctive geologic formation. Today we set out to get the most of our time here. Half set out on a near 5 mile hike through the steppe, where guanaco roamed along the trail, Andean condors soared overhead, and even an elusive puma was spotted rested under a granite cliff face observing its domain. The remainder of our guests set out to see more of the park, stopping at the various points of interest to take it all in.
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