The Humbling Power of Patagonia

JohnPatrick Summers is a student at the University of Colorado – Boulder and an ISA Photo Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile.

Traveler photographing the Francés glacier
Traveler photographing the Francés glacier
View from Pehoé ferry
View from Pehoé ferry
View from Pehoé ferry
View from Pehoé ferry

When it comes down to the world’s most recognizably profound outdoor environments, Patagonia will undoubtedly be at the top of that list.

View from Pehoé ferry
View from Pehoé ferry
On route to refugio Grey
On route to refugio Grey
On route to refugio Grey
On route to refugio Grey

Looking at any pictures of the vast scope of land, this becomes obvious. There is something about the uniqueness in the composure of the mountains and the virginity of the valleys in between that is instantly recognizable.

On route to refugio Grey
On route to refugio Grey
A ferry approaches glacier Grey
A ferry approaches glacier Grey
Close up of the blue ice of glacier Grey
Close up of the blue ice of glacier Grey

Being a student here, the first question that everyone asks is, “when are you visiting Patagonia?” and it creates an air of mysticism around the subject. Not of the sights to be seen because they are plastered everywhere on the internet, but rather of the experience of being surrounded and overwhelmed by pristine and seemingly prehistoric earth.

A friend crossing the Olguin bridge
A friend crossing the Olguin bridge
Close up of the blue ice of glacier Grey
Close up of the blue ice of glacier Grey
Weathered flags waving at refugio Paine Grande
Weathered flags waving at refugio Paine Grande

My friends and I spent six days hiking the W trail. The first days were enthusiastic and loud. Arriving after a comfortable few days of preparation and anticipation, we were fresh faced and clean. We laughed in glee at the sights and wowed and awed together at the more astounding experiences, but after the first two or three days, the ritual of walking and taking in all that Patagonia had to offer in that instance became almost a religious experience.

Cuernos del Paine
Cuernos del Paine
A condor soaring above the valley of Francés
A condor soaring above the valley of Francés
An avalanche in the valley of Francés
An avalanche in the valley of Francés

We were no less content than when we were more verbally expressing our attitude, but the consistency of the wonderment that is being induced by the ever changing environment didn’t need the constant reaffirmation. At some point it starts to take an internal turn and what was originally thought to be a social experience turns introspective.

Cerro Hoja
Cerro Hoja
Sunset over refugio Francés
Sunset over refugio Francés
View en route to Las Torres
View en route to Las Torres

By the last few miles and in walking with your back to the mountains, you start to realize the gravity of the sights and experiences that you have witnessed, and regardless of anyone’s previous experiences you get on the bus back to Puerto Natales a little different than when you stepped off, ready to hike your first day. These pictures are some of the many sights that contributed to one of the most rewarding and humbling trips I have had the pleasure of experiencing.

Sunrise at the base of Las Torres
Sunrise at the base of Las Torres
Sunrise hikers at the base of Las Torres
Sunrise hikers at the base of Las Torres
The reservoir at the base of Las Torres
The reservoir at the base of Las Torres

The world awaits…discover it.

Author: JP Summers

I am a passionate outdoorsman. I moved to Colorado from Washington, DC to attend the University of Colorado, Boulder and to take full advantage of the immense amount of mountain access. I am first and foremost a mountain biker. Having ridden for ten years, I now ride sponsored for companies including Monster, GoPro, Spy Optics, and others. My brother is a gifted and accomplished photographer and he gave me the camera that I use today. Since he’s gifted it to me, I take it everywhere and have become passionate about capturing the special moments that exist in my travels.

4 thoughts

  1. Your great aunt Jen is overwhelmed by the beauty and the text .So pleased you can expirance such soul touching scenery while you study.bravo xxxxxxx

  2. Reblogged this on Pajaroblog and commented:
    Amazing photos, article about Patagonia from one of my fellow ISA students here in Chile. I’m so jealous of this Patagonia trip, as it’s winter now here in July. Check it out!

  3. Loved reading about your experience…deeply touching…moved when I saw all the gorgeous photographs. Thank you for sharing!

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