Farewell to Patagonia

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It seems only fitting to end my blogging days with a picture of a sunset. For the past few days, we took a side trip to northern Patagonia in Argentina. 28 hours on two buses to get there ... Patagonia is a big place. Our destination was the Peninsula Valdez, and we stayed for four days at Puerto Piramides. This is the best time of year to see the southern right whales, who are breeding. This picture by Alex ended up being one of my favorites.

Thank you for checking in every so often ...


Global Warming and Glaciers

Friday, August 10, 2007

Global warming is evident here in the Patagonia. The glaciers are all receding. We have been especially surprised at how changeable the weather is. When it has snowed, the snow disappears quickly, sometimes within hours. This year has been warmer than most, with rain occuring as frequently as snow.

Sheep Dogs

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

One day, after lunch, the rancher invited us to see the building where the sheep are sheared every year. After that, he showed us the dogs at work. We picked up two dogs at the kennel and they jumped in the back of the truck. We drove to a nearby fenced in grazing area. With one command, the dogs jumped out of the truck and raced off in different directions. Within minutes, the dogs returned with all of the sheep in tow. In the picture, one of the sheep dogs is lying low, watchfully minding over the sheep. These sheepdogs were extraordinary.

Hairy Armadillo

Monday, August 6, 2007

The hairy armadillos are quite rare -- the park rangers have never seen one. The boys were lucky to spend some time taking photographs with this armadillo we came across on our way back from Cerro Castillo.

Lesser Rhea

The rhea are much like ostriches ... they don't fly, but they can run quite fast! We see them every day in the southern part of the park near the entrance.

Puma at Night

Sunday, July 29, 2007

We were on our way to the hotel to gather blankets and sleeping bags for an all-nighter near a dead guanaco, when we spotted this puma and her two cubs near a fresh kill. We went back to the rangers, and two of the rangers joined the boys to watch the pumas until 1 a.m.. After the park rangers went to bed, the three of us kept watch through the night. The pumas left around dawn.


On our way here, Alex bet there would only be between 5-10 U.S. citizens that we would meet on our entire trip. Trent voted for over 15. I took the seemingly reasonable 10-15. So far we have met (oh so briefly) 9 Americans. (Trent is insisting that we count the 5 Americans who passed the boys on a trail.)

But … the tourists we have met are most interesting! We have met wine traders from Switzerland (who also trade in China), three Canadians who just graduated from college and are taking off a few months before their engineering jobs begin in September, a South African (currently living in Great Britain) who is a mine engineer and is here in Chile for an internship, and a New Zealander who is on a “vision quest” for a year, hoping to figure out what he can do about global warming in his hometown.

In terms of the park as a whole, winter months bring fewer than 1,000 visitors to the park. In the summer months of December and January, there are over 1,000 visitors a day.