Wednesday, April 04, 2007

His Majesty Mt. Fitzroy

I'm trying to find that quiet place in myself so I can tell you about Patagonia and what it means to me, but when I am singing and my heart is happy and full, I'm not articulate in words, and that is now how I feel.

What is Patagonia? A place of ethereal emptiness, expansive vastness, oxymoronic contrasts, extreme climactic elements, a canvas for personal exploration and expression, for me a physical complement for the metaphysical exploration of what is within.

These last few days I've spent in El Chalten, a young town of no history birthed in recent years around tourism for Mt. Fitzroy, towering granite castles on the northern end of the Southern Patagonian Icefield, cultivating clouds, snow and glaciers, reflecting sky, sun and changing light. Here is different from Torres del Paine in that gratification is immediate! The "Tour of Pain" (as it was called by a fellow hiker and recent days' consort) is completely unnecessary to enjoy the mighty monarch in all his finery! The view coming into town reveals his commanding majesty; he can be seen from within town consulting with his ministers, Mt. Torre and the Sun; upon approach, he reigns upon all the view of the sky. Magnificent.

And though I can't convey the fullness of the experience in words in this inarticulate state of mine, I can't fail to mention the fun of driving to the end of the road (to which a lake across the ferry would have led to the overland route to Chile); nor the ardent, passionate, operatic singer of tango tunes who croons in vibrato the same repetoire of 5 songs every night in a small, local eatery with less than mediocre food where we had drinks one night and dinner the second; nor the free feeling of flying down a paved part of the famous Ruta 40 going very, very fast (and no I was not the driver), in concert with the ferocious winds across the vastness of the Patagonian steppes!

Tomorrow I leave Patagonia, and I have strong feelings of longing and loss. This is a most special place on the earth, that which inspires and nourishes that inner exploration from a vantage point of being rooted in the earth.

At the same time, I miss city life, and I want to loiter in grand bookstores and drink great espresso and hear live music and dance tango. And so I am off to Buenos Aires tomorrow.

Suerte. Buenas noches. Buenos sueños.

Mt. Fitzroy above, town below:

On the way to Lago del Desierto, which was as close to Villa O'Higgins (the entry to Chile's Carretera Austral) as I would get on this trip (I must save the Carretera Austral for another trip). It was great fun going as far as the end of this road as we could that day!

One of the many fine views of His Majesty we would have that day:

His Majesty's court, the lakes and glaciers:

Mt. Torre, tallest massif in the range:


Anonymous A litteral alitterative litter-bug said...

Well that's all fine & dandy....... but whatever you do....
DON'T BECOME AN OXY MORON now will you?!

D xx

5:46 PM  
Blogger IngePing said...


I wonder if the ´consort´ you mention is "Boogie with the boiled eggs"....
We are fine here in Bariloche, still in your beloved Patagonia, love your blog!
Take care! Ingrid&Roy (

7:08 PM  
Blogger christene said...

Hi Ingrid and Roy,

No, it was not Boogie (though we did see one another in El Chalten), it was the tall, red-headed Welshman with whom we had one of our many celebratory dinners (shoulder pat-pat-pat!)

Enjoy all your travels! See you in Myanmar!

love, Chris

11:54 AM  

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