Page 46 - SilverKris March 2014

Basic HTML Version

J O U R N A L S
natural escapes
46 | SILVERKRIS.COM
Nature is the balm that soothes our souls and exalts our
spirits. We’re lucky the world still holds pristine paradises
like the four featured here.
BY SHARON MCDONNELL
A
Hikers in Chile’s
Torres del Paine
are rewarded
with stunning
views of snowy
peaks and icy
glaciers.
B
Llama-like
guanacos at
Torres del Paine.
C
Slovenia's
fairytale-like
Bled Island.
A
B
PARADI SE FOUND
TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE
Pure, remote and possessing
an other-worldly beauty,
Torres del Paine National Park
(
torresdelpaine.com/ingles
) is a
wilderness of jagged granite
peaks, electric-blue icebergs
and snow-crowned mountains.
Covering most of the Patagonia
ice fields in Chile’s extreme
south, it has been declared a
UNESCOWorld Biosphere
Reserve, a treasure of nature
worth preserving.
“The word Patagonia…
lodged itself in theWestern
imagination as a metaphor
for the Ultimate, the point
beyond which one could not
go,” British travel scribe Bruce
Chatwin wrote of the region
that has inspired authors such
as HermanMelville, Edgar Allen
Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Torres del Paine offers a
variety of hikes. A two-hour
walk from the waterfall Salto
Grande to theMirador Cuernos
viewing point rewards you with
the sight of snowy horn-shaped
peaks including the park’s tallest
mountain (the 3,050m-high
Paine Grande) and jade-green
Lake Nordenskjold. You can
also walk to the gorgeous Lake
Pehoe, or to Lake Grey where
you can kayak past its startlingly
blue icebergs and glacier. The
most famous hike, theWcircuit,
is a 60km five-day trek named
for its shape. Along the way, you
can stay in cabins called refugios,
or rent tents and sleeping bags.
Wildlife sightings – of llama-
like guanacos, ostrich-like rheas
and condors are guaranteed.
Puma-spotting is also possible.
Flowers like scarlet fire bush and
hot-pink, red and blue lupines
add even more colour to the
landscape’s vivid palette.
Staggering views of the Torres
del Paine mountains can be
enjoyed from all guest rooms of
Tierra Patagonia (
tierrapatagonia.
com
), a luxury stay on the shore
of Lake Sarmiento.
Torres del Paine is a 1.5 hour
drive fromPuerto Natales, the
capital of the Chilean province of
Ultima Esperanza.