Maki Torres Fernández, Guide in explora Patagonia
Patagonia is famous for its incredible views, diverse landscapes and capricious geography, but it is also famous for its extreme winds. You’d be hard pressed to find a description of this region that doesn’t mention the intensity of the southern winds.
One of our explorations most exposed to the wind is Nordenskjöld Lake, especially around the Salto Grande waterfall.
Early one February morning, I took a couple of travelers to the waterfall. They were leaving later that day, but they did not want to miss the Salto Grande. We met at 8.30 a.m. so they could enjoy the views before they had to check-out.
When we arrived, the wind was intense, and they were a bit scared. The sound was so deafening we could barely hear each other, but before getting out of the van, I told them everything they needed to know about walking in the wind safely. We set our hiking poles and I asked them to trust in their muscles. I promised them that everything would be fine, and the adventure would be worth it. They were anxious, and eager to arrive.
Learning to let go
Despite being in high season, we were alone when we arrived at Salto Grande, which is one of the most visited places in the Torres del Paine National Park. Thanks to our close location and leaving early, we had managed to get there before anyone else.
I soon noticed that one of the travelers was annoyed. She was trying to take photos, but the strong winds were making it impossible to get a steady shot. I offered to help, but she was still looking bewildered. “Are you okay?” I asked loudly, so she could hear me.
“I’m so angry at the wind I wanted to scream!” she replied.
“Then shout!” I said. Her husband looked at me incredulously. She’s usually very shy, he explained.
Decided, I asked them to accompany me to a higher point atop a sedimentary rock that had been worn by erosion over thousands of years. When we reached its peak, I began to shout.
The release of energy was so intense we were all crying by the time we stopped screaming.
The force of the wind
“Now it’s your turn,” I told them. “If you want, we can all scream together.”
And so, without further discussion or hesitation, the three of us began to shout into the Patagonian winds that whipped around us. The release of energy was so intense we were all crying by the time we stopped screaming.
The traveler was no longer angry, stressed nor bothered by the wind. She was present – we all were – and the three of us were connected. When we arrived back at the hotel we said our goodbyes and they thanked me with a hug.
“This, I will take with me,” she said. “Every time I’m angry, I’ll go out on my terrace to shout and remember the force of the wind.”