Virtuoso Life - September/October 2017 - 158
Inside Explora, clockwise
from left: The lodge's lobby,
the lounge area, and a dinner of salmon and lamb.
Rooms are simple: lots of varnishedbeech tongue-and-groove, a small bath,
and a pair of slipcovered chairs facing a stupendous picture-window view. (Although
Explora's dining room and service are topnotch, we did meet a few guests surprised by
their rooms' simplicity.) Lounging in bed,
though, isn't the reason you're here.
"This is nuts!" my husband said the next
morning as we hurried down a steep, unlit
wooden walkway in the dark. He was right.
Boarding Explora's high-speed ferry by 7 AM
felt out there, but thrillingly so - the kind of
experience that pushes you just far enough
past your comfort zone.
We were crossing the lake with a small
guided group to hike French Valley - which,
along with the Base of the Towers, is a segment of the classic W trail, one of the park's
most popular multiday treks. After landing
on the far shore, the seven of us set out in
the early-morning light at a brisk pace. The
trail wound through low grass and scrub,
then began climbing through an expansive
valley with vistas of the plains beyond us,
the Andes beside us, and, above, the rugged
granite that makes this part of Patagonia
V I RT U O S O L I F E