Danielle de Luca, explora traveler.
Drinking rain water
The clouds form at mid-altitude, revealing the Paine horns, enveloping them. Lifting my gaze to see the nearly vertical granite peaks rise above me, I start to feel the light rain that had been falling without me even realizing. It is worth it to take a moment and cover up with a rain jacket. I moved forward slowly, without haste, taking in a landscape that changes with every step. The narrow trail kept me in a straight line behind my fellow hikers. Further on, when someone decided to stop, I looked for my water bottle to have a drink. When I opened it, I realized I could fill it up with those same raindrops, which by that height were coming down heavier. I took a few sips and enjoyed it more than ever. It was recently-fallen rainwater that allowed me to feel that sweet and earthy flavor of fresh water in Patagonia.
Navigating Grey glacier
I had to wait a few seconds for my eyes to adapt to being face-to-face with the reflection of the sun shining on Grey Glacier. It’s no exaggeration to say that the beauty here is blinding. Wearing sunglasses is a must. When I found myself in front of this enormous and breathtaking piece of ice, I felt seduced by the intensity of the light, that clash between sun and ice, the dazzling reflections. The sheer size of the landscape was a challenge because I didn’t want to miss a single detail. There were times when I felt like miniature figure in a diorama.
Walking in the middle of the Patagonian steppe, right on the Aoenikenk trail, I start to realize how small I was in comparison to this landscape, which seems boundless. No matter what angle I placed my camera, I could not get everything to fit in the frame. The clouds were moving so fast in my field of vision that I never managed to capture them. These landscapes are without borders. No camera could possibly capture such immensity. That’s why if you come to Patagonia, it’s a good idea to leave your cell phone behind and put your camera away. Here, it’s your eyes that are the star of the show in viewing your surroundings. The only thing I did was look and breathe. The perfect image was engraved in my mind.
In the heat of the fire
In Patagonia, fire has always played a major role. It represents gathering and refuge, and it was around the heat of an open fire and a warm mate where we shared our experienced from the horseback ride down Serrano River that we had just finished. The local gauchos protect and uphold this tradition. That’s how, in the middle of saddles, furs, and a robust meal cooked over the fire, we could sit down to rest while the homeowners heated up the water for the ritual.