Finally the feeling was too strong and my best mate Kineret convinced me to find a guiding job in the deep south.
Tierra Patagonia is the hotel I now guide for here in Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine, a world Unesco Biosphere Reserve. This hotel is a monumental architectural feat. It is designed to blend in with the landscape it has been built on – a sparse Patagonian steppe. It was coined Hotel Del Viento by its main architect Cazu Zegers for good reason as the strong explosive winds, all the way from the southern icefield, flow right over the top of its aerodynamic design.
It is truly a beautiful contribution to Torres Del Paine and 5 star tourism. It is made totally from the wood of one of the strongest and most beautiful beech trees in the area, the Lenga. The magnificent view of the Paine Massif across Lake Sarmiento changes its appearance in an instant and complements every room in the hotel.
My job is one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs I have ever had. My office is the park. Nothing beats the feeling of adrenalin rushing through your body the rare moment you spot the illusive puma and then trying to get a photo as proof and a souvenir for guests; or the relaxation of watching the Andean condor sail right overhead, its huge wing span tipped with feathers that look like fingers; or capturing the electric blue of a grand glacier as you bob past on one of the navigation boats specifically constructed to view these huge chunks of ice; or trying to keep your eyes on the Guanaco as it bows its head and chases away one of its rival males; or the contentment of arriving at the ‘base of the Towers’ as snow is falling and wind blasting your face; Or galloping next to a gaucho, who will never know how cool he actually looks dressed in his boina hat and ‘baqueano’ clothes, on a homely estancia.
This place is truly a land like no other. Who knows, maybe I’ll never see a kangaroo in the flesh again – but no probs mate as I’m content watching the Puma and the odd Flamingo in my own backyard.
One day if you have the opportunity, get lost in the deep south. You’ll never forget the adventure.
WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER THEOBALD