Why is Patagonia so famous? Why do people feel attracted to it? Why do thousands of people every year take it upon themselves to endure a journey across entire seas and continents to get to one of the far ends of the world?
No words nor pictures could ever capture fully what Patagonia (Chilean and Argentinian) is really about. It's too vast in terms of space and of the range of emotions which is able to gift you with.
Roads that stretch for miles at a time like the Ruta 40 in Argentina and the Ruta 9 in Chile find their very end in mountain chains that are thousands and thousands of years old. You can see them from afar (on a good day!) and suddenly you can't drive fast enough to get closer to the Fitz Roy and the Cerro Torre (ARG) or to Torres del Paine (CHL).
On these roads you'll find close to no one embarking on your same journey, making it even more pleasant. The only companions you're likely to find are a bunch of guanacos along the way to keep you pointed into the right direction.
It is a seemingly forgotten land where days are always longer than usual and where you'll see the most amazing sunrises and sunsets without having to worry about some building or form of lighting getting into the way.
It is a windy, damn cold, sometimes utterly schizophrenic piece of land where you'll probably change from a tank top to a full rainproof attire in a matter of hours. A place where every effort you make will be repaid by the stunning views of soft volcanic hills and mountains, azul lakes, clear waterfalls, beautiful mountains and the paint-like colors of the trees with which you'll fall in love.
It is a place for those who are able to adapt and that don't mind the lack of internet connection, a place where the only use you make of your phone is that of taking pictures even tough you'll realize that your own eyes will make a better job at committing its landscapes to memory.
It is a land for the dreamers and for those that feel an inner drive to accomplish a goal. Walking on a glacier, hiking a mountain, completing a 100km circuit relying only on what your shoulders can carry.
It is a land that will strike you down a thousand times and will sometimes leave you with a bittersweet sensation.
Mankind can only do so much against Mother Nature. If the weather is not good you won't be able to see the ice of the Perito Moreno shine as white as the moon or the tip of the Fitz Roy once you have gotten so so close or you'll be stuck during the W or O treks in Torres after having planned everything so perfectly that you know the map of the park by heart. Or you might just trip when trying to evade a pond of mud and end up bumping your knee in a rock so hard you'll see stars for about a minute and limp the two days afterwards.
You need to prepare yourself for the eventuality that here everything can happen. Including loosing the sense of time and getting a bus ticket for the wrong the day, fearing that it'll compromise your whole trip or finding such harsh conditions that the trails will be literally closed off because there's just too much water flooding around.
Here is where you learn to simply "have faith". You might have gotten stuck in a campsite but if you hadn't you might have not met that one person that changed your experience for the better and maybe you'll now have a new friend for life. Circumstances and opportunities can multiply into something as unpredictable as the weather.
You can witness the four season in just one day, that's what everyone says about Patagonia. God if it's true! Don't flatter yourself if going in high-season (December-March), you might find as much - if not more - rain that in May.
Here is where every traveler goes along the same routes (El Chalten, El Calafate, Puerto Natales) but where everyone will live a completely different experience.
Patagonia is unique in what is able to give you: a series of continuos personal challenges and rewards. As unique as the Perito Moreno, which changes every day due to the ice sliding down the lake. As unique as the cracks in the facade of the Fitz Roy. As unique as the colors of the lakes in Torres del Paine which change accordingly to the colors of the sky. As unique as the kindness of the people living in this ancient land can be.
As unique as this very moment, with your best friend, riding off into the sunset on a sweet horse called Karma.
Until next time.