"It was amazing and unforgettable, lots of good memories."
My Patagonia Trek Story: Carey Bowers
Carey Bowers of Portland, Oregon, was part of a six-person Patagonia trek in 2017. We sat down with her after the trip to get her impressions of trekking and traveling in Patagonia, traveling with Embark, and an amazing and rare wildlife sighting.
In general, how would you describe Patagonia and trekking there?
Beautiful. Majestic. Peaceful. And honestly a lot more comfortable than I thought it was going to be.
When I heard “rifugio” I thought it was going to be like the tea houses in Nepal, which are kind of rustic. But these had electricity and hot water the whole time, showers, and we slept in dorm-style bunk beds. I was shocked when we got to them. Every night we would hang around, take pictures, and play games.
How was the food?
It was great! Every night there were choices for dinner, like quiche or stir fries, and our lunch boxes lasted the whole day. Lunch was a huge sandwich with either leftover meat or tuna or turkey or veggies, plus a granola bar, fruit, chocolate, and juice or water. And I have never seen a sandwich that big. We were like, “Wow, half of that would be enough!” I took a bunch of snacks and didn’t touch any of them.
Other than day-hiking out of El Chalten and doing the W Trek in Chile, what were some of the highlights?
We went to the Perito Moreno Glacier, and it was amazing. We stood in front of it and saw it calve off at least twice, really big chunks. And we even walked on it! We had a two-hour guided walk, and it was way cool to see the different blues of the ice, and these streams on the surface, flowing into holes in the glacier. The guides would kick ice into the hole to see how long it took to hit the bottom, and it was a long way down there.
Then at the end, they scraped some ice off the glacier and served us scotch and chocolate liqueur!
How was your guide?
Our Chilean guide was Anita, and she was the sweetest little thing. She was a cute little 29-year-old, and she was born in Europe but she was Chilean, and she was so knowledgeable. She new all the plants and animals, and she told us the history of the mountains and all the areas we visited.
And there was wildlife?
Every day we would be like, “What do we want to see today?” And we saw almost all of it! We saw woodpeckers — the males with the big red head, pecking at top of tree. We saw Oaxaca, these really big rabbits, caracaras, a fox.
But one day, we were walking through a meadow and Anita saw some movement, and then she yelled out, “Oh my gosh, a puma!” We were crossing the meadow, and he was going through it, and we followed him for a while. He was big! I am 5-foot-5, and I would say his shoulders were about mid-thigh on me.
We all started breaking out our cameras, and I had the best zoom lens on my camera, so I got some really good shots. Anita said she had only seen one of those in all her years hiking there. So that was a real highlight.
What was it like traveling with Embark?
It was fantastic; they took care of everything. And it was all really flexible, like at Glacier Grey, some of us went kayaking, but not everybody wanted to, so they went for another walk. And the next morning we had some time, so we went and did another hike to these suspension bridges with amazing views of water coming off the mountains and into the lake.
After the trip, some of the people went to Iguazu Falls on their own, but I went to see penguins in Ushaia. Embark set up a penguin excursion for me, and they also lined up all my vans, like from the airport to the hotel, into towns, the guides, the whole thing. All I had to do was show up!
It was amazing and unforgettable, lots of good memories. I would go again, but there are too many other places to go first!