Virtuoso Life - September/October 2017 - 152
Clockwise from top: Tierra Patagonia's
exterior, its relaxation area, and one
of the lodge's guides.
These people from
all over the world
thousands of miles
and driven hours across
the pampas and
hiked all this way. Why?
strips of lenga warms a cathedral-like dining room, and a lenga-wood hallway leads
to the guest wing. The rooms are serene,
wood-floored spaces with sheepskin rugs
and wool throws, their most prominent feature another wide picture window framing
the stunning view. Again, there is no Wi-Fi
or TV: Nature with a capital N is the show.
Tierra, like all these lodges, specializes
not only in drawing your gaze toward the
natural world, but also pushing you into
it. The first thing you do upon arrival is sit
down with an excursion coordinator and
map out your days - which is how I found
myself crawling sleepily from bed at dawn
the next morning, padding across a puff of
white sheepskin on the floor, and raising
I'd somehow signed up for a 13-mile hike
with an 8 AM departure, which now seemed
like a terrible idea, but I woke in an instant.
The PEAKS. There they were, the entire
Paine massif shouldering up out of nowhere
in the pink dawn light. I couldn't believe
our good fortune: not only clear sky, but a
windless morning to attempt the Base of the
Towers, Patagonia's most iconic hike.
Eight of us piled into the Tierra van
and bounced to the trailhead just inside
the park. By 9 we'd donned day packs and
started the climb. We ranged in age from
mid-30s to mid-70s, but our Tierra guide set
a measured pace, keeping the couple in their
70s (hardy Australians) right at his back.
The rest of us fell in behind.
The day was perfect: temperatures in the
V I RT U O S O L I F E