We had made camp alongside Iceland’s largest natural lake

August 30, 2013
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Canada Goose Parka Hiking in Chilean Patagonia Canada Goose Parka

The icy wind whipped and swirled, nearly knocking me off my feet. Snow lashed my face. My husband and I struggled to see the Torres del Paine summits through the fog. After a wet, cold, canada goose outlet phone number three hour uphill hike, I hoped the slushy precipitation might clear, even for a moment, canada goose outlet store uk so I could glimpse the Torres the trio of granite mountain peaks that are arguably Patagonia’s most iconic sight. On a clear day, their jagged gray edges scrape the sky hundreds of feet above a snowfield and a meltwater lake, but at this particular moment they were hiding.

The Torres are canada goose outlet in canada often the highlight of the approximately 45 mile W Circuit trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. On this day last December, Andrew and I were alone at the lookout, the fierce canada goose outlet price weather probably deterring other hopeful souls. We huddled on a boulder to wait for the gray curtain to lift from the spires.

We had planned the five day hike as part of a 20 canada goose outlet mall day trekking excursion in Patagonia, the approximately 300,000 square mile expanse of wilderness stretching across the bottom of Chile and Argentina. For months, we had looked forward to restoring our worn out selves by backpacking and camping.

Wild areas are our escape from urban trappings: jobs, cellphones, gridlock, e mails, deadlines, concrete. More important, they are a place of calm and provide solace as we endure life’s biggest blows. They are where we find peace.

canada goose coats Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, with Lake Pehoe and the iconic Torres del Paine mountain peaks in the distance. (Jay Goodrich/ Tandem Stock) canada goose coats

Coming to terms with loss

canada goose black friday sale Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the best selling memoir “Wild,” is helping to popularize nature’s healing abilities. The outdoors played a tough love role in her story, which appears on movie screens Friday. Her solo misadventures on the 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon and Washington helped her come to terms with her mother’s death. canada canada goose outlet goose black friday sale

buy canada goose jacket Although my situation is different I have an outdoorsy husband, and we were much more prepared than Strayed was when she hiked much of the PCT I felt a kinship with Strayed when I read “Wild.” After my 62 year old mother died unexpectedly in 2009, I began planning canada goose outlet online reviews to hike the entire trail. Long drawn to the mountains and lakes of the Sierras, I had day hiked sections of the PCT near Lake Tahoe. I dreamed of a five month trek spent in a daily rhythm of hiking, eating and sleeping. Frightened by what my mother’s early death might portend for my own mortality, I didn’t want to wait any longer. buy canada goose jacket

canadian goose jacket The plan was delayed in 2010 when my father in law was diagnosed with cancer and died a year later. Andrew and I dealt with our shock and grief by losing ourselves in the northern reaches of Rock Creek Park. For me, the appeal was less escapism than rejuvenation, although at times it was some of both. canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose sale Prior to these deaths, canada goose outlet germany I had headed into the wild whenever everyday stresses became overwhelming. When Andrew and I lived in Arizona, we camped among Sedona’s red rocks and watched storms roll over the desert. When California was our home, we explored the craggy Northern California coastline, redwoods and Sierras. In Washington, we find sanctuary in the sylvan landscapes of the park, still, as well as Shenandoah National Park and West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness. Canada Goose sale

These local areas had canada goose outlet uk sale long been weekly and often daily pilgrimages, but after the deaths of our two parents, we began seeking out farther flung, wilder places. We handled our grief by returning to the Sierras canada goose parka outlet and hiking sections of the PCT near Lake Tahoe, climbing across granite ridges overlooking alpine lakes and scrambling over glacial moraines in the Desolation Wilderness. We puttered around on a ramshackle boat in the Galapagos and mountain biked in the Andes. We hiked Kauai’s infamously challenging Kalalau Trail, teetering along the plunging cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

Valley Ascencio in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. (Patrick Brandenburg/Tandem Stock)

canada goose store Torres del Paine, Grey Glacier, is in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field west of the Cordillera del Paine on the west side of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. ( Brendan van Son/Tandem Stock) canada goose store

canada goose clearance sale Nature gave me few answers, but it reminded me that http://www.mycanadagoosejacket.org there is more to life than canada goose outlet sale daily existence. It made me grateful official canada goose outlet to be alive and appreciative of the roots canada goose outlet niagara falls and rocks that kept me grounded. canada goose clearance sale

Canada Goose Outlet Even when things didn’t go our way, I was still happier inside a tent or on a trail. On an off season camping trip in Iceland after Andrew’s father died, gale force winds and rain hammered our tent. We had made camp alongside Iceland’s largest natural lake, Thingvallavatn, during a blustery storm that had canada goose outlet florida kept us awake nearly all night. It had been raining for five days. Canada Goose Outlet

canada goose deals We hunkered deep inside our sleeping bags as the tent’s walls pressed on us and rain misted in under the fly. Our shelter was nearing collapse. canada goose deals

Canada Goose Jackets I looked over at Andrew. His brown eyes regarded me through a hole he had created by goose outlet canada pulling his mummy bag’s drawstring so tightly around his face, only his eyes and nose were exposed. Canada Goose Jackets

canada goose “Are you cold?” I asked. It was barely above freezing. canada goose

“No, I’m actually fine,” he answered, his voice muffled. “Are you?”

canada goose coats on sale I was fine canada goose outlet winnipeg as well in fact, I was utterly content, although I imagined that the winds might blow our little tent into the sky like a kite and drop us into the lake. canada goose coats on sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap I wormed my way closer to him, and eventually we dozed off to the sound of tent fabric snapping in the wind. In the morning, puddles pooled under our sleeping pads and rain beaded on our sleeping bags, but we were still snug and warm, and grateful to have experienced the storm. life had left me feeling bedraggled. I ached to lace up my boots. Even when there wasn’t a crisis, I had a growing need to get outside, and for longer periods of time. buy canada goose jacket cheap

We had planned the trip for six months before boarding our flight to Chile, poring over gear lists and replacing some of our threadbare 18 year old backpacking equipment “prepare to experience every season in one day!” warned the guidebooks. As training, we lugged our loaded packs along Rock Creek Park’s Western Ridge Trail and during weekend trips in Shenandoah. Really, it was just another reason to get outside.

cheap Canada Goose Andrew and I arrived in Torres del canada goose outlet online store review Paine National Park, the first leg of our trip, four days before our climb to Base de las Torres. I pressed my face against the bus window during the two hour ride from the park’s gateway town of Puerto Natales, mesmerized by the sprawling landscape and the surprising abundance of wildlife: guanacos that resembled petite llamas, massive Andean condors, incongruous flamingos and ostrichlike rheas with little chicks that ran frantically after their fathers. Once in the park, we took a choppy catamaran ride across Lake Peho to begin the W Circuit canada goose jacket uk trek. cheap Canada Goose

Our starting point was Paine Grande, one of the park refuges that lie alongside the trail. Some hikers stay inside the lodge’s comfortable rooms and others camp. However, nearly everyone warms up inside with showers and a limited menu. We cooked pasta over our tiny camp stove inside a backpacker hut, but we sipped hot tea inside the lodge before setting up our tent in the twilight.

Of the more than 100,000 people who visit the park each year, most are from outside Chile. The breeze carried fragments of laughter and different languages through our tent walls. This was nowhere near a solitary wilderness experience, and we were surrounded by dozens of other people. Yet I still felt at peace as we drifted to sleep.

canada goose clearance From Paine Grande, we hiked about 40 miles over five days to reach the Torres. The beginning of the trail wandered alongside Grey Lake, bedazzled with blue icebergs broken off a glacier that is part of the canada goose outlet houston 220 mile long Southern Patagonia Ice Field. Winds ripped across the water, nearly blowing us off the canada goose outlet online store path canada goose clearance.

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